Last Thursday night our power went out due to power line being taken out with icy branches, In case you don’t know, Central Texas doesn’t usually get ice or snow, and while we are on the subject, we don’t have snow shovels or a snow plows that regularly come by to sweep away the snow since it’s pretty darn rare in the first place to have itlet alone the infrastructure to handle icy temperatures such as these. On the rare occasions we get ICE in Austin, we pretty much cancel everything simply because we lack the skills and experience our neighbors to the north possess so in general, we hunker down when weather is predicted to be 1 danged degree.
So last week, it took 24 hours to get it fixed and power restored for a downed power line. When we called the power company we talked to the very lacking in empathy person at our power company who advised “a team was assigned” and they expected it to be back on sometime the next morning. No apology, no ETA on when it would be fixed. Not an awesome experience but also not awful. Awful was to come later, but I will get there.
My four-year old daughter looked at all the ice laden branches and said, “they are all honked” My partner and I laughed and agreed. We did our best to make it seem like an “adventure” for her, and for the most part, it was.
Our friends who live nearby who had power offered us a place to hang out (with social distancing measures in place) while we waited for power to be restored. Then at about 5 that evening we got the notification that our power was back on and so we headed home to settle in for the cold and wintry weekend where we, as mentioned above, planned to lay low and hibernate to ride out the coming winter storm.
We had two days of power. Then at 4 am on Monday we were rudely awakened to no power and no heat, we got the dog, the child and slept in the same bed for a few hours trying to go back to sleep and stay warm. No easy task when it’s 7 degrees outside (not a typo, friends!) and snow and ice is covering EVERYTHING.
We tried that for a while and realizing the house wasn’t going to keep us warm enough we headed to our car, to put ourselves in a smaller space to stay warm. We pulled blankets and snack foods and drinks to be sure we could all stay in one place. I definitely anticipated another 24 hours, and while I wasn’t thrilled about it, we thought we were prepped and had been told to expect “rolling outages” (45 minutes to an hour off and then an hour on) this wound up not being the case.
Meanwhile, trying to continue the trend of “adventure” but feeling more and more like “this is good and truly honked” because more and more hours were going by with no heat and no power.
I can “spin” with the best of them, but there is no part of this that doesn’t suck. That’s the reality, and I am saying it here and now. We are not alone, at last count between 3-5 million people are WITHOUT power across the state of Texas. and as a by-product, no heat!
According to the powers that be, this is due to the fact that when power needed to be cut it was limited to residential areas. The power company had to keep power to hospitals and fire stations (which I absolutely understand) but everyone else’s power was apparently expendable?!?!
This is unconscionable neglect on the part of the people who decided to do it and it makes me so angry when I think about it, so more to come once the power is back and I can spend more time digging into this instead of focusing on staying warm and keeping my family safe from these arctic conditions.
Back to spinning- I kept thinking the entire time, surely the lights are sure to be on tomorrow, this can’t be heading into 36 hours, but then as we realized we were going to run out of gas, we decided to drive super slow to get gas in the car, we actually got stuck in the parking lot and thankful for three good Samaritans who pushed us out of that dip, and then we drove even more slowly back home, and tried to go back upstairs but it was just too cold. 😦 so back to the van we went. It’s the warmest safest place to be. We considered going to a shelter but that also meant driving in icy conditions and possibly getting stuck again, so we decided it’s not worth the risk.
It’s now hour 43 into this frozen nightmare and we are doing our best to keep our spirits up and it’s a task.
Please join me in hoping we wake up tomorrow to electricity.
Edited to add- it took 77 hours to get our power back, and as of now, it’s still on, but the trust that it will STAY on has been thoroughly eroded.
The message this week is about changing perspective. Last week my biggest complaint was how tired I was of not being able to see people and talk face to face or the lost art of a “real conversation”
This week all I want is some lights.
Think About It.