In five days, the Big Guy and I will arise early and cheerily, throw our overnight bags into the back seat of our car, and start a six-day drive home. Before that, we will complete a miscellany of tasks related to being here, being anywhere, preparing to leave here, and readying ourselves to be elsewhere.
Host a dinner party.
Attend two Major League Baseball Spring Training games (one, 60 miles from our local accommodation).
Enjoy a series of inventive and/or ill-balanced meals as we eat-down the residue of refrigerator, freezer, and cupboard stocks from three months of provisioning for on-site cooking and entertaining.
Return to a few nearby locations for final photo shoots.
Gather all bills supporting our paltry Canadian Customs declaration for easy access in case of need.
Make reservations at hotels along our planned route.
Pay month-end bills online.
Reach out to Ottawa contacts to set up appointments, meetings, and social dates for April.
Run several loads of laundry.
Separate our stuff into those things needed on the voyage and those not, packing suitcases, boxes, and bags accordingly.
Wash floors and clean bathrooms.
Run a final dishwasher load.
Dispose of all food not inventively consumed; clean and sort recyclable containers.
Wheel official curbside containers for garbage and recyclables to side of curb.
Load the car.
Complete at least two slightly anxious final checks of all rooms, closets, cupboards, and drawers, whether used on this stay or not.
We will, of course, do all this while keeping up with the routine established here: daily exercises and walks, among other activities like birding, photography, and golf.
Every March, the end of our time-away-from-winter drives a slightly zany zoom-zoom as we try to finish everything we must do and everything we’d like to do before we have to leave. It’s akin to the proposal/project environment that I worked in for 25 years, where the money at stake meant we wanted to perfect our submission, but where the hard deadline eventually trumped all other considerations.
And so I know that we’ll leave early Friday morning, cheery or not, and that we won’t get everything done between now and then. What amazes me every year is just how much we do accomplish with a hard deadline, and how easy an impending deadline makes it to separate the must-do from the oh-if-only.
On balance, I don’t want to know my own personal dead-line, as it were, but I have to admit that it might bring some project management benefits.