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Friday, June 5, 2009

Unexpected Expenses

As Brandon is a member of the Foreign Service, our lifestyle varies somewhat from the typical middle-class American.  A lot of aspects in fact are very desirable - we don't pay rent or most utilities, we get paid plane tickets back to the states to visit family, when I come back to deliver #3 I'll get a stipend to pay for food, our moving expenses are always paid for, we live in foreign countries that have inexpensive hired help (thank heaven!!), we live in countries that have a favorable exchange rate (for Americans),and we don't have a mortgage or car payments.  One our acquaintances in Cairo termed this lifestyle "sacking cash."

A few days ago, however, I stumbled on a particular downside to the move-around-the-world-on-the-goverment's-dime lifestyle - luggage.  When I graduated from high school, my parents gave me a set of two American Tourister suitcases.  I used those suitcases a lot.  They come home with me every summer and Christmas stuffed to the zippers (back in the good old days of two 75-lb bags per flight [and 3 if you flew Southwest]), carried my life out to Vienna, around Europe and Turkey, and back, carried it out to Egypt and back, and on numerous and sundry smaller trips.  But when we made the move out to Arlington, Brandon and I realized that the suitcases (including Brandon's suitcase that had schlepped his things around Ukraine for two years) had reached the end of their usefulness.

And that is how I found myself on my favorite shopping tool - the internet - contemplating the order of six (yes - six!!!) brand new very expensive Pathfinder suitcases.  All of which are now marshaled in my basement awaiting travel orders to Egypt.  And the cost?  If we put them in our 1996 Honda Civic, they'd be worth about half the value of the car.


Latter-Day Guy said...

WOWZA. Large purchases (even those I never regret) always make me feel vaguely nauseated. I may never buy a home for this reason; I'd be vomiting for days. Anyhow, GOOD LUCK to you guys!

Laura said...

Oh bags. I love bags. So much. (You're talking to the girl who got a suitcase for her sixteenth birthday and jumped for joy.)

However, I did clean out my bags. I only have one Rubbermaid giant bin full now.

Lindsay Edward said...

Ashley, you are surpassing me by leaps and bounds now in the ways that categorize you as a sophisticated adult! First you go and get a place with multiple bathrooms and now you're buying grown up luggage. I hope you enjoy this fabulous new purchase. One of these days I'll have an excuse to get some of my own and we can discuss the joys of non-hand-me-down travel gear.

PaulaJean said...

We LOVE our Pathfinder suitcases. Very tough, nice-looking, and after trips to Cairo, Ethiopia, Oregon, Guatemala, Nicaragua, California, Costa Rica, and multiple trips to Bonaire, Boston, and Utah, they only look slightly used and the zippers, wheels, and handles still work. Score: Pathfinder 1, luggage handlers of the world 0.

Lydia said...

You're going to have to share links. We are in the same "situation". We need new suitcases. Badly.