Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What's the Plan?

I am a planner. I like to know what is supposed to happen and I like to have at least some idea what my role is in making it happen. Don’t get me wrong, I can adapt if things don’t go as scheduled as long as there was a plan somewhere. I guess it is like that old adage we were taught in school and that I rely on heavily in my capacity as “awesome mom” (as I was called by the girl’s soccer team this morning), you must know the rules before you can break them. So begins the story of my week.

We are in the midst of soccer season and Sound of Music rehearsals around here. Erin is busy flirting with Rolf and I am frantically gathering boson’s whistles, milk pails, various glasses in which to serve liquor, and other adornments found in an Austrian abbey and the home of Captain von Trapp and his family. Most of this is enjoyable, but, needless to say, time consuming. For some reason, rehearsal was cancelled on Monday night. For the week prior, we fantasized about a night at home – at home to stay by 4:30, a home cooked meal of stroganoff (Erin’s favorite) for dinner, jammies on by 6, mindless TV, wading through the stack of unread New Yorker magazines, maybe some laundry, maybe not, coffee and cookies before bed at 10. The plan was made and ready to be executed.

We did get home by 4:30 and I had the makings for dinner. Just as I was about to start cooking, Erin’s cell phone rang. It was a friend of hers reporting that they were at the mall and had found, in one of those questionable mall kiosks, several cell phones that had been stolen from the girls’ soccer locker room a week or so ago. Erin’s phone, which had already been replaced, was one of the stolen phones. The phone call she received was a teammate saying that the police were at the mall waiting for everyone to come identify their phones and file a report. So, no noodles on to cook and no pajamas. We had to pack up, head back to town, and meet the police. We found what we thought was Erin’s phone, but because of an unfortunate set of circumstances, we could not prove it was hers because we did not have her phone’s ID number. The teeth marks on it were a dead give away, however. By the time this whole ordeal was over, it was nearly 8 o’clock and we were starving. We headed to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner. The stroganoff makings are still in the kitchen.

Oh, did I mention that while all of this was going on, Texas was in the midst of a snow storm? It had been close to 70 degrees on Sunday afternoon and 24 hours later a heavy snow was falling. By the time we finally got to bed, at nearly midnight, close to 3 inches of snow blanketed our deck. And though the forecasters swore that it would not stick to the ground because the ground temperatures were too warm, so too was the ground covered in a blanket of white. Fortunately, nothing was sticking or freezing on the roads though they were wet and slippery.

Yesterday was Primary day in Texas. I could have voted early, but because the race is so close, I wanted to experience the polls on the actual day of the primary. We got to our polling location at 10:30. Surprisingly, there was a line, a significant line. Truthfully, I didn’t know there were so many Democrats in Texas! Last week, I had decided that I also wanted to participate in the caucus so we would have to return at 6:30. The rest of the afternoon was given over to cleaning out some kitchen cabinets.

Ay 6:30, I found myself walking up and down the sidewalk holding a Hillary sign and urging other Clinton supporters to stay and vote in the caucus. This part of it was definitely not in the plan. I have strong opinions about politics, but I am not one who normally gets outwardly involved and becomes a cheerleader for the cause. I’m not sure what got into me. Before the night was over, I had been elected (volunteered?) to be a delegate from our precinct to the county convention in a couple of weeks. Neither was this in the plan. In fact, there are two performances of Sound of Music on the day of the county convention. It is time to make a plan that will get everything done on the day.

Right now it seems like the unplanned events in my life have obliterated the planned ones. For example, I was shocked by the fact that it has been over a week since I last posted. here What have I been doing? I was out of town over the weekend on a planned trip. It did go exactly as planned and was a wonderful few days away. The main reason for the trip was to attend the Franciscan Lenten retreat at a convent just outside of San Antonio. I was the facilitator for the retreat. Preparations for this occupied a good bit of my time last week, but not enough to justify me not having made a single post. I still can’t figure this out. What makes this all even funnier is that the topic that I chose for the retreat was “simplicity”. Based on the example of my own life, I seem not to know a damn thing about simplicity.

As part of the retreat discussions, we looked at the many facets of ourselves that coexist daily – the civic self, the social self, the financial self, the professional self, the parental self, the religious self, and the literary self. We were to describe each of these selves as they are manifested in us. As I worked through this process, it became clear to me that right now, the various parts of me are not well integrated. All are functioning, but they are doing so independently of one another. Not accomplishing the daily tasks that I want to do is proof positive of my internal chaotic state.

I realize that I had no control over or responsibility for the plans that did not work out on Monday night, but I do have absolute control over whether or not I write, or knit, or read, or feel good about where I find myself, my whole self, at any given time.

As they say, “timing is everything” and my spring break is next week. I have about ten days of a slightly less rigid schedule to get my priorities straight and get myself back on the track where I want to be. Like I said earlier, I am ready and willing to deal with sudden changes to the plan, but I need to have a plan in place. So as I head into spring, the season of new birth, I will take to heart the message that I shared over the weekend. Get rid of those things that get in the way. Once they are gone, there is room to grow. Hopefully this means more frequent posts here and a little more knitting.

Did I mention that it is supposed to snow again tomorrow?