Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Document, Document, Part 2- Keeping Track

I last posted on the importance of documentation when filing for disability. Another situation where documenting is important is keeping track of something that you don't use often, such as where you put it. You may be sure it is obvious, or that you will remember, but, what if...? Two weekends ago we were at our cabin. Our main water supply comes from a big tank buried up the hill near the road. The water comes down the hill through a pipe, powered by gravity, assisted by a small pump. When the tank was buried several years ago, there was a 24" diameter neck of the tank sticking up a few inches above the ground, topped by a green domed lid. Surrounding the tank is natural, wild growth: tall grasses, wildflowers, and blackberry brambles.
My husband decided to put some chlorine in the water tank to get rid of anything growing there. He went up the road, chlorine bottle in hand, to treat the water. He came back half an hour later. Mission accomplished? Nope. As nothing can grow on the lid itself, and it is raised up from the surrounding ground, one would think that the lid would be obvious. If one thought that, one would be wrong. He came back to get me to help him search for the lid to the water tank.
The entire area is totally overgrown, the ground uneven with rocks. The weight of rain knocked the grasses down and laid them out, covering much of the ground. We searched the area with feet, hands, sticks, shovels. We sweated, we got bit by mosquitoes, but we did not find the lid to the water tank.
If only we had written down somewhere '3 feet to the left of the telephone pole and 6 feet back', If only we had a photo that showed the angle of the water tank in comparison with the cabin. If only we had, in some way, documented where the tank was located...
Voila! We got home, my husband looked on the computer, and found some pictures he had taken when the tank was put in. We were back at our cabin this past weekend. He found the tank in 3 minutes, thanks to his documentation. We had been looking in the wrong place before. Note: Keep your documentation where it will be handy when needed.
This idea applies to all kinds of things.Perhaps you have a key to an old trunk or drawer. Or something you are saving to give your daughter when she turns twelve. Or where you buried the time capsule in the back yard. Of course, you don't want to advertise where you put your valuables. Your documentation can be in shorthand only you would understand, or can be kept in your underwear drawer, if it would expose valuables
.I have a tendency to write myself notes on scraps of paper, then lose the paper. Not only should you document where you put whatever it is you want to remember, but you should also keep the documentation someplace where you will remember it. Oy. It gets so complicated. We laugh at my husband sometimes because he puts all kinds of information in his phone that no one else thinks to write down. We stop laughing and know who to go to when we need that information.
How about a recipe that you tweaked, and really liked the results? Of course you will (not) remember what you did different when you next go to use that recipe. Document it, in this case, right there on the recipe. If you can't bear to write directly in the book, or over grandma's lovely handwriting, use a sticky-note.
If you are like me, and have a laundry list of maladies, it can be hard to keep track of everything. For example, I have tried many different kinds of eye-drops, with varying results. Some burn, others itch, some don't help much, and a few actually work for me. It helps to keep a list, in case I am ever tempted by a sale or recommendation to try something I don't normally use.
Our lives are so complex, most of us have too much going on to keep track of everything. That's what calendars and address books (or contacts) are for, and any other form of documentation you choose to use.

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