"Can I bring you anything?"
It's the question you ask as you're walking out the door, heading to the grocery store or Target, walking just fast enough so they don't have time to answer and you won't hear them if they do.
It's the question you ask as you head into the kitchen to do nothing more than refresh your coffee and get a little pissed when they answer that they'd really like a sandwich. "Lettuce and tomato and light on the mayo, please."
Or, in my case right now, it's the question I ask before heading off on a month long visit with my daughter who lives in West Africa.
And the answer is, "Yes," I can apparently bring her some things. Six emails over the past two days have started the list.
"Breath mints. Any kind is okay...Oreos...Batteries if you want to make your grandson happy...Pancake mix, preferably in a tub so bugs don't get in...Bagels, any kind. Cheap store ones are fine...Tortilla and taco shells, soft ones that won't break in transit...Conditioner...parmesan cheese...probably some bubble bath..." The list keeps growing.
So far it should be easy to fill with a single trip to Target. The hard part is figuring out how much and what are the priorities.
My daughter has another four or five months before she leaves Africa and heads off to another location where taco shells will likely be available. So the question is how many taco shells can she eat in four months? And how many does she really want to eat? Because there must come a point when taco shells no longer taste good and you wish you had asked for some Hamburger Helper.
Which makes me wonder if I should put in some Hamburger Helper even though she hasn't asked for it.
But if I put in Hamburger Helper, will I still have room for underwear?
And what about all those little toys I've picked up for my grandson? Do taco shells trump Hot Wheels? Or, maybe, if I bring enough Hot Wheels, I can free up some space by taking out the batteries.
I'm planning on bringing one suitcase and one carry on. But that just raises a whole other set of questions of what should go where. Because, if my suitcase is lost, I'm going to wish I had put some taco shells in my carry on. Some Oreos too.
Which brings up a harder question. If I put Oreos in my carry on, will I eat them before I get there?
Well, actually, that one's easy.