With My Mission Nearing Its End, I’ve Got Plans


I have heard of people who can’t sleep because they’re terrified of something, or nervous, or anxious or depressed. I can’t sleep when I’m excited, and I was excited last night.

It was because, yesterday, I mapped out what the months ahead could hold for me… and things look pretty good.

By the end of the summer, I’ll be 99 percent confident that the two kids I’ve been babysitting since they were born will be ready for either preschool or a new babysitter, even if that babysitter is a stranger or new to the game. The kids are on pretty firm ground — smart but not sassy, cute but not conceited, self-confident but not bossy. Plus, they like each other. My work here is done.

Because I had weekends “off,” Mark found me something to do. He bought me a cottage nearby in Kansas City so I can enjoy cool breezes in the summer and enjoy Florida the rest of the time. The cottage was in pretty good shape, but that didn’t stop us from changing everything about it.

We painted every floor, wall and ceiling twice; ripped out walls; replaced plumbing fixtures; re-wired everything; and completely remodeled the kitchen. We’re so close to finished now that, last weekend, Mark turned on the water heater. I ran a celebratory bath, feeling like I was on a Survivor episode where I’d won a day trip to an island spa.

Once both babysitting and home renovation are behind me, I want to travel. I’ve been to Europe, noted its location and points of interest, and, to tell you the truth, I prefer the United States. I want to see a lot more of those states, preferably from the balcony of various resorts or seaside dining tables. I made a list of which state I want to be in every month from now through next January. Then I reread the list three times, just for fun.

I want to check in with family members who have been “on hold” for the past four years while I changed diapers. That necessitates travel to Texas, California, Nevada, Virginia and beyond. Poor, sad, pitiful me. I can hardly wait.

When I’m not traveling, I want to dink around in my antiques store. The girls (and guy) have been doing a wonderful job with it while I’ve been gone – good sales, happy customers — but I want to shake it up a little bit. I mean, we’ll soon be entering our 14th year of business. I want to have a gigantic sidewalk sale, clean out the dead wood, bring in a few trailers full of new stuff and rearrange everything. The store doesn’t need it — I do.

I want to write more — maybe another children’s book, maybe a novel, maybe jokes for the stand-up act I plan to do on cruise ships someday.

Oh, I’ve got plans, all right. Big plans.

Big exciting plans.

You can see why I couldn’t waste time sleeping.