Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Are You A Planner?

At home in Fort Worth...

I’m not; but I married one.  Sandy loves to plan things, and I don’t.  Here’s an example:  In preparation for our wedding day and honeymoon, Sandy spent weeks planning and packing her things for our trip to Hawaii.  Judging by the luggage she had placed in the trunk of our getaway car, she had prepared for every possible contingency of weather, activity and act of God, including perhaps even another attack on Pearl Harbor.

When we left the church at the conclusion of the wedding, we drove to what would be our apartment where I had already moved my things in preparation for our setting up housekeeping.  (Yes, I know it was very provincial to be living apart before marriage, but Biblical principles were important then, and they still are to us today—although we now seem to be in a rapidly shrinking minority.)

After carrying her over the threshold, I put her down and went to the bedroom to pack my bag for the trip.  She stood, mouth agape, in utter disbelief that I had given so little forethought to our honeymoon.  Within ten minutes, I was ready to travel without even once changing my mind about the few things I was tossing into my suitcase (note my intentional use of the singular form of this noun).

Sandy was initially hurt, I think, that I had devoted so little time to planning and preparing my wardrobe for our honeymoon.  Actually, she probably should have given me more credit:  In a very uncharacteristic and uncomfortable fit of planning, I had actually secured the reservations and tickets for the trip to Hawaii. (I really needed our honeymoon vacation to recover from this.)

Sandy soon came to realize that she had in her life partner a person desperately in need of her gift of planning expertise and, like most nurturing women, she definitely liked to feel needed.  At that moment, she probably said—under her breath—“Don’t worry, honey, I’ll take it from here.”  And so she has.  And it has worked, oh so well, for 36 great years.  I admit, somewhat sheepishly, that my honeymoon suitcase was the last one I ever packed.  She considered me so inept at planning that I could not possibly be trusted with packing even my own things for a trip.  Did I put up any resistance to her usurpation of my packing responsibility?  Are you kidding?  I was happy as a clam and still am.

That is not to say that my preference for spontaneity has not had a beneficial effect on Sandy. One more than one occasion, I devilishly announced that I was taking her on a surprise trip to an undisclosed location.  While her initial reaction was delight at the prospect of flying away on a romantic holiday, her giddiness quickly turned to panic as she contemplated how she could possibly prepare for such a thing.  My fear was that we would not be able to afford the excess baggage fees, as I fully expected her to pack, well, everything.

Over the years, however, Sandy has mellowed a great deal in her penchant for preparedness.  It’s a good thing, too, as the aging process has dramatically lessened my capability to tote around a massive number of suitcases.  In this regard, having an RV has proved a godsend, as we really don’t have to do much in the way of power packing when we go on a trip.  Much of the stuff we need stays on board when we're not traveling.  For several days in advance of departure, however, I’ll take a few things out to Phannie as instructed by Sandy, where they will stay—organized, thanks to her—until our return.  And on other trips not taken by RV, Sandy has also mellowed in her packing obsession.  One of the (few) benefits of getting older is attaining a greater discernment over what is important and what is not.  Comfort and simplicity trump just about everything, and there is a certain satisfaction in having attained that wisdom.

Why, you may ask, did I feel the need to go into this epic piece of reminiscence? Well, there is a reason, and it has to do with Phannie and planning, hence its appearance in this travel blog.  But that will have to wait for the next post.  This one is long enough.


  1. Loved this post! You have a talent for writing, my friend!
    Maybe in your planning, you could point Phannie our way some day. We would love to see you again.
    Have a great day. We send big cyber hugs.
    E & M

    1. Funny you should mention it, Ed. That's what our next post will be about...we'll be stopping to see you guys in Colorado in the summertime!

  2. We are in the minority right with you and love it! My packing for a trip has been like yours. I could pack in tewn to fifteen minutes and not forget anything....John was the planner and would forget something! We purchased our first motorhome and I got to the point that I'd leave clothes etc in there so I did not need to pack.

  3. I love your thoughts in this post! My husband and I are the same way. I am the planner and he just goes along with things. We, too, are of the age now where we have attained the "wisdom" to pack what is simple and comfortable. We rarely bring much in the way of souvenirs home with us either. Part of that wisdom we now have is knowing that really the memories are the best things to keep. Material stuff doesn't matter.

  4. I too am the planner! and the packer of all important things! Nice post today, Mike~ can't wait to read the next entry!

  5. If you are planning a MH trip, you should consider the TRVN (Tiffin RV Owners Network) rally in Quartzsite. If you have not visited, you need to at least once. It is like "Woodstock for old people"!!

    Like your blogn.


  6. Hi, y'all! We may just do that, based on your recommendation; we've always wondered about Quartzsite. Added your blog to our reader! Thanks for your comment.

  7. This is a topic for which I take a great deal of ribbing at our house. As a CFP, Paul has made a career of planning. But, when it comes to our travels, he leaves the planning to me. Why? Because I LOVE it! I could spend a day on Google Maps! (Sick, huh?) But, I'm never "married" to any plans. They're all written in chalk, which I'm often the first to erase.

    We're busting out of McKinney tomorrow. We look forward to connecting with you soon. Sandy and I can compare plans! ;-)


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