For reasons that are clear if you have met me I have never been drawn to a padded bra.

Sometimes when I am doing fantasy math about my weight I try to deduct the density of my breasts from the equation. Depending on my mood those suckers weigh between 10 and 100 pounds. Even on the lighter end of that spectrum they require a bit of work to get around.

Last month we went on a dual trip to Florida and NYC. The night before travel I always labor over my travel outfit. I am looking for something along the lines of a sleeping bag. But slimming. Needless to say I end up in front of my dresser empty handed. Eventually I always select the same thing. Jeans (the big ones) a grey T shirt, grey sweatshirt and a loop cotton scarf (mostly grey with a sassy orange stripe). The scarf is the slimming part. I guess. I pair this with slip on grey sneakers and pretend like I am not the middle aged woman that ate Mark Zuckerberg.

But it is the base layer that really delivers. My travel bra. I have written about it before. Back when it was still my every day bray. (And I mean EVERY day.) It is a soft grey cotton. Its straps are wide and comfortable. It hints at support without doing anything effective. AKA painful. Over time the shadow of usefulness has faded. It has begun to pill, collecting bits of friendly cotton from the laundry where I both wash and dry it…affording it the level of care it deserves. Low. Like the way my boobs are in its embrace.

So now it sits in the drawer waiting for the day of flight…its time to soar.

Just a week before our trip we made a detour home from Leo’s soccer game. I gave the boys the  choice between visiting an animal shelter and going to an open house. So it is totally their fault that we have a dog. I figured that since it was 20 minutes before closing time we would be saved from any rash decisions by the machinations of shelter shut down. It was not to be. Oliver gave it his best effort. He was unmoved by the four puppy dog eyes peering up at him. “There will still be dogs that need us in January.” He looked back and forth between his parents seeking support for his rational position. Going alone he continued bravely. “It won’t be easy for the dog or for us this month. We have three trips and house guests.” Nothing. “I’m not saying we CAN’T get a dog, I’m just saying that now may not be the best time.”

He was still shaking his head as he hauled the complimentary bag of dog food into the car. It weighed 1.8x the shivering dog.

Since the 11 year old is the only reasonable person in our family I found myself spending less time than usual selecting the same outfit I always did. The meerkat piglet needed stuff. He needed warm and cold weather gear. He needed leashes and treats and food and bowls and dog pee pads in case the NYC apartment was too much for him. He needed chew toys small enough for his jaw. He needed coats and booties. Pause on that one. Our dog is so thin furred and small boned as to require outer wear. When I went “shopping” for him  I found some rugged REI type booties. I had to inspect the package to make sure they were XXS and had no hidden sequins. This is one of the challenges of owning a small dog. Everyone thinks it should be bedazzled. He needed a carrier and a hard sided case. He needed about 50 extra pounds. Looking at his squirrel feet I knew that one was impossible.

We made it to Florida.

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While I busied around our condo feeling pretty damn good about the tile floor and the direct outdoor access Steve unpacked for us. We spent three “relaxing” days taking the dog in and out to use the bathroom 750 times a day. We also snuck him onto the beach to test the sand. Sand is scary.We had a golf cart to travel around the island and we took the dog with us. The golf cart is scary. We went to a restaurant on the pier that serves dogs as well as people and someone shook on the ground the entire time. That place was scary. We walked to the ice cream shop and someone sat on the bench with him. That bench….scary. Eventually I decided it was easier to stay home with the dog than do anything else. Oliver is not the type to say “I told you so” but I think I saw a flicker pass through his blue eyes as they headed to crash in the waves.

It took me two days to realize that the dog had everything he needed but I just had my travel bra. Next up on our trip was NYC with art shows and Thanksgiving dinner. I am not a woman of high style, but ideally I am one of high bust line. So it was time to take the car off island to solve my problem.

The whole family kept me company. It was a 30 minute car ride to Target and it was SO SCARY. “I thought dogs liked cars.” I mentioned to Steve. “Maybe if we had gotten a dog instead of a wingless baby bat it would like cars.” And sand. And golf carts. Just then the “dog” looked back at me with his translucent ears flapping up and his lazy eye showing the blood shot white surround. “I think he may be so ugly he is cute.” I told my family. The rest of them rolled their normal sized eyes at me.

In the store I started in on what was now my second least favorite task now that scrubbing dog poop was a daily activity. Bra shopping. I was mentally prepared for the fact that 40F sounded more like an apartment than a bra size. I was also used to the fact that I would be crawling crab like across the commercial carpet to try to see the bottom rack. What I was not prepared for was the padding. I would have liked it on my knees but I did not need it on my chest. Every. Every. Every bra was padded.

So I grabbed one and went.

Taking it out of the bag back at the beach I was astounded. The bra was huge. The dog looked at it, his eyes bulging from his head. He began to shake. That bra was scary. I scooped him up. “I agree” I told him. “It IS scary.”

Somehow we made it through New York. Cabs. Scary. Street noise. Scary. Neighbor dog. Scary. Farmers market. Scary. Vomit from family members’ stomach bug? Not at all scary. Actually sort of delicious.

Packing to go home I had a big choice to make. Travel bra or padded bra. Stuffing the salted caramels from the holiday market in Union Square the choice was clear. The big bra would never make it in. So it had to stay on. On the plane I listened to four families call their dogs service dogs while I waited to present proof that we had paid $115 a leg for our rat like thing. It was one of those times that I wanted to lie. The flight attendant asked if he was an emotional support animal. I assume he used the word animal because he couldn’t identify the species of the creature. I wanted to say yes. Because he required a lot of emotional support…but I looked at Oliver and realized I couldn’t fail him again. “No” I told the flight attendant. “Then he needs to stay in the bag.”

So I zipped that thing in and he shook and wept and scraped his nose against the mesh until it bled. It was upsetting for all of us. That bag is scary.

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-9-31-24-amFinally we were home. No one was vomiting (or eating vomit.) I changed out of my travel out fit into the only thing more comfortable than a travel outfit. PJs. I flung off the giant bra and headed out for the first of 250 visits to try to keep the dog from using our house as a toilet. This time it worked and the two of us returned to the bedroom to relax. As I walked down the hall I saw what looked like an enormous butt sticking out of the bed. As I got closer I realized it was the new bra. The dog thing jumped on the bed and gave it a sniff. It was no long scary. He nosed at it with his scabby snout and lifted an edge. He climbed under one cup and curled up into a dog ball. The bra was way too big for him. But it was not scary.

 

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.