Now that the blackout has ended, it’s back to ‘normal’, so to speak. The recent Texas storm caught everyone by surprise in that no one was prepared for northern type temperatures. It was doubly bad for me because with no light or heat for 33 hours straight, it was difficult to stay entertained.
The ironic thing was, I always knew when my electricity was going to be turned back on:
- All my smart lights would be on as well as the heat. I had to manually turn them off using my cell phone.
- City crews would be working outside my window.
When we lived on Okinawa, one always knew when the water was going off while living off base during water rationing. Someone who spoke Japanese got on the intercom from his car and told his people. Once on base, water rationing went by house number. Odd numbered houses were Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Even numbered houses were Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Conserving water was paramount. The color code determined how much water to conserve, yellow amber or green.
Since my apartment felt as cold as a meat locker, my ‘warming station’ was my bed. I only got up to use the bathroom or eat enough to take my vitamins and pills. Even though there was no way to entertain myself by usual methods, like watching television, listening to music, or surfing the internet, I kept in touch with family and friends by putting my cell phone on maximum power save, which gave me three days of power by shutting down unnecessary apps. I did scroll Facebook though to keep up with the progress of the power outage and send notice to Oncor twice.
When I wasn’t scrolling Facebook, I entertained myself by thinking of sitcoms like:
“Laverne & Shirley”
Anything that made me laugh kept me entertained enough to keep my mind off the cold. The beauty of this nostalgic trip down memory lane was that the top three shows above could be found on the Pluto app on my Firesticks installed on both my televisions in the bedroom and living room. The other two could be found on YouTube. Truth be told, I favored “Little House on The Prairie”, found on IMDb TV because they used kerosene lamps for light and a fireplace for warmth and to cook their food. While I did have a fireplace, it remained unlit because my mother did not trust me. At least in the episode, “Survival” mother and the daughters kept warm by playing hopscotch and Simon Says.
The worst part of the Texas storm was that my apartment complex turned the water off Tuesday evening due to pipes bursting. With it being so cold, the notice to leave my faucet dripping to prevent pipes from freezing was not seen for three days.Water was not fully restored until the following Tuesday, even though it was on and off between that time. With the rolling blackouts, I did two things:
- Ate food from my fridge and freezer that did not roll my stomach. Flushing the toilet was difficult without water. What did one do during a bad storm when they had to use the outhouse? Even “Christy” did not have indoor plumbing. Their bathtub was sectioned off outside. In the book I read, it said the cabin Christy visited smelled like urine.
- Switching from coffee to tea. It took less water to fill a tea kettle than a coffee pot. Someone did give me four bags of bottled water, which I used in the bathroom and kitchen until my sister filled my plastic jugs in the kitchen and bathroom.
Even when the rolling blackouts ended, I still had trouble with my electronic devices due to intermittent internet, which Spectrum knew about:
- My Echo Show had to be rebooted by unplugging it and replugging it in from the back. I have two, but once the first was set, the other in the dining room came online with the correct time.
- My Firestick in the bedroom had to be reset the same way because it blinked between ‘no signal’ and actually showing my apps.
- My phone in the kitchen was off line during the outage. My sister found the switch to turn it back on. The home health service sent the county sheriff on a welfare check when they couldn’t contact me via the land line.
- Both my cell phone bill and my electric bill remained manageable. AT&T and TXU Electric made allowances during the outage and either adjusted large bills or vowed not to charge extra fees. My electric bill was $72.20.