We knew it was going to start getting cold, really cold for the Rio Grande Valley where we have only seen temperatures below freezing once and then for just a few hours. This time it was expected to get below freezing for several nights. Urk! We spent a whole day trying to cover things in the garden the best we could.
Then we waited.
We had a nice Valentine Dinner at home, steak Diane and salad. With heart shaped treats from a friend.
On Sunday night after dinner it got very cold and we lost power. And water. We thought it was just a rolling blackout but our section of the park was without power for days! It was cold in the house, even colder than outside. We figured we would just stick it out but after a couple of days it was impossible to keep warm. Even the cats were freezing. Two pairs of f socks, two pairs of pants, three shirts, hat and gloves, in the house. And a cat on the lap… It wasn’t working.
A friend helped us run a very long extension cord to a house with power so we could at least plug in the refrigerator. We also have food in another friend’s freezer but that part of the park never lost power. Whew!
We decided to go get the bus and got the OK to move to a spot with electric and water. The power was out to all traffic lights and there were mile long lines at all the gas stations. We had filled up the car previously and the bus was full of diesel. A boil water order was in effect but the bus tank was full and we just used it. There was no propane to be had. The grocery stores had no meat, dairy, water or eggs. Thankfully, we were way stocked up for the pandemic and didn’t need to go near the store.
We brought some food and the cats over to the bus and waited it out. It was nice to be warm again and once the cats realized where they were, they were fine. Carmella even went on walks on her leash.
In the garden. Before…
I knew the castor beans would be toast but we had decided to cut them down before we started traveling this summer so they wouldn’t get taken out in a storm like last time. They were only five months old so the stalks weren’t too big. When they got blown down in the hurricane they were two years old and had trunks about eight inches in diameter. Jim had to dig out the stumps. When we got done with that backbreaking task, he said “Maybe we shouldn’t let them get so big next time.”
I had trimmed out a bunch of the cannas and they grow from a bulb anyway so I figured they would be OK. They are already starting to grow back. So are the elephant ears. We got the castor beans cut down yesterday and used some of them as edging. Not sure whether the Norfolk pines will be alright or the rubber trees. I left the crotons standing too; maybe they will grow from the stems but not real hopeful about that. Even though we covered them well, two plants I was babysitting for friends who aren’t here got bit. It just got too cold. They were plants from her parents’ funerals and very sentimental. We couldnt even bring them in the house, it was freezing in there too. I will try my best to get them growing back but feel badly that we just couldn’t save them.
The irony is that temperatures are back in the eighties now, heading toward ninety this week.
In better news, we are more than two weeks out from our second vaccine shot and arranged our first impromptu dinner party in almost a year! Dr. Fauci said you could get together with others who had their shots and we enjoyed several bottles of wine and much laughter. We all got carry-out from the venue here in the park so no cooking involved.
That felt great!
The bus is back in storage. What a good bus! After sitting for over a year with the occasional startup, it fired right up and kept us warm. Jim even discovered a few things that needed to be fixed so maybe a blessing in disguise. We have power and water (no boil order) at the house.
Texas was apparently four and a half minutes from the whole electrical grid shutting down entirely until they started the rolling blackouts. Texas decided to build their own grid and remove themselves from the national grid to avoid federal regulation so no extra power was available during the freeze. If that breakdown had happened it would have taken MONTHS to restore. And they were warned by the federal government TEN YEARS AGO that they needed to insulate and improve the whole system. Maybe they will pay attention now. Maybe not. Ted Cruz decided to jet to Cancun and Rick Perry said Texans would rather be without power for a few days than be subject to regulation. The Governor blamed it on the Green New Deal. If regulation keeps the heat and lights on, I am all for it.
So, this year we have experienced a flood, a hurricane, a pandemic, isolation, and a deep freeze. Several friends here have had health problems, falls, stroke or broken bones. Our hearts and our food go out to them.
We remain grateful. We are BIG BIG lucky. Life is good!