Thursday, September 20, 2012

You Never Know

Last year a hurricane was expected to blow through these parts, so I dutifully went about preparing by buying groceries for my parents, my aunt, my then-crippled brother and the husband.  While I did resist the impulse to stock up on toilet paper and batteries (since I already had plenty in reserve), I did buy lots of tea bags, freeze-dried coffee creamer, canned soup and crackers.  I also went by the stadium and got a couple of sandbags in case of flooding.

For this, I was mocked mercilessly by the husband.  What good are sandbags, he asked, if we do not live anywhere near the river?  That might be a head-scratcher for some, but I suspect that even if we never have to use them to guard against a flood, we always have the option to split one open to use for traction in case of an icestorm.  Mark my words, they will come in handy one day!

I am admittedly an over-preparer.  An over-planner.  I am not a Mom, but I would be a great one since I always have wipes, snacks and anti-bacterial hand gel somewhere in my purse or in my car.  I am that friend who can respond favorably when someone asks for an aspirin, Tylenol, Advil or a Motrin. 

Two weeks ago I boarded a plane to Amsterdam carrying two sets of toiletry bags.  I had my usual stash packed away in several spill-resistant containers in my checked luggage, and I carried a few additional 3oz or less items in a clear TSA-approved bag with the intention of freshening up once we reached our destination.  For weeks in advance, I had been shopping for travel toiletries, and in addition to all of the usual stuff, I found lots of other little knick-knacks that proved to be indispensable on the trip.  For instance, the husband dropped his spoon on the floor of the plane and asked if he could use mine to eat his dessert.  Mind you, I had not eaten my dessert yet (and he certainly hadn't considered what I would use if I gave him mine), but I was able to give him my spoon because I had my own set of reusable bamboo flatware!  He also had a set of reusable flatware that I had bought for him, but Einstein packed it in his checked luggage...but as you can see, I was prepared!

Of course, there were a few slip ups.  I caught a cold and forgot to bring extra packets of those little portable tissues, but I did have my handkerchief!  I forgot to bring any American cash.  I had no idea that many European establishments will only take an American credit card with a special EMV chip (thanks Rick Steves, Frommer's, Fodor's, Mastercard and Visa for not telling me this!!!)  And before you wonder aloud why I did not pack for the weather, I did. I caught a cold because the temperature changed during the middle of the night, the A/C was on and someone forgot to tell me that he had left the window open.  But I was prepared for that possibility too--brought along some generic cold and sinus medication just in case.

A Busy Black Woman is always prepared!

Lately, that has been put to the test.  I pretty much live between two houses these days, and if I'm not at home or at my parents', I am in my car headed somewhere.  I recently decided to keep an overnight bag packed since things are always in flux, which has added yet another bag to my life.  Never mind the fact that I also carry a dance bag, a workout bag, a diaper bag (for the ever-growing Baby Niece), a computer bag, various book bags for meetings and recruitment, several shoe bags and tons of reusable grocery bags...

From my perspective, preparation is like prevention--an ounce is worth a pound.  If I already have it on hand, then I avoid the need to buy things when the situation warrants.  If I get thirsty, I have a water bottle somewhere.  If I decide to go for a walk around the monuments, I have a pair of sneakers somewhere.  If I get cold, there is probably a scarf or a sweater or a jacket somewhere. The only thing I'm not packing is a firearm...

But thankfully, if I find myself in a defensive position, I can use any one of these bags as a weapon!

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