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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Poor Planning

Some background on the voices in my head: (Feel free to skip ahead if you already know me well.)

One of my most effective tools for decreasing my anxiety involves lists. Copious amounts of lists. I use Google tasks and the lists sync to my new phone beautifully, which allows me to take my list-neurosis to a whole new level. I'm currently keeping 17 lists (one for each day of the week, a weekly list of cleaning tasks, a monthly cleaning list, my rx meds, a shopping list, house projects, blog ideas...).

So yes, I'm a bit of a planner. I don't need a minute by minute agenda but I worry much less when I can look at the next week and figure out what day I need to take care of certain things. This works great in reducing my anxiety, though it does mean it throws me for a bit of a loop when something unexpected comes up. But, who am I kidding - surprises ALWAYS bring on a certain amount of anxiety for me. At least this way I'm organized.

The issue:

All of which is the background necessary to understand why my brother-in-law causes me so much stress. He is NOT a planner. Our trip "home" in May involved much pulling of teeth in order to get him to commit to a weekend he would be available so we could book the trip. And then nailing down a time to get together?!?! It would be easier to negotiate world peace.

But that was then, and this is now. I noticed on his Facebook status last Saturday that BIL and his family had driven 15 hours from their home, passing within 30 miles of us, to spend 4th of July with his wife's family in a somewhat beachier city south of my undisclosed location. At first, I was a bit miffed on behalf of my husband that they weren't stopping to see us. And then I realized - it would be SO like my BIL to decide he was stopping in on the way back with very little advance notice.

Ding ding ding!!! Sure enough, on Monday night BIL sent Joe a text that he wanted to stop in to see us later this week before arriving back in NY on Saturday. When would we be available? Let's see - no advance notice, the week of a holiday. Joe's team of six at work is down to three because half the team is on vacation. So not only can he not take unannounced time off but he's working even more than usual (if that's possible) to cover for everyone else being out.

There was much back and forth. The only time Joe could really be available was either for dinners or on Friday afternoon (his company typically closes shop during the summer at noon, which just means they turn off the air conditioning so you have to go home to work). Friday was too late in the week for them so BIL committed to Wednesday night. Or Thursday night. One of those. Probably Thursday. Unless they decide to leave earlier.

And that's where we're at now. They may be here tonight. Or tomorrow night. They may or may not stay over. It's possible he may or may not have brought his two poorly-behaved black labs with him. No, he won't likely give us the courtesy of letting us know before he gets on the road. I wouldn't be surprised at all to hear from him at 5:30 tonight asking what exit to take because he's just hit our city limits and can't remember.

Yay, family. Yay free spirits. Yay aimless wanderers.

Screw that. Yay for lists! Yay for common courtesy! Yay for advance notice!

I'll be the frantic girl trying to get the house completely ready in case they do show up tonight. On the plus side, my house will be clean and I should be able to spend the next couple of days doing less work and more enjoyable things.

Like optimizing my lists.

P.S. I've been working hard at this whole "positive attitude" thing lately. And it's going well. But I think I still need to be able to cut loose in my blog. Otherwise, my head may explode. It's a proven scientific fact.

P.S. I almost failed the last science class I took. True story.


Toriz said...

I don't have anxiety issues, but I like advance notice and to know when things will happen. I don't need times, but at least knowing exactly what day would help. I'm having that issue with my Dad right now... He's meant to visit every second Friday. So I try and get an answer from him near the start of the week so I know if I should be doing things I can easily stop on Friday or if I can get in to things. He thinks it's fine to just show up if he's coming and not if he isn't. Yeah, because I don't have other things to do!

I think common curtasy went south!

TMC said...

Common courtesy, indeed. I'm definitely one who needs advance notice of friends or family coming over. I'm always the mystery neighbour.

Toni said...

This post is RIGHT up my alley! I have a BiL who will call at 11 AM and tell J that he's coming that night, for two nights, with his wife and two kids. AGH!!!

Also, NONE of J's family can make a plan. They plan for NOTHING. Nothing. I plan EVERYTHING. They literally decide today that they're leaving tomorrow morning to spend the weekend somewhere. HOW DO PEOPLE LIVE LIKE THAT!?

P.S. I love the list thing! I can't find the list on google tasks though. Just the calendar. Is it in there somewhere?

C. Beth said...

Funny that we both blogged about anxiety today. (Your comment on my blog was awesome, BTW.)

Unannounced or last-minute guests actually are a definite stressor for me too. I'm not naturally a super-hospitable person. Or a super-clean-house person. So I really want notice.

Jan Holt said...

I recommend packing yourself a nice overnight bag and heading out to a motel for the next night or two. Just avoid the stress and make the point that you are not on their timetable. Just an idea... Hope it all works out okay.