Leaving on a Jet Plane
From my experience, there are two approaches to preparing to leave on vacation. The first leaves your home looking like it’s been robbed: clutter laying about; dry cleaning bags still left on hangers, which are hooked over open closet doors; laundry still in the dryer; and food in the fridge that will “go off” while you’re gone. The suitcase that didn’t make the cut sits beside the dresser. And the ironing board is left out because the car service is already in the driveway. You get the picture.
The second approach begins with the assumption you won’t make it back alive — some catastrophe will happen, and God forbid your loved ones need to sift through your stacks of paper and dirty dishes, shaking their heads in judgement at the disarray left behind.
Now, it won’t surprise anyone who knows me that I’m firmly in the second camp. Jim, my husband and fellow adventurer, always opts for Door Number 1. Yao Yao, at age 13, is still oblivious, but overall, she does like her an environment clean and tidy — especially if someone else is making it so.
Here’s where things go off the rails: I don’t just want things tidy, I want them shining. Clean out the refrigerator and the pantry! Do all laundry! Pay all bills! Recycle! Change the linens! I even try to get the gardener to come the day we leave, so I know the lawn has that just-mowed pattern, even though I won’t be there to enjoy it. It gives me great comfort. And given the opportunity, I even change light bulbs if I suspect they could burn out in our absence.
I take a lot of heat from Jim, Yao Yao, and my friends for being a bit obsessive, but when we turn that key in the door after a long flight and that lingering scent of lemon and lavender clean products hits you, and you dive into fresh, crisp sheets in a clutter-free environment — well, guess who’s in my camp now?