The netbooks have arrived and are, quite frankly, pretty damned sweet. Here's how mine,an Acer Apire One, compares to a standard trade paperback. They're light, too, weighing about 2.5 pounds. They'd be lighter if we had opted for ones with a much smaller solid-state drive, but we got 160GB hard drives to allow for photo storage.
After a short "name Jean's netbook" contest on Facebook, I have christened mine Pinky Tuscadero in homage to Happy Days. I must say that she is quite sweet. I took her to Florida this past weekend and got some curious and envious stares from people in airport terminals sitting there with full-sized netbooks. I think one person thought I was using a portable DVD player until they noticed I was typing. I had no problems with battery life thanks in part to younger son telling me that battery life would be longer if I toggled the wireless switch to the off position.
The closest I can come to a complaint is actually my own doing. I chose a netbook to travel light, and travel is lighter without an external mouse. I've never been a fan of touchpads, but then I've never really tried to use one. I have so far refused to introduce Pinky to a mouse; she's probably stereotypically female enough to be scared of one. It's a bit awkward at times, but I must be adapting because I found myself using the touchpad on Mr. Mac the other day even when he had his external mouse ready, willing, and able to be used.
Totally apart from netbooks, the list of things remaining to be done is getting shorter. The last two bags are ordered, along with another bottle of Permethrin, an insecticide that can be used to treat clothing. A weekend trip to Walmart or the equivalent should yield sunscreen and extra batteries for the one digital camera that doesn't have a permanent, rechargeable battery. I've put Netflix on hold as well as the Gevalia coffee delivery I used to get a new coffeemaker last fall. The gym membership is also on hold; it was handy that the husband and I are gone exactly two months. I've also started weighing various items of clothing. You laugh, I'm sure, but I'm trying to take the lightest amount of clothing possible since it appears we will be fitting 50 t-shirts into our luggage to distribute to the students and faculty at the university there. (It was going to be 75 shirts until I pointed out that the other professor going over take the 25 shirts intended for his students.) And hey! Weighing clothes enable me to say authoritatively that it may well be that your clothes and shoes can add five pounds to your weight.
Other trip points of interest ... I am taking seven books along. Harry Potter y la camera secreta (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Spanish) will go in my carry-on. In the suitcase will go used copies of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Ender's Game, and American Gods. The Tolkien books and Ender are from the used bookstore and will be left behind. I also have novels written by a couple of friends on my hard drive. If I still need more to read, there's always Project Gutenberg.
Finally (for this post), we'll be heading to Washington next week to get visas stamped into our passports. We may or may not combine this with a visit to the National Zoo to cehck out the new baby gorilla. We don't all have to go; one person could take up all four passports and the fee. I've argued, though, that just in case there's a signature missing or an "i" that needs dotting or a "t" that needs crossing, we should all go. Murphy's law, ya know!