I'm currently knee-deep in planning and packing lists as I plot seven months of care packages, and it has me thinking. What would you pack if you could ship anything -- and I mean absolutely anything --- all the way over to Afghanistan?
Here's my short list:
Vegetables. I realize that this might not be the very first thing you think of, but I am unreasonably obsessed with the members of my family getting their daily fruit and vegetable allotment. And really that means vegetable, because I mentally tick ofvf the list for fruit with popsicles, cherry-flavored life savers, sugary drinks, and even the occasional fruit-swirled margarita. (Obviously almost a fruit and fruit are the same in my head. Don't kill my happiness.)
But every time I sit down to a meal and think about one of these boxes, I'm overwhelmed by the desire to jam-pack it with heads of broccoli, crook neck summer squash, and braised asparagus. I'll confess I've taken this one to an unhealthy extreme: I've gone so far as to call Organic Valley and ask to speak to a logistics representative for advice. Thankfully, the company is full of good, hard-working, humor-having people who chose to wait to start laughing at me until we hung up.
Those Doritos Locos tacos. I'd want to fill a box with Doritos Locos tacos. Now, if you've eaten these, you'll understand why anyone would want to send them to anyone they love all of the time. They are unreal. It takes true restraint to not just buy four when you see a Taco Bell and realize you cannot keep driving without one and go in and order too many and gobble them right up. It's like someone laced a taco with crack and unicorn sprinkles. If that exists in taco form, it's this taco.
The Doritos Locos taco is happiness. Every care package ever made should include them, and I personally think Yum! Brands should get on just delivering some to all of our servicemembers because if they end up watching an advertisement for them while overseas, where they can't just up and drive to a Taco Bell, that's just cruel and unusual punishment. (And if this review of a chip-based taco made by an international fast food chain strikes you as funny given my obsession with organic vegetables, you're not alone. My brain is right there with you.)
I would also want to send a masseuse. In this case, I'd want a really ugly, big-handed guy masseuse, preferably one that has way too much body hair and maybe even smells a little, but I'd definitely want to send one. I'm guessing it would have to be a yogi masseuse to fit in the box and survive the shipping process, but you know, I bet that guy is out there. Yoga is cool these days.
The dogs. Both of them. Our larger dog, a boxer named Johnny Cash, starts whimpering the minute my husband leaves for work in the morning. By noon we hit full on depression, and by late afternoon, he makes it clear he might actually die if Bill doesn't come home soon.
The smaller of the two dogs, a rescued miniature poodle named Puppy (who I clearly acquired before I met and married a Marine), takes the bigger dog's attitude for his emotional cues. Oh, we're crying now? Oh, okay! Wah wah bark. Oh, we're playing dead dog now? He collapses and rolls over. Oh, we're not interested in you unless you have cheese, chocolate, or Bill? Just so you know, we're not.
Now, I adore our dogs and I miss them so much when we're on vacation I actually have been known to check the kennel's Facebook page to see if any pictures of our boys have been uploaded so that I can, with my own eyes, see that they're okay. But their adoration for me is not what it is for the man of the house. And I'm pretty sure if there were an option to climb in a box and somehow arrive at Bill's overseas doorstep, they'd look at their comfy beds, dog toys, treats, and me, and jump right on in.
A Christmas tree! And because we're very ecumenical around here, it can have kwanzaa lights and a menorah on top, but I'd still ship a Christmas tree, and he'd open the box and ho, ho, ho, it's Christmas. Maybe we could fit some carolers in this box. A reindeer or two. Is that really asking too much from an imaginary dream? Maybe? Shhh. Don't ruin Christmas.
That invisibility cape from Harry Potter. Whatever, yes, I do know it's not real, but I also can't ship carolers, can I?
A complete list of everything I've read that day in the news. This is my selfish one. Before we picked up and moved to a military base, I was a real-deal journalist, and part of the job description of journalists is to spend innumerable hours every day that normal people spend grocery shopping, going to the gym, and washing their hair instead pouring over foreign news papers, listening to the BBC, and relishing the American punditry we sometimes call "news." This makes dinner at our house an hour-long conversation in current events, and very selfishly, I miss that when he's not here. So I want to send him all the things I've read and soaked up that day so that while he's eating his box of broccoli and I'm eating a proper supper, we can have the same dinner table conversation together via fairy dust and Internet. I guess this means I'm hiring: who else wants to spend 30 minutes discussing near-coups in sub-Saharan Africa with me every day? Anyone? Takers?
Mister Clean. To disinfect everything he owns. And maybe some bug-spray for scorpions. Do they make that? Does anyone know? I should call our friends at 29 Palms and ask. I shiver just thinking about it. Ugh.
That's my short list. You'll notice this does not include me. Upon our I Do's, I was sworn to not volunteer for some non-profit in Afghanistan building schools for girls or sign up for a UNESCO mission or go report the news in the sandbox or anything remotely similar during the length of deployment or find any other way to be over there to "help." So I clearly cannot go in the box. That, and I think it'd be a terribly uncomfortable trip.
If you could put anything, absolutely anything, in a care package box, what would you send?