It's 2 degrees this morning. After today's predicted high of 10, we're to go below zero tonight.
Global warming, my Aunt Fanny!
So what do we do? We dress in layers, break out the winter coats, and pre-warm the truck before leaving. But otherwise, it's just a Saturday in Alaska. If you know what to do, it's easy.
On weekdays, we get up at 0430 hrs, and I'm at work by 0600. But on the weekends, we laze abed until 0600, and a couple of wonderful, blessed, quiet hours before breakfast and weekend chores. I can drink coffee, converse quietly with my wife,or just listen to soft music while reading ... or just sit and stare, depending on my relative level of wakefulness, or lack thereof.
Times when there are few or no demands on my attention are rare. As a minister, I spent much of my time preparing all those things that parishioners take for granted: straightening chairs, cleaning, pulling sheet music for the band (which included me) and singers, re-balancing the sound system, even cleaning and polishing fingerprints off the senior pastor's Lexan podium.
Nowadays, working a secular job while on sabbatical, I still take care of people. Somebody has to be responsible for the building, facilities (boilers, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical system, parking lot and grounds-keeping). Someone has to regulate the temperature in every room, and respond to requests for "turn it up a degree" or vice-versa. The surgery center needs steam for the autoclaves; hot water for the scrub sinks; and light bulbs have a habit of burning out at exactly the wrong time.
Even well-trained service dogs sometimes have accidents, and someone has to tell the janitor about those "deposits".
Much preparation takes place behind the scenes, so that others may do their jobs without undue interruption. If it's done correctly, they never even have to think about it.
But systems sometimes break down, people fail, and mistakes get made. Sometimes, systems put in place to regulate things or events wind up being inadequate. Whether due to poor planning, lack of understanding, or unforeseen events ... things break, systems fail, and bad things happen.
So when we see attacks unfolding in real time, before our eyes thanks to modern satellite and internet technology, how do we respond?
We study the available materials, we familiarize ourselves with the tools we have, we train, we practice ... we prepare.
We can't predict specific events, but we can be as well prepared as possible for when random events unfold.
I have a toolkit at work, but the most important things at my disposal are the phone, the computer and software, and the right contractors on-call at the right time.
And for events like yesterday's terrorist attacks in Paris, there's the family planning, practice at the range, emergency kits in all the vehicles, and a reliable sidearm in my holster.
It's always about the plan and the preparation.
Don't be caught unprepared.