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.
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!