Future Perfect Tense

We leave in just under three days. I say “just under,” because at this point, the time until we leave can be comfortably counted in hours (about 68). I have made my packing lists, I have begun packing up things that I’ll take on the plane. Our clothes left two weeks ago. And yet, my own travel experience tells me that I will forget something. Nothing show-stopping, and nothing that cannot be purchased anywhere in the world, but still, when one has had more than 18 months to plan, forgetting anything is galling.

I was talking to my sister on the phone last night, and telling her about the fight in my OCD brain between trying to be as complete as possible in my listing and also trying to anticipate what I’m going to forget. Because I can’t shake the feeling that I will start unpacking things once we get into our stateroom and I will have forgotten something. (Ladies and gentlemen, we have achieved title.) But how do you anticipate what you’re going to forget?

At this point, all the big things are accounted for, which leads me to speculate that the thing I’ll be kicking myself for is something I don’t currently have, but wish I had. That lip mask Sephora sent me a sample of that I’m really liking. A new hat of some description. A full set of professional watercolors and an easel. I have no idea, but there will be something. And then there is the part of my mind that says that because I’m worrying about little stuff, I’ll forget something big. Medication. My passport.

It’s like in fairy tales where the main character is told not to do a certain thing (look in a room, eat something, ask a question), and although they live their whole lives knowing about that proscription, circumstances conspire to force them into doing the very thing they were prohibited from doing, with disastrous consequence. My worrying about forgetting something will force my brain into such a spin that it will, in fact, cause me to forget something.

My only hope is to pack everything now, put on the clothes I plan to fly out in, and just stand by the door for the next two days and two nights until I leave, moving only to add things to my bags as I remember them.

Yeah. That’s a great idea. I think I’ll do that.

Help.

Days Spent in Free Fall

You all know that we sent off our luggage just about two weeks ago. Meaning that we are reduced to a tiny fraction of our normal wardrobes, but at least the luggage is out of the way. Okay, most of the luggage is out of the way.

But even with that large hurdle cleared, it still hadn’t sunk in. It still felt hypothetical. I could joke about our luggage not showing up in our stateroom, I could joke about testing positive for COVID, I could joke about shocking our fellow passengers with…well, with just about anything I wear, say, or do. I thought the panic I felt was as bad as it was going to get, but I was so, so wrong.

As the time came closer, I realized just how much work I had to do for Zoetic Press, how much work I had to do to prepare for Christmas (for which my older daughter traveled from Connecticut), and how much work still had to be done to prepare for the trip. But I STILL didn’t freak out.

And then my husband did our final check-in for the cruise.

Why was that the thing that made me lose my shit? Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t decide which of the four thousand things on my list to do first, I couldn’t sleep.

I spent 12 hours a day working nonstop to get all the Zoetic Press stuff done, another six working on Christmas stuff, and the other six sleeping. When I wasn’t lying awake and thinking about everything I still had to do. And finally, I just snapped. I told my poor husband that I never wanted to go on this trip in the first place, that I didn’t want to go at all. That this whole venture was dumb. And, saint that he is, he took it as well as can be expected when one is told that the thing they’ve spent a year and a half planning, preparing for, and getting excited about is dumb. I am lucky beyond description that he’s lived with me for more than twenty years and so doesn’t get angry and vindictive when I lose my everloving mind.

Then I finished all the Zoetic Press stuff, and nearly all of the Christmas stuff, and I was still panicking. There was still so much stuff we had to get before we left, and suddenly we’re looking at the luggage we have and the stuff we need to bring (like four months’ worth of meds) and realizing we’re not going to have quite enough room. The good news is that we have time to figure stuff out.

I forced myself to put everything down and spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day focusing on time with my family, and it gave me a chance to breathe and calm down. It was an island of happiness in a sea of naked panic.

As of today, we’re six days away from leaving. The house is a wreck with the stuff we brought home from Christmas, and I’ve changed my mind about what I’m wearing on the plane and from there, onto the ship, about sixty-eight times an hour.

Stuff that’s going horribly wrong:

  • I need refills of two meds, and I’ve contacted my doctors, but it’s highly unlikely they’ll even see the messages between now and the time I leave
  • Our washing machine, which is likely as old as the building we’re in, has now sprung a leak – we have to buy a new one
  • Our refrigerator is completely full of more food than we’re likely to eat in six days

So…less than a week to go, and so much stuff to do. We’ll see what gets done, and what will sit here for four months and greet us when we step through the door! I’m really hoping it’s not a refrigerator full of angry, sentient leftovers.