The reason? Mom had cataract surgery #1. Surgery #2 is coming soon, so I'm not out of the woods yet, but I wanted to go over some of the things I did to turn my little corner of the world a little more hospitable.
I tried to go it on an overnight bag, but I found that I was always running home for something that either I forgot or didn't fit. So, suitcase it was. I didn't buy a new one (although I will most likely be needing one fairly soon), I used one I've had since the 1990's when I travelled for work.
The other thing I did was to separate things into zones, not only with the suitcase, but also with the extra bags I brought.
This is the mess that is now on my couch, with the suitcase underneath. The plastic bin has extra writing utincils, a bag for mail, a bag for the doctor's, a bag for extra food I wanted to have on hand, the Harry Potter bag for my A/V equipment.
Inside the suitcase I kept a few extra things, including a travel sized first aid kit. You never know when you will need it.
Inside the suitcase, I kept some additional items, mostly from Eagle Creek, as I love their cubes and pack-it system.
This big bag I used for my undergarments and socks, however I'm going to look into a travel sized towel and wash cloth to put in there, and move the undergarments and socks to the middle one. The small bag on the left I actually keep in my desk drawer at work - an extra toothbrush and toothpaste.
I used two of the big cubes, one still has an extra set of clothes in it, the other I used for the towel and washcloth. I love that it has a separate side for the dirty and wet clothes, it came in very handy.
I bought and used the extra large pack-it envelope for my work clothes. I found that I could fit three complete sets of work shirts and coordinating pants in this (size 2X), and it held extremely well.
This is actually from Staples, but it was perfect for my feminine products.
I like things to be separated, so I bought a three pocket toiletry bag. In one pocket I used for the pocket shampoos, the other side held my Q-tips, and the middle I kept an extra brush, lotion and deodorant. I do have an extra large Wallaby from Eagle Creek, which I've used for years (it's in the pre-9/11 size), but I didn't find that I needed it that much on this trip.
A rule for traveling, always keep a flashlight of some sort in your suitcase. Again, you never know when you will need it.
The other necessity? Wet Ones wipes, in the individual packaging. One other bit of advice is to pack a fragrant bar of soap. Even if you don't use it, it will keep the clothes in the suitcase smelling nice.
I do have to say, though, that this was my biggest saving grace. This is a portable drive from Seagate that comes with it's own wi-fi. This model I've had for a few years, and I don't believe it's made anymore, but they do have some newer and improved models of what this does. By the way, this didn't come with a case, so I'm using a case I purchased at Wal-Mart that is used by school students for their pencils, erasers, markers, etc.
This enables you to move data (documents, audio, movies) to and from this device to your iPad or iPod touch. This model is 500 GB, so I was able to put a lot of videos on here and stream them to my iPad. It has a roughly 50-100 foot range, so I had this plugged in on the charger and turned on in the living room while I streamed from it in the bedroom.
The reason is that Mom tends to watch a lot of Fox News, all day, every day. After I've heard the same stories for the third time, I needed a break. It was just easier on both of us if I took my iPad to the bedroom, plugged in my ear buds and watched something that was a little more relaxing after a long day at work. Also keep in mind that Mom does not have the internet. Cable tv yes, internet no.
Mom also likes to watch tv until around 3 a.m. I get up at 5 a.m., so you know how well that was working out for me. In that case, I would use my iPod Touch (I would have the iPad plugged in and charging by this time), plugged in my ear buds and listened to Harry Potter audiobooks until I was ready to go to sleep. I have books 1-5 purchased, at some point I'll get the last two.
This helped me tremendously, as I was starting to suffer from sleep deprivation after week two, with Fox News boring into my head while I was trying to sleep.
Many, many thank you's to Joanne Rowling for providing me a different world to escape to at the end of the day.