Opinion: Destination unknown


My wife is getting ready for our upcoming vacation. She has already packed and unpacked and packed again. She practices to make sure everything fits in her suitcase. I practice putting on my pants to be sure there will be room for the waistband to expand after I indulge in the all-you-can-eat buffets on the cruise.

I assume I’m going with Mary Ellen on this trip, but there isn’t a great deal of evidence to support this. My input hasn’t been requested, so I don’t want to jump to any conclusions that could lead to disappointment.

My wife did exhaustive research, studied travel brochures, and did endless web searches to secure the best plane fares. She even made a few meal reservations for when we are off the ship. In fact, she already checked the menu at one restaurant, and she knows what she wants for dinner in three weeks. She made a great salad dressing choice.

Mary Ellen said this trip may be a bit pricey, but it’s the perfect way to celebrate the 50th. This confused me because I know it’s not her 50th birthday. We celebrated that four different times about 20 years ago. And I am almost positive it’s our 43rd anniversary coming up, so it’s obviously just a ploy to get me to agree to splurge on this trip. But just to be sure, I’m going to run the numbers again.

Our house is littered with books, charts, maps and travel magazines. The last time I saw her this obsessed with a vacation was years ago when we went to Ireland. There were travel posters in every room, shamrocks pasted on the fridge and Irish music blasting from the portable CD player. Mary Ellen even started calling our beagle Blarney instead of Barney, which might have confused him, but he was getting so many corned beef leftovers, he let it slide.

I finally questioned her detailed planning. I was concerned that this much preparation might make the trip seem less spontaneous.

“Dick, when you enter a new country, it’s important to have a plan for what to do — a strategy.”

“Yes, I agree — if you are invading, but not if you are vacationing.”

The other day, I asked why she looked so preoccupied.

“Dick, I’m repacking in my head, thinking about how to position my shoes, where to stuff my bathing suit and how to layer in my blouses. I don’t like to leave anything to the last minute. When do you plan to pack?”

“The week before our 50th anniversary.”

After reading this, you might be curious to know where we’re going on this trip. I promise you that once Mary Ellen tells me, you’ll be the first to know.