Some people are very organised. Everything seems to run smoothly as they prepare for their trips abroad, and their 'last-minute' packing is what they put in suitcases a day or two before leaving.
It never seems to work like that in our house. We often don't even start packing until the day before we leave. We think of things that need doing, but get caught up in non-essentials. Or, more likely, essential matters which we have procrastinated about for the past month or two.
This time I was determined it was going to be different.
We leave on Sunday night for a month in the UK. It's only about a week ago that Richard picked up the tickets, and I learned that it was indeed Sunday night (ie Monday morning early) rather than Monday night (or Tuesday early). But that was OK... we let people know, and I adjusted.
A couple of weeks ago I was feeling overwhelmed with Things That Needed Doing, so I wrote myself a list. Stuff to do in the UK (in case I forget when we get there) and stuff to do before we leave. I felt much better when it was there on paper. It wasn't so much after all, even when I wrote down all the details.
But there's the problem... because it didn't seem like much, I stopped worrying about it. Oh, I got in touch with a few friends and relatives who we want to see, kept the list handy for adding things, and did useful chores like cleaning the oven thoroughly and mowing the lawn - or half of it, anyway.
Now it's Wednesday. This morning we went to the supermarket and the bank, I paid some bills, I signed off various email lists, I wrote several overdue emails, I got all our accounts up-to-date, I transferred some money, I doled out cash for the boys to pay for their various classes up to now. But my list is no shorter because I keep adding to it. Tomorrow is Tim's birthday and he's having a few friends over in the evening. Friday we have our house group here. Saturday Richard would like to try out the little boat, if the trailer gets mended in time. I have no idea when we'll think about packing but I'd really like it to be before Sunday.
Part of the problem is that it's so humid. It's not particularly hot any more, only about 30C [86F] in the daytime, but by evening the humidity's over 75%. The air feels heavy, too. Thunder's predicted for the weekend and I can quite believe it. Just walking about the house feels almost like walking through shallow sea... every step is an effort, and my limbs ache after a while. Add to that the feeling of Pritt-stick all over my arms and back ensuring my clothes cling, and apparently a layer of honey in my shoes, and it's distinctly not pleasant doing anything much. It hasn't been hot enough to use the air conditioning all day but this evening we turned it on just for the de-humidifying effect.
Of course I could take a lukewarm shower for temporary relief, but I know from experience that it's hard to get dry afterwards, and then half an hour later I feel much the same as before. So all we can do is to struggle through, knowing it won't last.
At least it won't be hot and humid in the UK.