2017-10-11 / Loose Ends

Taking stock

A knack for packing
Susan Nienow

When my kids were young the contents of my purse looked like the inventory for one of those walkin doctor’s offices. I had everything I needed for minor emergencies, topping out at cartoon Band-Aids. At various times I also had entertainment and distraction in the form of pencils and paper, gum and emergency suckers or hard candies. Things haven’t changed much, except the entertainment these days is electronic.

I spent a lot of time in waiting rooms with the kids and used to do cross-stitch; some mothers tended to their knitting and still others graded papers or did paperwork when we had down time.

Through the years the contents of my purse have evolved – grown up. No more cartoon Band-Aids, but I still carry the regular kind. You never know when some young mother with small children will be caught without. Or I might find another chigger bite I can’t stop scratching.

Today I need a special light to do anything small like cross-stitch, so instead I carry my phone to answer emails or play games. Waiting rooms are full of phones. I also carry lotion for dry skin, first-aid cream for bug bites (I garden alongside spiders, ticks and chiggers), a tin of various pills like aspirin for potential heart attack victims, and a card in my wallet about who to contact in case of an emergency.

Apparently Murphy is in control of whether or not I have pens in my purse, because I either have none or five in addition to a small notebook, my calendar, checkbook and a pencil for crosswords. Most of my coupons are in a plastic bag in the car, unless I think I may be using them soon – those are in my purse, loose. They get crumpled to the point of barely readable expiration dates.

I have receipts and try to make sure I only keep the most recent ones. The problem is my definition of recent. I realize the checkbook is an anachronism. But I still write checks for some things and would never remember to put the checkbook in my purse for those occasions.

I have a wallet with a few credit cards, medical cards, library card and several membership cards. They are critical to my everyday life.

Despite the fact that I don’t have to start my car with a key, I still have to take that key fob with me. I have a fear of not having anything to read, so I carry a book with me. Then there is the hearing aid case and extra batteries. Yes, I got tired of saying, “What?”

Last week I threw in a change of shoes, an extra sweater and my list of measurements for pictures that need frames and an umbrella. Then I needed a cart to carry my purse.

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