26 October 2007

The Things That I Would Carry

I know that many of us have been following the San Diego wildfire story - either closely or casually. I heard on NPR this morning that KPBS, a San Diego public radio station, has created a Google Maps of the situation. More importantly, in the sidebar is more or less up-to-the-minute news about which shelters are open, which neighborhoods are now safe, and other useful infomation.

You can find it here.

I have spent random minutes in the last few days wondering what I would take with me if I had to bug out and considering what a sentimental pack rat I am, the list is pretty short:

Pekoe and his kit (food, bowls, litter);
My purse;
My passport;
As much cash as I could;
Kipling (my teddy bear because he is very reassuring and makes a great emergency pillow);
Clean underthings;
A book or two - probably Middlemarch because then I would forced to finish the darned thing (and besides, it's long) and something more fun than Middlemarch;
A small "collage" I put together of family pictures; and

That was all I could come up with and I could put all that in the car in twenty minutes or so. If I had to grab-and-go the list would be:

My purse;
My passport;
As much cash as I could; and

After Hurrican Katrina David and I worked out a very basic, "I guess we'd" script of what we'd do if required to leave in a hurry. Daddy always says that they'd like to see more of us, so I guess he'd be happy to know that his and Audrey's house is where these refugees would arrive. With cat.

A few weeks ago we nearly had "Bring Your Cat to Work Day" because the fire alarm went off in my building as I was getting dressed. I finished dressing, stuffed Peek into his cat carrier using my never-fail technique (available upon request), and headed out. I dithered around for a bit but as the fire department had arrived pretty darn fast, I was able to return Peek to the apartment rather than figure out what to do with him for a full day at my office which is not set up for him or his needs at all.

On that day it was Peek, purse, passport and go. I have a horrible time letting go of things but I do know that things can be replaced, (it helps to be able to prove one's identity, of course). One place where Mollie and I lived had a nasty flood (raw sewage) in the basement and I hated with a white hot passion going through the ruined things and that was only the things I kept in basement storage. It can be done, it just sucks enormously.

I have always travelled light and though I would miss every single thing that I own, if I were asked to evac, I would lock the door, hope for the best, and leave.

I just hope I never have to.


Anonymous said...

At some sort of theoretical level you should add homeowner's insurance info and then put it all in one, grab it in a minute place. -Simon

Anonymous said...

What about any prescriptions that you are currently taking? if you're taking more than one medicine, keep them together (ziploc bag, or a plastic case), so that they can easily be grabbed so you can go.

Leta said...

I think David created his own grab-and-go kit with all important papers, but I still need to do that.

And luckily for me, I don't need to take any medications and there's already Advil in my purse.

Anonymous said...

As you know, I did have to suddenly leave my home one evening without warning. Because of the situation, I left my cat (so it didn't appear as if I were LEAVING) which was hard. I took a few things, I don't even remember exactly what, mostly my stethoscope and white coat, a change of clothes for work the next day. I don't think I remembered my passport. I think I grabbed a photo album that was handy. But, as it turns out, I found that moment gave me sudden absolute clarity that stuff is just stuff. Even sentimental value stuff. At that moment, I let it all go. Now I'd be heartbroken to not have some of the stuff related to my kids, like a fabulous silhouette of Zach done by his teacher last spring, but again, it is only stuff. Even if we lost all of our photos, plenty of other people have pictures of the kids. And even so, it is just stuff.

And it turns out that although it is a major pain to get your hands on new copies of your life paperwork, like birth certificates and diplomas and so on, it can be done. Of course, my father immediately bought me a small (i.e. portable) fire-proof safe for my paperwork, to make it easier to stay organized.