I know over the past few days I’ve been mentioning the weather here in Austin and its surrounding areas. But, the longer this situation continues, the worse things are getting, and I knew it wasn’t going to make much sense to post my original scheduled post on fighting maskne…
I figured I’d report on my experience so far during this Texas Freeze, even though I can only share MY experience, and I haven’t left my apartment complex, so keep that in mind.
Thursday, Feb. 11
This all started on Thursday — a week ago — and I was actually at a doctor’s appointment. I have been pretty strict about staying home because of COVID, so it was strange to be out anyway. It was very cold (around 30 degrees) and while I was at the doctor’s office, it started raining… which quickly turned into ice.
So when I got home, I nearly slipped up the stairs outside and braced myself for what was next — snow. The roads were rough on Friday, from what I saw on Twitter, but things were worsening on Sunday and most businesses were closed Monday because of weather.
Sunday, Feb. 14
On Sunday, I’d been hearing a lot (on the news and online) about the possibility of losing power. So, I charged up all of my spare battery packs, lighters, headphones, and other gadgets.
Monday, Feb. 15
On Monday, I woke up to some text messages from the energy company saying they were performing “rolling blackouts” — basically shutting off power for an hour to conserve energy.
Well… a lot of folks that had their power shut off are still without it. I still kept power, but everyone was told to conserve energy. So, I closed all of my blinds, curtains, and turned off all lights. My apartment is old and drafty, so I stuffed towels and throw pillows into my windows to trap heat inside.
Monday, my cell service and internet was spotty, but I knew that was a small issue compared to possibly losing power. By that evening, my internet and cell service seemed to be back to normal.
Tuesday, Feb. 16
The message we were hearing all weekend was that this would be over today. Well, it was not. I still had power but was still trying to conserve energy. I worked a long day, trying to catch up on what I didn’t get done on Monday.
I heard more news about how Texas uses an independent power grid to avoid federal regulations, which is how we got into this mess, and also why many lower-income areas were the first ones shut off… but I haven’t done enough research on it to fully understand what is going on.
Wednesday, Feb. 17
I woke up around 6, made coffee, and started working — I have so many deadlines this week. Around 7, the building fire alarm went off. I was scared it could be an emergency so I bundled up and went outside with my neighbors. After about 45 minutes, an inspector of some sort said a pipe burst in our building but we could go back inside.
A short time after, I used the bathroom and when I went to wash my hands, the water had very low pressure. Bad sign. Before I had time to fill up even a cup… there was no water coming out of any of my faucets.
I started watching the news, only to find out that more than 500 pipes burst in Austin overnight, and water was now an additional issue. Many people had been without water for days, and now I was going to be one of them, and I didn’t do anything you’re supposed to do, like fill up the tub so you can flush the toilet.
So, I freaked out and decided to walk to CVS and see if they had any water or food because ALL of my food deliveries had been canceled. I got about halfway to CVS when a couple from my complex said it was closed… ooohhhhh damn. This was now not an okay situation. I felt like I didn’t have enough food or water.
I got home and took an inventory of my food and water. I do have 4-5 gallons of water for drinking, but not anything else. So, I set out my ice cubes to melt and use for making coffee. Then, I took some bowls and Tupperware outside and collected snow and icicles. That stash is in my tub, melting so I can flush my toilet.
While I was outside, I saw a neighbor walking her dog. I hadn’t gotten ANY communication from my apartment complex regarding the water situation, so I asked her if she had water and she said no. I was relieved it wasn’t just my apartment.
I gathered up my hand sanitizer for “handwashing,” along with dry shampoo, makeup remover wipes, facial mists, underarm wipes, and body wipes to use for general hygiene. A lot of these items I actually got for free from Ulta using my points last year or just buying stuff during “free gift” days — never thought I would really NEED a shower wipe.
And while I definitely don’t need to use dry shampoo or whatever, after living through several hurricanes in Louisiana and going without power for days, I’ve learned that any way you can care for yourself is good for the mind.
I also placed an order for boxed water, sparkling water, instant coffee, and protein bars (trying to think about if I lose power) and they should arrive next week.
I went to bed knowing that I did everything I could do and that I needed to sleep and hope that my power stays on so I can get back to work Thursday.
Thursday, Feb. 18
I woke up around 7 this morning, relieved that I still have power. I made my coffee using the melted ice from my freezer and checked on my snow/icicle stash in my bathtub. It actually melted to fill a cereal box-seized Tupperware plus a little extra. I’m impressed.
I used the wipes and sprays I found yesterday to “shower” and put on fresh, cozy clothes, and I feel a lot better. I have lots of work to do today, so I’m just going to continue to pray I keep power and can stay busy.
While it’s not amazing, I know I’ll be okay for a few days. I don’t think I can expect running water any time soon, but I do think the roads will clear up and I’ll be able to get the deliveries I need.
I know so many others are in a much worse situation than me, and I’m just hoping we all get out of this alive and semi-ok. I’ve been through some rough ice storms and hurricanes, but nothing quite like this (and I grew up in the Midwest).
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