Friday, February 27, 2009

Burning Time

My motto in life is “hope for the best, expect the worst.” Maybe that’s why I’m secretly a really morbid person. I always wonder and plan for the worst possible outcome so that I will always be prepared for any more optimistic possibilities that may arise.

Last year when we lived in Kenya, the possibility of being evacuated wasn’t necessary but it was addressed by the Organization. Based on the knowledge that we could each only take one small bag with us, Hubby and I discussed what we would bring with us. What he didn’t know was that I had been planning for this possibility since I was a child.

You see, I’ve always wondered, “What would you grab if the house were on fire?” Only now that has turned into, “What would you grab if the embassy called and told you Saigon was falling?”

In my scenario, I always have enough time to grab one small suitcase in which I could throw all our most essential belongings, and had to assume Hubby was counting on me to get his things too. My first stop was always multiple pairs of underwear for both of us, a comfy every day bra for me, one extra pair of pants each, two shirts each, one sweater, and some socks. When combined with whatever we were wearing, I assumed we would be set for clothes at least for the short term.

Next up is my computer and cell phone along with their cords. Bear and Fuzz would be tossed in next since Hubby and I couldn’t be expected to survive a sleepover at a hotel let alone an uncertain future destination without them.

Unfortunately, I would now have to spend precious minutes breaking into our safe to grab all of our essential documents and cash. This is where it gets tricky – what else is really essential? Ipods and books are good to kill time but the latter could get heavy. I would have to make due with only one book I thought other people might enjoy so I could trade it for further reading material later.

Tir na Log, a carving from ancient Irish petrified wood we received as a wedding gift, would be wrapped in sweaters and tossed in the bag next. While wickedly heavy, this object d’art holds a lot of meaning for both Hubby and me. My camera (so I can be an “i-reporter” during this fire/evacuation) and the first photo of Hubby and I as a couple back from 1995 would also be essential for my long-term sanity.

I realize that at this point I have moved beyond necessities and moved to sentiment. But I think that mental stability in a crisis situation is important. When I asked Hubby what he wanted me to bring his answer was, “Bear, my ipod, and our DVD copy of Eurotrip because no one will find us in Bratislava!” He even managed to forget clothes and our passports. LOL

Now that I have clothes, stuffed animals, electronics, and an overly weighty wood sculpture packed I think I would be ready to run for the helicopter. Sure I would be sad to leave many things behind but I would have a good base with me with which we could start a new life.

Since I’ve told you what I’m running away from home with, what about you. What would you grab if the house were on fire?

39 comments:

San said...

Wow... U have really put a lot of thought into this! Haha! Me? Err.. I think I'd grab my baby and try to make it out of the house alive! :P

Juls said...

I'm with San...my kids ...and geeze, I cannot even imagine. I don't have a lot of things that are very sentimental to me..maybe the girls baby pictures.... Your posts are always so thought provoking...

Sarah said...

ok- would grab kids & the MR. After those folks, hoping I would have time to get my daughter's adoption paperwork, my laptop & engagement ring.

karin said...

My laptop and my wallet with all the ID. We live on the 9th floor - don't know if I'd be doing any running. Don't even want to think about it! Now, how am I going to fall asleep, lol, with this on my mind!!

LadyFi said...

I would grab the anklebiters, Sir Pe and the dog. And my wallet with my cards in, our passports and the kids' papers.

Bluefish said...

I would grab my camera, laptop, chargers and cords, and my photo albums. These are sentimental items to me.

NicoleB said...

You guys are funny :D
What would I grab?
Throw Laptop and my two, not overly big External HDs in the Backpack, grab my plastic envelope with most important docs, dog papers and my traveling passport and throw it with my wallet in said Backpack, camera around my neck, grab camera back and go :)
Hubby would have done the same with his Laptop,passport and wallet.
Screw the cords, buy new ones.
It would be sad to leave pictures behind and books and memories, but I would be fine, if I at least get my Harddrives with me ;)

Anonymous said...

Cairo TypO:

This is Ask A Dad, responding to your pertinent question on the 3 Bay B Chicks blog. You asked, what is the correct action to take when our child, raised under your strict rules, later writes the BEST tell all book about how I warped as a child by ruining sense of fun by making everything a competition?

Great question. When this happens, my advice is to congratulate them on being published and for proving that your parenting techniques paid off.

Give credit where it's due, and take it whenever you can.

P.S. You know I'm kidding, right?

Cairo Typ0 said...

Dear Dad,

Thank you for your awesome follow-up advice. I literally fell off my chair thanks to your wisdom. LMAO

Fruitfulvine2 said...

Interesting that you should post about this because I've thinking about this for a while(too long). The Flylady system has mentioned this and now that I read your post I really need to sit down and put some stuff down on paper.

Awesome post - it got me thinking and motivated me to action. Visiting from SITS. Have a wonderful weekend.

Connie said...

Kids, cats, laptops, wallets. If we had time for an orderly move with only one bag, I'd add some documents, kids' favorite toys, external hard-drive/storage devices, ipods. Clothes can be replaced.

The Blonde Duck said...

My dogs, laptop, scrapbooks, prescrip. medications, purse. If I had time, I'd get clothes, shoes and my favorite books.

Brenda said...

We lived in Peru during dangerous times and had to have our bags packed for sudden evacuation. I had changes of clothes for each family member, pictures, juice boxes and chocolate bars :)

Anonymous said...

Also Vacc docs--because you never know where you are going to be taken. Some of the family jewelry heirlooms would come so that we could have something to leave when our final day arrives. Shakespeare books are a bit heavy!
I hope the evacuators would provide toothbrush etc 'cos those are important too.
other than the above named objects, that is about it--along with the wills, powers of attorney...how many suitcases? :)
merthyrmum

Limningedge said...

Many years ago I had to make just that decision ... we were sitting out a cyclone (wouldn't do that again, incidentally!) which became very severe and out first child was 13 mths old ... I packed virtually all her clothes in a waterproof sailing bag, on top of our wedding album ... The album was the only photos which survived (pre digital imaging), she had dry clothes when we eventually made it to a dry building, and most of our clothes survived, but they got a different type of wash - through the roof "rinsing" and took a while to dry!

Heather said...

I've always planned for that future fire also. Or tornados. I'm going to assume that anything breathing in this place has been safely evacuated (husband, kids, and cats) I would gather the following:
-Wedding photos and photo c.d.s
-Dvd home movies
-Contacts or glasses(depepnding on which one I'm not wearing at the time)
-Undies and socks for all
-Maurice, my sock monkey
-Computer tower
-The camera
-My engagment ring (if I'm not wearing, which I'm usually not).

I think I'm going to blog about this. Great inspiration!

Protege said...

It is indeed interestingthat yoi hav ebene cnsidering this; although I am very careful and a true control freak, I have never really considered this scenario. Mostly, as I LOVE EVERYTHING I own and it would be impossible for me to part with any of it.
So my answer would be this; I would take nothing as I can not choose. Th only thing I would grab would be my purse and the cat.
I hope I never will have to be in that situation.

Protege said...

Sorry for the typos, I am a bit tired today.;))

Yaya said...

Well at least you don't already have the bag packed and ready to go...that might be weird...

I like today's technology because so many things are now also in the world wide web. So say our house burns down, well all our photographs are also uploaded into shutterfly, so they wouldn't be lost forever, ya know?

Yaya said...

PS

Your 'life is a musical waiting to happen' comment cracked me up!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Needing to be scanned old photos. Anything else was stolen in the burglary a year ago.

Mojo said...

No question. My dog and my camera come with me. Keys, wallet and phone and we bolt for the truck. Everything else I can replace later if it comes to it.

I suppose if I had a laptop that might make the cut too, but it's not guaranteed.

Cheryl said...

I'd grab my computer and charger.
That's pretty much the only thing I use. Ever.

Simple Answer said...

Hmm. Recent bombing, you aren't thinking...cuz you know I'm coming soon, right? Meeting hubby who will be on work trip, so no coffee THIS time. But I'll be back, and then I'd love it!

I've got ditto all over what you've packed but I also have Euros and dollars cuz who knows where they would take us but ready currency couldn't hurt.

Simple Answer said...

Oh yes. And mascara. I don't go ANYWHERE without a bit of mascara.

homemakerchronicles said...

I love your blog...very interesting! You should "twitter". It would be fun to follow someone in a different country!
Angie

Betty said...

My husband is like you. He always expects the worst and is happy when it didn´t happen.
I would probably grab my laptop a suitcase with some clothes and family photos and our brief case that hold all of our legal documents.

Kathy B! said...

I'd grab the kids, leave the clothes, take the cell if it was nearby and a laptop, and then grab our pre-digital photo albums. And absolutely my hand bag. All important docs are in a fireproof safe-thingy so they'd be okay.

Fire is different than evacuation, though. That would put a whole different spin on things...

daisigirl said...

Hmmmm. Definitely photos and my laptop and maybe the afghan my grandmother made. Oh, and my envelope of important documents and my purse.

P.S. Sorry for the high-carb recipes! :)

AndreaLeigh said...

you have thought this through! well, if it was a fire, I think I'd just grab the dogs, husband, and my purse. I'd be ok with losing everything else - I think. I hope I'm not ever tested, knock on wood.

psychoknitter said...

dog, laptop, wallet, passport. fun post, i had no idea you were so morbid! ;-) hehe

Laural Out Loud said...

I live in San Diego, and we were almost evacuated in October of 2007, so this is still very fresh in my mind. I had a pile of clothes for each person near a bag in the closets, all of our electronics on the table (including my laptop and hubby's computer), and docs and printed photos in a box in our bedroom. When it came down to it, nothing else really mattered. Not even my precious Irish linens.

Debbie said...

I would want you with me in an emergency! You are prepared.

~Rachée said...

Hmmm...What would I grab!
I think if I had to grab something and go it would be a sweatshirt because I am ALWAYS cold!
ha ha!
-r

Sturgmom said...

One word for you: audiobooks. Download some to your iPod and leave the weight of the real thing behind. :)

Roxane said...

This is a tough one.
-Grab the cat (put her harness/leash on her she hates the kitty carrier)
-a bit of clothes
-purse
-immigration docs
-laptop/cell + cords
-grab some cat/dog food
I would like to save pictures but realistically I dont think I would have time to find them
Of course I would also make sure that the rest of our family was safe and Scooter our dog too!

Wifey said...

That's easy. Before the kids Husband and I always said we'd grab that expensive-ass wedding album we spent entirely too much on. After the kids we said we'd still grab the wedding album - and the kids!

Winks & Smiles,
Wifey

Hi! I'm Janola. said...

You know, we live parallel lives. Years ago some friends and I were playing that game: if you were in a fire, what would you take with you? and I've been asking myself that ever since. On top of that when we were in Jordan a couple of months ago the fire alarm went off in the middle of the night! Luckily, it was a false alarm, but ever since I've been ready with my emergency "still traveling" plan: Each night I place my moneybelt w/passport, cash, etc in my purse next to shoes and clothes to toss over pjs. I trust hubby to grab his bag w/laptop and camera and moneybelt and dress himself.

If I was at home, I'd bring the same including my ratties and food for them.

Anonymous said...

Good evening