the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Back in the Mountain Time Zone

Tuesday night I hopped on a redeye in Maui that landed in LA at 6 AM. I think I slept on the flight, although I cannot be sure. I was in one of those semi-awake states where I was aware of everything and everyone around me, but simultaneously having a dream about misplacing my sunscreen. OF COURSE. It had to be a frustrating dream like that and not one about Ryan Gosling feeding himself grapes one by one while lounging on the back of a camel.

I dozed again on my flight from LA to Salt Lake and thought I had escaped any major fatigue, but when I set my bags down in my living room the jet lag hit me like a brick to my head. My eyesight turned blurry and it took several minutes to process basic words. Everything suddenly moved in slow motion, and I found myself completely delirious. I don’t know where I gathered the focus to drive up to Marlo’s school, participate in her end-of-year party and bring her home with me. But soon the two of us were curled up together on the couch, and as I tried to doze she repeatedly demanded fruit snacks.

“I am jet lagged, Marlo,” I tried to explain.

“Right. And I want fruit snacks,” was her response. That kid is relentless, and one day she is going to make one ruthless boss whose employee will write nasty things about her on her blog.

I never fully got my eyesight back for the rest of the day and more than once had to look at the calendar on my phone to figure out what day it was and what time zone I was in. A few hours into the delirium I opened my suitcase to attempt to unpack a few things but then realized I could leave everything right where it was for the rest of time. No one would ever know. I could potentially win an award for something really important and the people in charge of deciding that I deserved it would have no idea that my suitcase is still sitting unpacked at the foot of my bed. Shhhh!

My next trip in about three weeks is to a destination on the other side of the world, so I just came up with another reason to leave my suitcase as is. I’ll just have to pack it again! Why not save all that energy I’d use putting my curling iron back underneath my sink and use it to scratch my butt?

Last month my third Quarterly package shipped, and while trying to come up with a theme the only thing I could think about was all the traveling I’d be doing:

I took inventory of the things I always use on the road, found supplies that would help me organize those things, and now I keep my suitcase next to my dresser already partially packed. This has reduced so much of the chaos that precedes a trip. I’m not an expert by any means, but now I know how to take only a carry on for a week-long trip across the world. And I can finally do it without raising my blood pressure.

I used everything in this package for my trips to Atlanta, New York and Hawaii:

– An NPW In-Flight Kit
Marvy compression socks in Oslo
– Baggu zipper bags
– A small bottle of tea tree oil





This morning I woke up at 3:30 AM for no reason other than I have no idea where I am, and when I couldn’t go back to sleep I laid there and thought about potential disasters, every nook and corner of my house that needs to be organized, taxes, and the staggering bills on my desk that need to be paid. In other words, I meditated.

After about an hour when I realized I wasn’t ever going to fall back to sleep I got out of bed, turned on my bedside lamp and began taking things out of my suitcase: first the clothes, then the shoes and belts and swimsuits, then the giant sea turtle I snuck through security. Everything in that quarterly package stays in the suitcase, however, in particular the Baggu bag that is filled with travel-sized portions of all my liquid toiletries. That’s how it works. Because, yes, I will have to pack again in three weeks, and then again two weeks after that, and I will be saving time by having those things already in their place. Yes, I’ll have saved a whole four minutes. Time better spent counting my freckles.

  • DoCo Ho No Mo

    2014/05/22 at 4:03 pm

    Really? You must be the first working mom to have to travel for work. Isn’t it time to get over yourself (that was a rhetorical question) and find a way to cope with the normal crap we ALL find a way to deal with without the constant bitching? It’s obvious you can only write about how exhausting traveling is and how exhausted you are when not traveling exhaustively. Your self-obsession and obvious immaturity has worn thin. Your children deserve so much better.

  • Kara

    2014/05/22 at 4:11 pm

    Why are you reading her blog when you so obviously don’t enjoy what she writes?

  • Chriss

    2014/05/22 at 4:13 pm

    Hey DoCo Ho No Mo,
    Wow. Why do you even follow Dooce if you don’t like her? I’ll never understand people who have so much time on their hands to follow/comment on things they don’t like.

    That being said, I hate unpacking after a trip. I’m lucky if the suitcase leaves the living room and actually gets to my bedroom! I can live like that for weeks. I love the idea of having basics always packed, makes the stress of packing way less. I’ll have to check some of your ideas, I’ve been looking for good compression tights that don’t look geriatric.

  • Dubya

    2014/05/22 at 4:14 pm

    WOW. Hope you feel better about yourself after that. If you don’t enjoy her writing, don’t read. I’ve never understood the need for personal attacks.

  • Michael Mathews

    2014/05/22 at 4:14 pm

    I travel a lot and I do the same – I keep certain things in my suitcase ready for the next trip. It is not about the time savings, it is about not forgetting them. I have a zipper bag with my liquids, a separate packing cube with my non-liquid personal stuff, my headset for the plane, a bag that will hold my cords, a 3-prong adapter for the hotel, etc.
    However, I am kind of compulsive about unpacking the dirty clothes and other stuff right away. It is faster to unpack than pack, so I just want to get it done.

  • Kat

    2014/05/22 at 4:15 pm

    Wow, some people can be so mean kind of snarky and take everything so literal. I find your posts humorous, and never take them as bitchy, complaining or any of the other many words that people use. Get over yourself people! Don’t read something into everything that you see on social media. Give it a rest and just enjoy the humor and snark that is Dooce. It is so much easier to smile and laugh than to make a big deal out of the fact that you do not know everything about someone’s life so you make up scenarios that do not exist. Yep, mean is so easy for some people and then they justify it with an opinion that fits their need to be right. Life is good, go enjoy some of it!

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/05/22 at 4:28 pm

    I have about 10 pairs of these socks, cannot get enough of them. My friend Kathy started this business because of your thought exactly: why do they have to be so ugly? Great for runners, pregnant women, and frequent travelers.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/05/22 at 4:30 pm

    I’m so exhausted. Just writing this makes me exhausted.

    Exhaustively yours,
    Terminally Exhausted

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/05/22 at 4:33 pm

    I just scared Chuck with my laughter. My exhausted laughter.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/05/22 at 4:38 pm

    Oh my god, I just thought about that. Teaching my kids to unpack is going to be like teaching them how to speak Chinese. Ugh.

  • akuhre

    2014/05/22 at 5:18 pm

    I got the Quarterly package after I came back from a 3-week trip (work + pleasure) in Europe. All I could think when I saw it was, “Damn irony.”

    Thanks for the picks – they’ll be perfect for my next trip. And good luck on yours!

  • Hannah Johnson

    2014/05/22 at 5:23 pm

    If I travelled that frequently it would make sense to me to keep what I could packed, as it happens I don’t travel that frequently. The next bag I’ll be packing will be my hospital bag ready for when labour kicks in.

  • cattail722

    2014/05/22 at 5:59 pm

    Why not spend your time doing something positive in the world instead of wasting your time being negative? Why not read someone else’s blog if you don’t like Dooce? Just sayin’.

  • LuluinLaLa

    2014/05/22 at 6:11 pm

    I have a printed list I keep in the cabinet with all of my toiletries so I don’t forget them. List doesn’t go back in the cabinet until everything is packed.

  • Hannah

    2014/05/22 at 6:30 pm

    Hey Heather, can I ask how exactly you make use of the tea tree oil? Just dab it on? And is it meant to help with jetlag, or …?

  • Teal

    2014/05/22 at 6:47 pm

    I always tend to forget pajamas, my hairbrush, my deodorant, or some combination of the three.

    ETA: I just had to g**gle how to spell “deodorant,” because I couldn’t remember to save my life!

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/05/22 at 8:28 pm

    Like most oils I dab a little bit on the back of my ears and wrists. It has a soothing scent. It can also be used to treat the symptoms of colds and coughs, other frequent side-effects of the stress of flying across the country.

  • KC

    2014/05/22 at 9:34 pm

    I was thrilled to get to go to Hawaii, once upon a time. It was about twenty years ago, and my boyfriend won an all expense trip for two, for being a top manager for an automobile dealership. We were to spend three days on the main island and then four days in Maui. I absolutely fell in love with Maui, and wanted to stay there forever. Problem was, I needed to get back home to be a bridesmaid in my sisters wedding. We were having so much fun and didn’t want to cut the trip short, so we changed our scheduled flight, thinking we would time it just right to get home four hours before the wedding. So, I know exactly how you were feeling when you got home. I was stuck on a return flight with an airplane full of rowdy senior citizen’s, go figure, and didn’t get any sleep. With the lack of sleep and the time change, I don’t remember much about my sisters three hundred guest wedding. But it was so worth it.

    Sorry this is soooo long!

  • KC

    2014/05/22 at 9:59 pm

    If we don’t feed the troll, maybe it will go away!

  • KC

    2014/05/22 at 9:59 pm


  • Cassie Sue

    2014/05/23 at 11:26 am

    My husband forgot to pack shirts to a week long event, TWO YEARS IN A ROW! Zero shirts, nothing to wear day 2….not even an undershirt.
    I laughed about it and told him that it was his excuse to get a new wardrobe each year, but now if I forget anything he’s never allowed to give me a hard time because I respond with, “did you pack shirts?”

  • LashleyR

    2014/05/23 at 11:35 am

    Do your toiletries go thru the xray in the baggu bag? Is there a zip loc in there too? Is it pretty obvious that terrorists would never use such adorable bags so TSA doesn’t care?

  • LaurenH

    2014/05/23 at 12:04 pm

    And, add Tea Tree oil in your kids shampoo and you’ll never have to worry when there is a Lice problem at school.

  • FilmladyJoanne

    2014/05/23 at 2:10 pm

    I tried those compression thingies on one flight and my blood pressure freaked out so fast I had to take them off (try doing THAT in an airplane bathroom). Since I didn’t know if blood pressure freakout was a good sign or a bad sign, healthwise, I threw the tights in the trash so I wouldn’t have to think about it again. Until now. Thanks Heather. 😉 Oh, and DoCo Ho No Mo can suck it.

  • Debra

    2014/05/23 at 10:44 pm

    DoCo HO 4 Ever….. STFU bitch. Internet makes you brave doesn’t it. If you were a schoolyard bully you would at least have to contemplate the possibility of getting your ass kicked. This is so much nicer for you. Ohhhh brave…..

  • debar

    2014/05/23 at 10:47 pm

    Dooce. hahahaha. I’m exhausted reading about you being exhausted writing about being exhaused. Love you darlin’

  • Eat Me Ho

    2014/05/23 at 10:58 pm

    “DoCo Ho 4 Ever”. that’s funnee; I love it. The downside is now this HO is at home feeling all funnee in her underpants because somebody gave her some attention. You must be the first working troll to ever think of saying something all clever and derogatory and shit . It’s obvious you have nothing better to do than to criticize and ask terribly clever and rhetorical quesitons and How do you cope with all that responsibility keeping the world safe from the likes of Heather Armstrong. my god. And fuck off about her kids. I hope no one has allowed you to reproduce.

  • Jen

    2014/05/23 at 11:07 pm

    Heather. I have an idea. Post the email address of every asshole that talks shit like the above Ho

  • KAY

    2014/05/24 at 9:29 am

    Tea Tree Oil–why? Super helpful post! And with that Dooce touch that is irrepressible!

  • KAY

    2014/05/24 at 9:33 am

    Oh là là–wish I’d gotten the April Quarterly package!! Parfait!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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