Kate was never much of a planner. Of course she could plan, and do a good job of it too, but it was stressful for her. To her, it just seemed like asking for trouble, having to make a whole bunch of decisions and then nailing down all these times and places and setting up expectations...all for what? What if they were the wrong decisions, or what if you couldn't be in the right place at the right time? To Kate, planning meant setting up for failure.
On the other hand, Kate also knew the deep importance of planning--how it simplified life in many ways (by making decisions ahead of time), how it was often convenient and considerate of others, and more recently as a wife and then a mother, she knew she absolutely needed to plan in order to maintain a standard, sane life for her family. Her recent failure in thinking ahead about their trip to Boston weighed on her mind--not just as an instance where she should have planned ahead more thoroughly. But it was a type, a stamp of disgrace on her character, because the way she had thought about that trip was characteristic of the way she thought about life. And with a new baby coming in the fall, it needed to change...and soon!
Because of Kate's deep-down (and mostly buried) ability to organize and plan, her mother had commented several times that she would make a great office manager. Kate always disagreed with this assessment, knowing that a desk job in an office with a daily schedule would drive her so nuts that it would inevitably lead to nervous breakdown, ulcers, and addiction to a medication that would have been unnecessary if she had simply chosen a better career. However, when the need was great, Kate could buckle down, make lists, organize piles, and do the dirty deed efficiently too!
This was such a time. Kate and Teddy had only just arrived back from Boston, and in a mere 10 days, the whole Miller Crew would be taking a 7-week-long summer trip. There were many things to think about, and Kate's lists grew in number and were scattered liberally around their house (many of them had overlapping items) so that she, even with her pregnancy-brain, could not forget a thing. Clothes were easy to think about--except for Teddy, who in 7 weeks could easily outgrow everything that fit him now. Kate made lists of places and lists of people to see, lists of dates and times, and lists of food and toys and books and projects to take. But most importantly, she made a cleaning list.
Leaving a house in the middle of a Virginia summer for 7 weeks sounded like recipe for disaster. Kate had no desire to return to a moldy, spider-infested, cluttered dwelling. So, giving room for a few buffer days, she made plan for 7 days of cleaning before they left. During that week of cleaning, Kate organized and cleaned her pantry, and bagged up any open containers of dry goods. She swept and mopped the kitchen and disinfected the counters. She vacuumed every inch of carpet (almost) in the house, engaging Mister to help her by moving some of the larger pieces of furniture. She swept and mopped the basement (again with Mister's help in moving things.) Upstairs, each bathroom got a thorough cleaning, including an intense shower scrub. She dusted, oiled wood surfaces, wiped down baseboards, and finally on the morning of their departure, she took one last look over her beautiful, tidy, and pristine home. Her plans had been good, they were packed and ready with everything they would need (and hopefully not too much more), and this morning she felt invigorated--so much better than their harried departure to Boston! She sat in the car with Teddy. The very last thing on her list was Mister's chore alone: he was to spray for bugs in the crawl space, basement, entryway, and back patio door.
Fifteen minutes later, Mister jumped in the car, and Kate screwed the lid back on her quart jar of milk and started the car.
on the road, with amazing clouds!
"It's a good thing we travel so much!" Mister exclaimed.
"Well, it means that our house gets really clean whenever we go somewhere! It looks amazing...and I'm not sure we'd have done such a thorough spring cleaning if we weren't leaving for so long!"
Kate laughed and agreed. And after a prayer for travel mercies, Kate and Crew were on their way to their first destination: Hillsdale, Michigan!
(To follow: Holland, MI; Ft. Wayne, IN; St. Charles, MO; Colorado Springs, CO; Denver, CO; Glenrock and Casper, WY; return to CO..... and back again!)