The power has been on since around midnight Wednesday night and appears to be staying on. The house has finally warmed up (Friday morning). It’s still cold outside, but at least we have power.
Sunday night we had a little snow and it frosted over. It was very, very cold for our area of Texas. We lost power around 3AM Sunday night, had it back briefly, and then it went out and stayed out.
It's been a rough few days.
It doesn't freeze/snow like this in Texas. Our homes are not built for this type of weather. Our infrastructure isn't prepared for this type of weather. Our grid was not prepared for this type of weather (and that is blowing up in a huge scandal). A hard freeze is a once in a decade occurrence where I live. Snow is very, very rare.
We knew it was going to be cold. We were told to cover plants, bring our pets inside, and cover windows and doors to keep out any drafts. The power grid going down was a shock to EVERYONE. Coupled with massive snowfall in areas that never get snow and the power outage resulted in people freezing in their homes with pipes bursting (even with faucets running). Fireplaces are not standard in Texas homes. Neither are gas ranges. A lot of homes have very high ceilings to pull hot air to upwards because HEAT not COLD is our normal enemy. With water outages and/or a “boil water” orders in effect, lots of people started going thirsty. Grocery stores closed because supplies ran out and/or the weather was so bad trucks couldn't get through. See again where Texas doesn't deal with harsh winter weather so our roads became very hazardous.
Texans prep for heat, tornadoes, wildfires and hurricanes depending on where you are in the state. A few places that do get regular snow fared better until the grid went down.
Our house is not built for cold. We covered all the windows, doors, etc, but our house is built to stay cool in hot weather. We have vaulted ceilings and tile floors. Our floors were freezing. We got lucky because our freezer stayed frozen and we scored water and gas. We managed to have hot tea and cocoa and recharge our devices in the car.
We did manage to build one small terracotta pot heater for my mom's bedroom. It kept her room much warmer than the rest of the house. I was mostly concerned about keeping her as warm as possible, so I was happy we could make it work safely. We would have built more terracotta pot heaters for the rest of the house, but everyone must have seen that hack online. There were no more pots at the stores.
It was very cold in the house. We only had candles to provide light and heat. We layered our clothes for warmth. We gathered around the dining room table to keep warm next to my collection of religious candles I tucked into a metal pan. At night we played board games. Mom slaughtered ALL of us at UNO btw.
We did score a ton of unscented tea lights though! I used those for a makeshift stove. I placed a bunch in the bottom of an old cake pan and placed a rack from my air fryer over it. I set the whole contraption on my real stove under the range hood. I cooked 2 warm meals per day and made hot tea and cocoa. I'm proud of that fact. I couldn't boil water though. That was beyond the capabilities of my tiny stove.
The water was off for about half a day. We also managed to buy a lot of bottled water for drinking, cooking, and freshening up. Since all our appliances are electric, we weren't able to boil water per the county's instructions.
Nights were the best because we were very cozy in our beds. We have a blanket (from our time living in Austin) that traps body heat. When the cat wedged between me and the hubby, we overheated and tossed back the blanket for a few minutes to cool off.
I never expected it to get this cold in South Texas or to suffer through having no power through multiple days during the Winter. No power is something that happens after a hurricane, not because of an artic storm. I know there are other Texans still suffering and many had it worse than we did. My brother’s family was completely snowed in for days in North Texas and didn’t have power. My brother in law still doesn’t have water. A teacher friend in Houston had to take refuge in the car with her hubby and pets to warm up and charge their devices (they weren’t parked in an enclosed area).
An hour after the power came back on, I started to cry. My mental illness is fantastic in a crisis. By disassociating, I keep calm, do what needs to be done, and keep on going. It's after the crisis, when I stop disassociating, that all the stress hits me in one giant wave. It hit me hard for a few minutes. I cried, expressed how I felt, and then dried my tears. It was cathartic to have all that pent up stress, frustration, and helplessness out. Now I’m just tired.
Are we out of the woods? I hope so. We are about as prepared as we can be at this point with the supplies we were able to buy. The stores are pretty picked over.
It's been a rough few days, but I got to read a book I truly enjoyed, chatted a lot with the family, and played some fun games. I know there are other people without power right now and I hope it’s restored soon.
All said and done, at least this was a winter storm/power outage crisis and not zombies.