When you can look off your back porch and see people’s homes and livelihoods go up in smoke, to smell that smoke, to see the ash that was once someone’s house land in your garden…you start thinking about your own home. Your own lives going up in smoke. You can’t help it. It rises, unbidden, to the top of your thoughts. A simple whiff of smoke from outside sends you to that dark place of “what if.” Tom has been through this; he lost his house to a tornado when he was 12. He was in the basement with his mom and siblings when it happened. Leveled the home, though a few things were salvageable. His beginner clarinet, for one. To this day you can shake the case and hear house insulation rattle around inside the lining; the tornado blew/sucked it in there.
When you lose everything, everything, to a fire, where do you start? There’s nothing to clean up, nothing to salvage, nothing to do but wait until it’s deemed safe enough to return. My heart breaks for the families who are in limbo hell, waiting. Just waiting. I would go insane.
For some time now I’ve used Evernote to save stuff. All kinds of stuff. Anything I wanted to remember, to find, to have quickly available, I’ve put into Evernote. I have it on my desktop and it very quickly syncs to the cloud, so I have access to my stuff on my iPhone. Right now it’s pretty heavy on books I want to read or get, recipes, articles I’ve found online that I want to keep, and wines I want to remember (snap a picture on the iPhone and save. Voila!). It’s a free program, up to 40MB a month, with a premium paid version for a yearly fee. I have yet to go over my monthly allotment, though it’s just a matter of time before I get the premium version.
With this fire, the importance of quick and easy access to my vital documents has hit home. If we had a fire, or a tornado come through, or an asteroid come screaming through the skies and take out the House of Chaos, I need to have these documents on hand. Things like insurance policies, medical records, living will information (by the way, pulled those ideas out of Evernote, where I stashed a list of important documents to keep). I’ve been spending a lot of time scanning recipes and the like into Evernote; time to move over to documents. I need these quickly accessible in an emergency and unless I’ve gone overboard on a cruise ship, I have my iPhone with me. And if that happens, well, I’ll hopefully be lazing on a white-sand beach awaiting rescue and my husband can log on to the web version and get the needed information. (Note to self: make sure he has the log on information).
Evernote allows me to sort my notes into notebooks and then tag as well. For example, I have a huge notebook titled “Books.” In it I have tags such as “gifted,” “2e,” “want to get,” “I own,” “fiction,” “want to read,” and “non-fiction.” I can go to “Books” and search for all books containing the tags “gifted” and “want to get” and can quickly find books to add to the stack of reading material that gathers dust and weeps because I don’t read them my library. I have a “household” notebook, but I think I’ll be creating an “Important Documents” notebook as well, so I don’t have to search too hard to find what I need. While Evernote can scan documents, even pictures, for key words, I tend to be a scrolling searcher. That’s going to change as I add more and more to the program.
You can save and search for nearly anything with Evernote, and it’s improving rapidly. Voice memos, web clips, I can forward emails directly to it…it is my brain under my fingertips and available when I need it. It has truly given me some serious extra brain power. If I’d had this in college I would have wept with relief. As it is, it assists me daily in every aspect of my life.
So before I get distracted by yet another mental “Squirrel!,” I’m going to dive into the household files and pull out what I would want available in case of terrible emergency. I know myself well enough that, if I were waiting in limbo, I’d want to get moving on something. Having documents on hand would at least allow me to feel that I was getting something accomplished.
And then I’m going to help a friend help her friends, who lost everything they own yesterday.
I received nothing for this post. Evernote does not know I exist. I simply love the program and it makes my life easier. The end.