Operation P.A.N.D.A.

For weeks I had been ruminating on how we were going to get all three of us (and our multitude of bags) to the airport in our little car. I had three options, in my eyes, because plainly it wasn’t all going to fit:

1. Hail a taxi and caravan to the airport
2. Ask a friend to drive and caravan to the airport
3. Make two trips to the airport

Those were all pretty lousy options, but I didn’t have any better ideas. Cue Heather, Mom extraordinaire and professional car-packer, who had an alternate solution.

4. Load up the car and drive to the airport

This topic was the source of much contention over Gas Pump Wine, until I think Heather had finally had enough and said “You know what, why don’t we just try putting the bags in and see if they’ll fit?”

This is the story of Operation P.A.N.D.A., or “How much can your really fit in a small Italian car?”

Not pictured: three messenger bags, and three adults

On the surface, it looks like not very much. At this point, I felt pretty confident.

We began by milling about while I tried to convince us of our impending failure.

“No WAY is this all going to fit. When we put clothes in all these bags, they’ll be, like, at LEAST twice as big.”

I explained that there just wasn’t enough room, and somebody would have to ride on top of the car while we drove through the heart of Catania. Finally, Heather opened the back and we started putting bags in.

Our first attempt didn’t go all that well, but after removing some unnecessary car parts, the second try got all the carry-ons and one big bag stuffed into the back.

We actually stuffed a fourth bag on top, in the gap between the roof and the other bags, but somehow I didn’t get that on camera

Things were looking pretty good. Next, in the blink of an eye Heather had the two huge bags in the back seat with room for her, as well as some messenger bags.

operation-panda-backseatWow, this might actually happen! Then, we realized we’d forgotten that we’d need to return ALL of the car to the airport, not just most of it.

That face doesn’t even begin to describe how deflated we felt

So we explored our options:

Hmm, probably not
Hmm, probably not

Eventually, we found room for it on top of the bags in the back seat. We’d done it!


One car to the airport it is.

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