Monday, June 21, 2010

Taking It with You

Some of you may have heard on the news that our little town of Flagstaff, AZ has had a series of wildfires, the worst being the one that started yesterday. And while I haven’t been evacuated from my home, some of my friends have. This is a picture my husband took from our backyard last night:


Watching my friends given notice to evacuate got me thinking: what do you take? Where do you go when forces beyond your control rage around you and you need to escape?

Sure I have a 72 hour kit packed for each family member. Our important papers are in a somewhat consolidated place. But really, how do you walk away from everything else? Years of accruing things and then all of the sudden you realize they’re just things, baggage you have to haul away.

We were sitting in church when the evacuation announcement for certain neighborhoods was called. Some people, who were not in those neighborhoods, left anyway to make sure all their possessions were packed up and ready to go in the off chance they were ordered out. Others left to help those that lived in the threatened neighborhoods. Some didn’t come at all, waiting to see what happened from home. I’m not saying any of these people were right or wrong, but simply wondering where you would be when the announcement came. I stayed all three hours, fulfilled my teaching responsibilities and helped those who had to cover for those that weren’t there. But I admit all the while I was thinking I should be doing something else, helping others or myself to prepare for potential disaster. I tapped my foot and bit my nails the whole time.

And just to prove I’m crazy, I’ll say as I watched people leave, I first felt grateful all my family was together on that pew and second I thought of all my books at home and wondered how fast I’d have to pack them up to get them safely away! I guess we know my priorities don’t lie with the TV or other electronic devices. LOL.

 
Q4U: What do you take and where do YOU go when you need to escape non-physical forces you can’t control?

My answer: To that happy, therapeutic writing place. And to your blogs. Which I’ve truly missed the last few days.

42 comments:

  1. I hope your home and neighborhood remain safe, Jackee. If we suddenly had to leave our town in Montana, we have family in Washington state we would probably stay with. My father lives in Phoenix most of the year (yes, he's one of those who runs away from the heat in summertime!).

    As far as what I would take, I suppose as long as my family and our pets were safe, anything else is a bonus! :-)

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  2. Holy cats, that's some seriously black smoke. I've lived through (and fought off with the garden hose) wildfires near our home in CA, so I know what you mean.

    At this point: kids, cats, important papers, and my mini-laptop with all my written work. Possibly the hard drive with the pictures on it. The rest I know can be replaced.

    Stay safe!!

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  3. I can tell you what we DID take... Our kids and changes of clothes! Secondary on our list, but also taken - was the laptop (It has all our digital pics on it) and the photo albums. Plus birth certs. Thats it! Nothing else mattered... still doesn't! My kids are safe!!!
    All the other stuff really is just stuff.
    (Oh, and sorry we didn't stay to teach! I felt really bad!!!)

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  4. That looks like a serious fire. I hope you and everyone are as safe as can be.

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  5. Oh Jackee! I hope you will be safe. Keep us posted!

    I would take my family, my lappy, and my kids favorite blankets.

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  6. We had the same thing happen to us last year, living in a forest interfaced area. The question you keep asking yourself as you prepare to evacuate--What don't I want to burn? It's a crazy mental space. You start off with, well, I just need this and this and this. (Usually, computer, important papers and photographs--we still have a lot of heavy photo albums) Oh and this. Oh, and I'd hate to lose this.....Crap, I forgot about the money box, and the kids mementos from Germany and that old picture of.....

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  7. Keep safe :) and take what ever can't actually be replaced (and be ruthless!)

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  8. It sounds awful and it does put a lot of our daily niggles into perspective. Of course you'd want to take all your treasured belongings but you can always buy new books and stuff. It's the family and your essentials that you have to take, I guess. I do hope it doesn't come to that and I hope that none of us ever find ourselves in that position.

    Take care.

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  9. I used to live in a fire-prone canyon. In fact, firefighters had died there years before, so when a wildfire threatened I packed all I could in the car and waited. It's a terrible feeling. I'm glad you are handling the worry as well as you are. It sounds like you're prepared and have your head in a good place. I mean that.
    I have important papers in a small fireproof box that can be carried out. Other than that, I'd probably want my computers. I wish I had time to digitize the old photographs. I have so many. But the truth is most of what we own is just stuff and is replacable, so if our loved ones are safe that is all that really matters.

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  10. Oh my goodness!!! I hope you and your family and loved ones are all ok! Is the emergency over? Good grief!! Please stay and be safe!

    Apart from my cat, what would I pack asap at a moment's notice?? My box of correspondence and little treasures I and a special someone exchanged and continue to do so! :-) Oh and all my usb sticks with my writing saved in them! And the small photo album of my late sister.

    Phew. That was a tough question!

    Welcome back to blogworld!!

    Take care
    x

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  11. I take a pen and paper for sure. A quiet spot, could be anywhere.

    And stay safe! Wildfires are scary.

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  12. That's a great answer.
    Sorry you're having to endure such a threat. We've never run from a hurricane, but there's always the possibility.

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  13. You know that top shelf in the coat closet by the door? That's where I keep all my "I'd really like to save this in event of a fire" stuff. Photo albums, baby books, journals, etc. Grab kids first, then purse, laptop, and if there's still time, clean out the front closet!

    Sorry to hear this is stuff you've had to seriously think about lately. Praying that fire gets contained and put out.

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  14. That picture is truly scary! I always turn to prayer. But then I hardly stop. I suppose the only difference would be the frenetic panicked pace. Praying for you!

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  15. I'm sorry about the disaster -- it's really terrifying; I hope that your home will continue to be safe from this!

    Personally, I would take of course, my family members, all my money and credit cards, my important papers, some clothes, old photos, and my laptop. Everything else I can replace later. :)

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  16. I hope you remain safe and watchful of things around you! I'll keep you in my prayers, I would hate for anything to happen!

    You sound very organized for what you have set up and ready to go for your family. I think I would only worry about my two cats and my husband. Is it bad that I wouldn't think about anything else? Living things are something I couldn't replace, everything else I've learned one too many times is replaceable.

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  17. as soon as i saw the fire on the news, i thought about you and wondered if you were in danger, if you were safe. praying for you and Flagstaff. losing any of that forest would be hard.

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  18. Stay safe, Jackee.

    We were faced with this in San Diego a few years ago...then a few years before that.

    I packed a quick bag for the kids...undies and such...computer, pets, photo albums....

    All else can be replaced.

    Please be careful!

    Shelley

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  19. Hoping you and your family are keeping safe.

    What would I take, once I had my family and Louie sorted, it would be the family photographs. They are our history captured. My childrens baby books and the family albums.

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  20. Stay safe, Jackee!

    I lived through a crisis when the Teton Dam broke years ago. It was terrifying.

    You have your priorities in order: people and then books! Though I think my order would be people, computer, and then books.

    Hope all goes well for you and yours!

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  21. Yikes! I hope everyone is safe and far enough away from it. Hopefully they'll get it stopped soon.

    Your question is such a good one. I think I'd take few special books, a sampling of my journals, a couple of heirlooms, shoebox of pictures, and my data stick. And a pen. With a notebook.

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  22. Oh Jackee, I'm so sorry to hear about the fires and your neighbors. We'll be thinking of you!!! Sending lots of love in your direction.

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  23. Oh my, I hope your home is safe. That's horrible and really scary. I'd take the computer and all the family pictures.

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  24. I'm so sad to hear about what's happening out there. I can sympathize, as we had a similar situation here 2 1/2 years ago in So. Calif.

    I hope you and your family will be ok.

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  25. We had a fire burn in the mountains around our house for three months. The constant ash was such a nightmare. I hope you don't have to live with it for that long and I pray that your home and family will be safe.

    I think I would grab my computer, my file of important papers, as many photos as I could haul away and at least some of my books :)

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  26. I'm wishing you and your family safety.

    I seriously think I would breakdown trying to decide what to take. but mainly I would just want the essentials. But there are so many memories in my home. It would be hard to let go.

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  27. You're making me wish I were more organized. Though we get hit with flash floods, not fires. I hope they get the fires out soon and that you don't have to evacuate.

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  28. What a scary thought, to have it so close and even effecting people you know. Hope all is well!

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  29. Jackee--Gosh, the photo is scary! I'm glad you are safe and hope that you still are.

    If we were threatenedwith having to evacuate, I'd take our computers; mine and K's have our stories on them and the desk top has our family photos on them.I'd also take my jewelry that my grandmothers have given me and the pearls my daughter bought with her own money for me, my Nanny's crystal, photo albums and K's Christianing gown, passports and pets. I'm sure there is more if I owuld think about it longer, but those are the irreplacable things I can think of. (I just read Carolina's---I'm adding hubby's Grandma's quilt to my list.)

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  30. Jackee, my goodness! I hadn't heard about any of this but I'm so glad to hear that your family is well and together. The truth is that while some material things are very important (passport, legal papers, financial details) at the end of the day it's all stuff. None of it is essential and most can be replaced.

    Whatever happens take care of yourself and your family, Jackee. You have my best wishes.

    Jai

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  31. I'm sorry about the fires, and hope everyone is okay. I hope your home isn't affected. And your health.

    Because I don't live in a home near any obvious disaster, I don't have anything packed. What would I take? The cat, laptop, clothes, important papers. And if I had time, photo albums. The jewelry.

    I can't imagine losing everything. I'd mourn the books.

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  32. Scary. That picture terrifies me. Praying for you and your neighbors.

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  33. Wow. I have chills. I hope the fires die down and you don't have to leave. Picking what to take wouldn't be that hard. I already have my important stuff in a neat little box.

    *hugs*

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  34. Having lost my childhood home in 1992 to Hurricane Andrew, my prayers are with you, Jackee.

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  35. Jackee,
    How scary. I'm so sorry, yet to know someone there makes it more real. I know what you're going through because my sister lives in the desert around Palmdale CA and they're always having fires. Keep safe. And thanks for joining my blog.

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  36. I hope you and yours remain safe.
    We lost 173 people to wildfires here in Victoria (Australia) in 2009.
    Bottom line is leave early if there is any question of safety.
    Things can be replaced, people can't.

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  37. I'm happy your family is safe, Jackee, and I hope it stays that way. Thinking of you and the people in your town.

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  38. That's so scary! Stay safe. It really makes you think, doesn't it? I think that after my family, of course, I would take my writing bag (which holds the flash drive with all my stuff on it) and my guitar. I'd take the grand piano if I could carry it. You'll be in my prayers!

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  39. I'm so sorry this is happening next to you. I hope you don't have to evacuate. Stay safe.

    Also, I have a blog award for you (which seems so trivial at a time like this).

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  40. I'm so sorry to hear this news, Jackee! May you, your family, and your friends stay safe through this. I'll be praying for you!

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