Twiddling Our Thumbs… Between Planning & Leaving on a Big Trip

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I love to be organized. But when it comes to trip planning, Hubby is even more organized than I am. He started reading and researching our South America trip last summer. Talking to friends who have travelled there, looking at their itineraries, deciding what countries and what places we might visit in those countries. I was too busy planning, and then attending, my junior high reunion in September. And planning my trip to New York, and then going on that trip, with my friend Elizabeth. But I promised that when I came home from New York, at the end of October, I would focus on our South America trip. And I did. And we’ve both been immersed in reading, planning, organizing our itinerary, booking, reorganizing the itinerary, rebooking… yadda yadda… ever since. We finished all this in time to drive home to New Brunswick for Christmas. And since the New Year, we’ve been making lists, and shopping, and planning what to pack. But, you already know that if you read this blog regularly. So everything is pretty much done, now. Flight confirmations, car rental vouchers, hotel confirmations, shuttle transfers… all printed and ready to go. The long list has been whittled down to a short list. And we’ve still a bit over a week before we leave.
Soooooo. Now. Here we sit. Twiddling our thumbs. You see that’s the problem with being organized, folks. What to do, now? How do we occupy ourselves in the time between getting everything done… and finally leaving on our big trip?
   Cream wool mock turtleneck from Gap, Scarf Nordstrom, black wool leggings from Vince, black Stuart Weitzman Brogan ankle boots, Zara down coat, burgundy Marc Jacobs bag
  Still winter here: I may be packing tank tops, but I wore my down coat to go shopping.

It’s easier for me. I still had a few last minute things on my shopping list. Like a new zippered, light jacket. One that will feel like a sweater, be good for hiking, and still look reasonably smart in the city over my black pants. My Lululemon jacket is showing its age. And in my search for a replacement this week, I discovered how many crappy, cheaply made, easily wrinkled, too short, too heavy, too something jackets there are out there. But I eventually found one at The Bay, and since they had to order it in my size, I can’t show it to you here. Hopefully it will be delivered before we leave.

Then because I could put it off no longer, I shopped for a new sports bra, an item that’s been on my mental list for months. And on the recommendation of my hairdresser, Carmen, I tried that haven of lace and pursed-lipped models, pink wallpaper and gilt… Victoria’s Secret. I’d never darkened the door of Victoria’s Secret before. I don’t do lace. It makes me itch. But Carmen assured me that she buys her sports bras there. And since Carmen runs and cycles and does triathlons… she knows her sports apparel. Okay. I’d give it a try.

Shopping for sports bras at Victoria's Secret
The changing room at Victoria’s Secret. Feels a bit… boudoir-ish?  Bordello-ish?

The first two styles I tried did not give me confidence. One had so many straps I couldn’t get it on… and then even more interestingly… couldn’t get it off. Ha. Not sure what the helpful salesgirl made of the smothered guffaw, followed by the whispered profanity, emanating from my cubicle. Phew. That was close. I was afraid I was going to have to call her to extricate me. Then I tried the one below. Ha. Another guffaw. Seriously that molded bra was almost lifelike. It could have left of its own accord… it didn’t need me to animate it. Finally, the lovely Sarah appeared with a third style. Comfy, easy to slip on and off. No lace. Not so complicated as the first… nor so… ah… let’s just say… more me than the second. I was pleasantly surprised by the very reasonable price. So I bought two. One purple, and one black. And I had a lovely chat with the cashier who I realized I taught several years ago. And so my Victoria’s Secret experience turned into a very pleasant experience… except for the almost getting trapped in the first bra part. And it did take my mind off the waiting to leave, twiddling thumbs, thing.

Shopping for sports bras at Victoria's Secret
It’s alive!
So besides thumb twiddling, and shopping, Hubby and I are binge watching season three of Shetland. We love that series. And we’re doing a lot of reading. Nothing heavy, as you can see. I’m currently reading The Swans of Fifth Avenue, thanks to Dottoressa for the recommendation. I’m enjoying the novel, and researching the real lives of the characters at the same time, calling up pictures of Babe Paley, and Pamela Churchill, and Slim Keith et al on my i-pad. My goodness, they were an intertwined bunch weren’t they? Slim Keith’s second husband, Leland Hayward, divorced  her to become the second husband of Pamela Churchill, who had an affair with Gianni Agnelli, who eventually married Marella Agnelli, the youngest “swan” in the novel. And someone’s daughter, in the bunch even married her own step-brother. Now, have you got all of that?
A little light reading.
A lot of light reading helps with the waiting.
And this week, I have a final physiotherapy appointment. And a therapeutic massage just before we leave for Buenos Aires. My back was giving me grief over Christmas, so I’ve been in therapy since early January. And then there’s the pedicure appointment, and a last hair appointment for what I always call the “trip cut.” Very short and highlighted to avoid the roots issue as long as possible. And then the trial packing, to see what will fit where. And probably some re-jigging of the packing list. And the laundry, and ironing, and then the actual packing.
And in the meantime, since I will be doing all of the above, and Hubby none, he’ll be skiing his butt off so he doesn’t go crazy with anticipation. Or drive me crazy. You see, we both remember the first big trip we took, to Australia in 2003. I was still working so Hubby did all of the planning, and then, when my leave of absence started, I had one week and tons to do before we left. And Hubby didn’t. And on the day of our flight, he was packed and dressed so early, he called the friend who was taking us to the airport to come two hours earlier than planned… to put him out of his misery. The thinking being that we might as well be twiddling our thumbs at the airport as at home.
Ha. Good thing I was ready too, or he might have gone without me.
You see, that’s the problem with being organized. Everything is done. The lists are checked off. And all that’s left is the waiting. And the thumb twiddling. And the waiting.
Life is tough, eh?
Gap wool mock-turtleneck, scarf from Nordstrom, down coat from Zara
How about you, my friends? How do you pass the time before a much anticipated event, like a big trip? Any suggestions for Hubby to avoid his driving his lovely wife up the wall? Sedatives, maybe?

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28 thoughts on “Twiddling Our Thumbs… Between Planning & Leaving on a Big Trip”

  1. I know exactly what you mean . We are both organisers & don't leave things to the last minute . One time I holidayed with a group of friends & one of them was totally different . We were hopping about ready for the airport , watching her deciding what to pack & decanting her toiletries – way outside my comfort zone . So it's better to be all sorted & in limbo for a little while . The planning has always been part of the fun for me too.
    Just in case you don't post again before you go , I'll take the opportunity to wish you safe travels & a wonderful holiday . We are in Scotland whilst you are away , hoping for snow on the mountain tops , but I think your trip will be more exciting ! Looking forward to reading all about it . Have fun .
    Wendy in York

    1. Oh, I hate when someone isn't as organized and then acts as if you are totally anal for simply being sensible. Best NOT to travel with some friends. Or family. Ha. Best not elaborate on that one.
      Have a good time in Scotland. Wear your woolies…and your wellies:)

  2. Love your burgundy look, so classy.
    We have catsitters come to stay each holiday, so as well as the packing there is the organising of cat stuff, their bedroom, their goodies, flowers for them, writing their instructions. There is also a top to bottom spring clean of the house and cupboards and house linen. So no thumb twiddling, I'm working right up to the line and I am shattered come the trip to the airport! But the double divvi from all of that is that I come back holiday-refreshed AND to a spanking clean house!
    Wishing you a wonderful trip. I'm looking forward to the amazing posts you'll be giving us on your return. Take care. X.

  3. Even though I start early with research and planning there always seems to be SOMETHING I have procrastinated about to fill in that last week (not the last hours – I too had one and one only travel experience with a last minute packer and decided never again, my stomach took too long to unclench). Otherwise I like the last minute cleaning/organizing/purging clutter approach so that arrival home is not too daunting. My trips are always much shorter as there are home front obligations and pleasures that I can't miss for too long. Also have to have a last day or so chiropractor appointment, a few extra yoga sessions, etc, to try to hit the plane as flexible as possible.

    enjoy your trip so much!


    1. Thanks, Ceci. I know there will be a few "tiny" things this week that will take five times as long as I thought to do. And we hope to get a couple of more skis in since winter will be over when we return.

  4. Susan since we seem so similar in our approaches to travelling I too have had a little bit of thumb twiddling to contend with before leaving on vacation…but we have two dogs and a housesitter to plan for so it seems the last week before our travels is spent preparing the dogs' meals (all packaged individually and labelled in the freezer for ease of preparation for the house sitter), last minute thorough cleaning of guest room, bathrooms, kitchen refrigerator and of course the inevitable last few loads of laundry before the suitcases can be closed. We love to go to the airport early on the day we leave…always love to 'people watch' and wonder where they are heading and why. Hope your travels to South America go smoothly, you both stay healthy and come home with fabulous memories of a great trip! Cheers, Alayne

    1. We have a house sitter as well, but he's so easy to prepare for…and Hubby has his instructions all on the computer…so that's easy. There will be last minute laundry, though…. and probably last minute re-packing to include something I've changed my mind about.
      Thanks… I hope the trip is great.

  5. Trying on bras is one hot endeavour. So, tell us, which one did you buy? My daughter is looking for a sports bra with good support.
    Have a wonderful adventure, stay safe and take lots of pictures for us non travellers.

    1. I'm enjoying the book too. Although I may get a little tired of Truman's gushing. Gad what a bunch of people. Makes me happy I'm not in the upper echelons of society:)

  6. As someone prone to procrastination, I have only once ever had that feeling! Sounds like you have managed to fill your time well. V amused by your Victoria Secrets experience. Lucky you only encountered your past pupil at the checkout. Bon voyage. Hope your trip is everything you want it to be. Iris

  7. I like to be organized too as there is always something last minute to throw a spanner in the works. I had to chuckle over your Victoria Secrets experience. Like you I have never ventured inside as there appears too much lace for my taste.

    1. That getting on and off can be a problem. After a shower one day, I managed to get halfway into mine and it rolled all up and Hubby had to come and extricate me.

  8. I am the only one in my family who has everything (including myself) prepared on time (display on the floor for couple of days in advance to be sure about things I'm taking with me)- you could (maybe) imagine my frustation
    And no exclamations like "From this moment ,kitchen is closed" are obeyed-so,beside thumb twiddling and being nervous,I do the dishes
    Hostess did remind me of The Swans-I didn't know that Truman was (was he really :-)?) a friend of Harper Lee and a character in her book. Thank you-I've just finished Maisie Dobbs and enjoyed it very much
    I wish you a wonderful and safe holidays-looking forward all the interesting posts

    1. Ha. Love that, Dottoressa. I am lucky that while I'm doing the actual packing and going to my appointments this week, Stu is doing all the cooking.
      The character of Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird was based on Truman Capote… but I think I like his character in Harper Lee's novel better than the real thing. What a self-centered little man he was. Who would want the lives of those women in Swans of Fifth Avenue, eh?

  9. Something to aim for …I'd quite enjoy some "thumb twiddling" prior to our travels. Rarely do I realax with a glass of wine the night before we set off. I'm usually popping things in my case such as toiletries etc and doing last minute things around the house. Having said that I am organised with what I'm taking, laundry etc so it wouldn't be hard at all to aim to be ready a day or two earlier …:)
    Glad you managed to find a bra in the end. I had to be "cut out" of a dress recently when the zip stuck!! Luckily it wasn't my fault …the assistant was fastening it and apparently the zip must have been faulty! Not great for an expensive dress … Glad it happened then and not the morning of my daughters wedding!!
    Enjoy your skiing and incase you don't post before your flight …safe travels and enjoy your adventures!

    1. Possibly! Found one I really like and my daughter thinks looks great on.Not exactly what I was looking for but by far the best I've seen ..and I've really looked! Tried some beautiful hats so that part should be easy!

  10. Hi Sue, this is all so interesting – I will definitely be looking out for your reports when you get back. I love to get to the airport early, that's when I can relax after the flurry of preparations. I once went on a short trip to Berlin with a Dutch friend (we were living in Budapest at the time). We went to the airport separately for the afternoon flight as we had different things to do that morning. Flight at 4, I'm there at 1-ish. I text her – she has booked her taxi for 2pm (it's a Friday afternoon, serious rush hour). We both live on the other side of the city from the airport, and her taxi goes to the wrong house first. I keep texting her as I go through security etc. Then the line up begins for boarding … I'm almost about to board as she runs up. I was relieved, but the truth is, if she hadn't made it, I would have been stuck; I had booked the flights and she had booked the hotel! (Not to mention the fact that for some reason she had booked it in her maiden name, but I only knew her by her married name – aarrgghh!). I was not best pleased, but it kind of set the tone for the rest of the trip. I guess there's laid back, and then there's my Dutch friend! :0)

    After reading some news this morning I had to check through your posts to see if you are going to Brazil, but you're not, are you? There's an outbreak of yellow fever there! Have a wonderful trip, it's sure to go marvellously well after all your planning. I look forward to reading all about it.

  11. I love the Shetland tv series and confess to having a big crush on DI Jimmy Perez!
    Ann Cleeves has written a new Shetland book called 'Cold Earth' Maybe a book for you to read during transit? Enjoy your trip.

    1. Oh… me too, Veronica. I'm a sucker for that grizzled, Shetland sweater wearing look. Thanks for the tip about the new Ann Cleeves book. I have a credit at Amazon I may just see if I can find an electronic version to upload to my i-pad mini.

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