Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Friday, May 28, 2010

This is What I Think I Know - About Planning

The older I get, the more appreciation I have for John Lennon’s famous observation that “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

Sandy is more of a planner than I am. She’s not necessarily a long-term planner, but she has a need to know at least what we are likely to be doing on any given day. While this is not necessarily crucial information for me, there are vastly important wardrobe and makeup considerations for her, and she can be very convincing as to the pitfalls that can accompany less than full disclosure in this area.

I must hasten to add, however, that I have noticed a significant lessening of these obsessions as we have been engaged in RV travel—and in fulltime RV living, which we did for several months while our current house was being built. Certainly contributing to her more relaxed mindset has been our interaction with fulltiming RV friends we've met like Ed and Marilyn and Gordon and Juanita—and many other cyber friends whose blogs I read, and who seem to have perfected the art of simplifying their lives.

As for me, I generally don’t do detailed planning, because there are so many unexpected events that can come out of nowhere to blow my plans to smithereens. Having had this experience far too often, I just tend to point myself in the direction of broadly-defined goals and depend on the good Lord to make it happen—or not, as He sees fit.

There are times, however, when one can’t avoid planning, as when I have to make reservations well in advance for some event for which a bunch of other people have had the nerve to make plans as well. Now this is incredibly annoying, but I grit my teeth and do it when absolutely necessary.

“So,” you might ask, “what is your point?”

Well, I mentioned in the previous post that I would elaborate on our future plans; I used the preceding narrative to explain why those plans may seem a little, ah, squishy. One plan that is not squishy is retirement. Sandy has already retired, and I will have reached that long-anticipated status no later than June 3, 2011—371 days from now, if anyone (like me) is counting. At that point, I will have been with the FAA for 15 years, with enough resources available, hopefully, to preserve the basics of life: Air conditioning and iced tea for Sandy, and a recliner and TV remote for me.

The main thing we’re having trouble planning is what retirement will ultimately look like in terms of living arrangements. Shedding the responsibility and expense of maintaining a house is extremely attractive to me. However, it’s not as attractive to Sandy, who isn't quite ready to embrace a totally nomadic lifestyle (yet). Having had this discussion on innumerable occasions, we attempted to reach a compromise in 2008 by building an inexpensive, low-maintenance RV port, which we chronicled earlier in this rag. It turned out exactly as we hoped, except for the “inexpensive” part. I'm afraid we got a little carried away.  So, what we'll probably wind up doing is part-timing for a while and, reluctantly, hang on to the house until my worrying and fretting about maintaining it reaches a saturation point with Sandy. The idea of finally being free of that responsibility makes me almost giddy.

Larry didn't help much today; he's an employee of mine whom I hired a few years ago into our facility. At the time, he and his wife, Pat, were fulltimers. They moved their fifth wheel into Treetop RV Park in Arlington, and after a year or so, decided to sell their RV and buy a house and small surrounding acreage out in the country. At the time, I asked him if he was sure he knew what he was getting into, as he and Pat had seemed very happy in their little rolling home. He was emphatic in his desire to get back to a roomy living space and the satisfaction of being a landowner. That was a couple of years ago.

Today, Larry came to work looking pretty haggard, and I asked him what was wrong. He said, “I had forgotten what a pain in the neck it was to keep up a house and big yard. Pat and I are selling our place and going back to fulltiming.” Go figure.

By the way, I have been considering making regular blog posts when we're not traveling, something I have been reluctant to do because 1) this is supposed to be a TRAVEL blog, and 2) a typical day in our life would hardly seem interesting to anyone.

I've come to realize, however, that most daily blogs I read reflect pretty mundane stuff, too, yet keeping up with them is still compelling, somehow. I think most people have a little voyeuristic streak or perhaps are just a bit nosy, and that's the reason for the popularity of reality shows, Facebook, Twitter and, well, these blogs.

So, I may give it a try. This is the first episode, which is admittedly overly analytical. What do you think?


  1. It's the coolest way ever to keep up with two great friends, plus you are a gifted writer and your blog is a joy to read!

  2. "Shedding the responsibility and expense of maintaining a house is extremely attractive to me. However, it’s not as attractive to Sandy, who isn't quite ready to embrace a totally nomadic lifestyle."

    Yep, I got that same dang problem here:((


I appreciate comments and read every one of them. If your Blogger settings allow, I will happily respond.