Picture the scene. I am sitting at my kitchen island drinking freshly made latte and reading the lifestyle section of the paper. In wanders my husband. He stands for a moment looking at me quizzically.
“Is everything OK?” he asks, tentatively.
“Yes,” I reply. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
“Well…” He hesitates and I know that he’s thinking round the options to say what is on his mind without triggering a disturbance in the apparent tranquillity.
“It’s just that we go away in two days and you’re calm.” Light blue touch paper. Stand well back. He smiles at me in a sheepish kind of way and waits for what he knows, from many years being married to me, is inevitably going to come.
“I know,” I say without looking up from my glossy. “I’ll get to it in a minute.”
“Oh. OK.” he says. His sense of relief is almost palpable. He picks up the sports section and joins me.
What has got into me? Usually before we go anywhere I am chasing my own tail making sure that I have considered and planned for every possible eventuality and then tidied and cleaned like a demon so that by the time we finally lock the front door no one dares speak to me for at least twenty minutes whilst my brain relaxes.
But this time I can’t be bothered. It’s raining which means I can’t do my washing because I can’t dry it and so I can’t iron it and therefore I can’t pack it. And I am having difficulty arranging my thoughts. There is so much to think about that they all collapse in a complicated pile and make no sense at all. And most unusually of all I’m not really fussed. We will take some clothes. If we haven’t got the exact combination to suit the unpredictable Lake District climate then we will get wet or cold or too hot or buy something. I will take such food as I have in the pantry and fridge. And then I can send the kids on an adventure to the shop or we can eat out.
So what is going on here? I see a number of possibilities:
1. I am lightening up. Don’t be ridiculous. Once an anal control freak always an anal control freak.
2. The enormity of the task has defeated me. Perhaps. As I sit basking in the calm before the storm pretending that I can just leave the house as it is with only the clothes we stand up in, life is easy. But as soon as I make a start, I know what’s coming next so I procrastinate.
3. Now I no longer have preschool children, packing becomes less complicated and the elder two at least can take responsibility for themselves and pack their own stuff.It’s a smaller job and needs less consideration.
After careful analysis, I suspect the reason to be a healthy dollop of number 2 with a little of number 3 for good measure. And maybe, just maybe, I am beginning to see that if I don’t do it all, life will continue as normal and the only person that will notice is me.
I will get to it. By the time we leave, we will have everything we need and the house will be clean and tidy. I am just not going to waste two whole days achieving it! And this is progress.