Most of you will not pay attention. I’m not telling you anything you haven’t heard before but you’ll go on with the typical “It won’t happen to me” attitude that we had. We were drinking beer and watching the fire when we should have been loading the car.

All those important documents that you never need like social security card and passport and birth certificate, car title, house deed, etc. Need to be offsite in a safe deposit box. Maybe you listened to FEMA and you have an emergency folder ready to grab when you head out the front door. What happens when the disaster comes while you are at church or grandma’s or on vacation? I have met to many people who all they had left were the clothes they were wearing and their car because they were out when the roads were closed.

Create a list of everything you own. I mean everything. Five columns on the spreadsheet. Quantity, description (the more detail the better including model and serial numbers where appropriate), unit price, extension (quantity times unit) and year purchased. That way when the disaster happens you just need to add a column that subtracts year purchased from now to get age. The way our insurance works and I assume others that have “replacement cost” is that they pay you the depreciated value first and then when you submit a receipt for the replacement they make up the difference. I’m sure there is some sort of checking since we way upgraded our TV and I don’t expect the difference between the cost of the old TV and the new but I do expect the un-depriciated value to be covered. That video of what you owned is pretty useless. They don’t seem to really request proof of ownership, only proof of re-purchase. Now if you have an expensive collections you better have let the insurance company know about them ahead of time so they can schedule them.

If you rent get renters insurance. Pretty significant coverage is cheap, less than $150 a year for an apartment. I know, I’ve done it twice in the past six months.

Do have a plan. We didn’t get out nearly as much as we could have and not the all of the personally important stuff. But having evacuated once before we were not at a total loss. A large chunk of our pictures where in a file cabinet and we grabbed that. I got the computer backups that are on an external drives. Liz’s computer was lost but we recovered everything on to her new one. Randomly I grabbed our SCUBA log book that happened to be on the counter and I had Liz grab the quilt she has been working on for our oldest son and his wife. Ian grabbed some personal possessions that I would not have thought about. You almost certainly won’t be able to get every memento but you can get lots if you are home and have thought through what you want to save.

Now, all those things you keep saying you are going to give to someone. Do it now! I had a couple of stacks of collectible CD’s that were going to go out to people. There were a couple of things that belonged to my great grandfather that needed to go to a museum dedicated to his military outfit. I had some genealogical information to send to my brother. All ashes now. Pack it up and send it out. Doesn’t guarantee that a disaster at that persons home won’t cause it to be destroyed but at least you will have done the best you can.

Bastrop county is pulling together and will come back. We will have our pine forest again, before I die. If you want to help come out here and spend money in Bastrop and Smithville in particular but anywhere in the county helps. That also helps fight “corporate greed” if you are in to that since nobody on Main street in either town is anything like corporate.

I’ve had people comment on my attitude and “resiliency.” I’ll say it again you can either let this eat you up or you can move on. I’ll always kick myself for not taking advantage of the extra time we had but that is over. All we can do is move on. The stuff is gone. A lot of it we will replace but there is also a lot of stuff out of our lives. Things we kept because we had the space or because we might use it some day. A bit of irony is that I’ve been collecting old computer CDs for years to make mobiles with. That Sunday morning I finally went to the hardware store and bought some metal rods to begin making mobiles with…

Life is what happens while we are busy making plans.

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