The Best Laid Plans

Plan A: This plan originated in September, when Daughter purchased her tickets for a flight home for Christmas. She would leave Seattle/Tacoma on December 22, fly to MPLS, have a nice long layover, and fly into Bismarck at 11:00 PM. We would pick her up that night and take her home.

Plan B: This plan originated late last week when I saw that we were to have patchy blowing snow the night of the 22nd, and the wind chill was predicted to be -51. Daughter decided that she would spend the night of the 22nd in Mandan with the mother of her childhood best friend, and we would pick her up on Friday, when the snow was predicted to stop blowing.

Plan C: This plan emerged after Daughter saw that the weather was going to be a little snowy in MPLS, and that, if her flight to Bismarck was cancelled, she would stay with a friend in the Cities. Alternatively, if the friend couldn’t get to the airport to pick her up, she would stay in a hotel close to the airport. With either option, she would hope to get to Bismarck on the 23rd.

Plan D: By Sunday, Daughter started to panic, and thought that she wouldn’t get out of Seattle/Tacoma because there was a snow storm predicted on the 22nd, and there had already been many cancelled flights after only 1/2 inch of snow. She planned to prepare herself for being stuck in Tacoma.

Plan E: This plan emerged in the wee hours of Tuesday after Daughter saw the terrible storm predictions for MPLS. After convincing herself that she wasn’t being impulsive, she cancelled her reservations for the 22nd, and rebooked herself on another airline for the 25th that would take her to Denver, and thence directly to Dickinson by 9:00 PM. The weather and winds in Denver and Dickinson are predicted to be manageable on the 25th. She didn’t book this sort of flight in the first place because she really dislikes the Denver Airport.

What is your plan B? Have your thoughts about winter travel changed at all over the years? What is your opinion of John Steinbeck?

52 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans”

  1. That’s probably a wise move for her. I got a sister flying in from the East coast one of these days… maybe not until later as I haven’t heard her saying anything about the weather and our family Christmas isn’t until 1/1. (Clearly, I’m not the one picking her up at the airport. ) 🙂

    I always have a plan B. I realized that just in the last year or two that I always have a contingency…I found that very interesting. Why do I do that? Maybe farming and there was no excuse, things just had to get done. Maybe theater and ‘The show must go on’. Maybe it’s just the problem-solving way my head works.
    But then some things, like weather, we have to be smart enough to realize, we’re not in charge of that. Hence plans B, C, D, and E. Safe travels to her and everyone else on the move out there! We’re not going anywhere until this all blows over and the roads get plowed. No where to be, nothing to do. Ah, Winter. We just talked about this didn’t we. Happy Solstice!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I told my children I was going stay with Sandy until the snow got serious. My son suggested a plan B, that I should leave when the snow becomes amused.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I’ve never known a plan that didn’t go awry. Why is that?

    Planning is something I’ve had to train myself to do. I did get into the habit of making plans so things would go more smoothly but it must be my fate to have a Murphy’s Law kind of life. I didn’t plan on getting a new furnace when I got a home energy audit. I just wanted to find out where the cigarette smoke is getting in and seal it off. I learned a lot. I decided to spring for the furnace sooner rather than later. Maybe that’s a good plan that hasn’t gone awry (so far). The furnace is going in right now. Now that ice dams are already forming over my bedroom roof, the attic insulation will be done on January 9. I hope the roof makes it until then. I thought being part of an HOA was a plan and that they’d worry about that kind of thing for me but that plan went awry. When I ask them about it, they don’t have much to say.

    I wish I had a better attitude but I think Steinbeck, unfortunately, was a realist.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Plan B is usually, “Be flexible and ready to improvise.”

    Winter travel? For vacation travel, not so much. We just returned from AZ on Sunday after a TH departure that was delayed three times for a total of 90 minutes. Also had a delay in the return even though there were no apparent weather issues in Mpls. Ever since 9/11, I hate flying with a passion. I think I’ve ranted about the TSA, cramped seating, and such before, so I won’t rehash that. I’ll do everything possible to book a direct flight in hopes of avoiding delays and missed connections, or lost luggage.

    For daily winter travel, we don’t bother when the weather’s inclement and the trip is optional. Around town it’s no big deal, but going to the Cities is an hour each way and not worth risking an accident on icy roads or in tornado weather. Makes it easy when one is retired. But as an author, I’ve canceled a few gigs due to bad weather.

    I’ve enjoyed the Steinbeck books I’ve read, especially “Of Mice and Men.” Many powerful images have stayed with me since I read it–especially the final scene with George and Lenny. Talk about a tough choice for George to make!

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I find that careful planning at the front end, including contingencies for unforeseen circumstances, can alleviate a lot of stress. Even so, it helps to be flexible when things go completely off the rail, as they sometimes do. On the other hand, I think there’s a lesson in the fact that many of our most vivid memories are of events that didn’t go exactly as planned. I think there’s something to Maya Angelou’s claim that you can tell a lot about a person by how they handle a rainy day, lost baggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. Life can be really difficult if you don’t learn to go with the flow.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Plan B is Medicare. I’m fatigued by all the calls and letters trying to sell Plans CDEFGH…
    Moving to Ohio changed my winter driving pattern. I avoid it as much as possible. You just cannot trust Ohioan drivers so I leave the road to the crazies.
    Enjoy Steinbeck. First read The Pearl and Winter Of Our Discontent BEFORE Grapes Of Wrath. Memorable characters.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wish I could offer some words of comfort with regard to the Medicare morass, Wes, but the reality is that you’ll have to endure that barrage every year in the fall, at least until that system changes.

      Medicare has an excellent website that allows you to easily find and compare the various plans available in your area, but lots of people feel intimidated by the process. Because of my professional experience in administering employee benefits, I had a good understanding of terminology that confuses a lot of people. Even so, I found it worthwhile to attend one of many seminars, offered by independent, reputable consulting firms specifically targeting senior citizens, that outlined the features, pros and cons of the various supplemental Medicare plans. Depending on your overall health, what medications you’re on, and whether or not you travel (say, spend part of the winter in Arizona), the plan you choose can make a big difference. Some personal preferences come into play as well. The silver lining is that if you make a mistake in your choice of plans, you get a chance to fix it once a year. With a little luck, your mistake will not have caused serious damage to your health or financial well being.

      Liked by 5 people

  7. To answer you first question, Renee, yes, my thoughts about traveling during winter have changed significantly. In fact, so have my plans for traveling, period.

    While I used to love flying, it has been a long time since that was pleasurable. I can’t think of thing that would entice me to ever get on a plane again.

    I also used to love getting in the car, and just go. I could drive long distances without tiring. That’s no longer the case. For one thing, I need to make a lot more pit stops (if you know what I mean), so it takes forever to get anywhere. Driving to Chicago, Milwaukee, or the Iron Range for a weekend, even in the dead of winter, was not cause for any anxiety. Occasionally, we have had cause for reconsidering the wisdom of that. We once drove to Will’s Homestead near Ely during a blizzard. At the time we thought nothing of it; now we shudder and shake our heads talking about it.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Talk about Plan B! I just got off the phone with my friend Mina. As you may recall, Mina and her daughter, Anna, were going to cook the Christmas dinner of roast lamb we were going to share at Ann’s house. (Anna, her husband, and daughter are visiting from Tasmania.) Wouldn’t you know it? Anna and her daughter have both come down with Covid, and, of course, everyone in that household has had to cancel plans for being at Ann’s house on Christmas Day.

    Because of my bad knee, and my current inability to spend much time standing, I had opted to purchase a precooked prime rib dinner for husband’s and my Christmas Eve feast. We’d normally have a pork roast, with a lot of traditional Danish sides, but it required a lot more work than I’m able to do at the moment. Luckily, the dinner I purchased is for four people, so our Christmas Eve dinner will now be shared with Ann on Christmas Day instead.

    It’s not exactly how we had planned it, but I trust it will work out just fine. We’re hopeful to meet Mina and Will’s family from Tasmania on New Year’s Eve instead.

    Now I just need to figure out what we’ll have on Christmas Eve.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

    – John Steinbeck

    Liked by 4 people

  10. A snow emergency has been called in St. Paul, and I need to move my PT Cruiser off the street by 9 PM. Husband discovered that my battery is frozen solid, and apparently, removing the battery from the car is a major pain in the posterior. We’ve tried calling a couple of tow trucks, and of course, they’re all busy. Any ideas or suggestions?


    1. Try to contact a tow company even if they can’t move it right away. If you can at least make some arrangment for tomorrow, call the non-emergency police line and explain the circumstances, and put a note on the car that you have a tow truck coming. You might still get a ticket, but they would be less likely to impound the car if you can demonstrate you’re trying to get it moved.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Night plow. The car is supposed to be off the street by 9 PM. I’ve found a tow truck that’ll be coming to tow it in about 45 minutes. So though it’s a pain to have to deal with, at least the car will be off the street and the battery issue can be addressed tomorrow. Thanks for your suggestion, Linda. I appreciate it.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. Now it is -57°. As I drove home tonight from work, my brake pedal wouldn’t work well. It was stiff and wouldn’t compress. I drove home with much anxiety.


  11. Why did people ever settle in Minnesota, in the days when heat was provided by burning wood? Why did they think this was a safe place to raise their children in winter when the wind chill was -57?

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Plans going awry benefited me hugely today. The big holiday party for YA’s work (and my old work) was planned for this afternoon at 4 PM. Then the forecast happened and they decided that they would let people work from home if they wanted to and they pushed the holiday party up to 2:30. By about 2 o’clock yesterday it was clear that a lot of people were going to stay home so they offered everyone who did come to the party the ability to bring a guest. Cha Ching!! . Mama went to a fancy a** party today. It was an enormous amount of fun and great food. And they served a Yule mule cocktail with little ice cubes that lit up. Gorgeous and fun.

    And I adore Steinbeck!

    Liked by 3 people

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