Texas Snowstorm 2021

TJ, wearing Timbs, several jacket layers, a winter hat with earflaps, and reflective sunglasses, sits in a camp chair across from Tian, wearing plaid pajamas and several jackets. They are outside with snow covering the ground. Between them is a silver round camp stove with a blazing fire.
TJ and Tian enjoying a warm fire.
 We are not built for this.  I say this a lot when referring to cold weather in Texas. Also, personally, I've spent the past 20 years in either Las Vegas or north or central Texas where it rarely dropped below 30 and when it gets that cold, it's short-lived.  Since quarantine, we've been pretty good about keeping our food supply stocked up to last at least a couple of weeks or even a month if push came to shove.  We have a deep freezer and we use a water delivery service.  That's about as far as have gone with prepping.  

Then, early in February, we learned of record-breaking low temperatures headed our way.  While we knew it would likely snow and be very cold, we had no idea what was in store for us. We certainly put too much trust in the state and city infrastructures that provided basic essentials such as electricity and clean water.  We also didn't imagine the cold would knock out internet services and impair our cell service as well.  

Tian and Travis both looking down at their creations, yet to be formed. On the table in front of them are various colors of clay and an assortment of modeling tools.
Travis and Tian creating
with polymer clay
It's been a tiring week, to say the least.  I could have been worse.  We have not lost power at all.  We learned our neighborhood shares a grid with a hospital.  We lost Internet and cell service for 3 days. We could make spotty phone calls, but that was about it.  Losing the internet wouldn't be so bad if we could go out somewhere to find out what's going on in the world, but we were stuck in our home, just getting what info we could here and there.   My parents, who live about an hour north of us, lost power Monday morning and didn't get it back until Thursday.  Fortunately, their dear friends rescued them Monday evening and housed them for 4 days and nights, so they were warm.  I felt totally helpless as I couldn't get up there at all.  We were very thankful to their friends. 

Our oldest had JUST moved from a sub-par apartment to a much better one in the same town where my parents live. We were also thankful for that as she and our grandson were able to stay safe and warm, even if lonely, in their new studio apartment.  Our daughter ran out of food Wednesday but was able to take the somewhat risky half-mile drive to get some food.  She's proven how strong she is over the past few months, surviving some very crappy conditions all while caring solo for her sweet boy!  

Nighttime, TJ, wearing a red winter jacket with hood and Ken fill buckets with snow that has collected on a large square trampoline.
We lost water on the morning of the 17th and as of today, the 20th, we still don't have running water.  The latest prediction is that it will be on for us by Monday.  Meaning we will have gone 5-6 days without water.  Thursday night, Ken and TJ collected what snow they could from the trampoline and filled the tub.  That ended up not being the best solution as it just stayed a big pile of snow.  Whatever melted seemed to evaporate.  When the temps finally dropped Friday, Ken put under the downspouts the brand new compost bins the city of Austin gave us a couple of weeks ago.  Bingo! We now have plenty of greywater for flushing.

Chance, Hannah and TJ, all holding shovels, work to clear the snow and ice covered driveway. A white Prius sits at the end of the driveway.  Surrounding homes have melting snow on the roofs.
Chance, Hannah, and TJ
clear their grandparents' driveway

Since the temps were going up Friday, TJ and I made the trip up to my parents to clear their driveway.  Their power had come back on (intermittently) but they needed a clear path up their fairly steep drive before they could actually get into their house.  While in town, we hit the local Aldi (we don't have one in Austin) where they had plenty of water and foods that were running out in Austin.  It was nice to do some shopping for our neighbors as well as ourselves.  After a week of feeling helpless, it was good to DO something useful.  Having a big family and keeping food stocked allowed us to share with others.  Our neighbors shared with each other on every level.  Physical help, helping to transport, sharing from their scarce reserves, keeping others informed, shopping for others, and plenty of humor. 

I also learned we can count on H-E-B and grassroots organizations much more than we can count on our government to provide the services and essentials we need.  You can google that to learn more. 
While the effects of the storm linger and while it has been frustrating, we are grateful for what we do have. 

My friend said it perfectly, so sharing here. Grateful for all of the helpers out there. Our neighborhood, family, and family friends have been amazing over this week. We need each other!

Posted by Sarah Brown on Friday, February 19, 2021


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Review: Maya Chan Beach Resort In Costa Maya, Mexico

Travis Update Ending 2013

2022 Year In Review