Monday, 17 June 2013

Mark is from Venus!


Clearly, Mark is from Venus and I am from Mars.  Our brains have been made differently; we have come from what seems like entirely different universes!  Look for yourselves....are we really from the same planet?

Yes, this is the man that I married, that hat is not coming with us!
For the past year Mark, the girls and I have been commuting to school daily from our lake house.  What this means is lots of time to communicate, check emails, make to-do lists, think and reflect. 

I tend to spend my time thinking about what has to happen next and reflecting on the day, and of course by now you know....making lists.  That is how I survive, without the lists the thoughts vanish as quickly as they arrive. Sometimes, even the lists don’t help, mainly because I don’t always remember to check them. This has caused me a great deal of concern. My friends and family have tried to console me by saying; ‘it is normal’, ‘you have a lot on your mind’, or ‘welcome to 40!’. My short-term memory is horrible, so is my long-term memory – OK, I can’t remember a darn thing if my life depended on it!  Thus... the LISTS!
Notice the number of notes on my iPhone!
Mark on the other hand has an encyclopedia for a brain and spends his commute, not reflecting, but planning the future. He checks and responds to email, checks face book updates from the group of young families on the move, and books accommodations, reservations, flights etc. - 6 months in advance.  He doesn’t have to update the spreadsheet with the latest booking or write down what he has just done, he just remembers it.  He naturally expects me to be able to do the same, but has come to realize – that this is just not going to happen.  Instead we have come up with a system; Mark emails me his latest trip update, I then read it, update the spread sheet, pay the bill or whatever other action is required of me.  Once I have finished what needs to be done, the email is filed.  If it requires further action, it is marked as unread.  The information does not stay bumping around in my brain for me to be able to retrieve at a moment’s notice. Nor does it remain in my inbox. The thing is my email inbox is a thing of beauty with files, folders, colour codes and clarity. Mark on the other hand, has over 400 random emails from the last 6 months.
While setting up our new Mac, I added Mark's email address...
only 9 of these messages are mine.  The other 424 are Mark's!

To get a glimpse of just how different Mark and my brain on.  A dear friend of ours mentioned that her sister-in-law lived in Paris and might be able to offer us some suggestions for our stay there.  I was to notify her of the dates that we would be in Paris.  The conversation I had with my brain went something like this...hmmm when are we in Paris, I know that Dan is coming to visit us in September sometime, they are going to do Vimy Ridge together and he is going to look after the girls while we are in Paris so that Mark and I can go out for a romantic dinner, I think we are headed to Paris after Vimy, so that would put us towards the middle or end of September, oh, I can’t remember – I’ll have to check the spreadsheet.  (Yes my brain operates in very long, run-on sentences) My outside voice replies to my friend that I will email her with the dates as soon as I have a chance to check the spreadsheet (which I have not done yet, better add it to the list).  Upon my return home, I let Mark know about this latest development and that I have to email the Paris dates.  He responds with, ‘We are going to be in Paris from October 9th-14th, don’t you remember, that is when Dan is coming?’ Clearly, I do not remember, I am from Mars!

Today on the way home, I am contemplating whether I want to read over my report card comments for the third time, I wonder how Meg’s doctor’s appointment went today, I call to check in with Grandma and Papa  and add ‘work on setting up the new Mac and kobo’ to my to-do list.  In the passenger seat, Mark starts reading me an email from ‘Jack and Jill’ – you know the couple that has offered us their house in August and again in December, that is staying at our cottage two weeks this summer – blah, blah, blah. How does he keep all of this stuff in his brain!  Anyway, it is all good news because, they will allow us to use their address to register the ownership for the car that we are buying in the UK because the other ‘Jill’, the one that we are staying with in Chelmsford, that stayed in our cottage last summer hasn’t had a chance to get back to us yet.  Oh and by the way...we can store our luggage with ‘Jack’ in Iceland while we tour around, as that will save us trying to fit it all into a rental car along with the camping equipment. You forgot to pick up the fancy band-aids too, what do you need them for anyway? Venus, ladies and gentlemen....he is from Venus!

OK, this is Mark here. I am editing this blog post and have found one inaccuracy. Lisa says that she is from Mars; I think she also forgot the title of the book!  As you all know, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Now, back to Lisa...

I have spent hours creating and updating the spread sheet on Google and just as many hours making sure we have a backup plan to access it, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. I need to get my priorities straight, if I don’t remember what hill Jack and Jill live on, I’ll just consult the World Trip Encyclopedia – Mark.  In the mean time I’ve made a note to pick up some `Ginkgo Biloba`, I’ve heard it does wonders for cognitive function and memory!

Psst, Mark here again. I did not tell Lisa that we won`t have internet in Asia. Don`t tell her as it will just stress her out and she doesn`t have any more room in her backpack for `St. John`s Wort`.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Final Count Down

With our departure date growing closer and closer, many are asking how many more days.  I, of course know that they are referring to our trip around the world departure date, but I am thinking - only 1 more day left until the weekend, only 8 more days to cram the rest of the math, language, social studies and science curriculum in, 7 more days until the Hamilton Tattoo, and then there is report cards, ahhh! How many days till they are due? 

 I like to deal with one thing at a time, finish it, and move on. OK, I am a procrastinator, but it sounds much better the way I put it first.  Although I have made great progress in this area, I am nothing like Mark.  He can quote a solar job, write report cards and book a ferry passing from Ireland to France all while relaxing in the hot tub with his ‘other wife’, Ipad.
Typical morning at the cottage, no matter the weather!
His ability to plan months and years in advance is the only reason that we are able to embark on this world travel adventure.  If it was left up to me...well let's just say that I haven't finished reading the ‘around the world travel guide’ that Mark ordered over a year ago, but it is on my to-do list! 

Today is no different! Checking out accommodation in Australia. According to my list we are not going to be there until April 2014, but why shouldn't we book now!?

For interest sake I asked the girls the same question, ‘how many more days until we leave for our trip?’  Ally responded, while flipping through a recipe book planning lunch (potatoe rosti AND it is 2:00) “I dunno”.  Meg, who on the other hand has long ago finished lunch, said “around 47 days, why?” and proceeded to check the calendar and was exactly right.  The apples don’t fall too far from the trees!

My extended family had difficulty dealing with my inability to plan too far in advance.  I can still remember the horror on my mother-in-law’s face after delivering their first grandchild.  She had asked a simple question, one that I can’t even remember now, but something little like - when would the belly button cord fall off.  I had been a model mom-to-be, taking care of myself, getting lots of rest and eating properly.  I had done what all eager new moms do and diligently read my ‘What to Expect When You Are Expecting” book... daily.  I was on target, taking one day at a time...UNTIL... Ally arrived 2 weeks early!  My response to the question was simple....I didn’t know... I hadn’t read ‘What to Expect the First Year” yet. According to my records I still had two weeks left and probably three, as all first babies are late - based on the child birth professionals that would stop me in the elevator and every street corner.  So... how was I possibly able to answer when her belly button cord would fall off?

My family has gotten used to this quality in me and rarely asks about Christmas plans until after Meg’s birthday now. Despite my procrastination, I am incredibly organized, I make lists left, right and centre and I know where everything is (in a tote labelled of course!) I just can’t start planning too far in advance. A girlfriend at work told me I could get an app to count down the days, when she couldn't believe I didn't know how many days were left.  I tried about six different ones, but none of them were quite up to my satisfaction.  So - to everyone’s dismay, no, I don’t know how many more days are left until we leave. BUT.... I do know there are a whole lot of events to get through, packing to get organized, and more things to check off on lists before that day comes.  I still have no idea exactly where we are going in Italy, what we are seeing or when we will be arriving, but I’ll get there!  In the meantime, if you want to know how many days are left before we are better to ask Mark...or Meg!