A quick note, since we don’t know how long the power will last. The power comes on randomly, lasts for between 3-4 hours, and then goes off for about 4-6 hours. There doesn’t seem to be a schedule. They’ve repeatedly attempted to turn it on during last night, but something must’ve gone wrong because it kept turning off after a second or two.
Update: the power is now being turned off after about 45 minutes. This is my third stab at trying to finish this post.
The lows at night have been hovering around 9-12 degrees. About 6 inches of snow fell, and most of it is still here, covered with an icy crust. The city 25 minutes north of us lost their water supply because the power to their pumps failed. People in our city are burning their furniture to keep warm. Several Texans died. We don’t know when this will end.
This is outrageous. It’s five inches of snow and yes, the temperature is low, but it’s not like this is a massive freeze. The failure of Texas Power Reliability Council is catastrophic. Some people have been without power for 40 hours now. When they tried to do rolling blackouts, half of the fuses blew when the power was turned on. Yesterday I was outside with the dogs, and I heard artillery fire. Gordon used to be stationed at Ft. Sill, where field artillery is based, and that’s what it sounded like, except it wasn’t the artillery fire, it was likely transponders exploding.
Kid 2 so far hasn’t lost power, probably because she is near a children’s’ hospital. She spent the last three days in intense fear of the power going off, because she owns two lizards. Kid 1 is stuck in Florida. She had gone there with her boyfriend to see his family and can’t come back, because the airports are shut down.
Please don’t worry. We are okay. We’ve gone through blizzards in NC and winter storms in OK. We have a fireplace and Gordon, being a prudent man, advocated for the purchase of an extra cord of wood, which we planned to age over the summer. We are now using it to heat the house. The temperature at night drops to low fifties without power, so it is definitely bearable. Our stove is gas. Our neighbors are okay so far. We fed the feral cat who refuses to come inside and she is fine. We also fed the birds and the wildlife.
Sookie tried to commit suicide. The pool had frozen solid and while we were unloading the wood from the wheelbarrow, the idiot bulldog, who has never encountered a frozen over body of water, snuck out onto the ice. She weighs 80 lbs. She got about four feet in and went under. All of our dogs are trained to swim to the stairs, but the shock of the cold water must’ve been awful, because she panicked. I thought for sure we would have to jump in, but she responded to the voices and swam for the stairs, and as soon as I could reach her, I hauled her out. She was in the pool for about 8 seconds. She is fine now.
Texans come together in an emergency. Kid 2 had to leave the house because her boyfriend’s best friend’s cat was alone in his apartment for three days without food and with limited water. He called them in a panic, because he was in another city and couldn’t make it back since the roads were unpassable. So they decided to drive 3 miles to his apartment, so they could break in through the window to save the hell cat, who usually attacks them on sight when they visit. They got stuck right out of the driveway, and neighbors came out to push them out. They got stuck again at the apartment, having given the violent cat food and water without being too badly injured. A nice Hispanic lady with two small children who didn’t seem to speak any English tried to help, but the car was truly stuck despite the 4 wheel drive. Then a black lesbian couple emerged from the apartment, and they were like “Get in, we’ve got this.” And they pushed them right out.
Thank you, ladies. I don’t know the three of you but if we ever meet, dinner and drinks are on me.
I don’t know when we will be back online. Right now Gordon is trying to use the brief moment of power being on to run payroll and pay the bills. The worst thing is, we have written nothing. The power simply doesn’t stay long enough.
Wow, its un-imaginable that such a small amount of snow can cause so much damage.
I’m glad you have a fireplace to stay warm.
It’s not the snow. It’s the cold.
It’s the poor planning by elected officials. As you know, many states have cold colder and longer.
Glad you are good. I didn’t have power which means heat because no fireplace or cell phone internet for 37 hours. I could get text and kind of phone calls sometimes. Power came up at 7 am. I’m hoping it stays on, but who knows. Have a small trickle of water and are under a water bowl notice. Between this and the hurricanes and floods I am getting really good at prepping and hunkering down. I am thankful because I know many people had it worse. Just a couple more days until it warms up.
Betty gomez says
Yep this weather is bein crazy…my moms pipes busted in her apartment and destroyed everything…im gonna be thrilled when we hit them 100 degree days!
I am glad everyone is relatively safe. I live in Houston and this has been quite the experience. The first time we lost power was 7 hrs, the second was 30+ hrs, the third was 12 hrs. We currently have power, and low water pressure. I am so thankful for what we have right now. Some of my family have either lost power for just a couple of hours and others have had no power for over 2 days. I just hope the Texas government fixes this whole mess so that whenever we get another freak winter storm, nothing like this happens again. ????
Marian Bernstein says
It’s not the snow alone. It’s the refusal of Texas government to plant for unusual weather, even though climate change is an undeniable fact.
I’m sure the oil companies with their deep pockets also haven’t advocated for any alternative energy. Now the people who trusted them are suffering. It’appalling.
Rachel Rawlings says
What she said. I lived in Texas for the last ice/snow storm where it stayed below freezing for a week and nothing melted. Luckily I lived near a fire department, so our power stayed on and I had gas for hot water/cooking/fireplace. However others had major issues due to power infrastructure not handling low temperatures for an extended period of time.
The power company and others know what they have to do but I till they are forced to do so and customers/PUC will pay for it nothing will change.
Living now in eastern Ga with an all electric house (thanks for putting pressure on construction companies Ga Power), my cold weather strategy is looking like a generator and retreat to my family with older houses that have gas heat/hot water. I’m seriously considering a propane tank and converting my pretty electric (and useless) fireplace to gas to have some alternatives if I can’t leave the house.
Oh this makes more sense. Thanks for the explanation everyone.
Lynn Thompson says
It’s not hard to convert fireplace to propane. With Mother’s dementia keeping her warm is an issue. Especially after she set off fire alarms vacuuming out fireplace. ????. Gas heat seems warmer than other heat to her.
Teh Gerg says
A gas fireplace can save your hide, and even a gas space heater can do the job in a relatively small house. In NW GA in 1993, we had a freak snowstorm that left 3 ft of snow in my back yard and temperatures that dropped below zero twice in a few days with no electricity for a week. A small space heater kept the house acceptably warm and we slept in the den for most of the week. The gas stove made cooking easy.
When we moved to an area with no natural gas service, one of the first things I put in was a propane fireplace for emergencies, and I replaced the stove, water heater, and dryer with propane. It’s been reasonably inexpensive, and it keeps our power bills low.
Patricia Schlorke says
Texas did not plan for this vicious cold and windchill. From what I heard, there is no mandatory statute for operators to thoroughly winterize their generators. Renewable energy is all well and good. However without proper weatherization of the sources of energy, this happens.
I’ve been without power for a day. It’s a good thing I didn’t get rid of my heavy winter gear. In fact I bought more after moving to Texas. Right now I’m laying under flannel sheets with four afghans on top. It’s keeping me warm along with socks, t-shirt, wool sweater, and flannel pants. It’s not my first rodeo with temps below freezing and windchill below 0
I keep my boss informed of my electricity woes since I can’t work. ????
Wilbur Ringo says
Hmmm. Four afghans on top. At first, I thought dogs. Then I thought people. Finally, it dawned on me you were probably taking about knit or crochet Afghans.
I am in San Antonio and have kids in Huntsville and Austin also having to deal with this mess. I hate cold weather even in the best of times. Reading your posts and rereading your wonderful stories are what is getting me through this. Thank you!
Good Lord, don’t worry about writing. Just get through it and help who you have to and get around to writing when everybody’s safe and warm.
Karen the Griffmom says
Just get through this with everyone safe and healthy. We’ll wait for the writing if your deadlines will. Boop Sookie’s nose for me. We had six inches of blowing and drifting, and our plow was unavailable due to an iced shut barn door, so we dug out our trusty Yooper snow scoops and moved snow by hand. Took all day at intervals.
Betsy Copeland says
This came over one of my rescue groups, sharing to help your daughters lizards: Instant Hand warmer: water bottle half full of water, add a few teaspoons of calcium chloride (sold as sidewalk/driveway ice melter). Close tightly and shake. Will reach around 130 degrees and stay warm for hours. Put in bed with you, in your reptile cages, floating in your aquarium, wherever you need extra warmth.
You are amazing! Thank you so much!
Patricia Schlorke says
Also to keep your feet and hands warm use cornstarch and cayenne pepper mix. Put in your shoes to keep feet warm. Wear socks with the shoes since cayenne will burn your bare feet.
I used it when dealing with a -50 degree windchill. Worked like a charm.
I googled this because my chemistry education was severely lacking. I did see a warning that might be useful if anyone else tries this, though.
Do not stir the solution too quickly, as it can add to the heat of the solution. If the solution splashes out of the beaker, it can burn you.
Do not touch the solution with your bare hands. The solution will contain hydrochloric acid. If you get any solution on your hands, wash them thoroughly with water.
Take care out there people!
Very cool!! Betsy & John, serious points for timely ideas & how to enact them safely!
It’s horrible in so many places. I’m glad you are okay. Kid 2 is very kind, and I send thanks to her. I’m glad she got home safe and sound. I hope this is sorted soon.
Sending all good thoughts, hope the Texas power company get their act together and soon.
Aman Sidhu says
Living in Canada you get used to snow because we have the infrastructure here. I’m sorry that your family is going through this I hope it leads to some proper infrastructure planning as climate change is just going to make it worse.
Be safe and I hope your power comes back soon!
I am so sorry. Thank you for letting us know you are OK. Poor pup, poor kid 2. I’m happy violent kitty is OK.
I hope Texas government will learn something from this but I doubt it.
We need to get new people in, since the current bunch is useless.
Big Mike says
Gordon’s got esp telling him to buy extra firewood? Hey, Gordon, who do you like in the Kentucky Derby?
Seriously, folks. Stay as warm as possible and stay safe. We can wait for your next book — you’d are always worth waiting for.
And if you want to set up a GoFundMe page to buy a generator and gasoline storage, we of the BDH will chip in.
Yeah, maybe Extra Southern Paranoia. Growing up in a western NC mountain house with only a wood stove as our source of heat or being a soldier in a tent in winter with only a coal stove to keep you warm will do that to you. We’re actually fine and very lucky that we have gas and wood. The reality is that this area and the people who live in it, are simply not prepared for temps in the teens and snow that doesn’t go a way in a few hours. Here’s to hoping everybody stays warm and we all make it through this a little wiser.
Patricia Schlorke says
Amen! Stay warm.
Suspect a lot is growing up with the wood stove. My parents grew up with fireplaces/wood stoves as the heat source for the very poorly insulated houses (rural central Louisiana – tin roofs, cypress floors and walls). And visiting my grandmother in the winter as kids, we did not want to get out of bed until someone had the fire going. My uncle put in central heating into my grandmother’s house in early 2000s. (Of course, they did not have electricity in the house until the mid-1950’s either…) My father now has a wood burning fireplace in ‘den’, gas fireplace in ‘living room’, gas fireplace in ‘master bedroom’, gas stove, and whole house generator with a buried large propane tank to supply it all. He has debated adding solar panels, but the prices haven’t come down enough since the local power company won’t buy back any extra electricity he generates (and has the house set to take advantage of passive cooling from old live oaks and deep porches). Knowing what it is like to do without provides a lot of contingency motivation.
Everyone I know who served in a military is focused on warmth: staying warm and dry, and heating the home.
Something about those long hours being cold, wet, and hungry …
I have always aced every survival and first aid course … because of my childhood training …. and since …
Heating plans, back-up plans … warm socks … you name it …
My Dad always had to have at least a cord of wood on hand, just in case … and preferably more. I was glad to see you have a hearth.
When I was a kid, the power went out a few times every winter, due to snow storms and freezing rain (what some other people call ice storms) … and, one time, the power was out for a week! Thank goodness for the wood stove.
Sending warm wishes your way.
Ah, warm socks. One of my favorite Wille and Joe( they were GI’s in WWII) cartoons was when one of them gave the other his last pair of clean, dry socks. It was like the nicest thing anyone had ever done for him. In the field it’s no small thing.
Warm socks are the best. 🙂
Yes, that gift would be an expression of deep caring.
Clean, dry socks are priceless … especially if made of wool.
Military cultures have a lot in common: I have known people who served in British, Canadian, American, Israeli, or Soviet armies. Lots in common … especially among people who are doing the hard work (and being cold, wet, and hungry).
I have not heard of that cartoon. I will look it up.
Thank you again to you and Ilona for all that you do: really wonderful!!!
Best wishes to you both and your whole family.
Those cartoons are very funny. Sometimes dark and sad, and biting political humour … but very funny.
Resonated with some sentiments in “Terminal Lance”.
Thank you for sharing. Stay safe.
Sending warm wishes.
Well said, akk.
“Knowing what it is like to do without provides a lot of contingency motivation.”
A friend of mine started today her 4th day without electricity. She have a toddler who is having cold symptoms, I have her and her family in thoughs, wish I could scoop them up and bring them here. I cannot believe the electricity company(ies?) have failed this badly. Lifes are a stake here and from what I was told, is not the first time they messed up.
Glad to hear how you guys are doing, your daughters.. and even dummy sweet suicidal dogs and evil but in need of help, cats. Is sweet to also read about good people helping each other.
Sending good vibes!
At least you prepared for this. I have seen Facebook posts of family and friends who decided it wasn’t going to be that bad and they are in trouble now. Stay warm and safe!
Stay safe and warm
Michele G says
Sending very best wishes. I am watching the news on various news sites, including the BBC:
This is terrible. Never mind not writing, just stay safe. The UK has been hit hard, but nothing in comparison to this.
Sending warm wishes & prayers to everyone trying to get thrugh this.
Between Covid & this weather, I think the Earth is really telling us something.
We don’t need to tell you that time in a power outage doesn’t count. Take care of yourselves and your neighbors.
The weather here is worse, but we’re used to it and the power grid is just fine here. I think I shouldn’t have mentioned that despite the bad weather lately, it’s been an easy winter here. Boy do I regret that.
My partner has been using his new battery powered snow blower to keep our block cleared of snow. So far we have found a 6 pack of beer, an Apple pie and 8 paczki on our doorstep.
You are smart resourceful people. Thank you for posting.
Bless Kid 2 and boyfriend for going out to feed nasty cat. Then , those lovely people for helping.
Bless you for thinking and feeding the feral cat and raccoon.
Yea, for Gordon getting extra wood.
Stay smart, stay warm and I think that this cold will somehow show up in a book.
Don’t burn any of your books ????!!
Sending warm thoughts from Michigan. It is hard enough to go without power in good weather. Forget dealing with freezing temperatures and a bulldog who wants to take on ice swimming. But it is nice to know at least one raccoon will make it out of this alive.
Oh my god… I’m so glad you’re all ok, animals are ok, Sookie made it despite herself, I have a few close friends in Texas struggling, flushing toilets with pool water and such… this is so unfathomable. Best wishes and warm thoughts, sincerely hope things improve soon.
Sharon Shriner says
I am sure you know this but lawyer your clothes, warm socks,slippers and even a hat or ear warmers inside when the chill becomes too much. It was -25 below here yesterday in Council Bluffs, Ia. Brr. Stay warm!
Sharon Shriner says
That would be layer your clothes!!! Leave the lawyer home????
We were without power for 5 days years ago after a severe windstorm. We were bored and frustrated but at least we did not have to cope wth snow, impassable roads, and extreme cold! If warm wishes will help we’ll send plenty your way.
Stay warm and best of luck!
So glad you guys are okay. Not having power when there is a cold snap is awful.
Living in Canada, we are set up for the cold but it can still happen. Last week we were at -40 Celsius and lower, which is actually -40 fahrenheit and our power went out in the middle of the night. We have natural gas, but the furnace doesn’t work, can’t plug in an electric heater,ect. It was little scary, hadn’t thought of bringing the generator in and it was frozen solid. My husband was headed to his parents to pick up their generator (they still had power) when the power finally came back on. Our power guys were so awesome, working like dogs in the middle of the night (power was off from 2am to 4:30am) in -40 to get our area up and running.
Needless to say, generator is going to be stored in our heated cabin/doghouse next winter, just in case.
Up here in Canada we are generally ok for things like snow storms and cold, but ice storms and freezing rain has taken the power out for days over large areas. I have a gas fireplace which I have used in these circumstances. As a result I never turn out the pilot on it. Ever.
My neighbours , some of them , have back up generators Maybe some day I will too.
We were supposed to get something like 40 cm but it was only about 8 inches.
I hope things improve for you.
One of my Texas friends have frozen pipes and they are putting warm water and salt down their bathtub hoping to thaw things or prevent busting.
Jéssica Freitas says
As someone who hasn’t even seen snow in my life I can’t truly comprehend what is going on. But I have seen so many pictures that attempt to show how precariously so many people are living. Including buildings that are basically condemned overnight.
Here is Brazil we had a statewide blackout as well on the Amazonas state, so many people died. We didn’t have the cold and the snow, but the unbearable heat and people dying in hospitals from covid as well.
The world is insane right now I wish there was any help I could extend, but lacking the ability to do that I’ll send good energies and my prayers. I hope things get fixed as soon as possible. Stay safe everyone.
Adventures are much more fun when you’re reading about them happening to someone fictional and far away than when they’re happening to you! Writing can wait – hopefully your publishing deadlines are flexible enough to deal with a disaster like this.
Moderator R says
I think the past 12-14 months have made everyone understand that “May you live in interesting times” is a very powerful curse.
Lynn Thompson says
Yes, mod R, quite right.
So glad to hear you guys are doing okay. Hopefully they will be able to work on the power soon, I imagine the cold is hampering the power companies repair times, plus if they have to replace transformers ouch.
Stay warm everyone
Shiloh Gibson says
Stay safe. That’s the most important thing.
From Houston to you guys, here’s hoping for lots of warm fuzzy thoughts. Hope you guys, furry ones, and family are all well and safe
Amanda P says
Crazy times! As long as you are all safe and keeping well, that’s the most important thing.
I hope slthings get back to normal for you soon and you can all be happily reunited.
cheryl Z says
Wow, it seems extreme that 5 inches of snow could wreck such havoc. I have been following this on the news, and I hope the power infrastructure gets addressed, it’s just terrible what has happened. I use to live on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe, loss of power was expected(my record was 9 days without power) due to living in the mountains/forest with heavy snow storms and high winds. I had a 1950’s kitchen stove an a free standing gas stove in my bedroom that used propane, and lots of battery operated lanterns. I also had many, many non e-books so I was set. After I had sepsis and needed supplemental oxygen, we had an automatic generator installed, it was pricey but when the power went off that baby turned on and purred away until the power came back on- awesome! I now live in Montana, this has been my first winter where the temps dropped to -27. Just came out of a week of cold were high temp would be -9. I had to buy my wussy poodles booties (which they hate) otherwise they would stand out in the snow until I cleared their paws of ice clots. Today it’s a balmy 18 degrees. Stay safe, and try to stay warm.
Moderator R says
It’s seems that the cold rather than the snow is causing most of the issues. We’re all hoping the higher temperatures come soon and sort most of it out.
Lynn L says
It just been awful for Texans; more snow and freezing temps are headed our way tonight and tomorrow.
We’re in San Antonio and haven’t had power since Monday morning unless you count the occasional 1-5 minute blips of power.
Moderator R says
I hope this will sort out soon and that you have gas powered cooking. We’re all thinking of you.
Terry Chronister says
Dallas here, hope that resolves soon for you, it’s no fun.
I’m glad you are doing relatively okay! The articles I’ve read have painted a very grim picture of what’s happening in Texas. I really hope the power situation gets sorted out, I (and I guess the rest of the country) learned that Texas’s electric grid is privatized. I dunno what that really means except from what I’ve read it’s hard for Texas to bring in power from other states while they fix their own grid.
Unfortunately I know what it’s like to not have power or heat for an extended period of time. A lot of people don’t realize that after Hurricane Sandy hit NY/tri-state area which occurred at the end of October, we were also hit with a freak early snowstorm a few days into November. We had lost power already due to the hurricane so with all the downed power lines, trees, and flooding, we ALSO had to deal with impassable roads for a day or two and freezing temperatures.
We were without power for two weeks. I had never experienced anything like it. It was already cold since it was fall, but with the snow in the 30s without heat, it was untenable. I can’t imagine dealing with 10 degrees and the subzero temperatures. Luckily our relatives in the town over got their power relatively fast as they were located on a major road so we camped out there for about a week until power was restored to our street (and I swear to God it was the very last street to get power back). There’s no way we could have ridden it out at our house. Plus it was so damn loud with everyone’s backup generators buzzing night and day.
I hope the situation resolves soon! Stay safe.
Moderator R says
So glad you’re ok now *hug*.
Privately owned power companies are not the problem – we have them in Germany and big outages do not happen often. Not having them regulated by the state is the problem. Without regulations, private companies will work with the bare minimum of equipment needed for normal conditions and invariably fail in a crisis.
Stay warm and do not fret about writing time! (Though I would contribute for a generator for you to prevent this in future, as someone suggested above…)
Kim D says
A note about ‘bringing in from other states’: there isn’t a lot of excess power generation to be shared right now, because of the cold temps across most of the country. The entire central band of the US (look up the Southwest Power Pool, or SPP) is on power restriction and conservation activities to keep enough energy available for critical services, and there have been forced 30-60 minute blackouts in various areas to try and ease the load on the integrated energy network. Sustained cold temps are a real challenge for power demand leveling, because there isn’t much in the way of ‘off-peak’ hours when it comes to heating to livable temps. Normally our plan gives us 8pm to 6am for off-peak hours, but it’s been narrowed to 10pm to 5am.
My household already keeps the thermostat at 68 or lower during the day, and 62 at night, and we are holding off on doing laundry as long as we can to avoid a energy-intensive activities. Out water heater is gas, at least, and we tend to do wash on cooler water temps anyway, but we might have to string up lines in the basement to try air-drying. At least that would put some humidity back in the air!
Even when there is power, Texas’ power grid is isolated from the rest of the country. There isn’t a way to bring in any meaningful power from other states. The explanation I read was that this is deliberate to avoid federal involvement that comes with interstate commerce (regulatory and/or taxes/fees).
The irony is that a significant amount of new power plants have been added in Texas over the last 5-7 years. But no upgrades of the grid systems, and nothing close to what the power companies would need to deal with this level of off-peak demand.
I went through the same thing in Dallas approximately 10 years ago, this is not a new problem. I remember the rolling outage lasting 14 hours in below freezing conditions. Texas decided to save money by opting out of the interstate grid and not having to follow federal safety guidelines, they don’t wrap their natural gas pipes to protect from freezing. Problem is going to get worse. Weather swings are going to continue to be more extreme.
I did not understand why the gas plants went down in Texas. I didn’t know that gas pipes could freeze. They were warned after that freeze in 2011 but I guess that they ignored it.
Wouldn’t burning furniture create toxic fumes? Needs must when the devil drives but garnished wood can’t be good.
Why would auto correct turn varnish to garnish? Weird.
Matt Jensen says
Yeah it’s crazy weather you’re having down there. Glad you are staying safe.
Meanwhile in Canda
Kim Stewart says
I hope you can bundle up with your handsome husband and enjoy some enforced time off.
The situation sounds maddening. Thank you for keeping us informed.
Sending warm thoughts your way. Its amazing how much we think we are prepared until a disaster brings us to a halt. But its always good to see people coming together to help each other
Im glad Sookie is ok and the wild animals are still doing well.
We are on the coast of NC and are getting rain, the other night a large tornado left complete devastation not far from us. This week the interior is gearing up for more ice.
You guys stay warm and fingers crossed these crazy weather patterns end soon.
Don’t know what to say… Just sending you warm vibes ????
I’m glad everyone is good, and I hope y’all stay that way!!!
Have you seen the hack with an upside down terra cotta flower pot, balanced on two bricks over a candle? It supplies a (surprisingly) good deal of radiant heat. Might help the lizard situation, even when outside a tank
Oh I saw that, the candle heated the clay pot? It looked clever.
Michelle David says
And this is a prime example of why infrastructure is damn important. Our country is way overdue for an overhaul on our basic systems for keeping ourselves alive. Power, water, roads, bridges and dams are crumbling nationwide with people focusing on other things. Your house can’t stand when the foundations are crumbling. Hopefully you’ll get some relief and power back soon. What’s sad is I’m sure there will be loss of life due to this weather system that could have been prevented ????????
Yes to all of that, and upgrading our infrastructure will provide needed jobs, win win.
Terry Chronister says
Right in there with you. I have water and gas stove and gas fireplace, so much better off than many of my friends who have been without power since Monday. Like you I am getting periodic power for 3 to 4 hours which is enough to charge phone, keep food frozen and keep house in the 50s. Catastrophic fail by ercot. They had the same issue in 2011 and didn’t bother to winterize equipment then. Stay warm. By Sunday this should be past most of us.
Julie Miller says
I’m in Jacksonville, Florida if Kid 1 needs anything. I hope the kitty appreciates the food and water. Please send that cold weather my way, we haven’t had any snow that stays on the ground for years. We did have hail yesterday.
Yep. Three brothers in TX have the same issue, except one doesn’t have a fireplace, or maybe it’s a heat-generating gas fireplace and gas is off. He has a whole house generator. Guess how it’s powered. You got it — gas.
Patricia Schlorke says
Karen the Griffmom says
We attached our automatic whole house generator to our big propane tank. Primitive juju: spend the $$$, and we’ll never need it to work . . .
He had a whole-house generator in MD that was propane. Prices for propane went up a few years ago, so I don’t know if when he moved to TX he chose gas because it was (probably) cheaper or if propane wasn’t available/allowed in that area.
But really, who expects the gas company’s feed to stop? You paid money for a reliable flow of gas and expect them to have a plan for severe weather.
Dave Sperry says
If you’re going to stay in Texas (with their politician-driven power grid) and you have a viable natural gas supply, spend the money to get a whole-house generator. (I have a Generac myself.) It turns itself on when the power goes out, shuts itself off when the power comes back, and with a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) to cover the interval between the input power failing and the generator coming online, you will have NO COMPUTER OUTAGE! The world outside can freeze solid, and you can not only continue your writing, but also keep your phones charges to keep track of the kids!
Marian Bernstein says
I hope all of you stay warm and safe. I was without a furnace during a polar vortex, but at least I had power. I would use this time as an excuse to eat dessert because fat keeps you warm.
We lost power and water the first day. The rolling blackouts appear to have fried the two UPS we have for all the electronics. Luckily, New Braunfels restored power before my Nook died. Now we’re trying to see if they get the pumps working before we run out of the water we stored in the bathtub. My husband is talking about stocking up a month supply of dehydrated food for the next time the power company gets overwhelmed. I told him that I’ve had enough MREs to last a lifetime and we’ll just hoard pop tarts instead.
The ice and snow are slowly melting here. I hope conditions are improving in San Marcos. Hang in there!
Moderator R says
Pop Tarts> Vomelet MRE.
My thoughts are with you, hope water gets restored soon.
Pam M. says
I am just glad that all of you are well including animals. As for writing I am re-reading most of your books right now so I am satisfied and happy. You take care.
Judy Schultheis says
That you’ve written nothing is hardly your fault under the circumstances. I hope some of our (PDX) weather heads your direction soon – a wet mess is bad enough, but it does let the utility crews be out and about with some hope of their work staying done.
I’ve been worried about y’all. Thank you for the update. It’s good to know your okay. Oklahoma has been hit hard too but thankfully our power grid has been able to get through with rolling blackouts and not a total failure. Nonetheless I advocate having a wood heating source in case of emergency. I’m glad to see you have one!
Valerie in CA says
Have a friend in McKinney. He too stocked wood to age. Will be using it soon.
Yeah the power. Unfortunately the power company didn’t plan for something like this according to my fiend. In California, the summertime we have power grids for just this type of situation, only it’s extreme temps. My friend says he can’t believe the power company transformers couldn’t handle the extra stress of more people turning up their heaters. As I said he’s using his fireplace. And he says the natural gas may be turned off and be turned in for limited amounts of time, in grids. He’s contemplating using his bbq only. All is fine with him. He is a bit concerned with his inside pipes getting cold and freezing, but “it is what it is” he says. All can be fixed
I am sure all will be fine with you all. Take care
The big killer in this weather is usually carbon monoxide poisoning, especially from people burning charcoal briquettes (in their bbqs) or running generators indoors. I hope everyone stays safe out there!
I have a Mud Turtle (semi-aquatic) and I also panicked about losing power. I have now done mounds of research on power inverters to power Cosettas bulbs and tank heater.
I also found on the internet that terracotta pots (with a hole in the bottom), upended over a candle makes a decent heat radiator. The current plan is to put her is a smaller container of water and put 3-4 of the terracotta pot heaters around her to keep the water warm-ish. But, I haven’t lost power yet, so I think we’re okay through this one.
Susan A says
I am sorry you and your fellow Texans are going through this. I have to say when you wrote about the power, it almost sounded like how Tech and Magic would come and go in the KD world!
Glad you are all OK and weathering this storm!
Glad the pup made it out of the pool! We have had day time temps in the negatives this week. Windchill has been that way off and on for two weeks. Rolling blackouts because power company can’t handle it. And they say they may run out of fuel? Fortunately have a wood stove.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
Hang in there!! My cousin on the other side of the state (El Paso) is at her kid’s house. Her house is out in the country and the pump is frozen, pipes burst and she’s also getting random power cycles with no backup heat source.
I live in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. We’ve had very cold temps (high of 0F) and about 6 feet of snow in the last 10 days. At this moment I’m sitting in my office, the snow is falling off the roof but the sun is shining and it’s a balmy 19 degrees out but power, water, heat are on. Last week Lake Superior was 6% frozen over, today it’s 37% frozen over. We get a lot of snow when the lake is open, but it doesn’t usually get very cold. Also, we seldom get power outages in the winter. Maybe we need to send some of our “guys” to Texas. With climate change, these things are going to be happening a lot more.
Good luck!! Stay warm! Be careful out there, slippery is worse when you live with people who have no idea how to drive in it.
Karen the Griffmom says
Former Lake Linden/Trap Rock River valley resident here! I miss the snowplows the size of combines . . .
My dad and cousin went to college up there! They have great stories of making dorm room freezers by hollowing out ice caves outside their windows!
RJ Foster says
I’m east of Plano and a science teacher. I am currently hosting 5 extra enclosures of geckos, 3 from another science teacher and 3 from my daughter. I’m a gecko hotel!
So sorry! At least you are warmer than some of my friends since you have a fireplace and gas stove!
Praying for the warming trend to hurry it the h… up!
Stay safe and warm. Sending prayers your way
Maria Schneider says
I”m glad you have the knowledge and ability to survive it, and the extra wood. I have friends in Houston and Austin and they are going through the same, some with better luck than others. We had an outdoor feral cat for 10 years. She would come in on the coldest nights and get angry when we shut the door! She’d hide under the couch. When she wanted out again, cold or not, she’d drag the curtains down off the door. There were many times she’d just stay outside. They are amazing survivors. We thought it might get that cold here in NM, but we escaped lucky. The coldest was about 16 degrees here. We have a small generator that will power a pellet stove or our gas furnace. Hang in there. We’re rooting for you and the millions of others who had to make it through the cold without power and some without water.
Sorry your power is having so many issues.
I keep on learning good homeowner considerations from you.
I’m in California and we’ve had our share of power issues due to wildfire. The air also becomes unbreathable. Time to start planning for this season’s issues.
I’m so glad you have alternative heat and a gas stove. Glad your kids are safe. Hoping all of the people affected by the storms are able to stay safe and get through it with their family and neighbors.
Wow, you guys. So glad to hear you’re okay. We’re praying for you! Glad you’re safe and your family also. I hope they get the power back on very soon. It’s unbelievable this is happening right now.
We’ve had the opposite issue out here in SLC. It’s the warmest, driest winter in living memory–so much so that if we get any snow at all, it’s brown. The wind picks up dust and salt from the Salt Flats and blows it everywhere, then it mixes with the tiny, tiny amount of snow we’ve received so far and voila! The dirt/salt residue it leaves behind sticks to EVERYTHING (cars, windows, solar panels, RVs, buildings, kids’ playsets) and it’s very hard to get off. Car washes here are making a mint right now because no one can see out their windshields, but summer is going to suck if it stays this dry. Cue the fires! Today was the first legit snowfall we’ve had all winter, and we’re all on our knees thanking God and praying for more. We need it desperately.
Johanna J says
Grateful to hear you all are okay. We’re going through similar things here in Dallas. Our neighbors have all pulled together to make this easier than it might be otherwise. Thank goodness for that. Hope they get the power figured out sometime soon. For the time being, I’m just glad when we get some electricity – a window of opportunity to recharge devices and heat up the house a little. I worry more about frozen pipes (well, and frozen us too) right now.
Take good care.
Ice storms suck. I’ve been through a few and the only thing good about them is you can put your perishables in the cold air. Also brings people together but for the most part you look at the calendar and swear at the stupid groundhog for seeing it’s shadow and count the days to better weather. Hang in there.
Good luck to all of you and stay safe. Take care 🙂
Cat Kimbriel says
Glad that you and the kids are safe, and that Gordon has a long eye for survival prep. May this be resolved soon.
I’m north of you in Kansas and can commiserate. Although it’s colder here, we are just having rolling blackouts.
Take care of yourselves and stay warm as you can.
Debbie B says
Generator that runs on propane or natural gas, for the home, Cuddl Duds, least expensive from Walmart, but they have a more extensive web site for more choices, for people to wear(maybe child’s sizes for the dogs?). I know this information is too late for this time, but you never know when this could happen again. Hope you have water bottled, as heard that some under this storm are being asked to limit running water for more than short times. Here in frosted Colorado, we get this occurrence every few years.
Patricia Schlorke says
Just some advice to keep your water pipes from freezing: run a trickle of water from both the hot and cold faucets in the area furthest away from the water heater. If you have multiple bathrooms, check the water faucets. You may need to open them too. Make sure the cabinets are open.
If the pipes are frozen, use a hair dryer or non flame heater to warm them back up. Make sure the faucets are open.
If you have outdoor spigots put a cover over it before the cold sets in.
Glad everyone is staying safe and warm. Now if only the electricity would come back on.
The power company in your area is making the news everywhere because they are so incompetent. Columbus, OH news reported on how they just can’t get things working at all, and really, that’s a general problem as well as theirs. When our power goes out, I immediately go through the whole house, turn off anything I can turn off to wait for the power to come back on, because the surges when power is pulled suddenly through dead equipment are what kill those transponders. Everything I truly care about is plugged into plugs with their own breakers so maybe my stuff won’t fry in the surge when power comes back, but with so many people leaving things turned on and the power company trying to send power, there are bound to be a lot of things left on to pull power when it comes back, and that’s a major issue for the entire grid. Our house is 100% electric, no gas at all, and I need things working when we have power. I’m too cheap to replace stuff killed in surges. Been there, done that, done with that.
At least you can cook, and you got Sookie dried and safe. Count your blessings.
You can’t write, but you can think about what to write, and I’m sure you’re doing that. Just take care of yourselves and when you can get back to it, you’ll have time for writing because you’ll be OK. Deadlines loom, but dead computers can’t work. Just knowing you’re doing as well as you are means a lot to us. Thank you.
SARA Ellen ROLLINGS says
That is weird about Columbus since my family did not report any outages. The power company there is usually very good about maintaining the grids and working to get it restored especially if there is bad weather. It does pay to live in the state capital.
OK, that was unclear. I’m sorry. When I typed it, it sounded right to me. Mea culpa and all that.
The news in Columbus reported that the power company in Texas was incompetent and that the problem was the power company in Texas’s as well as a general problem for the people in Texas. Columbus did not, as far as I know, have any outages.
I suspect that we are within about 30 miles of you. Our water froze at the meter, so we’ve been carrying water from a generous neighbor whose pipes didn’t freeze. No fireplace (unfortunately), but our rolling blackouts have been more like 15 mins on/20 mins off, which has been enough to keep our house at a reasonable temp if we don’t open the doors. Very thankful for our gas range and for my stock of ugly candles I didn’t throw away! We’ve been learning a new board game (Carcassonne) by candlelight; discovered how much we were missing when the power came on and we realized several tiles had been illegally played because we couldn’t see them well enough. I’m very thankful for my (teen and young adult) kids’ good attitudes, and that my oldest on campus in Houston got electricity back before she ran out of ready-to-eat food!
Amy McDonald says
Wow! I’m so sorry to hear of the power outages there. I hope you guys continue to stay warm and safe! Don’t worry about the writing we all understand, it’s more important to take care of you and yours at this time! Hoping it will get better soon!!
Suggestion for those dealing with icy surfaces – asphalt roof shingles. They have a nice rough non skid surface, can be butted up against the front wheels if the car is stuck on ice, and are cheap if you find a building supply store with a broken bundle.
Patricia Schlorke says
Good idea! I used cat litter and it worked too.
Yeah, it’s fugly up here in Austin. I’m hosting 2 climate refugee from West Austin, who haven’t had power since Sunday evening/Monday morning. Grateful to have the space.
So glad for your update, I’m glad you’re hanging in there and immense kudos for Gordon’s forethought!
Here in NJ we bought a whole house generator after Hurricane Sandy came through because just thinking about going through those kind of conditions (no power, heat, internet) again gives me anxiety flashbacks!
Julene Warwick says
I know this comment is likely coming too late, but have you considered investing in a generator? Like one that runs on diesel, so that regardless of the reason, you can have some back up power?
Lara S. says
We’re up in Georgetown and finally have steady power but now the boil water issue so yeah. Infrastructure is just not prepared for worst case scenario. They were prepared for “everything is going great” scenario. Sigh. I’m glad the dog is okay ours would have done the same. Bless his heart. I hope y’all can stay warm. Next Tuesday is supposed to be 73 so we just have to hang on!!
Thoughts are definitely with everyone stranded because of the unusual weather. I live north of the border and I was *so cold* when our house’s heater broke back in October (when temperatures were definitely above freezing) so I can imagine, and I imagine it sucks, especially with power loss compounded on top of that. Hope the lizzes will be ok, and everyone else too of course!
I use to live where the power was dodgie during the winter and had lizards. I have used hand warmers taped to the top of a small cardboard box, for Lizards and baby chicks. Sometimes you got to get inventive !
I’m glad you are okay at home.
I’m glad someone is there to make you tea.
Texas and the south are freezing to death and having rolling power cuts, (or no power at all) as we out west have explosive fires that burn down entire towns, 100+ degree days that last for weeks and rolling power cuts that last for days…I think we may have a serious problem. Perhaps we need to invest in updating and expanding our power and infrastructure systems, and fast! Because those once in a century storms and weather conditions are now rolling in every 5/10 years. Stay safe and stay warm! 🙂
So happy your pup is ok!
We’ve been without power for 60 hours. Water has been intermittent. Electric stove. The power just can’t back on abt 10 minutes ago. Waiting to see if it stays on or not before I get too excited. Too many have it comeback on only to have it shut off 15 mins later.
Moderator R says
So sorry to hear! Fingers crossed it’s here to stay.
This situation is terrible. I’m glad to hear you and your family are alright, I hope the situation gets resolved soon. Best of luck to everyone suffering in Texas right now.
We had the opposite problem in Northern California- rolling blackouts due to the excessive heat waves in the summer. Houses made of toothpicks with no insulation and definitely no air conditioning, and you’ve suddenly got people buying ice bags by the dozen to keep their refrigerator and medications in proper temperatures. Lots of older folks who were dependent on medical machinery at home, several of them died. Wildfires everywhere, hundreds of thousands evacuating. The outrage was definitely felt as well with our Pacific Gas & Electric company. It’s not as if they didn’t see this coming!
Susan Spencer says
Love all these posts. We all need to be prepared for disasters, whether related to weather or otherwise. I visited Galveston not long after a hurricane (can’t even remember which one, but it was in the 1980’s) and it was devastating.
We live in the Pacific Northwest, near Portland Oregon, which is wonderful. But we are cold, covered in ice, etc. Power outages, internet loss, etc. We personally are prepared, but we have been helping neighbors. And oh my goodness! What a panic to be without internet! I ask myself, how did dependency to that level happen? I am a college professor, so not having internet during Covid is catastrophic. I’m trying to keep things in perspective. My students are patient, but still panicking. The calendar doesn’t stop, even though I’ve extended deadlines.
Anyway, love these posts. Gorden, Ilona, if you ever come this direction after Covid, we would be happy to host you. I’m sure you have thousands of offers, but still. LOVED your Zoom sessions. Totally awesome, keep them coming. You are both so… real. Thank you.
My husband retired from the main company that invented & makes transformers for the power companies. Some power companies have been buying cheap Chinese knockoffs instead so expect more of these artillerylike explosions as they fail.
Losing & getting power back can depend on how far “downstream” you are on the power grid and how well the company has maintained the lines, trimmed trees back, etc.
Many power companies and big new buildings downtown buy quality goods and newer sophisticated equipment for better reliability. Older lines, no money spent on maintenance, and offbrand cheaper equipment means you get the shocking sight of a lighted island in a sea of no power. Or, a dot of no power in a sea of light. Everyone in the US takes power for granted. Ain’t so in the rest of the world.
Susan Spencer says
Oh, and totally relate to “hell cat” post, LOL! I would cat sit for our neighbors, who have since moved, one of whose cats was… totally bipolar. It took about 3 years for her to accept me. I was the only one besides the two owners she would approach. And even the owners she shredded. “mom” rescued her after she was returned to the rescue for the third time by a woman bleeding from her arm and afraid for her children. She was going to be put down. My neighbor, being a total softy, took her instead. Much blood, many scars, but they are doing relatively well. Oh well. Okay, enough from me.
Lynn Thompson says
Bwah ha ha ha. I was only vet tech “Felix” hadn’t bitten so when I left vet after 9 years to go back to school for my PhD, they gave me Felix. He survived to the age of 18 years. He bit at least 10 maintenance guys, ex husband, multiple boy friends, survived apartment building burning down…..
after Felix died I was gifted by my family with male aggressive German Shepherd. Only males he didn’t bite were Dad, BIL and firefighter neighbor who delivered hay. Female vet tech could paint his nails with out a muzzle but let one of males walk by table where he was patiently waiting on female tech to finish … chomp. ????
Jude C says
How awful it all sounds and as for the Texas Power Reliability Council – I’d campaign for the removal of the word ‘Reliability’ at the very least! Glad to hear the pets and the family are all OK. Keep safe, keep warm.
Evelyne Hays says
We Texans stand together. We are in Waco. No power. Cooking hot food in fireplace and just keeping warm. Rereading Hidden Legacy to pass the time. Love yall. Br safe
I am so sorry that you all are having to go through this. It is wonderful, though, when folks to come together in a crisis situation and help each other. We so need that always, but right now, even more so.
Love that your daughter put herself out to take care of the hell cat. It shows what she’s made of. Bless her heart. Glad that Sookie made it out of the pool without you having to jump in after her and that she seems to have suffered no ill effects from her ordeal. Poor baby. Take good care. Stay safe.
Gaëlle from France says
Kid 2’s awesome. Be safe. We love you all.
I am never so grateful to the my utility cooperative and to my water district. We have been experiencing rolling blackouts since Monday. Unlike Dallas and Fort Worth, we have had 40 to 50 minutes of power with 30 minutes of no power. Today we have had power for over an hour at a time. We have water. At least I can plan warm meals around our power times. The temps are slowly rising outside.
My oldest son lives in the city north of our authors. They are boiling their water and storing it. My daughter from Houston finally got her power on last night and it has stayed on. No water leaks for her so far.
I am just so glad you are ok. You are in our prayers, plus everyone in Texas!
Oh wow. I remember days like that growing up. We were at a high elevation in the Sierra Nevadas of California near Yosemite National Park. Wishing you all the best! And a shout out to everyone supporting one another.
The power was off for 18 hours approx. Finally got power at 3:30am this morning. So far it’s stayed on. All the phone/tablet etc. things are charged, the dishwasher (that was full before this mess) has run, my kids got a load of laundry done to give grandkid 1 some warm pajamas, and the house is warm! Fingers crossed. And next week will be in the 70’s! ???? That’s Texas for you.
Thankfully, everyone in your family has warm, wool Bombas socks to wear!
Moderator R says
Well, after 13 years of loadshedding, you get used to it. Hopefully you guys don’t walk the same road but if you do, here are some pro tips straight out of South Africa.
You can get a 4k ups that will give your 1k watt pc about 4 hours. Just make sure it’s a wall outlett and not a kettle cord.
If you do get a generator, go for at least 5.5kVa with AVR near to pure sine-wave. This will be good enough to run a couple of comforts and a small boiler, but not the AC.
It’s also a good idea to switch off your main switch after the power goes out, because your appliances haven’t been adapted to possible surges on the grid when it goes back online. The last thing you need is a damned broken fridge on top of everything else.
And also solar:
Good luck to you guys.
PS: doomsday preplers FTW
Christine Mann says
Have been watching some of this on the bbc. I’m sure that, however eagerly we are waiting for your next book, we all know that some things are more important/essential. Good luck and best wishes Hopefully the weather will break soon
I’m in the Dallas / Fort Worth area it’s just so, so horrible y’all.
I’m fortunate, we have power (I think we’re on a protected circuit because of proximity to medical services). And even if it goes, we have a wood burning fireplace, and plenty of wood. But it’s so cold, yesterday morning was -2F/-19C. We won’t start to thaw until briefly Friday where we might fr a few hours ‘just’ squeak over freezing.
I have a friend who has icicles forming inside his apartment. And so many more friends without power, or losing water, or who have frozen pipes but no means to try to thaw them, and are probably going to have busted pipes soon due to the lack of power.
So many are without power, and now without water. Because either power failed at the water pumps and none is in the line, water is frozen in the line, water mains have busted due to the pipes being frozen, or some have water but are on boil notices but don’t have power to boil the water. During this crisis the price hiked from Atmos energy for electricity: from 32.00 to 9000.00 (that’s a 28,025% increase) passed on to customers while folks literally are freezing to death. 🙁
The rage factor here in Texas is high whether you have power or not, we’re all upset by this absolutely unacceptable FUBAR situation. And as miserable as it is, I live in a city of about 40,000 folks. We have a community facebook page, and the act of love, support, care and crowdsourcing on there is the best of us. People with 4WD are picking up health are workers and driving them for their shifts in the hospitals. Louisiana may have a cajun navy, but Texans have our own posse of average day citizens just trying to make things a little easier. We even have someone who is knitting scarves and gifting them to people at the warming shelters in the broader area.
Someone yesterday bought dozens of hot fresh pizza from one of the few places open for pick up, and then went to areas where the power was out to give food. Local businesses with generators, realizing that while we have official warming shelters, are not always easy for folks to get to with the roads, are opening mini warming shelters all over. For folks to get something hot to drink, warm up, and charge their phones. People are donating spare wood to their neighbors, sharing other supplies, crowdsourcing where you can find certain items based on recent first hand knowledge. Finding food for pets (stores have been closed for days now). Absolutely strangers are inviting other strangers into their homes, or are taking in pets for boarding (especially some who will die if it goes under 60 degrees). The warming shelters will take people, but no pets. And all this in the setting of a pandemic.
As Mr. Rogers relayed, look for the helpers.
Stay warm and stay safe!
Patricia Schlorke says
I agree. As one of the ones with no power, I can relate. One thing I shake my head over are the looks I get from people when I wear my winter gear. I dress like a weeble. Living in areas up north with these issues made me paranoid over time.
I have contingency plans on top of contingency plans. ???? I just bought a Yeti cooler for the next possible power outage.
I’m so sorry you have to go through this KC. Rest assured, several states away, I’m sending up prayers for power and water restoration. Keep bundled up! I hope you have good friends and neighbors for support also!
Kenneth Burkenheim says
I personally use a generator for that purpose. A small one will handle your lights and computers. I wouldn’t recommend much else. I larger one will handle more, but, they take up more room and cost considerably more if you want to handle a whole house.
Some electrical knowledge would be helpful. Remember – If using a generator – cut off your main power until the generator is disconnected. I could give advise, if I saw your service and knew what you wanted to keep on.
If interested, an email and picture of your service (Main switch and breakers ) would help. Without that advise I would recommend extension cords to the computers and whichever lights you need to use. PS Use a surge suppressor on computers.
Not a fan of ice and cold. My son lives in Austin. His apartment complex has been without water and electricity for three days. He is told “they are working on it.” He is powering his phone by running the car long enough to charge it. To think I originally moved to Texas to get away from storms like this….Stay warm, dear Andrews—be safe.
I feel for you. I grew up where we often lost power in winter, the pump froze in the well etc but we had two wood stoves and were well supplied with wood and candles. Not expecting that sort of situation is entirely different. I also remember the transponders blowing all around us when Sandy hit here and honestly that was the worst part of the storm. Stay safe.
I try hard but don’t understand why electric is not a priority. People living in all electric houses/apartments need to realize this may happen.
People die in extreme heat and extreme cold. Guess we all need portable generators, propane space heaters and the like. Glad you were prepared.
Teh Gerg says
For the future, you might consider a natural-gas powered whole-house generator. They’re not cheap, but you can power central heat/air, appliances, and lights with one.
I find Ilona’s comment that her townsfolk are burning furniture to stay warm terrifying. Yes, Texans are understandably focused on power and water so they can stay warm, hydrated and fed, but the pandemic is still here. I shudder to think how hard it is for folks to stay clean, much less COVID-19 disinfected, with water supply problems. Or how many people are clustering in warming shelters or homes with some utility services. Oh, yes, and modern wood finishes are very toxic, so burning furniture is going to lead to some terrible respiratory problems, especially in homes that are well-sealed. Sick Building Syndrome is going to look like a summer cold…
This is like a cross between Stephen King’s The Stand and S.M. Stirling’s Emberverse (Stirling mentions the hazards of burning furniture), only it’s not dystopian fiction, it’s the news.
Angela Beck says
Please leave Texas and move to Northern Alabama. Specifically, Huntsville and Madison County. If you have to live in the South, this is the best area to do it.
Erin Valentine says
Praying for the safety of you and your family – including the furry and extended family. Everything else is not important in the grand scheme of things.
Susan Plocher says
I’m so sorry! It’s scary in an area so unprepared for this type of weather. Prayers for all of you and thanks for taking care of the animals. ❤️
Writing can wait. Be safe! Hope everything sorts soonest.
God bless. We’ve had 44 inches of snow in two weeks, but the power has not been an issue. My furnace went out, house got down to 39 before the guy showed up, but I managed with a couple space heaters and some luck. Wishing everyone there best of luck and, please, power staying on.
I’m so glad you are all OK. It sounds like you are well prepared. Hang in there!
Having lived through a several day gas outage (affecting 7,000-ish of us) two years ago tied to record low sub-freezing temps and aging infrastructure, it seems like a sensible thing is to figure that there will be an extreme weather event in one’s area about every couple of years, or even more frequently. Pile those events on top of aging and/or dysfunctionally managed infrastructure, and there will be Issues. Preparing accordingly for both summer and winter events doesn’t have too much of a down side (might need a little more storage space to stash gear and supplies), and the pay off is tremendous when things overwhelm our big systems.
Thank goodness for Gordon’s military background, and mayhap a bit of sixth sense, driving the call to have extra wood on hand!
For now, I wish all of you rapid restoration of utilities and quick recovery to normal operations. Stay cozy y’all! We’re thinking warm thoughts for you.
The whole of the situation sounds horrible.
Thoughts and prayers to all affected.
I’m sure you have already considered this and it may not solve any of your needs but a cheapie laptop with battery for …. whatever…
Based on past posts a laptop might not solve anything (internet need or ergonomic considerations or whatever) but having something not absolutely dependent on the power grid is a nice option (and worse case you can charge it with a small solar trickle panel or a vehicle )
Take care it’s good to know you are well …hopefully the majority of folks will come through it as well.
Melissa Fouse says
We Alaskans kind of snicker when Texans experience some “real “ weather, but we also know that it can be miserable and dangerous. Hang in there.
SARA Ellen ROLLINGS says
I am so sorry you are experiencing the aftermath of unexpected weather conditions. I still remember that we actually had a few minutes of outages during the blizzard of 1978 in Chicago but that city is much more equipped to handle such situations that the southern areas. But you all do well in hurricanes and we in the Midwest just huddle in our houses and pray during thunderstorms and tornados. Be safe and give kisses to smart cats and drooling dogs. I will be thinking about everyone there!!!
Silver lining? Now that you Can’t write you want to. Yay!
And please stay warm. And thank you for feeding the feral cat. We too have a cat like that we’re trying to feed.
Come to think of it… it would be poetic if Arabella gets stuck with a stubborn feral cat… in a Prime induced Apocalyptic snow storm… just sayin’…
i’ve been to Texas during a snow storm, pretty but dangerous. live in Montana now, have learned to love all things wool. Also silk long underware and cuddle duds are my friends. And who knew fingerless gloves actually keep your hands warm. i’m wearing them while i type. Be safe everyone.
I am glad you have a fireplace and candles…survival first, writing later. Hugs.
Lynn R Butler says
Stay safe, stay warm. We’ve all been there, blizzards, hurricanes, flooding. You’ve got good neighbors, and you know you’ll be fine. Thinking warm thoughts!
Lora Tyler says
Staying safe and warm is all that is necessary. So thankful you and yours are okay. Praying for the others that do not have power or water. Poor little doggie. Love your wonderful descriptions! In this part of Arkansas, (central) the electric company has been asking for reduced usage and let us know they may have to start rolling blackouts. Hope their infrastructure is better at handling them than the ones where y’all live.
Natalie Naumann says
Just a hint for kid with lizards, body heat if power does go out. My bestfriend has several types of lizards and when they lost power due to different circumstances a few yrs ago she slept with them under several blankets.
By the way, a gentleman known as Beau of the Fifth Column has posted winter survival tips on YouTube. Such as making fires outside and using those to heat stones, bricks, or pans that you then bring inside to the smallest room, where you should put everyone (including pets).
He also read the post of a (now)retired Texas mayor. While wearing a sweatshirt with a very apt saying on it.
Katherine Nobles says
Keeping you all in prayer. I’m so sorry that the government of Texas has let it’s citizens down like this. And, I’m so glad that you have a fireplace and lots of fuel!
Glad to hear you are doing ok. Good news. Australian Romance Readers have Emerald Blaze and Smoke Bitten up for voting in SciFi and Hidden Legacy in ongoing series. FYI.
I live in the DFW area, Arlington. Lost power for over 13 hours in the middle of Sunday night until near 4 PM Monday. Got pretty cold in the house. Thankfully power has been back on with the exception of one two hour outage Tuesday and one 45 minute outage today. We just went under a boil water order, and water pressure throughout the city is pretty low right now. No many other service who lost power when I did in a bottle of Sunday night, and still don’t have any today. Many prayers are sent up for all who are still suffering in their own homes.
You guys are alive and well. The writing can wait.
I’m happy to hear from you as the news has not been good. Many prayers and positive thoughts for staying warm and safe for you all and kids. Thanks for feeding the birds and animals plus the stubborn feral cat. It’s a very kind thing to do!
Thanks for letting your fans know you are ok! I was worried.
Fan in California says
Glad you guys are OK. Tyfor letting us know
So sorry that so sucks.
I feel you, just spent 36 hours with no power, very low water pressure. Two cats who don’t know what to think other than I make a warm heating pad. The more elderly of the two having separation anxiety whenever I was out of her sight and following me everywhere until I sat down and she could curl up on me, love her bunches, I think she feels my anxiety. She is almost 17. I only fear two things, a pipe bursting and the speciality food of my other pancreatic kitty spoiling, replacing it will be expensive and not something I can afford right now. It’s sucks, but still have water for now, power came back on but not sure for how long. What has been the best thing is all my friends near and far who have remembered me and have checked on me to make sure I am okay and if I need anything. It makes me feel better at such a stressful time to know I am not forgotten or my kitties. I will persevere!!
My cats are young (and high energy, and into everything)… which mostly means that if it gets cold here, they enthusiastically and energetically pile on top of me. And mostly remember not to tussle. (It helps that Keanu likes laps and getting under the covers best, whereas Cricket has a passionate relationship with my feet.)
But – I don’t know how standard it is, but at least USAA has a food loss provision in their renter’s insurance (and I assume homeowner’s insurance – I only just heard about this today.)
Thanks for the updates from you and from Mod R!
I live in central CO and have dealt with snow and cold all my life but it doesn’t stay for more than a few days before the sun melts it all. Another bonus has been that our power lines run underground so no frozen lines.
My heart goes out to all of you dealing with these storms — may you stay safe and find a way to stay warm.
Stay safe stay warm… we can wait an extra week or two.
W Adams Fisher says
So glad you are making it through this disaster!
David Suitor says
Here in Vermont we have been following Texas travails. We have relatives in the Dallas area and also near Houston. The niece and grand nieces have been coping with the power outages. Gordon sounds like he is with it, but be aware of the danger of creosote buildup by burning green wood.You might clean the chimney once a month during this time. Hope all stays OK with you and yours.
Wilbur Ringo says
I can only imagine what your dad is saying right now… He must think Americans are total idiots who can’t deal with mild (by Russian standards) winter weather.
I‘m so glad you and your family are ok, and hope it gets better for everyone soon.
I’ve been seeing fb messages from people in Texas about the truly horrible weather but reading your post reminds me of a book I read recently ( before OUR pandemic) where a world wide pandemic had laid waste to the entire globe within a matter of days. The entire system in countries had broken down & those people it didn’t kill had fled cities to try & get away from those who were looting & killing. But of course no heating, electric, gas etc. People have to go back to basics & become very inventive to stay warm & just survive.
Stay safe & warm, soon the weather will change????????????????& hopefully things will change politically ????????
I hope you and your family will be okay.
that’s what it must be like when magic is up when it all started…
Kathy L. says
I can’t say I know what you’re going through…not entirely anyway. I’ve lived in Florida all my life so I don’t know much about snow and freezing temperatures. I do, however, know about hurricanes. I’ve gone hours, a couple of times days, without power in sweltering, muggy heat, putting gasoline into my small generator every few hours to keep the things in my fridge from spoiling. Instead of blankets, I’ve hugged bags of ice wrapped in a dish towel to try to stay cool enough to sleep at night. Sounds weird right? So while our experiences aren’t exactly the same, I can and do sympathize with you and everyone else who is going through this trial. Hope things are resolved very soon.
This is how I’m Feeling now that we have electricity again after spending days at 40F: https://media.tenor.com/images/ab3717c20b59f7bfb5ad775cdb3929a0/tenor.gif
Next year Gordon gets all the fire wood he wants. Actually depending upon who is stacking it maybe more than he wants.
On another note, I think I shall buy you guys a typewriter. Just kidding, but please do stay safe and warm.
Margaret R says
A few years ago in Toronto we had an ice storm that took out all the power and then record low temperatures. My husband went into crisis mode and drove us crazy hanging blankets and rushing around. It was days in sub-zero (celcius) conditions. Luckily some places still had power so “warming centres” were opened up in public locations. We can laugh about it now but it was very cold. My sympathy to you and the family. Part of the problem may be that as soon as the power comes on everyone starts turning everything back on at once thereby overloading the system. Enjoy your fire place.
I’m glad to hear you all are well set up. Hearing a lot from the Texas contingent (and the Missouri contingent) right now, full of stories and advice.
We were supposed to get an ice storm last night, but… well, the trees are covered with frozen drips, but it’s pretty unimpressive as ice storms go? (UNC-CH classes were cancelled. Including online classes, which is most of them, and… I’m not really sure why? Not that I’m teaching this semester anyway.)
Having lived in more than one house with frequent power outages, when I moved to my cottage in the woods here I took it as an excuse to be even more prepared. We have generators both for the well pump and the chest freezer. I have a portable power station – which is basically a battery about the size of a lunchbox, that can be charged from the wall, or the car or solar panels. You don’t want to run major appliances off of it, but it’s great for laptops or other small stuff. A propane heater which is really for the porch, but is rated for indoor use. Plenty of oil lamps. A few different cooking options. And, of course, it’s a passive solar house, which helps everything.
…all this and we’ve barely lost power.
When we do, though, I take it as a sign that I should work or not exactly as much as I feel like. Well, at least unless we’re up against a major deadline. I mean because of the power station and cell internet, I can pretty much do everything? Though things like cooking are a little more cumbersome. (I miss my wood burning brick oven, and probably will until I have another.)
Here is a montage of the dyeing and spinning projects I’ve been doing, for your amusement. (I’ve been doing a lot of small custom colorways for friends, as I try to get a better handle on how the various dyes behave. Would you like one? There’s still a bit of a random element, but I’m increasingly getting a handle on it…)
Okay, I’m feeling stubborn now.
Moderator R says
What size image are you trying to upload?
193.4Kb! I mean, I could shrink it more, but that’s not large?
I thought it might be my browser, which is pretty locked down (though I have pretty granular control over the permissions, too) but even when I switched to try to post from my phone, it didn’t work.
I just posted it to twitter to have an easy external link:
Your post reminds me of when I lived in Chapel Hill and we had the snowstorm “of the century”. It was the year 2000 and only 2′ of snow but the state government and UNC CH shut down for 1 whole week! Motorists were stuck on the highway for 24 hours! Unfortunately, while my husband was off from school I still had to drive 57 miles one way to work on unplowed roads. Go Subaru Outback! At least we only lost power that first night. Since then we spent 10 years in PA so this was nothing but before that I had only ever lived in SoCal and FL so it was shocking!
Coriann Scott says
I live near Galveston we had snow on the beach and no power for 66 hours tgen spend the next 5 powers going out and coming on every 30 minutes or so. At about 70 hours after all tgus started it has come on and I think it’s to say finally.
Cass G. says
So glad things are going okay for you! Praise to Gordon for forward thinking! Here in Southern NJ it is a balmy 29* and we are having freezing rain, then snow, then sleet, rinse, repeat. Trying to walk outside is lethal, it’s a sheet of ice. At least the power is staying on. A lot of work was done on the grid after Hurricane Sandy. My feral cat colony that I inherited when we bought the farmette is somewhat less than thrilled. All 3 doghouses are packed with cats. Luckily, the dog passed away last summer. Meanwhile, I found this on Facebook:
“Tip for those who don’t have heat. Get a tent and place it on your bed. Cover it with 1 or 2 blankets for insulation. This kept our family warm when the temps dropped to 40 in the room but inside the tent it was 80 degrees. We used a $20 tent from Walmart that has been sitting in my garage since last year. If you have one and don’t have power I recommend doing this or buying one because who knows how long you will have power for. The kids had a blast and went to sleep warm and comfy. Stay safe everyone.”
Sounds like something I will work on for the ferals. As for your government, Texas, @SenTedCruz and his family flew to Cancun tonight for a few days at a resort they’ve visited before. Cruz seems to believe there isn’t much for him to do in Texas for the millions of fellow Texans who remain without electricity / water and are literally freezing. Beto O’Rourke is organizing 150,000 calls to seniors to make sure they are warm and fed, and connecting them to warming centers. Texas, I think you backed the wrong horse.
Glad to hear that you and your family are safe.
It’s eye opening to see how poorly our infrastructures have been managed. Not just the Texas power grid but roads, bridges, water, schools….we need to invest in these things. We can’t keep cutting funds and kicking the can down the road.
Thanks for the update, am relieved to hear you’re keeping warm! I hope the cold snap ends soon.
I’m still in shock that Texas is colder than Anchorage, Alaska! I had moved back to the East coast before the last winter storm and attendant power outage in 2011. I honestly thought the problems the system had would have been worked and corrected. I wonder if this is Texas being penny wise but pound foolish? Stay warm and safe. Thank heavens that Gordon is a prudent man who listens to his instincts!
What’s going on? I thought the south was the warm part of the USA…
I’m so grateful for amazing Texas neighbors. We were without power for 60+ hours with only one 3 hour break in the middle. I’m still scared it’s going to go out again. My sister works for 911 here in SW Houston area and her horror stories are terrible. I’m glad y’all are okay and the dog survived.
Moderator R says
I’m so sorry, Ami. I hope the power is here to stay and you have water. ????
Annamarie Schmidt says
I live in a small town in the willamette valley and I had no power from 2/12 7:40 am to 2/18 1am. we have a well and a generator for it, but “He” thought he could run the frig too so he broke the Generator and we had no water after 24 hours. We just heard that an elderly lady froze to death in her bed in town
I am so sorry. I have been watching tic toks people were posting. Ceilings caving in from burst pipes in freezing weather. It is inconceivable. One woman was weeping because she did have heat. Then she heard, that they are charging people who had heat $10,000. That can’t be legal. She says it is. But I am fairly sure the federal government may have a say in all that.
Jill Dolbeare says
It shouldn’t be that bad. I think you are right about your power company or infrastructure. I live deep in the Arctic, so I didn’t think anything of the south getting cold, but you brought awareness with your post. I’m glad you’re family is okay, having come from a military family, I understand about being prepared, and it looks like that is paying off! I hope everything is going to get better in Texas soon! Prayers!
Thinking of you and everyone else in Texas. Stay safe!