Alaska Visited Texas This Week?

Zoe says it’s too cold to pee!

At least you’d think it did. It was actually colder on the Texas coast than it was in Alaska at one point. Our little town was hit hard. 80% were without power. Water lines froze up, people were freezing to death with no heat and food was dwindling. Those who had food had no way to cook. No way to wash up. Some pets inadvertently left outside froze to death. People were dying from carbon monoxide poisoning, there was ice on the roads so we couldn’t get any supplies in to help us survive. Yet, the entire town came together. Families took in people who were suffering. Some made food and gave it away. People shared blankets, food, money and comfort. They opened a warming station at one of the schools. Plumbers were repairing frozen lines for free. When the city water thawed, the water quality was low so we had to boil it before using it. So everyone had to have bottled water…but there was none because the trucks couldn’t get through. There was no gasoline because the trucks couldn’t get through. People who were sitting in their cars with the heater running or running a generator for power in their backyards were in dire straits. It was bleak for too long.

What we didn’t see? There was no crime. There was no looting. There was no fighting among the citizens. There was little blame toward the city government and they came through for us, even though they dragged their feet at the beginning. The first three days there were no wrecks because people stayed off the roads. It made me proud to live here.

The temperature is moderating now. We have good water and plenty of heat. Trucks are arriving to replenish stores. Gasoline supply is increasing. People are repairing frozen and broken pipes, getting food and giving a sigh of relief.

We were some of the fortunate ones. We never lost power, had no lines frozen or broken, were warm and comfortable for the duration. We also did a lot of prep before the weather. We wrapped all our pipes, covered all the plants, brought in the potted plants, saved fresh water in case we lost it, closed off 2 rooms to conserve energy for the network, and decreased our thermostat. We wore extra clothes, wrapped up in blankets and held warm dogs all we could. We actually used less energy this week than we did the week before, so it worked. We’re fortunate not to lose anything when so many around us lost so much. Those whose homes burned lost everything, in some cases even their lives. Last night we even went out for Mexican and margaritas. And today Starbucks was open so Gypsy and Zsa Zsa got a ride in the beautiful sunlight.

Living in a semi-tropical zone where hurricanes are the biggest threat, people never think about living in a deep freeze. And our electrical grid is not designed for these temperatures. A perfect storm of electrical generating plants down for repair, a shortage of natural gas, frozen wind turbines and a massive increase in energy usage to heat homes conspired to wreck the system. We’ve been told that changes will be made so that this never happens again. That remains to be seen, but I do believe some heads will roll over this. We all learned things never known before. People learned about protecting their pipes, conserving energy, sharing and compassion. There was something we all could do to help even if we never made contact with another person. Those that did reach out to others made humanity shine just a little. There’s a lot of smiles out there, a lot of friendly people who are being just a little bit more kind now that the shock of the disaster is almost over. I think a lot of people, myself included, saw another side of the citizens of this city. The people were the strength, not the government. We know who we can trust now. I think I’ll look at things with a slightly different perspective. It’s easy to take things for granted and think people are not nice, but when the chips were down, it was the people who came through for each other. Bravo! I’m so proud of my neighbors in this town. Way to go!

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