Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Not this time

I know. The Holidays are upon you, and you’re feeling you have more things to do than time to do them. Right? And you tell yourself that this is the opposite of the point. The point is to be on a holiday, to have time to think, take stock, carefully pick a New Year resolution.

So I told myself: not this year.

In a frenzy that began about two months ago, I made a list of Little Things That Don’t Get Done Until You Put Them Down In Writing; and then went methodically through it. We changed the outdoor sconces, replaced a couple of light bulbs, re-touched the paint in the house. We re-landscaped our overgrown, jungle-like front yard. We had the windows cleaned. We went through our closets, weeding out things we didn’t use throughout the year.

I then reviewed what I had in my pantry and bought the missing ingredients that would turn these random items into actual meals; cooked several dishes and froze them. Then, I restocked the pantry and the fridge with new things. (Yes. I do worry that all my labels face in the same direction, like the demented bad guy in “Sleeping with the Enemy.”)

I went out, bought all our holiday gifts and wrapped them. We ordered our cards, and then requested my friends send me their updated addresses and created labels, which I printed.

Last week, I suggested to Luca that we fast in Thanksgiving, in a gesture of gratefulness and self sacrifice that seems more congruous to me than giving thanks while eating too much. Luca, who until now was putting up with my maniacal obsessive behavior, drew the line. He wants turkey and chocolate coffee pecan pie, thank you very much.

So I shuffled over to my desk to scrutinize my calendar and my “to do” notebook, to figure out what else I could possibly do to get ahead of the elusive curve.

That’s when it hit me.

I’m getting ready for tragedy to strike. It did on January 15, 2006, when Luca had a heart attack, and I was caught completely unprepared. I never want to be that naïve again. It was like being shot in the back.

Is it at all possible to have a plan for whatever life has in store for us? Can we ever truly be ready? Can seven hundred lists make one hoot of a difference?


Well, at least if something unexpected happens, maybe our Holiday cards will be delivered by then. And if you drop in for a surprise visit, there is fantastic Minestrone in the freezer.

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