The suitcase situation has been hovering around for the past two years. The fact is that I need a couple of new suitcases. Having watched the baggage handlers at one of my 'home' airports, throw the bags onto the moving conveyor belt, mainly with adept precision, but sometimes missing it completely, I have put off buying new bags. They inevitably get squashed, or scuffed, either before, during or after the flight, so spending more on a 'quality' bag, could be 'false economy'. However, the fact remained that I could no longer use the cases that I have used for the past thirteen years. One has duck tape keeping the front flap in place, (I have never considered having the zip replaced,) and on the last two trips I noticed the wiring upon which the material is stretched, has been exposed. The other one is just broken! I cannot describe the extent of the 'brokenness', as it is several-fold and rather difficult to 'do up'. So, to paraphrase the Walrus in the Lewis Carroll poem, "The time has come.....".
My handbag, better known to my nearest and dearest, as 'Betts', was purchased at a local 'pay less' store, one of many that advertise brand names at a discounted price, 'because they can'. Never having been a fan of paying to advertise a designer, Betsy Johnson has become my exception to the rule, as her designs are nothing if not (and I cringe when I use the word) 'cute'. I had considered looking in one of these stores for a suitcase, or two, but the selection is not as prolific as in the general chains.
The rain on Monday failed to stop me from swimming. I was rather pleased to get away from my desk, and my computer, which was now showing an abundance of luggage, scrolling down the right side. I had made the mistake of looking for cases online, and whatever, whomever (without going into conspiracy theorist stuff) keeps tabs on what I do or do not want to research, picked up on this matter much quicker than I would have liked. I had made up my mind to go and look in a shop. I was not particularly interested in opinions of Internet shoppers, survey takers, or the like. I just wanted them to go away. Considering the option of searching for something else, like flower delivery services, as at least I would have something pretty popping up on my screen, I decided to ignore the right side of the screen and hope it would dissipate.
Swimming was delightful. It was much cooler and the air was less 'thin', which made for lighter breathing and an easier exercise. I was hoping that I would be able to enjoy the evening swim but clouds threatened an electrical storm. Part of me was hoping that there would not be a power outage as a result of possible storms, but the another part of me wondered if such outage would reach my office computer, and zap all my recent searches, thus stopping pictures of bright pink holdalls and Minnie Mouse 'carry ons' decorating my screen!
The power outage did not come. There was a 'boom' at some time during Sunday evening, but I had obviously been asleep and not heard it. We are accustomed to an occasional bang, and lights flickering, or going out, as something, usually a squirrel, has decided an entree of wires and cables would be a good meal. In the event, while the meal is eaten raw, the animal ends up being served up 'well done', as it is fried to a crisp before dropping to the ground, and leaving many without electricity. This time, however, the squirrels were snacking on more conventional food. I had not considered a 'snakeskin' bag for my travels, nor had one appeared on the right side of my screen, but there was one literally hanging around. My next door neighbours heard the boom, heard a truck pull up a few minutes later and went to investigate. Not knowing the cause at the time, the driver had said he would let them know as soon as he had more information. He knocked on their door a short time afterward, and showed them the culprit, which was now very much dead! Apparently a 'rat' snake had somehow twirled itself around the wires and suffered the same consequences as the hungry squirrels. Perhaps early inhabitants of Texas would have enjoyed the 'ready meal', but it was refused by my neighbours!
It was a much cooler week, all around, this week, and I managed to swim between showers a couple of days. The drop in temperature and moisture in the air, did bring out the mosquitoes, all of whom appeared to take a different approach on dinner, and whilst I cannot categorically state that some were not lured to the same restaurant as the squirrels and rat snake, I am sure that the majority decided that I was dinner! Failing to take my spray with me when I went for my evening dip, followed by a most delightful fifteen minutes reading, I felt the nip nip nip of the insect all along my arms and legs. The red bumps started to irritate as much as the fact that I had forgotten the spray!
Saturday finally arrived, and the search for suitcases was top of my list. Costco had a very nice model, but the price was a little out of my range, considering I needed two. "Look", said my daughter, rather excitedly, "It comes with its own scale". Sure enough, the handle had an electronic weight, that would tell you when you reached the magic number of 49lbs, one pound under the 'general' amount allowed on a commercial flights. It did not, to my knowledge, go above that and just showed a red marker. Therefore, if you were allowed to be included in the next bandwidth, which permits another twenty pounds, how can you tell exactly how much over you are! It was a very nice case, but I chose to weigh up my options, using a different device to that on the piece of luggage!
The department store that was visited next had a large selection of luggage. Big bags, small bags, those that were sold as a set of three; plastic, metal, canvas, and something that was perhaps a mixture of all three. I did not need three. I have a plethora of small cases. The prices on some were equivalent of that of a flight. It reminded me of the cartoon I saw as a child, where a boy has some money, wanted to put it in a safe container, so bought a piggy bank. He then came home and had no money to put in said piggy bank as he had spent all his money on the receptacle that was meant to hold it! Buy a suitcase, but forget the flight! I chose two bags, bright pink in colour, so as not to merge with the majority, and no doubt being influenced by the right side of my computer screen, but on wheeling them to the check out, I noticed marks on the canvas that would indicate they had been damaged. Of course, I am not one to point fingers, and doubt they were 'returns', but should I wish to return them for any reason, the marks would indicate usage and probably void my option.
The third stop proved to be the winner! I spotted a case that would definitely stand out in a crowd. Bright swirls and patterns looked like someone had got at it with a 'Spirograph' set! (Apparently, Spirograph is still on the market!) With a blue background and swirls of pink, blue and other hues, this would not only stand out in a crowd, it should come with its own volume control! It was not as expensive as a flight, but still more than I had paid for my previous set. "That was about twelve years ago!" came the perceptive remark from my offspring! Checking online, and realising that she will now have to endure an abundance of right side pictures, Samantha told me that the company that made the cases was a subsidiary of a very well known, renowned firm, specialists in luggage. I was satisfied. The cases were purchased, and I felt as if I had accomplished a mammoth task. Two years in the thinking, but only a couple of weeks in the research phase, the job was done!
We returned home after grocery shopping and singing to 'seventies' hits playing on the radio.
The pool was not deserted. Fortunately, however, the mother of two of the three children that were splashing merrily, instructed them not to play on the other side of the rope, as it was for swimmers. "But we can swim", was quickly responded to with a kind, but firm, "I said no". Fortunately, for Samantha, the next question was given the same answer. "If we ask politely, can we see if that lady will let us sit on her giant cow?" My daughter would not have been able to refuse such a request, but in the event, did not have to. The inflatable cow was big enough to hold all three children, but then so were my new cases, although I did not think it wise to mention that in public!
The dark clouds gave way to a quiet afternoon. My next door neighbours were brave enough to venture down to my quiet habitat later in the afternoon, as were my new neighbours. Previously from the condo next to the pool, they have moved along to a single storey dwelling, which is directly opposite mine!
I climbed the stairs to my front door at six thirty, having enjoyed an afternoon of dozing and socialising, with a modicum of reading in between. Dana was fast asleep, with his computer upon his lap, wearing his swimwear. Apparently, he had meant to come down and join me by the waters edge, but fell into a deep slumber!
"Wish you had told me about the cases before buying them", he said. "I have been researching them online". My first response was to say, "So you have had Minnie Mouse staring at you on the right side of your screen for the past couple of weeks then". It appears that he has had the female rodent occupying his screen since I first mentioned the need for new models! I told him the make and as he started a new search, I went to get one of the cases so that he could check by the model number. "Oh my goodness!" was his first response. "Guess you can see those easily in a crowd!" I smiled, and told him that it was the objective. He could not find them at a better price, although there were many similar, and a lot that came in a set of three. "I don't want the smaller cases. We have enough to sell back to Minnie!"
All I have to do now is fill the new cases. I shall not be putting any fried squirrel, or snakeskin inside the currently empty carcasses, nor small children. (I do hope I shall not get into trouble for my humerous latter comment!) There will be enough room for quite a few clothes, as well as items on the 'request' list.
The clouds are rolling in, but I am not currently being shown any raindrops on the weather app on my phone. I will be swimming, I hope, in a little while, and then consider my plans for the next week. My travel plans are not for this week, so I do have a little bit of leeway. I have shut the door on my new cases, but am sure I can hear them from my bedroom! Betts is currently sitting quietly by my side, in her sophisticated black and white splendour! I can feel the power of the diversity! Perhaps, next week will see a new set of pictures on the right side of my screen, and I can start a new cycle in .............. another story!