Thursday, July 1, 2010

FEMA, part 2: Specificities

As I mentioned in the first post of this FEMA series, your Family Emergency Management Assessment plan needs to be prepared when your days are running smoothly. It does not benefit your family for you to wait until a crisis has occurred for you to try and create your plan – especially if the situation has YOU, the home manager, absent from the daily grind.
 Your plan also needs to be very specific.
When you fill out Yellow Day or a Red Day worksheets, the plan might look simple and solid to you. (And any plan is better than no plan at all!) But I encourage you to step back and look at each task and each block of your day from the perspective of a friend, a grandparent or a neighbor – folks who may be called in to help you during a hard time – who are not familiar with the inner workings of your home. Perhaps you have written “Do laundry” on a Yellow Day worksheet for a Monday. It may be wise to write out a very brief summary of what “Do laundry” entails at your home. For example, where is the dirty laundry kept? How do you sort it? Are there special instructions for certain items? Do you use the dryer, or line dry? Where is the laundry soap kept? Do you bleach your whites?
Sometimes the most kind and loving gesture by someone who is not familiar with our household can add an extra burden on us because they do not run our home the way we’d prefer. And though we ought to be kind and grateful to these friends no matter how the laundry is washed (or home is cleaned, or children are fed), taking the time to write out the details can ease their mind and yours.
These instructions can go on a separate paper and be on permanent file in your Bootcamp Binder*. You can list your children’s favorite meals, their bedtime routines, what movies or TV shows are allowed, where you keep the extra diapers, special instructions for a pet….just about anything! It may seem much too prolix now, and prayerfully, you’ll never need to use it. But only the Lord knows our futures, and we are wise to prepare as best we can for whatever may come from His Hand.
After rotating shifts with my husband while our daughter was hospitalized last month, and seeing my children eat more than their fair share of pizza and PBJ, I realized that I need to keep staples on hand at all times for simple, nutritious meals that my husband,  friend, or older child could easily prepare when I am unexpectedly absent. But beyond that, I need to have a list of these meals with the recipes or cookbook page number, so I can say, “Look at the Meals page of my Bootcamp Binder and you’ll find everything you need to feed my family while I’m away.” And one step further, I need to ACTUALLY HAVE these staples on hand….so I must add those ingredients to my monthly shopping list. What a blessing that kind of forethought and organization would be to both my children and their caretakers!

Next post: Be realistic! See you in a few days!

*What’s a Bootcamp Binder? This timesaving, sanity-saving tool is used to run your home efficiently, and can be digital (a group of folders on the computer) or in a notebook, plain or fancy. Details on creating your Bootcamp Binder are spelled out in Chapter 14 of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers, or you can google “home binder” and search lots of lovely blogs with seemingly unlimited ideas for setting up and keeping up with your binder.
But I simply must direct you to one link first. My friend Rachel sent me the MOST BEAUTIFUL BINDER cover – red gingham, red flowers, red cherries – (to quote the literary Eloise, I love, love, love red!) and it’s so lovely I enjoy just having it sitting out on my table, instead of hidden away like my plain old plastic white one. As a result, I find I use it more, which is really the point, isn’t it? (Oh, I wish I had a photo but my camera is very cranky tonight.)
You can read Rachel’s bloglet about it and visit her Etsy shop, where she sells beautiful patchy binder covers and other cloth-based organizational tools (as well as clothes and more!) She appears to be on vacation for a few weeks, but please bookmark her store…you’ll be inspired to set up or re-vamp your Bootcamp Binder today!



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