A letter from the dark, thirsty and frozen Texas
By Dennis Byrne,
today at 10:14 am
today at 10:14 am
Greetings from the frozen tundra of central Texas. Snow and ice every where.
Yes it’s cold down here — what you Chicagoans expect in a normal winter, but what we’ve experienced the last several days, like 14 degrees at 10 am with a wind chill of 6 the other day or 7 degrees at daybreak, is historic stuff down here. The only heat being generated is from the raging debate over how significant to the power losses was the failure of wind turbines. Who knew Texas was a national leader in wind energy?
I’m sure you’ve read about the millions in Texas without electricity, some for 3 or 4 days. We’ve been lucky that we haven’t be suffered from a power failure or from one of the rolling blackouts. But my wife worries about the possibility constantly.
On Tuesday, I spent more than half an hour raking snow — yes, you read that right, raking snow. I of course don’t have a snow shovel and my garden shovel isn’t a good substitute. So I first tried using a broom to push the snow away. That might have worked Monday right after the 3-4 inch snowfall when the snow was fluffy, but not Tuesday after the night’s freeze hardened it. So I tried a rake and it worked surprisingly well. After all that work, my wife called the nearby supermarket to learn that it had had no food shipments so there was no reason for me to go there — and therefore no reason to rake the snow.
Like I said, the good news is that we haven’t lost power. That’s good if for no other reason than yesterday afternoon we got a boil-water notice from our utility. Then last night came a notice to conserve water because of the lack of reliable electric service at the water plant.
More freezing rain and ice came yesterday and we may get more tonight. I haven’t left the house since Saturday except to take the dog out, to rake the snow off the driveway (a waste of time since the supermarket reported no food shipments) and to rake the ice off the back porch in case we needed to use the grill to cook.
The supermarket didn’t even open yesterday and was open for reduced hours today but we didn’t go out because of the hazardous icy roads. We’re down to two eggs, a quarter of a gallon of milk, a half-loaf of bread, a couple of cans of soup, a can of beans, a few slices of turkey breast, a couple of boxes of cereal, some meat in our freezer and a few other things. We’re not in danger of going hungry but the reduced circumstances of our freezer/refrigerator are producing some unusual dinner options. We may soon be eating the ribs my wife bought to cook for her mother’s 94th birthday dinner celebration. Because we live so close to the supermarket (2 minutes away) and pass it every time we come home, we got out of the habit of doing a big weekly shopping trip to stock our refrigerator and instead fell into the habit of to just picking up what we need every day or two. I expect that will change.
A Chicago friend suggested he could FedEx some food to us. My response: lol. Haven’t see a FedEx or Amazon Prime truck, usually daily visitors to our neighborhood, in nearly a week.
A change in the weather tomorrow will rescue us with a warming trend that will reach 70 in the middle of next week. Happy days will be here again! Or, if you prefer, the warming will make Texas great again!
Here’s an update:
Made it to the supermarket today. No eggs, no milk, no meat, no fresh produce, a few cans of peas and beans, row after row of empty or mostly empty shelves. Cream of mushroom must be a very unpopular soup as it was the only one still on the shelf. Did manage to get some wine.
Thankfully, the big thaw has set in. Melting ice and opening roads should mean food deliveries to supermarkets later today or tomorrow.