Skip to main content

Texas Freeze

February 2021 was pretty cold in north Texas. All these months later, I'm finally taking a minute to write about it.


In the great state of Texas, there are almost NO snow plows so people couldn't drive anywhere. Without transportation most stuff shut down. Norm was one of the exceptions, working for a business that has a 24/7 call center, so he never missed a day of work and was able to drive in safely each day. School was cancelled for five whole days, and we figured the kids would have some days added on to the end of the schoolyear, but since it was a "state of emergency" the days were forgiven.


It wasn't all fun and games though. The rolling blackouts were initiated to keep the power grid from shutting down entirely. We have a newfound gratitude for electricity.  Pictured below is one night when we ate dinner in the dark. I'd just finished some kind of soup on the stovetop so it was hot. 


There were many families who had no power at all, and others who had no water. One day we took all our empty water storage containers and filled them with tap water, just in case. When we heard of people without water, we were able to share. We kept our faucets dripping, and covered the windows with blankets to keep the heat inside. We kept the attic door open (making the upstairs even colder) to keep the water heater and pipes from freezing. Our furnace would reset itself each time the power blinked off, so Norm woke up multiple times per night to restart the thermostats. 

Let's talk about pools for a minute. By running the pool equipment, the water keeps circulating through the pipes so they don't freeze. Until there's not enough power and it seems like a crime to use the precious electricity to run the power hungry pump. A few days into Snowmageddon we made a difficult decision: drain the expensive equipment and cover it with a tarp, and hope for the best. We tried to break up the ice chunks so we didn't get a solid sheet of ice over the pool. Ultimately, our family was incredibly blessed and we didn't have costly repairs on the pool. (But think of the guy who owns a pool business. Last year most manufacturing shut down due to Covid, then the freeze drives up demand for new equipment and parts. Then there's a chlorine shortage so the cost of chemicals goes way up. What a year.)


One day it was freezing, and the next it was like 70* outside. The snow and ice melted fast and things started returning to normal. But all these months later, you still see evidence of the freeze. We have friends who are "homeless" or displaced because the water damage from burst pipes was so great. Five months later, and they're still living in a hotel or apartment while waiting for repairs and renovation.

In my neighborhood about twenty years ago, MANY homeowners planted Hawthorne bushes. They were all diseased but hanging on, but the freeze finished them off. When spring came and everything started turning green, we watched patiently hoping for signs of life. Nope. My front yard has a section with new landscaping. Funny how supply and demand works. Everybody needed new bushes so the nurseries kept running out of inventory. We decided to make some improvements to the inside of our house as well. We added new insulation to the attic to make our house more efficient in the extreme heat and cold.

The estimated cost of damage from this winter storm is around $295 billion. (see link for article) For Texas power plants to winterize properly it's estimated to cost $5-20 billion. I sure hope they decide it's worth it. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Leaving Utah

Norm and I are at a crossroads.  It's time for our family to take the next step.  But first a quick trip down memory lane. We first came to Utah sixteen years ago.  We were young and cute and pregnant with baby #1.  Norm had been accepted as a student.  I had a lot of fun during my first two years of college, and I imagine the admissions board looked at my transcript and said something like, "yeah right!"  (More details about getting a D in organ lessons over  here .) So my first BYU application was rejected.  They let me attend classes as a visiting student, and one day an admissions officer called my phone.  It was a landline, and we were living in BYU married student housing.  He had two questions for me:  Is your husband a full time student?  Yes.  And you live on  campus?  Yes.  End of interview.  A few days later I got my acceptance letter. We finally graduated together in 2004. We bought our first home in Lehi, not too far from Willow Creek middle schoo

Thorns and gifts

We've been reading in the New Testament as a family lately, and Paul has some great advice and counsel that's still applicable today.  In his letter to the church in Corinth, he talks about a thorn in the flesh. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. It's kind of a moot point to speculate what Paul's particular thorn might have been, but I've often wondered. More importantly: what is God's purpose in giving his children such difficult stuff to learn? Why does life have to be so hard?

One More Syllable

It's been a year. One year ago we moved to Texas. One year ago I started asking people to call me Kristina instead of Kristy, thus adding one more syllable to my name. August is our anniversary. Last year we celebrated that anniversary by adding a cool new memory. That day we drove up to our house, found the keys and walked inside with the kids. We spent the night in our house without any stuff. Isn't it funny how places seem bigger when they're unfurnished? And that pool in the backyard? We knew nothing about pools and maintenance but just jumped in carefree. It was great. It was like being in a hotel but with room for everybody to spread out. Maybe it's time to explain the name change. For me, I had decided before moving to Texas that I wanted to quit using Kristy as my nickname. It served me well for many years and I still like it, but it's mainly for simplicity. When I'd first meet somebody, maybe I'd mumble or maybe I don't speak clearly enou

Meek Warhorse

Norm's last church talk/sermon in Utah before moving to Texas July 2018, Lehi UT, Traverse Mountain 8th Ward Hello brothers and sisters, it’s my privilege to speak to you today.  I guess this is our good-bye address even though we haven’t moved yet, which I’m taking as a personal sign that the bishopric can’t wait for the next family to move in.  (that was a joke, guys) In my remarks today, I’m going to cover an alternative definition of meekness that really struck a chord with me.  Once I’ve introduced this idea, I’m going to share my supporting argument for meekness as a strength, and then I’m going to talk about how I believe we can develop this form of meekness in our lives. As Kristy told you, our topic is “being meek and lowly of heart” which, in the terms I normally think of meekness or lowliness, is a subject that does not come naturally to me.  I am not naturally what I consider to be meek, quiet or, as Kristy would tell you, all that well behaved.  While I