No-Plans Plan

The most challenging aspect of living with oil and gas, for me, has been the absolute unpredictability with regard to schedule and life-planning.  For a while I assumed that my husband just wasn't that great at planning because he is a man, a theory which was supported by years of dating other men.  But time has gone by, and I notice that it's not just him.  The people from whom he gets his schedule information are usually also days, weeks, and even months off target.  Again, I can't lie, I attributed this to the fact that his is an industry run largely by men.  It seemed plausible that if men were bad at planning and time calculations, then an industry made up of thousands of men would produce schedules and predictions that were totally off.  On the other hand, I may have to cut him, and them, some slack, because I have also learned that everything hinges on wells.

As it turns out, drilling a functional well through layers of earth is messy and imperfect.  So, for years I've been living with no-plans plans.  I lived in fear that my husband would be trapped offshore and miss our wedding.  I worried for years about him missing flights home.  I have despaired trying to plan gatherings or verify our attendance at family holidays.  I have also finally realized that this not knowing is what explains my husband's reticence.  He doesn't want to let me down, but he doesn't know the answer, so he is quiet sometimes.  He doesn't like to guess, because he knows how far off an educated guess could still put him.  It used to make me wild and crabby, but I've been working on improving my attitude about it.  It's no fun to feel anxious for months on end, and it's hard on both of us, so I'm finding ways to redirect that energy.

At the end of August, I found out that we may or may not be moving to Houston.  Or Luanda.  At any rate, I would not have predicted our imminent departure from Canada, but here it is.  We thought it was two years away, but instead, here it is, probably before Christmas.

Here are some things to do if you may or may not be moving in a month or two: talk to your landlord, stop working (unless you love your job), do more of the things you have been meaning to do in the place to which you are unlikely to return after you leave, do lots of the things that you enjoy in that place, and make many lists, including a list of accounts to close or addresses to change and items that the movers should or will not move.  Then, celebrate the adventure. With champagne and/or whatever other adult beverages you have around that you have to use up before the relocation.

Sometimes people find me intense; when I make plans, I always want them put on the books immediately, and executed as soon as possible.  I want to book the flights today, have the dinner together tonight, sign up for the event on the's because in the five years that I have known my husband, this is the third time that I have experienced unexpected long-distance relocation.  This is the planner in my nature, not wanting to miss a minute of possible fun and companionship in every place.  If we don't do it today, I might be gone tomorrow.  My attempt to plan seemingly tricky things on short notice can sound preposterous to people, but I just want to see them, and spend time together, before the window of opportunity closes again.

So, for the last few weeks, while we learn more and make plans, I have spent a lot of time in my sewing room, feeling fall coming to Calgary.  There are lots of ways to enjoy the view in Calgary, but the view from this room is outstanding.  We're having beautiful fall weather, crisp and colorful, with lots of sun, and just enough gloom to satisfy me.  I won't get this weather, or probably this lovely back patio, in Houston or Luanda, so right now, I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing: sewing shirts suitable for the tropical weather of my future, enjoying the chill of the right here right now, and indulging in frequent cinnamon buns from Vendome Café.