Since Sunday, we have experienced the coldest weather in South Central Texas since 1960. Single digit temperatures were nearly unheard of until now. We are experiencing more snow than I have ever seen here. It is truly beautiful.
We are fortunate. Our pantry is full. My husband and I have each other and our dogs. We have a wonderful and cozy home. We have no reason to drive on the icy roads.
However, the electric grid in Texas has had some problems. I don’t pretend to understand fully how the power infrastructure works. Perhaps I should educate myself on the matter. What I do know is that much of what has occurred over the last several days could have been avoided. This weather was predicted.
We lost power on Monday for about 12 hours. Then it was off and on unpredictably until yesterday morning (today is Thursday) when we began to experience pretty regular rolling blackouts. Since 5:30 pm yesterday we have had power consistently, but we had no water. Around 10:30 this morning the water came back on and we scrambled to fill buckets, bowls and the bathtub. We also managed hot showers and a load of laundry. The snow continues to fall heavily, and we have no idea whether we will lose power and/or water again or when. We have water boiled and ready to drink or use for cooking. We are managing just fine, considering.
In fact, we feel extremely fortunate. At this time, I have little to offer others besides moral support. I have been on the phone and texting my sister-in-law who lives in San Antonio; her circumstances are far more dire than ours. She has been without power, heat and water almost the entire time. I think of friends with young children who are going through this. There are people suffering from COVID and other illnesses surviving without heat. Hospitals have had to move patients out of their facilities due to lack of power. Grocery stores are closed with empty shelves and no power.
As ill-prepared as we were for this winter storm, we were far better prepared than others. Next time we will be even more equipped, I hope. We will have bottled water, dry firewood and a working fireplace. The thing is, next time it will not be a frigid winter storm but something altogether different. Something we cannot even imagine. That’s how life works. We did not foresee this fiasco; nor did we foresee the pandemic. Others may have, should have perhaps, but regular people living regular lives don’t often think beyond our immediate needs.
Right now, my hope for myself and others is simply warmth and safety and the ability to appreciate the beauty outside our windows.