It’s Good to Have a Plan

I know this is supposed to be a weight loss/fitness blog, but the weather events of the past few weeks are uppermost in my mind just now. This is an odd week to be living in Memphis. We’re under a cloudless sky with abundant sunshine…and about 5300 homes are threatened with flooding. Countless other residents are being told to “be ready to evacuate.” I can’t imagine what they’re going through, especially those who have no insurance or other means to replace their meager possessions.

Street in flooded part of Memphis

I feel kind of guilty with my soggy-but-clear lawn and my dusty-not-wet house. In the end, I will actually benefit from their troubles, because it made me aware of the need for a personal evacuation plan. And it gave me an opportunity to think about the possessions I have and which ones truly matter.

This morning I imagined what I would do if emergency people arrived at my door and told me I needed to evacuate my home. What if they gave me an hour and one trip out in my car? What would I take?

A few things came to mind immediately: document box (important papers and such); my purse, my computer bag with back-up drive; tote bag with medications, contact lens/glasses, basic toiletries, etc.; another tote bag with a few changes of clothes; the quilts my Memaw made for me; a few pieces of pottery a friend made for me, and the jewelry box containing the earrings my parents gave me on my 18th birthday. I couldn’t think of anything else, so I walked through my house and tried to identify anything else I considered “evacuation-worthy.” I came up empty. It’s not that I don’t have some nice things, but they’re not things that I consider precious or immediate necessities.

I suppose if I had time I might fill a box with the papers in my file cabinet. I might also put my $20 Kitchen Aid Mixer, my Vitamix, my new 8-inch skillet, and my crockpot in a box, and maybe I’d toss my newly-arrived pecan and walnut stash on top of it. (And possibly, the remaining cake joys from the freezer.) And then I’d fill the last box with the few chemical products I have in the storage room so that they didn’t end up contaminating the water. And I’d definitely strap my bike rack and bike to the back of the car on my way out of the garage. (Note to self: remember to grab helmet.)

And if I only had 5 minutes? Grab my purse, the doc box, my computer bag and go. I could wrap the quilt my grandmother and great-grandmother made together around me. Everything else can be replaced or laundered, if it’s still there when the crisis is over.

Scary stuff to think about, but it was a worthwhile effort. I know the things I need to keep track of in the house, things that need to have an ‘always place.’ I know I need to be keeping a few more things in the doc box, including the gift earrings from my parents. I also need to make copies of insurance papers and such to keep at my parents’ house, or even ask a friend in another city to keep a file for me in her file cabinet.

The current situation also points out to me that, although I’ve decluttered a lot over the past few years, my house still has many items that aren’t truly important to me. I need to fix that.

Do you have an evacuation plan? What would you take with you?

In a round about way, I suppose this can be linked to healthier living in that there are some elements of our plans that are critical and some that can be left behind when the situation warrants. I was reminded of that this morning when I attended a city-sponsored focus group on urban blight. One of the attendees, an elderly woman of very modest means, brought a butterscotch pound cake she made from scratch. A cake that won her a ribbon at the fair. A cake that wasn’t anywhere in my nutritional plan for today.

It was good cake. :)

Yes, I could have refused when she asked me, in her wobbly older-lady voice, didn’t I want a piece? But I’m a softy for award-winning, homemade cakes and little old ladies who spend their meager pocket money to buy the ingredients to make them. Plus, I like cake.

Now I’m left with the critical piece of the plan, the part that can’t be left behind: my daily exercise! I’ll tack on a few extra minutes and call it a wash.

Wishing you all a happy and dry Wednesday!



16 thoughts on “It’s Good to Have a Plan

  1. I’m glad you included a post about what “else” you’re thinking about. And I’m glad you were kind enough to eat that little old lady’s cake.
    We’re in the process of a serious downsizing around here, so figuring out what is and is not important to us is a daily thing. We sure can’t take it all with us. Feels good to purge.
    I skipped my workout this morning to give myself more time for packing and believing I’d work hard and longer anyway, but it would have been worth it for me to have the real cardio session. It makes me better able to focus.
    Evacuation plan…. my kid and my computer. Hubby can make his own way out.

  2. Hi Cammy, great and timely post. My thoughts and good wishes to those in your area who are in dire straits. Your weather has made the news up here in Vancouver. We definitely have an evacuation/earthquake plan/meeting spot. Hopefully its never something we actually need to use, but it IS good to have a plan. Have a good day.

  3. I used to think about what I would take. I guess for me, the greater risk is really losing it all in a tornado so no need to worry about what I’d grab:)

  4. I’ve thought a lot today about the other end of my state. Glad to know you are safe, but like you, the pictures coming out are sad and frightening.

    We are also watching from a purely selfish standpoint since sometime next Tuesday, we will have to cross the Mississippi River somewhere between Dyersburg and St. Louis!

    And yes, we have a plan!!!

  5. One thing this makes you realize is that every single thing is replaceable or you can live without it except for your life.

    I really would just make sure John and Pixie are out of the house and if I had time I would grab my ebook.

  6. Cammy, this is really a great post because not only does it highlight the terrible tragedies of the weather in so many places & those that need help BUT also to think about our own pan AND our own real needs!

    We were burglarized right after my mom died. They took all the electronics, jewelry & things they could sell easy but I cared less about the Xbox & such. My jewelry was all things given to me by family & the few items I got after my mom died. They took our cameras & video ones WITH the videos – did not even leave the memories of the kids when they were small & my parents that are no longer with me – those were the things that hurt the most for me… those people on video that I could see but no longer….. and the times when the kids were young….

  7. I loved this post! There is much value here. Keeping copies of documents off-site is a brilliant idea. I don’t live in a disaster prone area, although I suppose a fire is always a possibility.

    I’m very much in a space of simplify, simplify, simplify right now. We have so much stuff that don’t really add value to our lives.

  8. I have a neighbor who is very much into emergency preparedness and is active in helping the rest of us become that way, too. His favorite quote is,
    “If you fail to prepare, then you prepare to fail.”

  9. I have no idea what I would do if I had to evacuate. We have a fire escape plan and an emergency weather plan, but it doesn’t go quite as far as evacuating. Need to get on that.

  10. We’re sharing a brain again :) I was wondering the other day what I would hate to lose in a fire. I’m with Carla, I love your writing, and I’d have eaten the cake, too. Here’s praying the waters receed and no one has to implement their evacuation plan.

  11. Having lived on the Gulf coast for many years, we always had a go to bag by the end of June. Now in Arizana, the worst natural disaster is a fire, which scares the heck out of me for my pets if we couldn’t reach them in time.

    Eating cake can be a very good thing. Looking forward tom the day when I feel ready to do so.

  12. I hope you’re still dry and in no danger of evacuation, Cammy. Frightening thing with all the rain we’ve been having. We’ve had threats with our river being so swollen right now but nothing serious as of this writing.

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