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Before a trip, my brain kicks into overdrive months in advance. I start with mental lists of things to remember, sticking little virtual post-it notes all over my gray matter. One of the ones I stuck up more than 8 months ago for the trip we're leaving on this week read "Get Karin's passport renewed" and the little post-it note was only JUST wadded up and thrown away a couple of days ago.

I start early doing this because it gives me plenty of time to prioritize and remember things: get prescriptions filled, register to have the mail held, buy holiday fish food, pay the mortgage beforehand. There are all the trip logistics to be taken care of: travel, tickets, accommodations, transportation. Do we need bedding and towels where we're staying? What will the weather be like while we're away? Can we get a house-sitter or at least someone to cut the grass and water the flowers?

Then there are all the shorter-term logistical items, like doing the laundry and getting out the timers for the lamps and cutting down on buying food that will not get eaten before we leave. I start thinking about wardrobe needs well in advance: how many pairs of shoes for particular activities or events, do we have to take raingear, swimsuits, snowpants? How many pairs of underwear will get us through before we must appropriate a washer and dryer?

I've gotten so good at this after half a lifetime of moving (29 times in *cough* 29 years) that I don't even have to write actual lists anymore, the ones in my head are, by and large, enough. Although just to be on the safe side, I usually have a short list of last-minute DON'T FORGET items that I must check off before we actually head out the door.

I'm almost always ready to leave when it's time to leave.

And then her journal entry skidded round a turn into a potentially morbid but oddly logical (that is, if you have the sort of mystifyingly twisty and bizarre brain arrangements that Liz has) tangential track...

I wonder, though, will I be ready to go when it's TIME TO LEAVE, if you know what I mean. How far in advance do I need to start planning? I know that there is rarely any warning in the event of a sudden, er, departure, but my overly anal organized rabbit-eaten brain wishes for some way to sort of smooth the path ahead (and hopefully it is a LONG path ahead, seeing as how I am only *cough* 29) by getting things as ready as possible as far in advance as possible. I'm not really talking about burial vs cremation or whether I want an angel or doves on my tombstone or who should be invited to my wake (everyone! the more the merrier!) or whether I even want a wake, even though all those things and their ilk are valid concerns.

No, the items on my personal life-departure list include, among other things: read all the books, see all the movies, listen to all the music, go to all the shows, watch my children grow up and fulfill their potential, own an Alfa Romeo Graduate 2-door convertible just like the one Michelle Pfeiffer had in Tequila Sunrise, visit Scotland and St. Petersburg and Prague, clean out...and I mean REALLY clean out, my closets.

The thing is, there is never time to get it all done before you go, no matter how many lists you make, no matter how many items you check off, no matter how prepared you are. Even so, I like to think that all the practice I'm getting at gearing up for traveling will stand me in good stead one day, when it's time to head out the door that only goes one way.

*William Butler Yeats
mood: thoughtful
music: Sophie B. Hawkins—Open Up Your Eyes


Wow- you really know about planning for a trip! Isn't it funny that as a mom we are expected to remember all of the little details? You amaze me- I wish I worked with someone like you.

I don't think it's just because I'm a mom,'s because I'm a WOMAN.

Whoops- you are right now that I think of it- I was responsible for travel details pre-kiddo!

Your lifetime to do list is remarkably similar to mine. The car's different and I've got a couple of different ones on there (like live in a foreign country, which you've already got covered), but read all the books and see all the movies are definitely towards the top of my list.

I've lived in 3 foreign countries, but I wouldn't say no to more. What's your car? I've also always been partial to Mazda Miatas. The only problem with my dream cars is I'm pretty sure they don't come in automatic (well, maybe the Miata does) and while I've driven a stick, I'm no good at it and I don't LIKE it. I'd rather have an automatic, any day.

I like the Miatas, too - but my car is one of those BMW Z3 roadsters. I've driven a manual for a few years now - which I didn't seek out to do, I was looking for automatics and ended up two cars in a row with manuals - but now I think on it, part of the appeal of the Z3 is that manual feature. This is because the dream road that goes with the dream car is a nice, curvy one along a gorgeous coastline on a sunny day, and I believe manually shifting gears up and down goes with that car and that road on that day is akin to how peanut butter goes with chocolate.

(It's also dawned on me just how strongly I have an urge to have clean closets when I die. On a list of several things, the 2 things at the top of my list of "Things I'd Hate Most About Dying Right Now" are: missing my daughter growing up/knowing how hard it would be on her if I were gone. And the thought of someone else going through my unorganized stuff. Ridiculous, but there you go.)

Yes, indeed-y, that did take a twist. :) Leave it to you to think that far ahead...ha!

wing wing wing it! around corners! that's me! :D

St Peter working at a check-in desk?

That I would like to see.......

Oj, how far in advance to I need to start planning to LEAVE? Just this morning, after dropping off the kids at daycare, I had the thought, oh man, do I need to start making some lists. I do all the "dealing" in the family and it occurred to me that if I were to make a sudden, er, departure (as you so eloquently put it) G would be flying blind. He hates any kind of talk about unpleasant things though so it always very hard to bring these subjects up.

Anders hates it too. I wonder is it a guy thing, or a Swede thing?

Begs the question: if you could choose, would you go out with a known departure date (terminal illness, for example) or the other way (called away unexpectedly)?

I think I know which you would choose. I would choose the other one. :-P

You think I'd chose the terminal illness? With my known aversion pain and general wimpiness? I choose dying peacefully in my sleep after a VERY LONG life, thank you very much, and with ALL the books read!

Ahhh! I guessed totally wrong. I could just totally SEE you with your big longass list of Things to Do Before The Big Day, happily crossing things off until "Take Last Breath" was the only remaining one.

My dad used to drive an ambulance/hearse back in the days before we had paramedics. One day he picked up the body of a very old woman. She had died sitting in her rocking chair, natural causes, peaceful end. He said they found a peanut in her mouth. She just didn't get to finish her peanuts, but other than that she died the way you and I want to.

You forgot, "Say memorable, pithy and acerbic last words that will go down in ages as the thing everyone else wishes they had thought of saying first."

first thing we all should do in preparation for our "departure" is to clean out that drawer with underwear and throw all the ratty ones away. 1) so no one else has to do it and 2) so we don't risk lying there with a ratty pair on. :-)

so, where are you going (this time)?

Down to Germany for my brother's wedding :)

I love that quote in your title!

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I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Abraham Lincoln

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