|This is not our house, but the road is similar.|
We've had a worse-than-usual winter, but I recall one several years ago here in Texas that became worse for us than it should have been.
The weather stations from Austin and San Antonio blasted us with the news that Central Texas should prepare itself for a big ice storm. We thought we'd be fine--just stay in the house, off the roads, and this, too, shall pass. Plus, I always keep a good store of food, so we had no worries about that.
By dark, ice had coated everything with extremely thick layers. Our huge ancient live oaks worried us, because the ice was so heavy even enormous limbs bent to the ground. We retired for the night, hoping none of the limbs would break off.
Little did we know that would not be our biggest worry. We woke up around 7:30 am, began to stir around, but before we could even get the coffee on, the electricity went off. In the winter, even when the sun is up there somewhere above the thick, gray clouds, it is dark. Our house is all-electric, so that meant no coffee, nothing. The power has gone off numerous times over the twenty years we've lived here, so we thought all we had to do was wait a while and it would come back on.
We ate Cheerios and yogurt and settled down to ride it out. But what do you do if there's not even enough light to read in the daytime, no internet service, no stereo, no TV, no…nothing. We noticed a couple of trucks inching down the road, but our driveway is long and made of concrete--iced over. Anyway, the garage door openers wouldn't work and we know what a hassle it is to unhook them to open manually.
The house became colder and colder. By noon, we were cold but not that uncomfortable. My husband started hauling firewood close to the back door--a huge pile of it and built a big fire. That warmed the living room some, but you know a fireplace does not heat an entire house.
We both changed clothes and added a layer of thermals underneath our clothing. Our water comes from a well, brought to the surface by…yes, you guessed it, an electric pump. Of course, we conserved what water we had--especially in the toilets.
For lunch, we ate peanut butter and honey sandwiches and apples. Maybe the electricity would return soon. We wandered around the house like zombies, trying to find something to do in the dim light. I opened the blinds all the way to the top of a window, pulled a chair close, and I could read a little at a time.
I searched the house for candles and grouped a few on the table between our lounge chairs. The one book I could read was by Sandra Brown and I had checked out the large print edition by mistake. That came in handy when reading by candlelight.
By four o'clock, my husband went to the shop and dragged out a Coleman stove we've had since the sixties. He found about a cup of fuel and brought both to the back screened-in porch, set it up on the table out there, and fired it up. (The Coleman people should use us in a commercial) By hand, I opened a can of Progresso vegetable stew poured it into a pan, and we heated our dinner. By flashlight, I peeked into the refrigerator for cheese to add to crackers.
After dinner, we quickly changed into sleeping clothing with our thermals under that, added our sweaters and coats, and…now what? Hours until time for bed with nothing to do. Aha, he remembered a small transistor radio he had from the fifties--yep, he never throws anything away he thinks he might need. We settled down in front of the fire in our loungers, put up our feet, drew on our blankets, and prepared to listen to the radio.
Very little would come in clearly enough to listen, except one station out of San Antonio. The NBA team, the Spurs--OUR team--was playing someone in a playoff game. That was our entertainment for the evening. When it was over, well, there was nothing else to do except go to bed and hope the electricity would come on.
We did, with extra blankets piled on, and slept fairly well. The next morning, we woke up to beeps and flashes. Do you know how many things in your house has a little light on it or sound on it? Our bedside clocks, the microwave, the oven, the computers, the TVs--three of them--set up a little chorus. The refrigerator hummed. Two lights came on we forgot to turn off the day before. The heater fired up.
Guess what we did? Made a pot of coffee as fast as we could, ran to our desks, turned on our computers, and connected to the outside world.
We only got an inkling of what others go through during severe disasters. My heart always goes out them.
Stay safe and warm! And be thankful for your blessings.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Texas Promise-eBook-Desert Breeze Publishing
Making the Turn-print & eBook-Wings ePress