Update: My father is getting better - slowly.
He has continued to at least look stronger every day that we see him. His memory seems to be coming a bit more in focus as well - for example, he remembered a hat I was wearing was his and told me I should just take it. On the other hand, he cannot remember the last month: he cannot remember my mother moving into a Memory Care location, he cannot remember moving into the assisted living facility (although he was only there a short 14 hours), and he cannot really remember being in the hospital for 10 days.
So we wait for a call from the case manager to find out where we are in the process and how much improvement we might be able to expect before we reach the new reality. With luck, we can reach something that may not be quite what was there before, but close enough to it.
Resilience: So The Great Polar Vortex of 2021 (Otherwise known in previous times as "A Hard Winter Storm") has retreated to the history books, leaving behind a wake of death and burst pipes and upcoming insurance increases for everyone in a wide swath of states. A rather large state - Texas - was without power and water for much of its population during this period and the hippest city in the United States, Austin, which heretofore had been getting all kinds of press as an up and coming great place to be, suffered from rather pointed comparisons to the Third World. Finger pointing and blame and plans to winterize everything, including probably cattle at this point, abound.
No-one is asking the correct question.
The point of today's exercise is not to parse out blame - after all, blame in the current environment is 110% a function of political based thinking, the us and them of seeking go gain power.
The real question is this: why is no-one talking about resiliency?
Resilient: "Capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture; tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change". As opposed to Fragile: "Easily broken or destroyed; tenuous; slight".
Yes (to use this example), resiliency is having winterized windmills and gas equipment to withstanding freezing temperatures. But it is also having multiple inputs of power so that if one system goes down, another one is in line to take over.
Two examples, both recent for me:
Here at The Ranch, we are largely electrical. The heat and water heater are supplied by propane. However, my dad (within the last year) also bought a bang up generator to manage through the electrical outages. And of course, we have a wood stove with a stone top that will heat water for tea, coffee, and oatmeal just fine. (I suppose if we truly wanted to have more resilience, we would move the stove to propane as well and have some level of solar or even wind here. Oh well, there is always a little more to do that than you have time for).
Or another example: my parents and their planning. Beyond their reliance on government retirement, they provided for their own. And also bought long term care in the event that they had medical issues (like they do now). And hadsavings. And created a trust years ago to help manage the whole thing through probate and through their own final wishes.
In both of these (admittedly personal and limited) examples, there is a back-up to the system such that if one thing fails, something else can take over. Perhaps not as effectively, but certainly not the same as loosing something completely and going back to zero.
One of my biggest complaints about the modern world in general and cities in particular (and to a lesser extent, the ex-urbs around them) is that they are nothing but fragile resource sinks that cannot supply their own food, water, or energy, and cannot deal with their own outgoing products of refuse and waste. Any natural environment that exhibited this behavior would be called "unsustainable". We call it "normal" and continue to pack people in at an alarming rate, and then suddenly feel like we need to call for "sustainability", which really is just another word for someone's planning vision of the future.
(Yes yes, I know: "Physician, heal thyself". I too live in a city/ex-urb). But I am doing my darndest to get out of it at this point.)
Extend this to almost anything needed to live - food, toilet paper, sewers, lighting - and as recent events demonstrated, most folks are one really bad event away from having food, water, lighting, or the ability to dispose of their waste.
Why are we not coming out of this screaming at the top of our lungs "This fragility has to change!"?
Governments, of course, hate this sort of thinking. It is the kind of thing that chips away at their power and their reason for existing. Governments like independence like most people like tequila: in small shots, properly administered with salt and lime. It also strikes at the chord that there is usually only one "acceptable" solution, that which the government endorses.
It is up to the individuals then. The question is, will the individuals do it - not only ask the questions about their own personally resilience and take action, but ask the not unreasonable question "Why would we live somewhere that can pretty quickly turn into an effective death trap?"
On the whole, knowing my audience, I suspect I am largely preaching to the choir here. And yes, I more than understand that there are limitation that we all have. For example, for us a woodstove in New Home is a remote possibility. A generator - before a month ago - was a possibility; who knows when supplies may return to normal. But there are other things that we have done in the past and can do in terms of short to mid-term power supplies and possibly things other things we could do (provided we stay that long). But my point is that we can all do something to put us in a better position than before.
The reality is we have spent the last 100 years building up a technologically advanced but fragile civilization based on the concept that resources, power, and water will always be available. To paraphrase an old Mafia term, "Nice civilization you have there. Be a shame if something happened to it..."