The Two-And-A-Half Month Bucket List

While not yet officially in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term “bucket list” is something most people now know and use thanks to the 2008 movie of the same name, meaning “a list of things you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’, i.e. die”.  Entrepreneurs have happily taken that term and capitalized upon it– amazon.com currently offers 16 different “bucket list books” including everything from the Sex Bucket List to the Christian Bucket List to the Baseball Fan’s Bucket List; the website reaperlist.com gives people a place to store their lists, check them off  and “discover others who will see your list and hold you accountable to it”.   There are even Android and iPhone bucket list apps… People now also use the term to simply mean things they want to do before a certain deadline, i.e. they may have a “college bucket list” (things to do before you graduate) or a “parenting bucket list” (things you want to do for/with your kids before they’re grown and gone).  The Dallas Morning News has been running a heart-wrenching series about a local boy with cone-rod dystrophy, who’s losing his eyesight and is traveling across America with his own bucket list of things to see before he can’t see anything anymore. Recently he was in New York City, where he memorized the sight of Lady Liberty and stood on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange. 

While my family is not facing the tragedy his family is facing, his story does remind me of another bucket list that I need to “tend to”– Things We Need to Show Our Foreign Exchange Student Before She Leaves.  And that departure deadline is fast approaching, in late June. 

We’ve gotten complacent with just blending her into our everyday lives and have slacked off on travel, adventure, and doing the local “tourist stuff” we figured we’d get around to eventually. But she’s leaving in 73 days, and that gives a whole new meaning to even simple destination questions like “Where should we go for dinner?”.  What if she’s never able to return to the United States again? What should we be showing her? What can we afford to show her? What are things close by that she hasn’t seen yet? Yes, we have taken her to Florida and to see the Johnson Space Center in Houston, not to mention Glen Rose, Granbury and Dublin, Texas,  and she’s going on a big trip to Washington, D.C. in a couple weeks with other AFS students…but there’s so much more to see!  And looking on our busy calendar, among the upcoming 73 days there’s only two or three open weekends available. My sister-in-law Marti says we’ve got to take Cleo to New Orleans, others say the Grand Canyon…heck, there’s a lot just in Texas alone she still hasn’t experienced…bat caves and bluebonnets, tubing down the Guadalupe, Gulf beaches, a longhorn cattle drive, the Dallas Arboretum…we know for sure that we’re driving to Grandma’s in Iowa for a week in June and so I’ve been figuring out all the things we can show her on the way up and back, in addition to the Amish village that Cleo has requested to see while we’re there…

We can’t “do it all” in 73 days, so we’re going to have to plan carefully and just do what we can.   And with fuel prices heading toward $3.80/gallon today, that adds yet another element to the challenge.  Stay tuned, and please send any “bucket list” suggestions my way in the Comments section below (Facebook readers, remember you have to go outside of Facebook to www.uncoolmom.com in order to comment on the blog directly.  I’m getting out my pen, paper, calendar, and calculator right now!

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