Survivor: the Suitcase

I don’t know how many of you have ever packed for a “vacation” of four to eight weeks. I know I haven’t – until now.

Since we are now into week four of our eight to nine week stay in Houston, it is time to evaluate. This may be of benefit to others who may look at such a trip in the future. So, I’ve decided to play a game of Survivor. What stays and what goes from the suitcase.

Since this game involves staying in a hotel suite complete with kitchen, there are some things we wish we had brought. First into the suitcase would be our non-stick skillet. Everything supplied is “kitchenette” size. Small. I might include a complete set of silverware. The spoons provided are tablespoons, too large for eating comfortably.

Of course, everything has to be kept in balance; weight and volume vs. convenience and luxury. I wish I had my large mug. We bought one here, but it’s not the same. We have plenty of teas, but the coffee could have been left out of the suitcase. Yes, a coffee maker is supplied, but it seems to be a lot of trouble. I have pretty much laid off the dark brew for now. So, first voted out of the suitcase would be my Gevalia coffee.

Since I have a grandson taking Comp I at National Park Community College where I used to teach, I brought a couple books that he would be using in class. I thought he might need help. So far, he is doing quite well after a few tutoring sessions before we came to Houston. Second voted out of the suitcase are the books I don’t think I will need.

I brought my good camera. I had hoped to have time to visit the Houston Zoo and some other places. I missed the opportunity to see the Indi Car grand prix. I was in the hospital that weekend. The Medieval Times festival was this weekend. It rained and I have no idea where it is. We are limited in transportation by the fact that the hotel shuttle is limited to a 3 mile radius. I have made contact with another photographer in Houston who is interested in a photo walk. I hope that can be worked out. The camera stays in the suitcase, though it may be in jeopardy.

Clothes. Everyone needs clothes. I packed generously conservatively. I knew we had access to a laundry room, so we could wash clothes regularly. What we did not realize was that the laundry room consisted of two washing machines and two dryers – all coin operated. Sometimes everything is in use when Melanie wants to do laundry. Fortunately, we have packed properly – so far. We didn’t pack for really cold weather. I hope we don’t regret that. All the clothes stay in the suitcase though it may be that we would trade some summer clothes for fall clothes later on.

Two items will never get voted out of the suitcase: my Kindle and my ….. wait for it ….. my blindfold! (Melanie insists it is an “eye cover” or “sleep mask.”) The Kindle has proven a real trooper. Not only does it allow me to read books, but I can check Facebook, and the MyMDAnderson web for appointments, reports, and other interesting items. Perhaps its most beneficial asset comes when it is paired with the blindfold. Hospitals, even at night, are noisy places. They are also facilities that love light. My rooms have had an abundance of both, even when all the lights are turned off. I found a “thunderstorm” app for the Kindle that will play rain and thunder all night long. Combine that with the blackout provided by the blindfold and a few hours of sleep are possible. I have even come close to sleeping through the nurses drawing blood and taking my vitals at 4:00 AM!

I suspect the Survivors of “Survivor: the Suitcase” will be an unprecedented tie between the Kindle and the blindfold. I hope they can be comfortable sharing the $1,000,000 prize money.

Hey! I don’t remember a prize being mentioned. Who’s paying that? I’m not. I’ll just enjoy the peace and quiet and blessed darkness.

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