My family...well, let’s just say they think I can be a little uptight. They roll their eyes when I make lists or want to discuss logistics for trips weeks in advance. For example, when we went on a cruise in 2019, I arranged the whole thing for seven adults and six kids. I booked the rooms, researched side trips, looked into international document requirements, and arranged transportation. One thing they rolled their eyes at was when I created a dinner schedule to make sure that the small children had babysitters so we would trade-off in shifts, rotating who got to enjoy dinner with whom. They agreed to me creating this chart, but as I had expected, no one followed it. This meant that I ended up eating dinner by myself, on a cruise, in fancy dining rooms, four nights of the seven, a week after my divorce was finalized. The exact thing I had sought to avoid. Meanwhile, it didn’t occur to a single one of them that looking after anyone’s emotional needs might be why following a plan might matter.
I sure got a lot of eye rolls over the Labor Day weekend. I had seen the weather reports, and they were showing a massive drop in temperature. However, I knew that you couldn’t get that extreme of a shift without an incredible windstorm and I was worried. The fear of falling trees had led me to uproot eight different aspen trees the year before that had been dying. Because I couldn’t afford a tree service, it took a LOT of work to clear them out, but I was worried about the wind knocking them over into my neighbor’s garage. Would my insurance cover that?
Throughout Labor Day weekend I prepared my garden and my house. I built structures to cover my garden, nailed down new ground cover, and, sweating in a breezeless 90-degree heat at 8 pm on Sunday (which was supposed to have a low of 46 that night), pulled in garbage cans, slides, umbrellas, and anything else that could blow away. As I did so, the heat was stifling and the air completely still.
As I was working, my brother was helping by playing with my toddler and keeping him occupied and accounted for. Throughout the weekend, and especially Sunday night, I got a look I am very familiar with my family: “That Aspen. She’s always so uptight and makes a big deal of nothing.”
I always feel a little defensive when I get this look. So when it turned out my best attempts to secure the plastic sheets over my garden blew away before 10 pm, I went into a complete funk. I’d worked so hard all weekend, and gotten so much side-eye, and all for nothing. I was humiliated and embarrassed.
Then I woke up Tuesday morning to a text message that school was canceled. Twitter showed image after image of 200-year-old trees toppled on cars and trampolines in pools. Winds were logged at up to 112 miles per hour, and I know two different people (one a RidgeCrest employee) who had trees topple on their cars. One friend couldn’t get to her car for days because of the live wires tied in with the tree that had smashed her crossover. The tree in my neighbor’s yard was pulling up their pavement and they chopped it down before it could blow over into the street. Power went out for hundreds of thousands of Utahns.
So it turns out I WASN’T crazy for taking it seriously, and obviously nothing I could have done to cover my garden would have held. It was a good reminder that it’s ok that I am a planner, even if my family isn’t. An ounce of prevention is worth an ounce of cure, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of being who I am!