snow on shrubs, trees and ground

image: Provence-sur-la-Prairie early morning Thursday 18 Feb 2021

|| 21 February 2021

Texas Freeze Austin: Report From Rocki

Here at Provence-sur-la-Prairie the worst of the Texas Freeze and its outages seems to be over. Unfortunately that is not true for other parts of Texas. Friday I had an email from Rocki in Austin about the continuing problems there. The first part of her email is background on the Freeze in Austin. Rocki wrote:

Electricity went off Sunday night late. We just emptied our freezer/refrigerator and put everything in boxes in the garage!! It’s supposed to be 10 [degrees F.] tonight. 19 [degrees F.] right now.

We’ve pulled my husband’s recliner & the couch as close as we can get them to the fireplace. Thursday [soonest electricity might be restored] is a long time away . . .

And now we have no water. May not have any for a week. Using melted snow to flush toilets & wash dishes. Still freezing the next 2 days/nights.

Charging phones in the car/blasting heater. Trying not to use too much gas.

Friday 19 February Rocki added:

We do have heat now. After 4 days of freezing, it took me 24 hours to get warm. We’re shoveling snow into coolers to flush toilets. Water may not be restored for 2 weeks. Still freezing at night here. Stores out of goods/water. Trucks can’t deliver because of the impassable roads.

Hope you can continue to stay warm & have water. Husband said we don’t give our grandparents & great-grandparents enough credit. This was normal to them. We’re definitely spoiled.

Husband has lost 7 lbs. My body said, “It’s a freeze. Conserve all your fat cells!”

Even with the likelihood of two more weeks without water and other agonies, Rocki has been able to preserve her sense of humor during the trauma. We hope that water and other services are restored sooner than predicted. All our best wishes that they are.

Sad News

Saturday I had more sad news. About a month ago I mentioned in a Nouvelles that a school classmate with whom I had been “best friends” in junior high was hospitalized with Covid. This past week Pat lost her battle with the virus. The vaccine did not come soon enough for her.

|| 18 February 2021

Alive and Well — So Far

No doubt you are aware that Texas, the state in which I live in the northern part, has been hit by abnormally frigid winter storm and widespread power blackouts. I was well prepared, and I did not suffer as badly as millions of Texas residents have. Some are still without heat, water and electricity. But it was not an experience I would want to repeat.

The worst for me was Monday. In preparation for the storm, on Sunday I had shut off all the house except the bathroom, kitchen and office that has a bed to cut down on consumption of electricity that provides my heat. My electricity provider TXU had emailed an alert asking us to cut usage as much as possible in anticipation of the storm and below 0 temperatures.

Monday I woke about 4:00 AM to check that my dripping faucets had kept the pipes from freezing. Sam and Tuffy, my cats, and I had all eaten our breakfasts, the cats were back asleep, and I was sipping hot tea and reading the news on my laptop when, at 5:35 AM, the room went dark. My Internet connection dropped. Blackout.

Outside it was not yet daylight, but I had my flashlights and rechargeable lamps for light. The gas cooking stove provided some heat in the kitchen from the stovetop burners. The old oven would not light.

Thus began over 9 hours when the kitchen temperature dropped to about 50 degrees F. and remained there until the power came back. The office temperature dropped to the 40s. During this time the only information we were given for how long the blackout would last was: “Be prepared for an extended outage.” No definition of “extended” was provided. Hours? Days?

Most uncomfortable was the bathroom. Our city prohibits gas heaters in bathrooms. With no electricity, the temperature in my bathroom soon dropped to 30 degrees F. When your bathroom is 10 degrees colder than the inside of your refrigerator, that is uncomfortable !

The return of power at 3:15 PM brought a sigh of relief and some warming of my bathroom, office and kitchen. But at 5:35 PM another blackout began. No power again until the middle of the night.

Tuesday I had power until 12 noon when a 2-hour blackout began. I kept expecting another blackout Tuesday evening — and every minute since then. But here we are at 4:30 PM on Thursday and no additional blackout. It helps that the temperature has warmed to 25 degrees F. this afternoon.

Compared to so many others in Texas I have suffered very little. For this, I am grateful.

A couple of years ago I ordered a heavy velour housecoat for a time that the weather became REALLY COLD. (You feel as if you are wearing a sofa.) The housecoat has hung in the back of my closet — until Monday. On Monday and Tuesday I rarely took it off. I even did my posture exercise workout wearing it.

If you are in an area where winter storms and/or power interruptions are bedeviling your life, I hope you come through the time well and that the disruption to your life is short and minimal.

as the French say, du courage — Anne Barone