As usual, Gary has taken this Grand Canyon plan and has inflated it into the Grandest, Canyoniest vacation ever.
I expressed my original vacation plan to him last week. "We shall lounge about during the day, we shall look at the canyon from the windows of the shuttle bus, we shall gaze at the stars and wander idly through the safest viewing points. If we descend it shall be by helicopter." The canyon was to be seen as the Carnegies, the Mellons, the Rockefellers saw it.
This past weekend we went to buy shoes, because he did a little research and felt our current tennis-shoes were not optimal for unstable soil (BREEP, BREEP, heed the warning signals) or for cobblestones (oh yes, Quebec and Paris were hard on our feet, switch off the alarm).
I ignored the warning bells and missed my chance to get a promise to stick to paved surfaces.
So, the store where we got the shoes sold not only shoes but socks (ELLEN WE NEED SOCKS A PAIR FOR EVERY DAY) and water bottles (MUST HAVE WATER BOTTLES CANNOT SHARE GROSS GROSS) and a backpack with a built-in bladder that holds two liters of water (NO WE STILL NEED THE BOTTLES YOU CANNOT JUST SUCK ON MY BLADDER GROSS GROSS).
The only thing left to buy were those walking poles. I heard him talking to the salesman. "Yes, hiking is a new hobby for us -"
BREEEEEEEEP! HEED the alarm this time!
"Wait," I said, "What's that? Hobby? Hiking?"
"We discussed this," he said, annoyed I had interrupted his pre-sale posturing. He turned back to the salesman. "We plan to hike all the national parks."
He ignored me. And that was it until we were on the parking lot.
"Gary. Do you want me to die? I am not hiking the Grand Canyon. We are not HIKING. Hiking in the desert will kill me."
He protested that he was the one who should be worried about being over-exerted because of his age.
I bought that load of crap until tonight when we were on our daily practice "walk." That would be our practice walk in which he carries his backpack with ever-increasing loads of water.
He said, "We need a knife and a toilet shovel and a compass and a fire starter and -" BREEP! BREEP!
"Are we CAMPING now? Do we need bear spray? Is this Naked and Afraid? I don't want to CAMP! We have a bed and a hotel room."
"We aren't camping, but we still have to Be Prepared for anything."
After some discussion, I realized this was all suppressed-Scout talk. All because he was lost on the mountain at Scout camp. After a little more pressing I uncovered his resentment about never having had a sleeping bag like the other scouts, only a lot of blankets safety-pinned together.
"Ohhhhh. You want the stuff," I said, finally understanding.
"I want all the stuff," he said quietly. He paused. "I want all the stuff and I want to be off the grid. Self-sufficient." He paused again. "I have a Pack." So there you are. A man with a pack. And that makes me Ms Pac-man.
So, if you drop by the Grand Canyon in the too-near future, you will see me boarding a helicopter to the canyon floor, with my husband beside me, with his compass in case we get lost.