errores estúpidos números 6 y 7

error estupido numero 6:  Luggage.  The kids have agreed that we should never use that word again.  Or “suitcases”, or “bags”, or “duffles”, or “carry-ons”, or anything that might remind them how much trouble, time and energy was spent lugging our stuff across a continent, an ocean, a city, and up 4 flights of stairs.

Let me just say right off that I think we packed pretty light for four people for a year.  Each of us brought only a week’s worth of clothing for warm and cold weather.  Less for the kids, really, since they’ve grown out of most of their winter things from last year.  Okay, I also brought a nice dress, and a casual dress, just in case.  We also brought a few precious toys.  And shoes.  One pair of nice shoes, sandals, tennis shoes, and boots for each of us.  I patted myself on the back for our restraint.DSC_0984

And yet we we ended up with 6 pieces of luggage to check.  One was so enormous the Skycap guy in Austin told us we’d have to pay a $100 overage fee.  But, he said, that would involve going inside to ring us up.  So a “nice tip” would convince him that our bag was, indeed, underweight.

Sigh.  Fine.


Maybe we should just give up.

I think our biggest mistake in all of this was cheaping out on the luggage itself.  We had 4 regular suitcases of various sizes, plus two wheeled duffles from our years in Korea.  They’re enormous, floppy, and impossible to roll, which we found out the hard way upon arriving in JFK.  The miles of hallways, the escalators and elevators, and the jam-packed train almost broke us before we even got to the car rental place.

With that experience haunting us, we spent an afternoon in Long Island, sweating on the garage floor, rearranging every bag in an attempt to consolidate AND make sure they were all under weight.   With every adjustment Rob had to hoist each piece of luggage and step onto a scale, subtracting his weight from the number to check that each was under 50 pounds.

Several sweaty hours later… success!  The smallest bag was tossed into the basement, and the rest were at least equally heavy, if not equally moveable. Pleased with ourselves, we set about trying to figure out a way to easily manuever these 5 bags, knowing that the children are almost useless.  At JFK I had noticed people with many suitcases just attaching them to each other with the straps embedded in the front top pocket (aha! So that’s what that thing is for!)  But we couldn’t do that neat trick with our giant duffles.  Instead we clumsily lashed each one to the good luggage so we could pull them all through heavy foot traffic without knocking people down.  Of course… we couldn’t get the system to work again when we actually left New York.

We managed, but the worst was yet to come.

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Leaving the big apple.

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Our welcome committee.

Now picture us finally arriving in Madrid, jet-lagged and bleary-eyed, stepping out of the building, dragging our luggage to the taxi stand, and realizing all of our crap would not fit in ANY of the cars.  We had just reunited and would have to split up again to take two taxis.

At least there was only one stair to negotiate at our first hotel.

First hotel, you might ask?  Indeed.

error estupido numero 7:  This is another cautionary tale for anyone interested in points.  Don’t book one night at a hotel with your last chunk of points before checking to make sure that the next few nights you’ll be paying for are actually available.  Total rookie mistake.  I realized what I had done only after having reserved my non-refundable room.


No problem.  We love AirBnB, and found a cute one just around the block from our hotel.  We would just have to drag 5 suitcases, 4 carry-ons, 2 purses, and 1 mandolin through traffic, down cobblestone streets covered in dog excrement, and up 4 flights of stairs.

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We were as freaked out at this freaky baby.

The one step at our first hotel didn’t seem to be much of a big deal anymore.  Carrying five 49.5lb pieces of luggage up four flights of stairs in 100 degree heat makes a person think about their life choices.

And our choice was to go around the corner and drink.

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Coming next: Madrid… we’re too tired for you.

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