Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Flexibility is the name of the game

I'm a planner. I plan travel, financing, schedules and holidays. When I was younger, I would make a plan and want everyone to go along with my plan. If they didn't, I'd be mad or frustrated. If people would just do things MY way, everything would turn out great.

These days, as part of my planning, I pay attention to what's important to the other people involved and I don't have fixed solutions. Here are a few examples:

WE HAD seven people for Thanksgiving. Two of those are grown sons James and Peter. They both live within 20 minutes of us and they are both football enthusiasts. Usually on Thanksgiving at our house, we decide on a time for dinner. Sons show up, eat, and stay a bit before saying, "Well, I gotta go. Thanks, you guys." Then I'm disappointed because I didn't see much of them. This year, I looked at the football game schedule. There was a game at 1:30 and another one - with our team (Seahawks) playing - at 5:30. So we scheduled dinner for 4:30 and asked people to be there at 1. They showed up, they chatted for a bit, and they turned on the 1:30 football game. At breaks they came out and prepared whatever they'd been delegated to fix. At the end of the game we gathered at the table, talked about what we were grateful for, and ate a fabulous meal. After dinner we cleared the table and then everyone returned to the living room to watch the Seahawks game together - even those of us not crazy about football. The gathering broke up at about 9.  Wonderful day!

If I'm flexible around time, things go better. If you've got football people in your house, it's senseless to set a dinnertime that ignores the game and its importance.

WE'RE LEAVING this week for our winter home in Tucson. Since we bought the place we'd been renting for the last two years, we'll be taking our Designer Cat, Larisa. Usually Art and I drive from Seattle to Tucson in four days. This year Art and my brother-in-law Virgil are doing the drive in two days, with an overnight stop in Ogden, Utah. I am flying with Larisa. Four days in a car with a cat sounds dreadful to me.

I would prefer Art and Virgil take it easy on the drive. They're not young men. But I have no control over how they do their trip. The best I can do is suggest a motel in Ogden, which is about halfway to Tucson. And ask them to text when they arrive. They don't have the same priority as I do about this trip. Or at least I don't think so. I want them to be safe. They want to get there!

I NEED a ride to the airport on Wednesday morning. The men will be gone. My sister will be getting off work at about the time I need to leave home. I don't want to pay for a shuttle or leave my car at the airport for a week. Then I met my friend Lillian for coffee and she said, "I'll take you to the airport." I didn't even think of asking! I knew something would work out, and it did. My only requirement was to be at the airport at about 8:30.

I HAVE to take Larisa out of her carrier going through security and hold her while we go through the metal detector. She has never been to the airport. I heard tales of cats who escaped and were lost in the airport for a month. I need to have a calm cat. I tried Happy Traveler, a calming supplement, on her a few weeks ago. Sprinkled it in her food. She got completely stoned - jumped into a box and stared at me for an hour with huge eyes. So that won't work. I bought a harness and a leash. Larisa has been wearing the harness for a few hours a day and the leash for a few minutes a day and she has made friends with the carrier because it often has treats in it.  I noticed online tonight that so far there is no one sitting in the middle seat next to my window seat. Maybe we'll have a little extra room. Maybe I'll get a first class upgrade. I have no idea how this travel plan is going to work. I have to be flexible. I suspect Larisa will be happier with us in Arizona for four months in a new place than she will be at home for four months without us. I know I will be happier!

Larisa will be the author of the next post.

12 comments:

DJan said...

I didn't even know they make harnesses for cats. They seems so slippery, but I'm sure it will work. I look forward to hearing things from HER point of view. Have a great trip! :-)

Meryl Baer said...

Happy travels! Cats are notoriously poor travelers. Good luck!

Joanna Richey said...

Good luck on the trip Linda - I hope you do get an upgrade. and I also hope that the harness and leash are designer ones so Larisa will look her best at the airport! XXX Joanna

Arkansas Patti said...

Check with your vet to see if there isn't something not quite so dramatic to calm her. Animals are like people and respond differently to different meds. Think the harness is a great fail safe. Good luck and hang on tight. Can't wait to hear her side of the story.

Linda Reeder said...

My grand cats have been trained to leashes. I will certainly help you hold on to her.
We didn't care all that much about the first football game on thanksgiving, but we did all watch the Seahawks together, even those who don't really care, and it was fun.
Good luck with your travels!

Olga Hebert said...

I will be heading south soon as well. I am not a planner. That was Mike's job. He would the known the date and time of departure for trip down, all stops along the way, including the gas stations we would use. Plane tickets for the return trip would already be purchased. Without him, I have reverted to old habits. I will leave sometime in mid December and decide when I return not for some time yet.

Retired English Teacher said...

I am not a planner. I love that you are such a good planner, but it is good that you have learned to be flexible in your planning. I agree with you on the football thing. If guys are going to watch football, there isn't much one can do about it. Thankfully, that has never been a priority at our house.

You are a brave woman to fly with a cat. I think you have been doing a great deal of planning and practicing here too. I was once on a flight where the cat that a woman had on her lap in a carrier got out of the poorly held together carrier and started running around on the plane. It was not a pretty scene. Many were very upset. The stewardess caught the cat and soothed the cat and the owner.

Tom Sightings said...

Have a good trip to Tucson, and I look forward to the time when you scratch out your next post!

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I like your ideas about staying flexible and also planning around guests' needs. Sounds like you came up with a great plan for Thanksgiving. Now I'm picturing a totally stoned cat.... Happy travels to you and Larisa. And I share your hope that your hubby in brother-in-law travel safely.

wheels4me said...

I hope the drive and the flight went well.

Madeline Kasian said...

Enjoy your journey.We drove cross country one year with 2 cats,1 kid, 2 cars..and a bunch of boxes, to move from Iowa to Arizona-- 4 long days and nights,sneaking into motels with the cats.. and yes,I tried the cat tranquilizer one night..ONLY ONE! OMG! Our cats went crazy, we had to keep them sequestered in the motel room bathroom and they were banging into walls, pounding on the door.. a very bad night.After that we just let them be.They were ok in the car, in their carriers. GOOD THINGI you have that harness.. it will mean Larisa will not be able to get away!!

Welcome back to Arizona once again-- will enjoy hearing of your adventures.....

Grandmother (Mary) said...

Maybe you should take the Happy Traveler! She'll be fine- good idea to get her used to the carrier and harness and good to have her with you in AZ. Have a great time- all of you.