Mudcat Café message #4093914 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #167528   Message #4093914
Posted By: Stilly River Sage
20-Feb-21 - 01:59 AM
Thread Name: BS: Check in Mudcatters world wide
Subject: RE: BS: Check in Mudcatters world wide
Stilly are you being stoicly funny or did you not suffer consequences from the Texas cold snap in terms of cold or thirst?

Those were the most miserable four days I can ever remember, frankly. I had some yogurt cups and ate oatmeal cooked over Sterno for many meals because they were the easiest to manage and I spent three nights sleeping in a clothes closet with my dogs. They thought it was a camping trip, but I knew different. Time dragged with the only pursuits being reading or writing or flipping through the phone while trying to not run the battery down much, when not trying to figure out more ways to warm the house. I made a point of taking photos to document the weirdness of the situation. I have to pull them together and see what they add up to. I'm still putting the house back together.

I was fortunate in several ways: I grew up in a cold climate and I have a lot of backpacking and climbing gear. Frankly, the most helpful thing was Richard Bridge's message that offered this tip that was an "aha!" moment and I started pulling bricks in from the yard and made a trip out to the greenhouse for clay pots. I built six of them around the house and was able to keep the temperature at about 50 degrees (it had been steadily dropping)—several friends described their houses as in the high 30s indoors. I had a lot of candles in jars I used under those pots to radiate heat. I walked around with an old AM/FM cassette player that ran on AA batteries and headphones and listened to public radio during the day and a classical station in the evening.

My part of town didn't get hit with the boil order for tap water, but I had already filled four stock pots and two large plastic tubs with water for drinking, cooking, washing, and flushing. Lots of things occurred to me and my neighbors as the event evolved. We shared ideas, we checked on each other, text and calls. And when my elderly next door neighbors, who have a generator that their son would come over and start then refuel, seemed to need another heavy duty cord to run through their house I offered the one I use for my electric trimmer (weed whacker). They realized that had an unused bank and outlet on that generator and ran my cord from their generator to my back door. I was able to plug in my freezer overnight and save everything, and during the hours that I was up and in that room it ran (intermittently) a lamp, a radio, an electric kettle, and charged various things. I had a radiant oil heater plugged in in the kitchen when the power finally came on.

My hands are still painful from the chapping of doing everything that involved really cold water. Smearing Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and wearing acrylic gloves over it is helping. I should have worn gloves doing those chores, but didn't think of it till too late.

People died of cold and of carbon monoxide. Now people are hungry and don't have water. It's a really rough winter in Texas this year. The kind of thing that novels and movies are made about.