175 – Craving normalcy.

As most of you know, i live in Texas. We have 254-counties, 2nd largest in the US in land mass (Alaska #1), and 2nd largest in population (California #1),

If Texas was a country today, we would have the 10th largest economy in the world.

Our motto is “The Friendship State”. And most people say that they’ve never met anyone friendlier than a Texan.

But i am not feeling very friendly at the moment.

Instead, i am feeling quite cranky. We are in the midst of the worst cold storm in over 30-years – since 1989. The lowest temp recorded in history was 5 (Fahrenheit) recorded in 1930. And while i don’t know for certain, i think we tied that last night. So in other words, this is the coldest week of my entire lifetime and many (many!) years before that also.

We have now had 36-consecutive hours below freezing, which (as far as i can find online) has never happened before. It is the first time all 254-counties have been in a State of Emergency at the same time.

We went for 36-hours without power inside our house, and now for the most recent 24-hours we have gone 4-hours off for 2-on. While it is currently on, my house is warm. But when it is off, the temp plummets quickly. At one point it was 45-degrees INSIDE my house.

Just for fun i looked up “what is the average temp inside my refrigerator.” And the answer was 37. So it was feeling similar in my house to being inside a refrigerator! Think about that for a second.

The primary reason for all this trouble is due to the Texas public utility entity called ERCOT. They are responsible for the making and/or buying of electricity, who then sends it to the suppliers, who then sends it to the customers. ERCOT failed to test the turbines (with fossil fuels) before this storm that we had a week’s notice of, AND didn’t use common sense to appreciate that the windmills (naturally made electricity) would freeze up and be useless. And (apparently) 13-other states offered to sell us electricity before the storm hit, and ERCOT declined. So 30% of Texas’ electricity went off the grid and there was nothing that could be done about it after that… except pray and wait. (i don’t typically advocate for people’s heads to roll…. but… this is one time i think someone should be held accountable!)

You have no idea how much you use electricity until you don’t have it. While i do not like the cold, snow, or ice… i can deal with it when it doesn’t invade my home like an unwanted guest.

Many people have lost water due to frozen pipes as well. So on top of no electricity, they also have no water. And they may well have house-pipe-Sheetrock and construction issues soon too. Some of our friends and family have already found busted pipes, despite the fact they are still quite frozen. We are thankful to not being made to deal with that situation, and i am literally praying we don’t either! One of our friends has been told they are number 25 on the list for the plumber to get to their house and to not expect them to be able to get there for several days.

This is on top of boil alerts now too because the water cleaning power plants are failing due to cold…. and no electricity. One store had milk in stock, but couldn’t sell it due to electricity gaps where they “couldn’t guarantee the milk was still ok to drink”. And a hospital had 8,000 vials of the covid vaccine that, after also losing power for too long, had to dump them.

This looks to be our current situation continuing through to Friday. By Saturday-Sunday it will all be gone and be a balmy 65 degrees. By the weekend, we will just have to clean up the remnants of this debacle on which i pray will be little for us personally!

David feels helpless and i understand, but i keep reassuring him he is doing everything possible and keeping our family as normal as he can. Admittedly the last 24-hours have been better than the 36-hours prior to that! So i do see improvement.

Say a prayer for us and all of the Great State of Texas, and specifically my mental capacity to deal with this “unprecedented historic time”. (Have heard those words so many times over the last year between weather and COVID, i am just completely sick of them).

i just want to go back to being normal. i won’t be complaining about anything for a long long time. i am grateful for so many things… in spite of the difficulties i am currently in.

Just to remind myself … here’s a few of them:

My husband… taking care of us the best way possible,

My son… for not complaining about the situation that we can’t control

My sister and her family… who are in the midst of this right beside us too… nor are they complaining about any of this either.

My friends … for checking on us and vice versa, providing so much needed mental strength and compassion to one another

My resilient house… for not having broken pipes… hopefully at all… but definitely not at the moment. And providing immediate warmth and comfort through good insulation when the electricity has been on.

My dogs… for being easy going and snuggling with me to help me feel better.

My job… and co-workers… for being understanding, patient, and trying to help one another wherever we can.

My (and my family’s) health … for not having life threatening situations or conditions among us that would have otherwise also caused more complications in this storm.

And finally… for the reprieve from the constant no-electricity that has allowed us to shower and have a warm cup of coffee. A shower and coffee resets your attitude and gives you the refresher to be able to say, “i can do this!” mentality.

i will be better by this weekend…. but right now… time can’t move fast enough! Thanks for listening to me rant, for the prayers to move time forward to Sunday, and for your love too!

Hugs,

Marie

13 comments

  1. Oh girl. If I hear “these unprecedented times.” One more time I might explode. I’m in Louisiana. So we haven’t had it nearly as bad. The power went out last night for an hour or so. But other than that we’ve had no issues. So I’m great full. I’m also a firm believer in coffee a shower (and maybe a spanking) being able to fix any moods. Keep us posted on how y’all are doing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Marie,

    I have been following this closely ( but didn’t quite understand the electricity issue so thank you for explaining it) as I have several friends who live in Texas.

    As a Canadian, of course we are used to cold weather, but we are also set up for it! Saying we can handle colder temperatures then what you have been experiencing may indeed be the truth, but we do so knowing we can wander back into our warm homes. It is so awful that you have had this happen. Last year Australia and their fires, this year Texas and ice. Nature can cause so much damage so quickly to anyone, anywhere.

    I’m happy to hear that you, and currently my friends in Texas are all safe. I hope your pipes hold out until you can thaw.

    willie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hang in there! We had power for 4 hours and just lost it again. Sitting in front of the fire right now and thinking I am at my breaking point. I want to curl up and go to sleep until next week. We now have been told to boil water. (Not sure how with no electricity). And using our neighbors pool water to flush toilets!!! But keeping u in my prayers that Texas gets back to normal sooner than later. Instead of worrying and stressing, I have been trying to reach out and help others. I was putting Duraflame logs on my porch at 1am for neighbors without electricity and heat. Hang in there! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • TexasGirl – I also want to curl up and cry…. and sleep until next week. That’s why I decided to post this and find things to be grateful for, since I do know that it COULD be worse. But it’s hard to see that at the moment.

      Agree about the “how” do you boil water without electricity!!??!
      ERCOT needs to be revamped entirely when this is done!

      Hugs!! Marie

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Texas uses a mix of coal, nuclear, natural gas, wind, and hydro…. but 80% is nonrenewables (coal, nuclear, natural gas). While the storm knocked out much of wind, it also knocked out much of the coal fired plants due to frozen equipment.
    Texas is the ONLY state not to participate in a national grid where states can share between each other. Why? Because we are Texas where we don’t rely on others, others rely on us. Except when we need federal funds to bail us out of a crisis, like 5 inches of snow. Then, socialism is good. Otherwise, f- it.
    And our various utility companies throughout the state are encouraged to use out dated coal because the coal lobby makes sure the GOP controlled state legislature keeps it that way.
    A mix of power is good… but it needs to be more balanced (less coal) AND we need to participate in the larger national/regional grids that go beyond our borders.
    Lack of infrastructure funding and organization is not just limited to Texas. We have defunded infrastructure for years, in favor of corporate socialism (hand outs to corps).
    At least we don’t have a petty President who will withhold or minimize disaster relief because our state didn’t vote for him.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh, and natural gas lines were also disrupted/off line due to freezes. BUT if you listen to our governor on Fox “news” the blame is in the Green New Deal, which, by the way, is a concept, not policy. It doesn’t exist. But the governor doesn’t want Fox News listeners to know that. And he doesn’t want to admit his failure of leadership and that if the GOP controlled legislature is to blame. Coal and gas reliance made a bad situation worse. Stubbornness and “Texas pride” to not be part of larger national/regional grids made a bad situation worse. The weather had been unprecedented and NO amount of reasonable planning would have eliminated problems, but they would have gone a long way in mitigating them – AND – they are not expensive or “out there” policies.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer –
      So I agree … and disagree. (Which healthy debate and differing opinions is good because it gives different perspectives).

      I agree wholly with your first comment, but it is this one that I disagree much with.

      I didn’t take that Governor Abbott was saying the entire problem was green energy. I took it to be that if we don’t keep it reasonably centered (half green and half coal based) then we could’ve had an even bigger problem. Just like why monopolies are illegal, we won’t want to put all our eggs in one basket. We don’t need to be solely dependent upon ONE person, source, or solution. Because if/when that ONE solution fails, we have no other options available.

      Currently we are more green than natural based, and about half the wind and half the natural both failed. But because the “other half” of both of those were still operating, we have had some ability to keep electricity flowing, even intermittently.

      I think it’s the mismanagement of ERCOT that is the biggest problem here.

      I think that there were ways to have planned for disruptions much better than this. We didn’t have to have this much of a catastrophe with so much power going off the grid. Every state north of us has this freezing for months on end. If we had taken cues from them and/or planned ahead better, we wouldn’t have had 30% of all electricity for the State go off line at all.

      Now whether those mismanagement cues ultimately go all the way to the Governor’s office or not, I have no idea. But the ultimate problem isn’t whether the electricity is green or not, it’s why wasn’t the system they have in place managed better.

      I hope you and your family are staying warm and not having these problems to deal with like so myself and so many others are.

      Hugs, Marie

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree with a diverse energy grid, but Texas GOP does not. 80% of Texas energy is non-renewables. And it was gas and coal that froze up. While wind turbines froze, that is totally fixable and preventable. They use wind power in the Artic as well as in Norway, Russia, and other “frozen tundras.” And Abbott clearly was trying to deflect the blame. He wasn’t making a point or else he would have PRAIsED his efforts for a diverse power grid (a lie) instead of criticizing renewable energy by blaming that as the issue (a different lie). I agree NO solution would have likely solved EVERY problem posed by this storm, but a deregulated, carbon heavy, “Texas only,” grid made problems significantly worse. And it’s not like the Texas power plan ever looked good on paper. It was a dumb idea from the start. Look for Perry to blame ERCOT, which has a board member he appointed and whose entire board is accountable to him and the Texas legislature. They won’t mention their lack of oversight as being the problem. They will find some other reason to blame it on a “leftist agenda.
        Just tired of the GOP politics – and I used to be Republican. It’s so clear they just don’t want government to work for anyone except the mega Wealthy. I am just over buying into the excuses and lies. The GOP is no longer a political party. It’s a cult, and I am out. Sorry to vent and be all political. But this issue shows that politics has consequences to every day life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry. It just hit a sore spot. Normally not one to go all political, especially in someone else’s comment section. It’s just that I lost a close family member to the cult of lies that have become the GOP. Truth should not be a political statement. Politics should be about whether funding a needed project should come from a bond issue or a half-cent sales tax – not making up lies saying the problem doesn’t exist. It’s just so disheartening to see someone sucked into believing scientists, teachers, doctors, economists, and journalists have spent a lifetime trying to deceive you and instead, your beacon of truth and honesty is a conman with a decades long list of documented fraud and dishonesty, as well as a political party that had embraced the values of the con, and whose values are amplified by reichwing media. So yeah, seeing the damage first hand has made me sensitive to the issue. And it’s getting more pervasive at the state and local level as those with immoral and greedy agendas feel emboldened and empowered to act. I wish i shared you optimism. I can definitely agree to disagree in many issues. And i hope we can both agree that “agree to disagree” doesn’t apply to things that are clearly proven but don’t conform to our wishes. We can disagree as to what is desired, but reality is still reality.

        Like

  6. Up until this storm I had no idea that most of Texas was an independent energy grid. We’ve lost power in Florida for a week after hurricanes twice in the past 15 years. That’s part of the deal though for living here, so it’s expected and accepted for the most part. Hope things return to normal soon. It’s 87 degrees today here.

    Liked by 1 person

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