This time next week we will be three days into our epic UK Adventure. I am so excited right now I can barely concentrate on anything. Partially because I am in the throes of last minute list preparation. Yup, with tabs and colour-codes.
I have started to pack. Yes, I am aware we still have four sleeps to go. I think it may drive my husband crazy by the time we leave (read: *persternagpester* have you done this yet? *pesternagpester*). There is so much to do before Sunday, and all I can think about is “Will I forget anything? Did I remember to buy extra night time pants for the kids? Did I print enough copies of #alltheinfo for our trip? Did I list the comfy underwear? Should we have an extra toothbrush handy? Should I bring two scarves or one? Where are the light timers? Did husband inform the neighbours? I need to vacuum. Did I update my iPhone list with the changes I made on the spreadsheet? Should we take the whole shampoo bottle or buy travel sized?”
*flail* *gasp* *wheeze*
Yes, I am that kind of person.
I thrive off being over-prepared. I get positively giddy when I am packed and ready and I know I have covered the bases! Think of something you do that gives you immense satisfaction when it is complete (reading a book, cleaning the kitchen, wrestling the kids into bed…). That is how I feel when I am all packed for a trip two days early and with three of everything.
Remember, I showed horses. If I forgot to bring an extra pair of stirrup leathers, one would break. If I brought all the extra emergency bits and bobs, then the day would go smoothly. I used to keep a “show bin” ready with duplicates and second pairs of everything except my saddle (and horse… Heh). They would get re-arranged and counted before every show, even though nothing had been touched since the last show. A list was taped to the top. It was double-checked. The leather parts would be cleaned each week the same as my primary show tack.
The day before the show, I was always scrubbing and oiling and polishing to exhaustion (Let’s not talk about the plaiting… That was always done with the midnight oil burning). Oi.
I think my need to plan like this has developed over time to be a superstition, long past my competitive days. If I do not have the “what if’s” covered, I don’t feel prepared, safe, and capable. I worry that if I don’t have the Advil packed, we will need some and will have to spend money. If I run out of underwear, and have nowhere to wash them, well… Eww. My worst fear is being somewhere and not having the right clothing, or enough of something to make do. God forbid we run out of money because we had to buy something that we should have packed! Poor planning, and failure on my part!
Let’s not go into how much &^%* I would lug to paintball tournaments, shall we? More than once I got labelled “Team Mom” because I had all the stuff people need at tournaments but would forget to bring. Yeah… Nothing like packing rolls of TP and having the security search your bags with a “WTF lady?” look on their face… Because hello… Porta potties never have enough and I didn’t want to break the budget to buy some when I got to where I was goin’.
No seriously… That was how tight I budgeted sometimes.
I am aware that likely, I would be fine, and buying an extra bottle of Advil is not really going to bust the travel budget now that we are way more financially strong… But from being broke for years, and traveling on literally nothing, old habits die hard. If I forgot a sweater and it got cold, there was usually no money to buy one, because I had to put gas in the car to get home. So I suffered. And that sucked, yo.
This has transferred over to parenthood, of course. I pack everything the kids might need. Extra undies. Extra wet wipes. Any and all medications that one could possibly need with small children. Their little bags bulge with the possibility of warm or cold or even rainy weather wear. Most of the time, we don’t need half of it… But in case one of my precious cargos develops a fever, gets covered in their lunch, get soaked in the rain, or has a hard day riding the potty train, I am covered. I am prepared. No one needs to suffer.
So now, with a trip far away from where I live, I am doing it again. I have to pack for the kids being at Grandma and Grandpa’s for the week, us going to Britain for a week, and organize all the important papers and things we need to get into the country we are visiting. I am wondering at what exactly I can bring and what I should leave. I am planning and re-planning outfits, footwear, hats and jewelry. I am allowing for a bit of room to bring home awesome things for friends and family (and me! Can’t forget me!). I am doing the “what-ifs”.
But, by the end of it, on Sunday, I will be zen and happy, and satisfied with my efforts.
Because I am prepared. ♥