Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Maybe I'm just odd...

The Truth is that we will all go through this process.  The Choice is to do it when it is convenient or during an emergency.  What is "this process" you may ask.  I am referring to the process of collecting paperwork and documentation. Lest you think "yuck" and click onto a more exciting web page, think about this for a minute, what do you need in an emergency?  When I say emergency, I mean the things that happen in our lives that fall into the "that wasn't on the schedule" category.

Here is a good example.  The weekend I got engaged was a bit of a whirlwind.  I had not expected to get engaged, so I was unprepared for the excitement and the lack of sleep.  Chain calling friends to spread the great news requires a lot of time and an amazing amount of squealing energy. (ahhh, for the days of Facebook where one message could have spread the word...) Anyway, I was tired, excited and preoccupied, which is probably why I didn't see the brand new car parked illegally behind me in the apartment parking lot.  I was late to church, which was bad in and of itself, but that also meant I would have less time to chat with friends (read into that "brag") and tell them about the upcoming nuptials. So I quickly backed of of my parking space, and WHAM, I had the sensation of being on a roller coaster as the car braces itself to head up an incline.  I whipped my head around to see that the back end of my car was firmly planted in the side panel of another car.  Oops.  After getting my heart to beat normally, I got out to investigate. My car wasn't too bad, but the other car had a huge dent in the side panel.  Now the problem.  It was early in the morning and there was no one outside.  I had no idea who's car it was and I really needed to get to church.  What to do....

Now stop thinking that I was a horrible hit-and-run kind of jerk and just left.  I ran back in my apartment, grabbed some paper and left a very hurried note telling the owner who I was and what had happened.  I left numerous ways to contact me and a pathetic apology.  I then jumped into my slightly dented car and sped to church.

This accident obviously fell into the "not on the schedule" category. What was even a little worse was the paperwork.  I had insurance agents to contact, information to transfer and my lame story to recount to numerous official type people.  It turns out the car belonged to my next door neighbor and it was her first brand new car.  After a few weeks and a trip to the body shop her car was as good as new and I was free to plan the wedding without looking out my bedroom window to see her smashed car.

I tell this long and sordid tale to point out that my emergency was a paperwork emergency.  I had to have contact information, insurance details, and a registered certificate of my absent minded stupidity. (Okay, the last was my attempt to explain to my fiance why on our 2nd day of official togetherness I had incurred vehicle repair debt.)  It was a good thing I was organized enough to have all the information ready for use, as my brain was definitely elsewhere.

Now to the bigger question, what if there had been medical injuries? Did I have my long and extensive medical history, including many allergies, available for use by emergency personnel? (Nope, I was young and ignorant...) Did I have contacts written down so my roommates could have gotten in touch with my parents or fiance? (No again.) Did I have a way to get in touch with my company and verify my medical benefits and medical leave policy. (You guessed it, no.)

So what ended up happening?  I got married as planned.  My fiance just raised an eyebrow when I told him the story. The neighbor ended up becoming a friend. I sold my car as soon as I could, you know, bad memories and all.  (That and it never ran well.) And then I moved on to become the Planning Queen I am today.  Okay, there were a few more steps in there, but I digress.

This and many other experiences led to the formation of Prepared Binder as a company. Having organized information can mean the difference between getting through an emergency smoothly and having that emergency be a crisis. If it is up to me I always pick smooth over crisis, but maybe I'm just odd.

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