Wednesday, May 10, 2017

If It's in the Cart, It Better Be on the List

I'm a planner.  I like to make plans.  I not only enjoy the feeling of knowing where I'm going and how I'm going to get there, but I even enjoy the process of making plans.  I like making lists and slowly marking things off as I go.  I like prioritizing tasks and mapping out my day.  I like having the illusion I'm in control of a given situation because I've allotted amounts of time for specific projects.  When I don't have that feeling, I can almost be overcome with anxiety.

I understand the impact this can have on people around me.  I can easily become agitated when plans inevitably go off the rails.  I can be downright insufferable at times, to be honest.  I can be bossy.  I can whine.  I can complain.  I can even recognize all those things as they're happening, and yet am powerless to stop it.  I need a plan to alleviate my anxiety, and yet I am equally anxious when things don't go as planned (which is always the case).  I'm basically a walking catch-22.

My friends constantly give me a hard time about this aspect of my personality.  For the last couple of years, Adrienne and I, along with our friends Leah Kate and Luke, have gone on vacation to 30-A in Florida.  I will spend a week developing our meals for the week; I determine which nights we are going out for dinner, and which nights we'll eat in.  I'll make the grocery list for our meals, go shopping after we've arrived, and get genuinely upset when, on Tuesday (pasta night), Leah Kate and Luke decide to instead (on a whim, of course) go to McGuire's in Destin, forcing Adrienne and I to go out for dinner an extra night.  I mean...How dare they?

It's funny, though...That anxiety I feel about plans going awry really only applies to little things.  Changing the weekly meal schedule because we'd rather eat a cardboard box than baked fish and roasted carrots.  Deciding to swing by Old Navy on a rainy Saturday despite the fact I was fairly certain Kohl's, Ollie's Bargain Barn, and Chick-Fil-A were the only stops to be made.  Grocery store purchases without first putting them on the list.  Arriving in Louisville with no less than 3 hours set aside for dinner and drinks before a Chris Stapleton concert.  Things that literally have no bearing whatsoever on life in general.

Real things?  Major things?  Jobs...Money...House...Cars...Kids?  Eh...It'll all work out, even when it doesn't seem like it.

When Adrienne and I first got engaged, we made a pact.  We were both actively seeking employment as teachers, and were applying all over the state.  Every county or city school system (even ones with a common centralized location within realistic driving distance) that had openings for which we were both qualified, we applied.  We decided that the first one to get a job would determine where we would both go.  We could have gambled and waited around hoping we'd both get jobs around here, but we couldn't really afford to be picky.  It was an open-ended plan, but at least it was a plan.

When I got hired at Montgomery County in May 2012, we decided we were moving to Mount Sterling.  Adrienne also got hired there a few weeks later, so it appeared to be the perfect situation.  We told ourselves we were diving in head first: We were going to go to football games on Friday nights.  We were going to go to car shows and flea markets on Saturday afternoons.  We were going to make new friends and have dinner parties at our small apartment.  We were going to find the best local restaurants and watering holes, and get on a first-name basis with the wait staff.  We were going to immerse ourselves in Mount Sterling culture.  We were going to make it work.

That lasted for about three weeks.  Adrienne was so homesick by the end of August, the only part of that pact we actually kept was the one about watering holes: We'd be at a high-top table at Don Senor by 4:30 on most Friday afternoons, enjoying "a margarita the size of my face" (Adrienne's words, not mine).

So, that plan went to hell in a hand basket almost immediately.  And despite the fact it had an enormous impact on virtually every aspect of our lives, its enormous failure didn't bother me.  It was never easy, and sometimes I had no idea how in the world we were going to make it work.  I just knew we would.

Kind of like right now.  When Adrienne and I bought this house, we figured we'd be here at least 7 or 8 years, maybe longer.  It was in a great neighborhood, it was affordable, and there was room for our family to grow...It met all the needs we were looking for.  We had no reason to even consider leaving any time in the near future.

And when we least expected it, when our plans for moving couldn't have been further from our minds (we actually discussed adding on and renovating less than two months ago) a new house fell into our lap and we figured we couldn't pass it up.

Adrienne and I, along with a group of her coworkers, were in Nashville a few weeks ago and one of them was discussing and showing pictures of a house they were building to sell.  Adrienne commented, totally in passing, "Wow, that's going to be a beautiful place.  Zach and I would love to have a house like that someday."  A simple, totally meaningless observation.  It was never thought of, nor mentioned again after that brief moment.

A couple of days later, he asked Adrienne if she was really interested in the house.  She said, sure, depending on a few things.  He provided details.  Our ears perked.  We looked at the house.  Loved it.  Loved the location.  Talked about how it fit everything we wanted.  We discussed putting our house on the market.  Our house was on the market for all of six hours before we had a written offer.  We accepted the offer.  We put our house under contract to sell, and put the new house under contract to buy.  And now we're picking paint colors and flooring.  We're moving.

It is incredible how much things can change in a just a few weeks.

We didn't plan on this.  I didn't have "sell our house and buy a new house" on my honey-do list clipped on the fridge.  Two months ago, Adrienne and I were discussing new bathrooms and kitchen cabinets; we just assumed they'd be here, and not at a new house.

It's scary.  It's overwhelming.  It's exciting.  It's fun.  It's terrifying.  It's stressful.  I wonder how the hell we're going to make it work, how we're going to get everything done.  But I know we will.  I'm not sure how...We're just sort of going with the flow.  But it will all be just fine.

That is, until we move in and Adrienne tells me she doesn't want baked chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner.  It'll be planned, after all.








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