Everyday Epiphany, Family, humor, Travel

A Detailed Thinker Gets The Big Picture

“We should have the pontoon delivered before we leave for Italy,” said Mike, my significant other. “Then we’ll be ready to cruise when we return.”

“If we do that, we might have motor problems since it ‘ll be unused for a few weeks,” I said.

”Then there’s the heron trouble.”

Last summer a great blue heron roosted on our pontoon stern and I didn’t want to leave our pontoon unattended for weeks.

(Last summer a great blue heron claimed our pontoon stern as a roost. Each morning I’d swab the deck clean from his droppings. Eventually we devised a system of flashy twirly doohickies and spiky thingamabobs that worked except when they didn’t. I imagined weeks of it not working and the resulting layers of guano. I’d need a bulldozer to unearth our pontoon. Better to leave the boat in storage until our return.)

“You’re so negative,” Mike accused.

“You don’t think things through,” I countered.

Shooting Down Trouble

With a shake of his head and a dismissive hand gesture Mike alerted me that he didn’t appreciate my troubleshooting his plan. 

For me, testing the viability of his suggestion involved a dash of negativity. Anticipating problems and weighing the consequences aided sound decision making.

Since a sputtering motor and cleaning piles of accumulated heron poop fell into the possible consequences of leaving our pontoon unattended, I disagreed with his suggestion. 

“I think it would be fun and relaxing to have the pontoon here when we returned,” said Mike.

He focused on enhancing our “after Italy vacation” time.

“I think the heron will have too much fun and relaxation while we’re gone.”

I focused on the hours of unpleasant cleaning.

Since I was the cleaner, I stood firm.

He relented. The boat would stay in storage until our return.

The Grand Master Italian Vacation Project folder held years of plans.

Then he set the Grand Master Italian Vacation Project folder and collection of Italy travel guides on the table.

I shivered.

Grand Master Italian Vacation Project Revisited

The seemingly innocuous gray folder, boldly labeled Grand Master Italian Vacation Project, embraced years of negotiating, planning, and scheduling results. The who, what, where, when, why, and how had been distilled into maps, hotel reservations, Viator tours, Rick Steve’s reviews, rental car recommendations, and train schedules. 

The negotiating, planning, and scheduling were not with travel agents, tour sites, or B&B hosts, but with each other and friends joining us in Sicily.

The pandemic shutdown and infant grandchildren and a broken foot had kept Rome, Amalfi coast, Sicily, and us apart. During the four-year interim, Mike and I engaged in countless discussions of the “when to retrieve the pontoon boat from storage” ilk. Bartering, concessions, and compromises concluded a month ago, or so had I thought.

The Grand Master Italian Vacation Project folder and collection of Italy travel guides which had occupied neutral territory (the family room cocktail table) now lay between us signaling a proposed change.

Although protective of my color coded, sequential schedule with handy summary notes, I heaved a sigh and listened.

“On the way to Sorrento, we could stop at Pompeii,” said Mike. 

We’d store our luggage at the Pompeii train station . . . if the lockers were large enough.

Before I could bring up the timing, Mike continued.

“I checked the train schedules and we’ll have time before checking in at Hotel Nice, our Sorrento hotel.” He tapped the Grand Master Italian Vacation Project folder.

Before I could bring up traversing the ancient site while wheeling our luggage, Mike resumed.

“There are lockers at the train station for our luggage.” He paged through Rick Steve’s Italy travel guide turning to an earmarked page.

Before I could bring up the dimensions of the rental lockers accommodating the size of our luggage, I stopped. I wanted to see Pompeii.

I leaned toward detailed thinking and envisioned the parts.

Mike leaned toward big picture thinking and envisioned the whole. 

He had troubleshot his own idea and used gathered details to convince me the big picture was worth it.

My Epiphany

Decisions profit from detailed thinking, big picture vision, and a handful of blind faith.

Mike and I won’t cruise the lake the day after returning from Italy, but we won’t have to bulldoze heron droppings off the boat either. He trusted that a couple days delay was a price worth paying. 

We may have to drag our suitcases around Pompeii because the locker isn’t large enough, but we’ll save time and see more by not doubling back from Sorrento. I trusted that it was worth the risk.

I gathered the Grand Master Italian Vacation Project folder and the collection of Italy travel guides. I’d amend my color coded, sequential schedule with handy summary notes to accommodate the Pompeii side trip. 

I had wanted to add footnotes anyway.

2 thoughts on “A Detailed Thinker Gets The Big Picture”

  1. You are such a good writer! Maybe you will share your master plan with us after your trip as Italy is on our bucktlist


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