Texas Winter Storm “Adventure”

I had all intentions of having a new blog written by the 15th of this month because I have given myself a more realistic schedule of two blogs a month, unfortunately, I missed my deadline because of the absurd week we had in Texas. It really was ridiculous and nothing I could have imaged after enthusiastically running outside to see the snow falling in a hallmark-type ending to Valentine’s day. Now that I’m warm, showered, caffeinated, and arguably much easier to live with…I can write about it.

A screenshot of the temperature Sunday night to hold as a memory along with the pictures I took that evening of the first snow experienced in my home. 02/14/2021
Alex acting like its the first time he has ever seen snow, he didn’t even put on a jacket before running out and looking at the snow falling on our home. 02/14/2021

After a magical evening and blissful sleep, I and many others across Texas woke to find ourselves without electricity and water. I knew it was going to be cold, it has been part of the forecast before, so maybe I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. I was thinking a snow day off from work; a day to stay inside, drink coffee, and watch Netflix and chill with Alex. I did eventually get the day off from work after an initial late start push, but there was no Netflix, only never-ending chill.

The morning started hopeful, we took Scout to play in the snow and take pictures. Our cell phone reception was horrible, something to do with the electricity being out, but in small glimpses of electricity when the WIFI would turn on, we read that there was going to be rolling power outages in approximately 45-minute increments; to this point we had only had electricity in less than 5-minute increments an hour. The snow was still a novelty and we didn’t imagine we would have to endure this long so we had fun seeing what we could scavenge. We did have a few gallons of water leftover from our last camping trip in October, so we used this to prep our coffee pot and had it ready to run to and start as soon as the power came on. We were living on the thrill of receiving that warm hug from our morning cup of Joe, it took us three 2–5-minute electricity intervals to get a full pot of coffee done. It seemed liked each time the electricity intervals came it was shorter, the last one we timed before they completely stopped was only two minutes, what can anyone possibly get done with 2-minute intervals of electricity?! Maybe the electric company realized that 2-minutes was nothing and that is why they decided to truly give us nothing…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Fun in the snow Monday morning after work was canceled. 02/15/2021

After my cup of coffee, my body reacted like it always does after my first cup of coffee, but instead of immediately running to restroom like I always do, I stopped and panicked about the implications of using the restroom to relieve myself. Without water, we only had two flushes, and it was a bit premature to be using up a whole flush because I was careless enough to have coffee. Following that Monday morning until today, I sacrificed coffee so I didn’t have to poop. I used my flush; it was only fair that the second flush was for Alex (imagine the dilemma in households with more than two people?!). I know we had it better than most and for that I’m very thankful. Not drinking coffee was a very miniscule initial sacrifice, I do usually drink multiple cups a day, but no biggie.

After a few hours of sitting around waiting for glimpses of electricity we started to really evaluate the situation.  We had no snacks, everything we had for food had to be cooked. We had about 3-gallons of water, which would be more than enough for the day, but would go quickly between keeping us (including the 3 cats, and the dog) hydrated and hygienic. What if this was going to last for more than just a few hours?! Even after just a few hours, Alex was already going stir crazy and we were in need of food that didn’t require cooking, so we suited up to go for a long walk to the nearest commercial intersection and gas stations. We enjoyed our walk even though when we reached our destination, everything was closed, no one had electricity.

To be honest, we actually didn’t really need to get food that didn’t require cooking because our love of camping came in clutch. We have camping stoves and residual fuel from years of camping adventures, we honestly just really built up a fantasy of getting chips to snack on, it was goal, something to focus on to help us pass the time. We got home from our walk and took a drive to the opposite further side of our neighborhood and found a gas station that did not have electricity but was open for cash only purchases. Bingo! We got 3 bags of chips and a case of water. I will forever stop at this gas station when I can because those chips and water made more of difference than we could have thought at the time and because I respect the hustle of this owner who was using one of those huge old calculators, a notebook, and pen to continue doing business under the circumstances.

We got home and I helped Alex eat a whole bag of Cheeto Puffs while I caught up on my reading. Before I knew it, I looked up and it was after 5pm, meaning the sun was going to go down in about an hour, still no electricity. Alex looked miserable, so miserable I took this picture before he even realized I wasn’t reading anymore.

An hour before sundown on 02/15/2021, our first freezing day without water or electricity.

Less than 24 hours before this picture were the super happy snow pictures from above. This picture was only the beginning of the misery that unfolded for us and across Texas this week. Alex and I are lucky to be two young fairly capable human beings, we don’t have any special needs or underlying problems, and we tend to do well in challenging situations. I couldn’t ask for a better partner and wouldn’t want to be camping inside my own home with anyone else.  Once again, our love of camping meant we have tents and low temperature rated sleeping bags to sleep in.

We had cold temperatures, but definitely not the coldest in the state. Our blessings are numerous and even though I had my moments of anger and thinking how unfair it is that we had gone almost 3 full days without electricity and water, while some neighborhoods never went without either, I knew we were blessed. My heart felt for the families with children they couldn’t keep warm through not fault of their own. My heart cried for the elderly people who have enough trouble during the cold season without the added difficulties of no water and electricity. My parents who live in Fort Worth were without power and without water and it got so cold inside their house that even the bottled water they had became frozen. All they could do was layer on clothes and layer on blankets and all I could do was pray that they made it through the night. What the actual fuck ERCOT?!  What the actual fuck utility companies?! My parents didn’t have anywhere to go stay, everyone was in the same boat, even if they did, the roads made that a risky move…freeze to death or risk a car accident…lets also not forget we are still in the middle of a pandemic.

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