Ah, well laid plans. Aren’t they a kick? If you’re anal like I am, nothing compares to the pleasure you derive from sitting down and making detailed plans. I have spreadsheets out the wazoo, for just about every major and most minor occurrences in my life.
I have a grocery list spreadsheet, which yes, I print out and attach to a clip board to take into the store with me every week. My mother gave me two non-negotiable laws for grocery shopping: never shop hungry, and never shop without a list.
I may have taken it a step further than she might have envisioned, organizing the list in the order of the grocery store aisles as I encounter them, although she would certainly approve of my entering the price I expect to pay per item on the sheet.
I make a list when I am going on a trip, for all the things I need to take with me especially my clothing. I actually plan ahead what I will wear on any given day of my excursion. This is particularly helpful when the trip is a conference, and there are day as well as evening events. No, it doesn’t matter that I don’t always stick to the plan exactly. I have the list, and I enjoyed the time spent in anticipation, making it.
I didn’t actually make a list for this week—what I planned to do and where I needed to go, or perhaps more to the point, what I didn’t plan to do and where I didn’t plan to go. I think, quite possibly, that was my mistake. Well that, and my general lack of specificity beforehand.
As talk circulated amongst the family about this vacation that the grandfather and his daughter were taking in the weeks leading up to their departure, general comments were made. I said that this would be a wonderful time for me, too, even though I wasn’t going. I expressed joy at the prospect of having the house to myself, without interruption, or service to others.
Perhaps I should have been more blunt. Perhaps I should have come right out and said, “please, do not hesitate to just leave me alone”. I guess I shouldn’t complain. It is, after all, nice to be needed, and I really do value any opportunity to serve others.
I contacted second daughter Sunday evening, because my beloved had purchased a cherry cheesecake on Saturday and had eaten only one piece. The rest was in the fridge and I wouldn’t eat it, and I know she loves that dessert. So I suggested that she pop by on her way home from work and take it home with her.
She suggested instead that since Monday was her day off, she could stop in for a short visit, and she could grab it then. Great! She’s busy and I don’t get to see her enough, so of course I agreed.
About a half hour before she was due to arrive, she called. Could I possibly, pretty please make her eggs and cheese....and sausage....and toast? She’d been running around doing errands, and she was starving. How could I refuse?
Later that same day she texted me because she’d forgotten that she had volunteered to participate in a survey at work (on her day off) and would I mind taking her son (my youngest grandson) to his football game? At 8 o’clock that night? Since my daughter, who would normally do this for her was away, there really was no one else to do it. How could I refuse?
Then, yesterday around five-thirty, my 20 year old grandson—my daughter’s son—called. “Grandma, I have a huge favor to ask. I need to go to the variety store and get a couple of things. Can you come and get me and take me there?”
Yes, I do have trouble saying no—but I said it this time. He’s twenty and healthy and the store is less than a half mile from his house, and it was a glorious fall day. And, I’d just sat down to have my supper.
So I said no, and it only took me about an hour and a half to stop feeling guilty that I did. And at that point I began to wonder how long it would be until I wound up doing something else for someone else. Not long, as it turns out. I’ll be taking my young grandson—whose football season was over Monday—to his hockey practice, tonight.
Next year, I’m thinking of telling everyone that, while father and daughter are away on vacation, I’ll be on one, too. Yes! I’m going away, away, very far away....I’ll be booked on a week-long excursion on the ship of my imagination.
A place where the possibilities are endless, and there is no cell phone reception.