Preparations and Purchases

Dearest Rachel –

You were instructing me to help you out in finding a protective screen for your touchscreen computer, as you were planning on taking it with on our travels. You seemed to be looking forward to the trip. For my part, I didn’t know how to react to your request. I hadn’t intended on taking that particular computer with us, for one thing – Daniel and I have our computers already chosen, if not packed.

Moreover, I was puzzled by the fact that you didn’t seem to know that you were dead. Or maybe this was before then, and I knew what was going to happen while you didn’t, and didn’t know how to tell you.

In any event, it was a pretty strange dream to wake up from, especially given the preparations that Daniel and I have been encouraged to make – and indeed, have already been making, albeit in little increments as we go along.

When Dad handed me a list last night after our weekly dinner with him and Mom, I admit to being a little bit confused. I actually thought he was giving me a Christmas list for himself, or of things for us to pick up for him while we were in Israel. I should’ve known better; in fact, it was his own trusty little list of things to bring on an overseas trip. Most of them are fairly intuitive; shirts, pants, toiletries, the usual stuff that I would pack anyway –although I don’t expect to start on them until the day before, as I’ll be wearing some of them between now and then (and will need to do a laundry at that point, as well, in order to have what I really want with me). His suggestion to bring clothes of various levels of formality will likely go ignored, especially by Daniel, but those may be more of a holdover from cruises past, when certain evenings were more formal than others.

Thankfully, this won’t be necessary on this trip; you can tell from the cockeyed smirk on Daniel’s face that he wasn’t thrilled with having to wear that suit. Not that I blame him – I was never much for bow ties, myself. Or ties, for that matter.

Some of Dad’s recommendations are well-taken; we’d certainly be up a creek without a charge cord, although I plan to do that one or two better with an adapter and a power strip (although I learned my lesson in Basel, and will not be taking a surge protector, lest it damage the adapter and/or whatever I plug into it). And while I have one with me at all times in any event, his point is taken regarding an ATM card; even with the withdrawal fees factored in, using a cashpoint is a better bet, in terms of exchange rate, than any currency exchange kiosk is likely to give me. Although, tips (which he also includes on his list) are always recommended to be in good old U.S. dollars.

On the other hand, some of the items on his list seem truly baffling – although in several cases, he’d scratched them out before giving me the list in the first place. He mentioned at the time about tomato juice, for instance, but it escapes my memory at the moment. I think it might be similar to the line about ‘medicines and graham crackers’: some medications are meant to be taken with food, and those were his preferences, back in the day. Fair enough, but thankfully, that’s not really an issue for me, let alone Daniel.

Of course, there are certain items that I’m bringing that he might not have had in mind – both of which are new purchases with travel specifically in mind. The pillbox is because it’s just easier to have everything measured out beforehand each day rather than having to bring five different pill bottles (and the pill-otine). And the sleep mask (whose efficacy I only discovered on our last trip to Israel) should require no explanation as to its purpose, although I’ve yet to figure out how to use the bluetooth function for playing soothing music and ambient noise.

But while I’m slowly accumulating stuff to pack for this trip, I’m not making this into an all-out effort just yet. For one thing, like I said, I expect to need to do a laundry or to just prior to our departure, and will wind up packing more frequently-used clothing (as well as some items less so, like our swim trunks – no trip is complete without a dip in the Dead Sea, especially since we’ll be staying the night there at one point). For another, there are more pressing things to prepare for beforehand… like Halloween.

Or at least, the family fun fair at the church.

Since last year’s morphsuit-based costume was… let’s just say, unflattering, I’ve decided to lean into my shape this time around. Besides, considering that I’m manning a game that has kids drawing lollipops out of a real pumpkin, why not wear a matching outfit? Besides, it all looks fairly comfortable, in comparison to last year, so it should all work out. What do you think?

I’d already gotten the lollipops for the kids to pick out a couple weeks ago (and although I’d expected to get them for free, well… you recall what happened), but I had yet to get them some prizes for the specially-marked ones.

We used to go to a party-themed store for these (and pay through the nose for the privilege) until we saw them, maybe a year or two before the accident at the local dollar store. Granted, it’s now a buck-and-a-quarter store, but that’s still a lot better than what we had been paying. It’s just the psychological effect of dealing with a place that can no longer live up to its name. But that’s a whole other topic, and there’s no real need to go into it at the moment.

Thus stocked up, I’d like to think that we’re pretty much prepared for everything that we might need to deal with. All I have yet to do is to finish going through my old notes about the trip – I can’t find the ones from 2018, but I have the stuff from 2014 to refer to. Maybe I should ask Jan about that…

Anyway, I need to get on with the day. Keep an eye on me, honey, and wish me luck. I’m probably still going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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