Hi. My name is Christine, and I overuse the phrase, "What's the plan?"
I should have figured this out sooner, but using the word PLAN sets off a firestorm in my house. I use the word all the time, and it only gets me into trouble:
When my teens ask to hang out with friends, my auto-response is, "Well, what's the plan?"
Discussing the upcoming weekend with my husband, I'll often ask, "What's the plan?" or "Do we have plans?" or "Here's the plan." In response, I get a blank stare, wide eyes, or more often than not, "Whatever you say."
And when pointing out the (stinky) rabbit cage, I'll ask my daughter, "When do you plan on changing this?"
PLAN has become the new four-letter word in our house. And I'm the biggest abuser.
As soon as I utter the word, faces scrunch and attitudes turn defensive.
"What do you mean, what's the plan?" they ask. "I don't know..." They start fidgeting, pacing, biting nails, and searching the room for the nearest escape route.
I then jump into clarification-mode: "I'm just asking what/when/how you're going to get there/arrive/clean out the urine-soaked litter pan." All I'm trying to do is juggle it all, fit the pieces together, and manage the moving parts so they don't overlap and grind to a screeching halt. However, in my efforts to be efficient, I've overshot the mark.
I'd never given a second thought to asking that question until I recognized that every member of my family displayed the identical lip-curled, nauseated expression when I posed it.
So this week, I've decided to cut the lazy crap and ask what I want to ask without masking my questions in a blanket of generalization.
My new plan I'm not going to use the word PLAN anymore.