The Postscript: Have a Belt and Suspenders type plan

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, February 3, 2021

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Carrie Classon' postscript, the orange leader

The Postscript:
By Carrie Classon

My husband, Peter, is taking no chances.

I knew this about him before I married him. Peter has a plan for everything and a plan in case the first plan doesn’t pan out. My father would call this “belt and suspenders” planning. Peter’s been walking around in a belt and suspenders ever since I’ve known him.

Peter’s planning has made surviving the pandemic a lot easier than it would have been otherwise. We never run out of anything. That might sound impossible, but it’s almost true. Peter buys everything in quantity and notices when supplies start to run low. This allowed us to adopt the “Every Other Week Grocery Buying Plan.”

Occasionally, I would consume more milk than Peter had estimated, and we had to dash out to the local convenience store. This prompted Peter to create the “Powdered Milk Back-Up Plan.”

“Powdered milk is great!” Peter said.

I don’t know if powdered milk is great, but it’s better than no milk at all.

Peter is also the one who tried to enlist me in the “Hiking Pole Plan.” I resisted mightily. I first saw hiking poles about a decade ago, used almost exclusively by people walking on dry sidewalks where they seemed entirely unnecessary.

“That’s the dumbest thing ever,” I declared. Then I met Peter. Peter was enthusiastic about hiking poles.

“They’ll catch you if you slip!” Peter said. “You could fight off a dog—or even a bear—if you were attacked!” Peter had lots of good reasons I should adopt the “Hiking Pole Plan” and I wasn’t buying any of them.

“How would I talk?” I asked him. “I need my hands to talk and, if I had hiking poles, I wouldn’t be able to say a word!”

Peter did not seem to think this was such a terrible idea.

But then one day we got a lot of snow and I decided to hike with ski poles. They were super helpful. By the time the snow melted, I had gotten used to them. I tried hiking poles. I liked them. I still haven’t had to fight off a bear, but I’ve been using them ever since.

“You see?” Peter said, “Aren’t they great?” The wonderful thing about Peter is that he never gloats when I come around to adopting his plan. He is just delighted.

Most of the time, however, Peter just pays close attention and plans accordingly. He notices what I am consuming, even if I don’t. If I suddenly start eating oatmeal and raisins, Peter takes note.

“You’re eating a lot of oatmeal and raisins!” Peter says, and starts ordering massive quantities of both.

If I stop eating something, Peter also notices. “You’re not eating peanut butter anymore!” he observes.

“Um, I guess not.”

“I better cancel our order. I had a case coming!”

I find this amazing. I also find it a great comfort. I honestly have no idea how much coffee or oatmeal or raisins or peanut butter I consume, but Peter does. (He told me I ate more than forty pounds of raisins last year, which sounds preposterous!) All I know is that we never run out of anything—not even milk.

“You take very good care of me,” I tell Peter.

“You take good care of me!” he always replies.

I don’t know if that’s true. But I know I appreciate him, and I’m much more willing to listen to his plans than I used to be.

I call this the “Letting Peter Take Care of Me Plan.”

And he’s right. Powdered milk isn’t that bad.

Till next time,


Carrie Classon’s memoir is called, “Blue Yarn.” Learn more at