We always go to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving. This year, we had planned to leave on Tuesday afternoon, dismissing the kids early from school and heading up mid-day.
Then we kept hearing that the weather on Tuesday was supposed to be really rainy and freezing cold–not good driving conditions, especially on a road trip with four kids and a small dog.
All day Monday I stressed and stressed about it, checking the Weather Channel obsessively and reading everything I could find about the pending weather. Every report I read was worse than the last–they all said it would be snowing in the DC area from the early morning hours on Tuesday, then freezing rain and sleet by the time we wanted to get in the car and start driving. And basically we would follow the track of the storm up the whole Northeast corridor, so we’d be in the worst of it all day long.
A 500-mile drive with kids is a patience-tester, no matter what. Adding in that foul weather meant that the drive would probably take way longer than our estimated 10 hours. And that it would be white-knuckled driving the whole way–slippery road conditions and stressed drivers in holiday traffic. A really, really bad scenario.
I called Matt at work on Monday afternoon and suggested maybe, possibly, potentially leaving Monday night and just driving as far as we could, getting a hotel, then finishing up the drive on Tuesday morning–thus staying ahead of the nasty weather.
He replied that he had a very important meeting both Monday evening and Tuesday morning, so he didn’t think we could make that plan work. But he did promise to see if someone could cover the Tuesday morning meeting, so maybe, just maybe, we could do it.
Just in case it worked out, I went into crazy mode right away–I finished packing the kids suitcases (which were mostly done), packed myself (which hadn’t even been started), cleaned out my van, packed the van, got all the road trip essentials together, cleaned up the house and got it ready to be shut up for a week, adjusted pet-care plans, and got all our ducks in a row. The kids helped A TON, but were also insane over the possible change–it just seemed like a fun and cool adventure to them.
Matt called and said he got Tuesday covered, so once he got home, we could hit the road. Cue insanity by the children again. And me.
We left that night at about 7:45PM and made it halfway through New Jersey before we had to stop. We got a hotel and slept until 7AM and were back on the road by 7:20AM. We made it to Boston in great time and the nasty weather started about an hour after we got to my parents house, so our plan was a success. Phew!
Last minute changes to set plans sometimes throw me for a loop–I am a PLANNER. And I usually stick to my plan come hell or high water, for better or for worse. If I have to change plans mid-course, I RE-PLAN…I am not usually good at just winging things, especially if my kids are involved. I can adapt and overcome when needed, of course, but I always prefer to have a plan.
This major change of plans worked out so well in the end though. Although it was hectic and chaotic for those three hours when I was packing and cleaning and waiting to hear from Matt if we could leave early, that stress was NOTHING compared to the potential anxiety of a 500-mile drive in terrible driving conditions with four children in the car. I was so relieved not to have to face that, the temporary stress of doing everything in three hours was barely an issue.
I was really glad we changed our plans in the end. And honestly, I was proud of myself for adapting to the situation and not sticking to plan just because it was already made.
Are you a planner like me, or would something like this not bother you at all?