Saturday, June 24, 2017

Tropical Storm Cindy

    We had Tropical Storm Cindy roll through here this week. It actually hit the area where Texas meets Louisiana, but we got all the rain and wind.

    Living on the gulf coast of Mississippi there are reminders of Hurricane Katrina everywhere. All of us residents are acutely aware of the potential for a repeat sometime in the future. I have done some hurricane prep in the past, most notably to back up all my photos both digital and physical. I also photographed all my postcard collection as a backup as well. I recommend Dropbox for this. One of the added unexpected benefits of cloud storage is that I can pull up any photo I ever had and show it to someone right then and there. For example our eighth graders that were graduating in May were asking about our own middle school years (I am a teacher at a middle school). I was able to pull up a photo of my own graduation, they went gaga over the awesome 90’s style I sported. Pretty cool!

     While work was cancelled and I had the day to spend with my dog at home, I decided to try one of my favourite things to do, time for a "mental exercise". Only I decided to go one step further and instead of writing it down I actually pulled and packed stuff. The theme, so to speak, was "if we had to evacuate what would I pack to take with me". The rules I set for myself was everything had to fit in my Tom Bihn synapse 25 and my Tom Bihn sidekick (purse). Another rule was if I would buy the item again (i.e. if it was important enough for re-purchase) then I had to pack it. I did not pack any work stuff, work clothes, work bag, work supplies. Only what I personally needed and wanted. There is definitely a difference between my needs and wants, this was discovered real quick as I began packing. Really I only needed 2-3 outfits, but I found myself thinking about the long term practicality. I realised long term I would buy more clothes thus defeating my second rule. So I packed more than I would travel with.

     I suppose the A-type personalities out there would have made a list first, but I wanted this be as authentic as possible, as if I really only had so long to pack before evacuating. I did not set a time limit, but I'd did act as if there wasn't much time. The feeling was helped by the constant tornado warning beeping through my cell phone and having the weather channel on in the background. I tried not to really think, but go with gut instinct and see where I ended up.                         

    The above photo was my first round result. I won't bore you with a list of the items, but as you can see I was unsuccessful in fitting it in my synapse and sidekick. Two of my packing vehicles (laundry stuff sack and travel tray by Tom Bihn) did not even make it inside. Also I realised aftewards that I neglected to pack ANY toiletries. I don't know if you can see it but I couldn't even zip up my bag, it was that overstuffed!

    Round two involved me dumping everything out on the bed and analyzing what I had grabbed and what the motivation behind it must have been. I then began systematically replanning and packing with careful thought and precision. The caveat being I couldn't go back and take things from my room, it had to be a re-pack from round one. I figured if I went in depth with the exercise then should the need arrive where it was no longer a drill, but reality, then I would be better prepared. Having mentally rehearsed ahead of time, the decisions will come easier and with more rationale. I am happy to say that at the end of round two everything did fit in the synapse with room to zip up. The only thing I would be buying would have been toiletries!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Still Learning

Just a quick post. As I am sitting here on this beautiful little outdoor deck area at my college waiting for my first graduate school class to start, I have my Tom Bihn sidekick with a few extras inside, a legal pad and a can of Sunkist (don't ask, I just had a weird craving for one this afternoon). I am laughing at myself and the fact that even after 3 years of minimalism I will overpack without thinking. In fact I have to think hard to remind myself to pack light and for the best case and not the worst. Why is it in our nature to do so? There may be a blessed few of y'all out there whom naturally and instinctively pack light, but I am betting it is not the majority. Once again I shot myself in the foot and packed my beloved Tom Bihn Synapse 25 with everything I could possibly need for school and for work (I am working at a summer camp). Brainiac me, decided it would be very minimalist just to have one EDC (every day carry) bag for all my activities this summer. It was fine wearing it for 2 minutes from parking lot to classroom at camp, but walking around campus this afternoon? No ma'am! No, siree, I tell you what, it's hot! And it ain't light weight! It's not literally sliding-out-of-my-shoes-in-the-middle-of-Hong-Kong-dragging-a-heavy-ass-suitcase heavy, but enough for me to laugh at myself. If nothing else, I do learn from my mistakes. I went back out to my car, added a few things like glasses, a pen, a snack and a pencil to my sidekick and grabbed a notebook on my way again towards growing my future. What better place to learn from a mistake than at a place of higher learning during a return to school 12 years in the making.