Category: Everyday Life Page 1 of 3

The inspiration of Eurail pass

Craig is moving to the UK on Thursday. He’s been flying back and forth for about a year now, and he’s now at a point where circumstances have forced him to make the move permanent. The actual original plan (pretty much since the day we met) was that we would end up in Europe eventually, so this is indeed according to plan. Except that I don’t want to go to the UK, Micole is writing her finals, I have my oncology care to consider etc etc. Craig wants us to go to Europe asap (he’s happy for it to be somewhere other than the UK), but I am definitely taking my time with any commitments.

Nevertheless, we do want to go in December, even just for a quick visit. But if one has three weeks to do as one pleases in Europe, what does one do? Honestly, I have too many ideas. Not for me, of course. I’ve done Europe. And I honestly feel too tired to do too much touristy stuff. But my kids! They want the whole shebang!

So I started to look around at the Eurorail as an option of travel. And…oh my God! I have never really travelled extensively by train, but the idea that you can buy a 15 day pass and go anywhere, anytime you want is actually just thrilling. The website has some sample itineraries, and suddenly I want to pack a suitcase and spend a full year getting lost. Can you imagine?

So how would I spend 3 weeks in Europe? I’d fly into London, take the Eurostar to Paris, travel south to Monaco and North Italy, hit Zurich, then through Germany to Prague and then back West along some route that would end me up in Amsterdam, and then somehow back to London. I realise this is more like a 3 month trip rather than a 3 week trip, and I could get pretty tired of it all rather quickly, but at this stage I am still choosing to romanticise it 🙂

I think what holds the most appeal for me here is that I would not have to visit an airport during my trip. I would also not have to do much driving. I actually do love to take road trips, but for this December trip I just want o chill. And honestly…what better place to chill than a gently rolling train swooshing past European scenery. Wonder how long it will take Zac to be bored out of his mind.

(Speaking of trains, I am reminded of the episode of Travels with my Father, Netflix. The one where they go to Vietnam and have to wait for a train. If you have watched the episode (Season 1) then you are laughing with me. If you haven’t …do! It’s hilarious. We were on the floor!)

Map of possible Eurail routes

Obviously a big part of the appeal of a trip like this is the actual planning. Or lack thereof! Would we plan our itinerary, book the cozy AirBnBs or fancy hotels (our preference can go either way at any time), or do we throw caution to the wind and just wing the whole trip at our own pace? I can see my kids turning the planning experience into a fine tuned operation of epic proportions.

Anyway…it’s an option that requires a tad more research. But even if December is not quite the right time for it, it’s definitely a bucket list item that will need to be crossed off sometime in 2020.

Let’s leave the weekend out of it

I have a delusion that has been biting me in my butt for as long as I can remember: I continually fool myself into believing that “this weekend” is going to be productive. So I will go through the week putting things off “until the weekend”, and then when the weekend is done and dusted, and none of those things were actually done, I am left with a profound feeling of failure and/or laziness.

The never-ending to-do list

So, this weekend: the garage will not get cleaned out, and the pantry will not get organised, and Zac’s summer wardrobe will not be sorted. I’m also not going to pre-write a post-a-day for this blog, nor am I going to catch up on Suits. I’m certainly not going to tackle the meter-high pile of paperwork on my desk that needs to be sorted, nor am I going to catch up on all the weekly financial/business magazines that are also piling up. I am definitely not going to start thinking about next quarter’s strategy, or finish of that Memorandum of Understanding that was due last Thursday. I am also not going to sort through my Google photos, read all the saved Medium articles or go through my LinkedIn profile.

Seriously, all of the above things are on my to do list (and there is plenty more), and somehow I have fooled myself into not feeling bad about not doing them during the week because I should just focus on work and family M-F, and leave the extra stuff for my down time. Right? Not a chance!

More of this this weekend please!

What will inevitably happen is that I am going to have a super-relaxed weekend, where I hang out with myself (doing pretty much nothing) or hang out with my family and friends, which is always a pleasure. I am going to spend the weekend telling myself that I will get to “that” stuff in the evening, and then in the evening all I get to do is collapse with Craig, a glass of wine or coffee and do whatever the hell I feel like doing at the time. And then, on Sunday night I get an overwhelming feeling of remorse and guilt, because I feel as if I have done fuck-all all weekend. but in actual fact I did exactly what I was supposed to do: enjoy my time off. And frankly, I am done feeling guilty about that.

The changes, they are a-coming!

So here is the new deal: I hereby proclaim that I will do nothing chore-like the whole weekend, for every weekend from now on. There is thus no more excuses and procrastination-techniques that allow me to set tasks aside for the end of the week. Rather, all tasks need to be done by Friday 5pm, and those that don’t get done must be scheduled (like, actually scheduled) to be done the following M-F cycle. Then, if I am bored or restless and I feel like doing something “productive” over the weekend I can, but I have zero obligation to feel any guilt about doing nothing all day long.

I’m going to enjoy my weekends like Lisa enjoys everyday! It’s a dog’s life.

To make this work will require some adjustments of course, but most of these are just attitude adjustments since the “extra” work that I will now be doing M-F wasn’t being done in the weekend anyway. It was just taking up brain space and cluttering my thoughts. All I will effectively be doing is not allowing myself to delay a task for “this weekend” and instead I will force myself to schedule it on the M-F calendar.

I anticipate this will come with its own hiccups. One I am already anticipating is that I am going to replace the “this weekend” part with “after kids go to bed“, and I know that scheduling anything for that time is a recipe for disaster because I might or might not have the energy to do anything, and I certainly resent having to do something when I know I could be cuddled up in bed. So I will not allow myself to schedule anything after 6pm.

So basically, I will just need to be more productive and efficient. I need to buy myself about 90 extra minutes a day, and use them productively. This is tricky, because I am already fighting daily fatigue and am not nearly as productive during the day as I would be if I didn’t have that thing, but it needs to be done. An obvious and easy way to buy more time is to outsource and delegate more stuff to others, and I do think I am going to go that route. Ultimately, moving into 2019 I would like to be in mostly a supervisory role, where I am needed for 2-4 hours a day, and everything tick-tocks on its own. That will give me peace of mind and will allow me to focus on the chemo treatment, which I know comes with its own extreme fatigue that takes months to resolve. But if I manage to get the no-weekend-obligations part right, I think it will go a long way to help my physical and emotional recovery.

(Another option, which I might try is to work Monday to Thursday, and leave Friday for “sundries”. I like this idea!)

More of this too, please!

A ridiculous online purchase

Last week, after the lab came and drew some more blood from me at 3am from my hospital bed, I found it difficult to fall back asleep (duh!), and turned to my phone for distraction. And, while browsing Facebook I came across a Sissyboy ad for a dress that I thought was just stunning.

Now, a bit of context here. At this stage, I am on a max dosage of highly potent cortisone, and my body has exploded in bloat. In fact, this specific cortisone is the cortisone responsible for the #moonface terminology, from which I was (am) definitely suffering (To quote: “One of the more visible effects of long term use of high dosages of prednisone is swelling in the cheeks and in the neck. This might also be called prednisone “moon face” by some. Prednisone often causes weight gain and redistribution of fat deposits in some people.”)

I am either square or round. Take your pick. My beloved calls me “Chipmunk”. I had to buy new pants urgently because I just did not fit into any of the ones I owned. You get the picture. I am a balloon.

But here is this dress. And I love it. And it’s 3 f’ing o’clock in the morning and I have just had another lab test and I am feeling sorry for myself, and am clearly not rational. And I want to wear that dress. At some stage. So I buy it.

A couple of days later I get an email that it is not returnable! First of all…sorry Sissyboy, but it IS. You don’t get to re-write the whole CPA for your convenience. But, although when I woke up post purchase I had every intention of shipping the dress back, I decided that..f’ck it. I’m keeping it. And wearing it. Some day.

This is my “Let’s do this, dress” dress.

A crazy purchase

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