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Gill is somewhat impulsive and, dare I say, childlike in her excitement when she comes upon something that catches her fancy. I need only point to some of her more outlandish fashion choices (costumes, really) like the blue and pink plaid pants with the  huge flair at the bottom, or the penguin biscuits from President’s Choice and the canary yellow suitcase she bought several years ago. She saw it in the distance, across the store at Sears, screeched, made a beeline for it and grabbed it so nobody else could have it. (As if anybody else would want it!)

I hectored her and laughed out loud when she claimed she had to have it. I reluctantly purchased it for her upcoming trek back to Britain. It was hard-shelled, shiny yellow and looked ridiculous.

“But Ma, ” she hastened to point out, “I will never have my bag stolen or lose it! It will be easy to spot coming off the carousel at the airport.” I knew she was trying her best to put a positive, practical spin on this foolish purchase but I let her have her fun. She’d been depressed about waiting over a year to find a good job and now that she had, I figured she had earned this little treat.

I was skeptical then but I’m not laughing any more. Within the last year, I had to ditch my boring, black suitcase when its zipper gave out. (Surely this had nothing to do with my tendency to overpack and stand on the case while desperately tugging to get it zippered.) Recalling the annoyance I’d had trying to identify my black suitcase with the hundreds of others coming off the carousel, I decided to make a more distinguishable purchase next time. And I did. This time I went for burgundy red. However, as I learned coming back from Mexico, many other people had also made a similar switch. Oh, how I yearned for Gill’s silly canary yellow case! In this one case ONLY, I have to admit to Gill that she knew better than Mom.

I am going on a trip soon and, as I hauled my case out for packing, I decided to do something about my identification issue. I already have a tag in the shape of a bird (no surprise to anyone who knows me) but I decided to get a stencil of a bird and spray paint it on the side of the case. Taking myself to the local craft store, I was happy to find a group of bird stencils and some white paint.

I know you should spray paint with lots of ventilation but since it’s cold out, I opted for the mudroom, figuring I could close the door to keep the fumes from the rest of the house. I’d like to say the fumes clouded my judgement on this matter, but I hadn’t yet sprayed anything.

Being the Queen Of The Slapdash Craft Project, I sprayed away to my heart’s content, not realizing that the individual bird shapes were so close together that it would be impossible to spray just one bird. So I now have a suitcase covered with birds, unattached bird feet, random wings, a few decorative leaves and of course, blotches where I touched my also-painted fingers to the fabric.

Well, the saving grace will be that it will be easy to identify in the crush of luggage on the carousel. It screams: ” This belongs to an impetuous, imprecise, DIY disaster bird freak lady with an itchy trigger finger”.

So I’ll be able to claim it as mine quickly…I just don’t know if I can face the shame of HAVING to claim it! Who knew Gill’s canary yellow choice was such a smart move?  Sigh…