Bread, milk and a bucket of water


Storm is on the way. And if you listen to the forecasts, it’s bringing six inches to seventy-four inches of snow along with it. (But that’s just rough approximations.)

First and foremost, I want to tip my hat to everyone working to deliver weather forecasts for television stations, especially to those doing so on a local level. You folks are amazing, and don’t deserve any of the crap you are subjected to hearing.

Right now, Rhode Island is set up for about six to eight inches from this storm. Move barely twenty miles north and the forecast changes to eleven to twelve inches. Forty miles and it reaches fourteen to sixteen.

Do you know where the bulk of the weather that will form this storm is located right now? (Hint… in case you happen to be following this storm, and are reading this close to the event… I started this on Friday morning.) It’s west of Chicago.

It you were moving west to east, were starting beyond Chicago on your way to Rhode Island, had no guidance system and weren’t moving on your journey by roads (you know, like a storm doesn’t need to pay attention to roads)… how far off course would you stray? My guess is that without maps and charts and sextants you would miss Rhode Island completely, and might have a hard time setting foot in Connecticut or Massachusetts.

Point being… the idea that for two points within fifty miles of each other there is a chance of snow accumulation differing by up to a foot from a storm still hundreds (to a thousand or more) miles away… yeah, of course there is no way for a local forecast to be perfect. An inch of a difference here can mean miles there.

Makes for a nice joke, but take a step back before taking on a serious tone. Be safe. Be smart. Be warm. (And thank your local news weather team.)

One thing that always does amaze me though is the reaction we have as a group of people to these storms. We aren’t prepared to lose our phone service. Electricity going out will be an issue. Of course, the shelves of grocery stores will be emptied of all the essentials soon enough. And it is in today’s mass rush for bread and milk that I began to wonder…

How do you prepare for emergencies? As a spin on this, do you prepare for the worst?

There’s are a ton of clichés when it comes to planning for the worst. They range from preparedness meaning you’ll never have to worry about it happening to the worst never disappointing. I usually fall someplace in the middle, where the things you plan on and invest hours of concern over never take place.

Ever had an outdoor fire? Not quite massive scale, but a fire pit or larger will do. How often have you needed the garden hose or bucket of water you kept nearby? Chances are you never have.

From the outside—the it happened to someone else, no one I know, and it doesn’t appear that anyone suffered catastrophic loss or injury—the funniest stories seem to come from the people that don’t prepare. No hose… no bucket… shed is on fire, video has become a must-see of the day.

Woody Woodpecker.

Remember Woody? I often think about one particular cartoon of Woody’s that contained these words of wisdom: “If Woody had gone right to the police, this would never have happened.”

I think that in the vast majority of situations, if you take certain steps you can avoid the worst. But even more to the point, it becomes a bit of a good luck charm, creating a mystical karma situation. Bring the umbrella, it won’t rain. As if the umbrella in your hand changed the weather. Twist the Woody quote as needed to fit the particulars.

I tend to not be much of a bread and milk for the storm person. And, honestly, some of that is a combination of stubbornness and stupidity. I’m not planning on an apocalypse—even if we do see two-feet of snow—and as such a day or two without bread until the stores open once again is hardly the making of an emergency situation. (I would feel differently if the dogs were still around or if I was caring for children. It’s one thing when I’m hungry because I’m an idiot. Completely different when the puppies are involved. So… please don’t write about this one. I know I can be foolish. And Terry accepted such a companion by choice. Still…) Such an approach isn’t exactly a good thing.

But it shouldn’t be viewed as something extreme. For instance, I will very rarely use a chainsaw or a ladder unless someone else is in the house. If I’m going to be on the roof, and I’m going to fall or kick over the ladder and find myself stranded there, it’s kind of nice knowing that regardless of where the situation lands on the embarrassment scale someone is around to call for help.

Still… the idea remains sound. Maybe it isn’t bread and milk. Perhaps it’s orange juice and vegetables. Might be gas for the snowblower. We all have ways of preparing for emergencies. Mine simply isn’t bread and milk.

(Unless we don’t. And when we don’t, there’s YouTube so that others can enjoy.)


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at