My late father’s lawsuit against his nursing home required me to make a midwinter drive to Chicago earlier this week. Thank goodness the weather was clear for this trip from end-to-end the length of Illinois. For historical purposes, this is the packing list that one old lady (me) made for this unescorted daytrip, in the second decade of the twenty-first century. XD
2018 Court Hearing/travel packing list
In the days just prior to trip.
put gas in car, and check car.
check clothes, buy whatever needed.
check electronic equipment, laptop, phones, tablet, extension cord.
buy snacks for trip, food along the way is three to five times as expensive, and often not what I want.
Ozium air sanitizer, bug spray for bed bugs, smoke, and other unmentionable malodors. How do hotels get away with not washing the bedding between guests? Eeew.
Do I need a haircut, manicure, pedicure? (Excessive? Not if one realizes that the elderly, and that would be me, are susceptible to forgetting to groom, partially because one cannot see as well to spot areas which are unkempt, and partially because one becomes so inwardly focused that the external tends to get a little neglected, unless very good grooming habits are maintained. I would not want to be hiking around the extensive grounds of the Daley Center Complex with a painfully ingrown toenail, or standing before the judge with ragged fingernails gripping the document that I am presenting. Appearances matter, and mine matters to me.)
set alarm for 4 AM.
printout out packing list, and check off items as I stage them in the to-go table by my door. Highlight items in a different color as I pack them into the car. Pack as much as possible the night before the trip, so that I can leave within an hour of waking at 4 AM, in order to arrive in the courtroom by 10 AM for my hearing.
top up electronic equipment batteries, laptop, phones, tablet, find extension cord.
set out breakfast things.
turn on camera, and put it on front seat of car for quick capture of photographs along the way. Often there is only a one- or two-minute window of opportunity when the composition and light is right.
apply pain patches behind my knees and on small of back, to soften the stiffness and decrease aching from driving.
take two effervescent pain tablets, for internal pains.
take two Naproxen, to forestall ocular migraine.
BREAKFAST! of oatmeal and coffee.
put on back brace, with ice packs.
double-check that my directions are on the dashboard of my car, without them I cannot navigate the snarl of interstate highways warping and wefting, in and out of Chicago. The Illinois interstate signage is notoriously inadequate, even deceptive. For example, "local" routes into Chicago do not take you downtown, they take you south of Chicago, for lunch in Chinatown if you like.
set out huge quantities of extra food and literal tubs of water for my old cat Margaret, and wish her luck. She is hiding under the bed with separation anxiety and refuses to be comforted. The note on my front door has her veterinarian’s contact information for anyone who might be sorting out my affairs after an accident, but there is no one. We are on our own.
cushions for under gas pedal (under old right foot) and on car seat (under old rear end).
water bottle, home-made ice tea in thermos, bottled coffee—in tote so they don’t slip out my fumbley hands.
six-pack of soda in cold pack. Why would I pay two dollars for a soda on-the-go, when it is fifty cents at the grocery store?
lunch box for return trip, granola bars, nuts, apple, assorted treats to pique my appetite, as along the way there is only fast food, no restaurants. Greasy fast food hurts my tummy, and since I rarely buy it, the taste is vile.
senior tote with my old age supplies, ointments and whatnots, from my nightstand.
tote with dress shoes, casual shoes, spare back brace, all of which have different pressure points.
wear my wool driving slippers, for comfort while driving.
reading glasses, be sure they are clean.
alarm clock, backup for hotel wake-up call even though they never fail.
white noise machine
sleep eye mask
wear a nice piece of jewelry, a pretty ring sparkling on the steering wheel adds some zest in life.
taupe purse, with tablet, calendar, checkbook, billfold with cash, plastic money, handkerchief, (to weep into after spending the aforementioned, billfold in zippered pouch to thwart thieves, tablet to read a book if I encounter downtime. This courtroom trip cost me a thousand dollards, and in old lady dollars that is A LOT.
mini-backpack, with my usual stuff in it, brush, mirror, and other woman stuff.
collapsible cart to wheel around the Daley Center Complex, with briefcase, taupe purse, and plastic case of lawsuit files which miraculously fits perfectly. MUST HAVE JUDGE’S ORDERS WITH ME, THEY ASK FOR THEM BACK!?!
emergency overnight bag, with change of clothing, sleepwear, swimsuit, vitamins.
car seat massager.
coat, hat, gloves.
I used to keep packing lists for art classes, SCUBA diving, canoeing/kayaking, camping, even for a day hike if it was a hike through someplace serious like the desert or the woods, but this packing list for a court hearing in Chicago is the most complex I have ever kept.
Caption: My Room At The Chicago Best Western River North Hotel
in the last week of January, 2018
by Annmarie Throckmorton.