Monday, May 23, 2005

I'm Ready For Bed

We have spent the lat two days finalizing our “last hurrah.” A few weeks ago we booked the packaged Ireland tour, the flights to and fro, and a place to sleep in Barcelona. It was there we stopped because we were unsure as to where we would like to spend a few days in France. In doing so over the last couple of days, one of the great differences between me and my wife came to light in the most unflattering way.

Amy is a researcher. For the last 6 weeks or so, she has been researching the details of this Barcelona to Strasbourg vacation. She got out all her maps and scoured the entire country for interesting cities. She wore out our guide book, and sifted through the internet for information regarding any and all places to visit. If a city exists with something minutely interesting to see, she found it, researched it and planned out a possible visit.

She took notes. She searched train schedules, cross referencing other possible stops to ensure the best possible times and routes. She marked, checked and rated every city, village, and hut throughout the entire country.

She didn’t, however, make any type of decision. Amy is fantastic at research, and terrible at decision making. She wants to see EVERYTHING. So, after weeks of looking, she was no closer to having a plan than when she begun.

I am the opposite. I make decisions quickly, and sometimes, rather hastily. I sat down last night, after Amy had spent several hours reviewing and revising her notes, and started planning our voyage. We bought a Eurorail pass. Basically we can travel anywhere in Spain and France on five separate days within a two month period. We can make multiple stops during one travel day, but once that day is over, so is the days ticket. Now, I know we want to go to Paris for a couple of days, and we will be returning to Strasbourg. Two tickets gone, right there. That left us three travel days.

Looking at Amy’s notes I quickly surmised that she wanted to visit the Southern province of Provence. I quickly chose a city that seemed interesting and was far enough away from the highly crowded beach resorts. Montpellier is the name. From there Amy gave me two choices for our next stop. Skimming the pages in the guidebook I again quickly decided on Arles because it contains both some Roman ruins and was where Van Gogh lived for a time. Our next stop was easy, because we had already decided we wanted to travel to Tours so that we could do some castle tours.

In a manner of 15 minutes I had made decisions that Amy had been killing herself over for weeks.

She was not particularly happy over my quick decision making. Yet, she was not sure in which manner to attack me. Her first approach was to complain that it seemed like we were rushing from place to place too quickly. It is true that we were planning to see a lot of countryside in a very short amount of time. It is the nature of this type of traveling. I explained that with this type of tour, we had to move quickly through each city in order to see more things. On several occasions we will be traveling to a city in the morning, touring in the afternoon, and then traveling to the next city that evening. We simply don’t have the money or the time to spend a long time in each city. Besides, many of these smaller cities can easily be toured in a day, and any extra stay would become dull.

Without pausing for the irony, she then complained that we weren’t seeing enough cities. I reminded her that she just complained that we were moving too quickly, and that it certainly wouldn’t slow us down to add more cities onto the itinerary. There is little leeway to add more days to our tour, because we simply have to get back in order to pack up and fly back to the states. She then accepted my explanations, though adding in some sulk.

I must admit that Amy did a marvelous job of researching everything, which made my job of decision making so much easier.

The difference noted here, highlight the general differences in our life outlook. Amy is very thorough, detail oriented, and great at research. When she goes grocery shopping she looks over every single item of food. She checks the ingredients, net weight and price and then compares each with similar items in the aisle. After a close inspection of each item she then picks one out for purchase. It’s the same in clothes shopping. She inspects each rack, checking out styles, sizes, and colors. She runs a mental check for matching items already in her closet, then keeps an eye out for additional matches within the store. She chooses a large selection of potentials and tries them on. The try-ons get sorted into stacks according to their cuteness, price and how they fit. When items do not fit just right they are taken back and different sizes are sought out. This goes on for eternity. It doesn’t even matter is she actually has money to make the purchase, she will look for hours with no intention of actually walking out of the store with anything.

This wears me out to no end. When I shop, I do a slow walk through my section. If something catches my eye I pull it out checking price, size and wearability. If I get a match on all three, I will take it in for a one time tryout. I have never flipped through all the clothes within a rack. If I dig one item on the rack I will give it a good once over and then move on. If it takes me more than half an hour to shop for clothes I am disheartened.

It is like this in nearly everything. Amy is thorough and detailed. Which reads slow to me. I am quick, and decisive. Which reads rash to Amy.

Despite these differences, we manage to get along quite nicely. I let her go shopping with the girls, and she lets me make the final decision on where we’re going to vacation.

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On top of the two day long process of reserving our vacation the rest of the day was rather lousy. I had a horrible French class due mainly on my bad attitude stemming from the vacation planning. I have also moved up a level, so to speak, in my language learning. I suddenly feel like I am back at day one. The last several weeks have been mainly review lessons on what I have already studied. These lessons make me feel good about my language acquisition. I actually seem to know the answers. Now that I’ve been upgraded, everything is new again. The vocabulary has expanded, and the grammar has become more difficult. My head is sullenly resting in my hands again, and my answers become disenchanted mumbles.

After class I did the unfortunate thing of checking my credit card balance. Not good! I hate debt. I hate being in debt. Europe has slowly depleted our saving and put us in a great deal of debt. We’re certainly not broke. We will manage quite nicely. Bills will be paid and payments will be made on the card. It just feels miserable to feel like you owe a huge amount.

To top things off I missed seeing Star Wars. I intentionally put off seeing the film this weekend because I was going to see it with Daniel tonight. He did not want to see it with 8 million others folks this weekend, and I agreed to hold off until Monday night. Unfortunately, something came up and he was unable to go anyway. We got to the theatre only to find that our scheduled showing was in French. The next English language showing wasn’t until much later. By the time much later rolled around, Amy decided she was too pooped to view.

There is always tomorrow, I suppose.

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