Winter in a Week
Remember when I wrote about trying to decide where to go for a weekend getaway and how we decided on Austin?
Yeah. Good times.
In case you don't live in Texas, those plans were changed. Based on the weather forecast, we decided last Wednesday to cancel our hotel reservation. And Oh. My. GAWD. I am so glad we did! The next day there was a 130+ car pile up in Fort Worth (close-ish to us but not an area we frequent). And then later that day I heard about a 26 car pileup in North Austin near my former home in Cedar Park. Calling off a road trip definitely seemed like a smart move.
We are just coming out from under the coldest weather I have ever experienced in my life. At one point the ENTIRE STATE OF TEXAS was in temperatures below freezing. That has never happened.
Since I know I have out of state - even out of country - readers, this next bit is for you.
A typical Texas winter means temps maybe in the 30s (that's Fahrenheit, not Celsius because Americans are stubborn). We might get the odd colder day but - and I am NOT a weather person - but I think it is safe to say most of us find it pretty miserable when the temps dip into the 40s. Which I *think* is fair to say our typical coldest.
Once in a while we will get icy or freezing rain that most Texans will affectionately refer to as snow because let's face it, that's as close as most of us ever get to real snow. And even then it was probably in the 50s or 60s the day before and will be 70 the next day so it almost never sticks.
This is all in general terms. Yes we've had some real snow before. We actually even had it earlier this year which was beautiful, lasted a day, and was gone. Per usual.
But this time, it got real cold first. And then it snowed. And snowed. And snowed. Real actual sustained hours of light fluffy snow. Days even.
And Texas was not prepared.
Our homes are not insulated for these kinds of temperatures. And we soon found out our Texas power grid was woefully unprepared for the demands of heating millions of homes in below freezing temperatures for days. Alleged rolling blackouts started to try to keep up with demand but based on my friends posts on social media, not many people experienced the "rolling" aspect. My newsfeed was filled with friends without power for DAYS. In below freezing temperatures. And with roads covered in ice - and most vehicles not prepared for the weather - many had no choice but to stay where they were. I have friends that spent the night in their cars because at least they had heat.
We were lucky. We never lost power or water. We did our best to conserve both and we opened our home to anyone that could get here safely. Duncan came and spent a few days with us when his power went out. Luckily both Zach and Xander had no issues.
Chase came and grabbed some Duraflame logs and firewood we had for the firepit out back.
But it was mostly just the two of us. Based on the forecast I had placed a large Instacart order just before the temps dropped so we had plenty of food. All in all, we came out unscathed.
I know many friends that have had pipes burst and are still without water. And I still say to anyone reading this, if you can get here safely, you are welcome here.
I don't know how long we will be dealing with these repercussions. I can only speak for this Texan, but no, I would not rather freeze than have regulated electricity.
I've also seen the comments from those that deal with the cold more routinely wondering why we are all a bunch of crybabies about a few inches of snow. And it boils down to preparedness.
Sure, if you live in a climate where snow does not make you believe the world is suddenly a magical wonderland, a few days of below freezing temps is probably not a big deal to you. But it is to us. One of the reasons I live in Texas is because I don't like the cold. This last week has not changed that opinion for me.
But I'm also not taking Alaskan Cruise off my bucket list.
And as I write this I keep staring out my window at the snow that is still on the ground over a week later. And I still think it is beautiful and wonderous. Every day when I have woken up and there is still snow on the ground I think I am in some weird alternate reality. Because never in my life have I seen snow like this.
But I am ready for it to be gone. Thanks winter, I'm ready for spring now.
Also you won't hear me complain about the heat this summer (or any other). Unless my AC goes out. Because I signed up for that.
I'm like Superman. I get my power from the sun.
Luckily it is 52 degrees right now - which is our anticipated high for today. Soon the snow will be gone and things will be relatively normal. Because we were one of the lucky ones.
When we decided to stay home last weekend, I told Rob we were going to treat it like we were out of town. That meant no phone calls, no texts, no emails from Friday through Monday. (which I amended at some point just so we could check on our kids - but only for those check ins)
I even mostly stayed off social media.
I had also initially suggested we go out to eat for our meals - since it was still supposed to be a vacation - but the weather stopped that. We didn't order in either.
And I told him I wanted us to really be engaging with each other, not just binging TV all weekend.
Guess what we did? Binged Bones all weekend.
And I can't blame him. At one point we tried to find a movie but all we kept thinking about was how much we wanted to see what happens next on Bones. In fact the only time we haven't watched Bones in the last week was when Duncan was here because he wasn't into it.
I'm not complaining and I am not in any way blaming Rob. I am completely guilty. I had good intentions. I thought we would play games. Watch some movies. Sit by the fire. But it turns out what I most wanted to do on my staycation vacation was sleep in and burrow into the couch and binge watch TV.
It's still a good life.
We do spend an unhealthy amount of time watching TV...but I've pretty much always been that way. The difference is now it isn't broken up by leaving the house to go shopping, out to eat, or see friends. Thanks to the pandemic, we are all mostly shut ins. And sure, I have been training for this for most of my life but damn. I need to get away.
Sidebar: we are all in agreement that fertility goddess bodies are the new "in" right? Please tell me I'm on trend.
And let's all agree to just keep our mouths shut if everyone is a little heavier than in the before times.
In spite of nearly never leaving the house, we still have several projects that need to be done. So I discussed it with Rob (meaning I decreed) that starting next weekend we will go through the house one room at a time and finish them.
Well, finish in the sense that we will do what our current budget allows. We won't be replacing floors and windows in the near future. But nearly every room has a spot or two on the walls or ceiling that needs touched up. Handles that never seemed to get put back. I still need to paint the coffee bar and stain the popcorn stand. We need to print some photos, frame and hang them.
You know, assorted little projects that won't take a lot of time really and yet somehow still never seem to get done?
Some rooms are bigger than others. I still haven't finished with our bedroom. I've been unable to decide what to do with our dressers.
Also I think I have figured out what I want to replace our kitchen floors with - when that day finally comes. I'm thinking terrazzo floor tiles. I've always loved the look. It fits with the vintage/MCM vibe I love. I haven't started looking yet because what's the point? I also haven't decided if I want to just carry that through to all the non-carpeted areas or just the kitchen (it would definitely work well in the bathrooms too). I don't want there to be too many flooring types in the house.
I still like the idea of replicating the porcelain wood tile floors I had in my Hutto house. I loved those floors. I was even thinking we could do the herringbone pattern in the dining room and then just a staggered floor in the main living space.
But again. I'm getting ahead of myself. That's still several years away. If this last week has taught us anything, replacing windows needs to come first.
So that's that. I hope you made it through the winter storm largely unscathed but if not, please let me know how I can help.
If nothing else, there's always the hot tub.