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Cerina, Spam, Jacen...how ya'll doing in Texas.


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Thanks for asking!  We're doing alright here (so far, at least).  My part of the state isn't part of the ERCOT grid, so we have been really fortunate to not have the horrific problems that have hit so much of the state. So far, we've just had a few rolling blackouts that lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes each time.  The universities and schools here have all been closed, partially due to the weather still making at least some of the roads not suitable for travel, but also to try to help conserve electricity.  I have been disgusted by some of the complaints online that I have read from people who live here who can't believe they are being asked for the slight inconvenience of keeping the thermostat set at 68 degrees for a few days.  I shouldn't be surprised by how people have reacted towards the pandemic, but it still stings.

I feel really bad for people in most of the rest of the state. I haven't heard from Spam, but I know that Reese has had plenty of issues with the situation.  I really hope that the state is able to get this fixed up now quickly and will take the steps to prevent shit of this magnitude from happening again in the future.  Sadly, I am less optimistic about that last part.

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35 minutes ago, Darth Krawlie said:

It's been bad for Reese. I won't speak for her, but yeah, not good.

Can you find out if there there anything we can do to help her? I know she was posting earlier, but in case she doesn’t have access now.

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48 minutes ago, Fozzie said:

Can you find out if there there anything we can do to help her? I know she was posting earlier, but in case she doesn’t have access now.

Yeah...this...

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All-in-all, we're doing ok now. But things are terrible here. It's surreal. And this is an area that's used to devastation from flooding and hurricanes, but this is something new and more widespread. 

We went 34 hours without power. The first 24 hours weren't terrible. The whole neighborhood was dark, but most of us have gas stoves and fireplaces. (A lot of houses in Texas, especially south Texas don't have fireplaces at all. My sister, sister-in-law, and aunt all live in houses without fireplaces.) The kids spent a good portion of the day playing outside. We don't have good clothing for this, so Luke didn't last too long. Noah actually fits in my ski/snow gear that I'd bought for our Colorado trip back in 2016, so he was happy in furry snow boots and a bright pink coat playing in the snow. Between the fireplace and cooking on the stove, we kept the living room at a reasonable temp. Then we woke up the next morning and the pipes had frozen, so we didn't have water. We boiled down snow to flush the toilets. But by 2 pm, the power was back, so we could get warm again.

When the pipes unfroze though, we found several had burst. One had burst over Noah's bedroom and it collapsed the ceiling. Our neighbors had made it to Home Depot and bought some supplies and asked Trevor to help them fix their pipes. By the time our pipes burst, stores were closed again, so we cut off the water to the house, and the neighbors let us fill buckets of water from their faucet. (Oh and somewhere in here we discovered that a part had broken on our brand-new washing machine and spilled water everywhere, but that's a very minor thing all else considered.)

Trevor woke up early the next day to go to the hardware store, which all had lines of people waiting to even get in and police monitoring the crowds. He waited in line for an hour, finally got inside where they kept announcing that they were completely out of copper pipes, PVC, any plumbing fittings under 3/4", firewood, generators, water, and toilet paper. He was able to get a variety of fittings to add to what we already had at home, and he managed to seriously cobble together enough parts to fix both pipes. Then he discovered another leaking pipe that he couldn't get to from the attic, so he had to cut another hole in Noah's ceiling to get to it. This pipe was right above Noah's bed, and when Trevor moved the bed it started pouring water. The bed, the bed poured out water. So that's when he discovered a small hole in the wall, which turned quickly into a spurting fountain of water. Anyway, with some ingenuity, he got all the pipes fixed for now and we have water again. We managed to rescue a few things from Noah's room that he really cared about, but we honestly don't know what else he lost yet. Most of it is probably toys and clothing that's he's outgrown, so we're not going to cry just yet. The furniture is all sitting in water though, so it'll probably all be a loss. 

All of that said, we're seriously lucky and fortunate. We are actually uniquely equipped to handle this better than most others.

  • Trevor, as a professional handyman with multiple water licenses, has the knowledge and skill to repair everything that's broken. He's also a bit of a hoarder, so we had a LOT of plumbing bits and pieces scattered in various toolboxes and such. We have toilet valves acting as water line caps now, but at least it's a working system. 
  • As a scouting family, we've made good use of a lot of camping and outdoor gear for comfort and convenience. We're also masters of Dutch oven cooking
  • As a homeschool family, we have a ton of books and board games to keep us occupied without power. We've been keeping the TV and computers off as much as possible to help the drain on the power grid. Extended read aloud time is something the kids are already used to as well, so no adjustment there, but I'm a little hoarse from it and the kids stayed entertained and calm. 
  • We actually have renter's insurance. 
  • We loaded up on groceries (including a lot of non-perishables and food that doesn't need to be cooked) over the weekend. 

 

As you've likely seen on the news, shit here is bad for most everyone else. We still know people without power. Half of our neighborhood doesn't have water due to burst pipes. Plumbers are in high demand and can't keep up, plus supplies are no where to be found. Not all stores have been able to open. Some have modified hours. None have been able to receive new shipments of goods. Grocery stores are bare. Hardware stores are picked through. Those of us who are lucky enough to have water are on a boil water notice, because the water treatment plants don't have the power to properly clean the water. Water pressure is also low everywhere because of the lack of power for pumps. Cell service is spotty. Some places can't get service at all because cell towers are out of power and the back up generators are running out of fuel. Oh, also we have a gas shortage - natural gas (like what's fueling my stove and fireplace) and gasoline for cars and generators. Everyone is being asked to conserve electricity, gas, and water as much as possible. 

Churches and community centers (and some big stores) are opening their doors as "warming centers" for people to go sit in heat for a while, but we're also still in a global pandemic, so that's fun. 

The south is just not outfitted for this level of sustained cold. (Texas has it's own issues with shitty government as well.)

  • Our homes are not built for cold. They're built to keep us cool. We have large windows designed to keep out heat. Our furnaces just aren't meant for this much use. Pipes are run through the exterior walls and the attic and aren't insulated. And, like I'd mentioned, not all homes have a fireplace and those that do are mainly decorative and put off little heat.
  • We don't have equipment to keep our roads safe - no plows or anything.
  • Our vehicles aren't equipped to drive in snow or ice. Including emergency vehicles.
  • Nobody down here knows HOW to drive in snow or ice. Including emergency personnel. 
  • Our water plants, power plants, etc. are not built for cold weather, nor were they winterized. 

We have the double whammy of shitty government making shitty decisions to NOT protect us for these situations AND a once-in-a-lifetime storm that we couldn't have completely prepared for anyway. Oh and wind turbines provide only like 10% of our electricity and are NOT the problem that Greg Asshat Abbott and Dan Cringy Crenshaw are claiming. 

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I am sorry to hear of your hardship Jacen and Cerena.  I hope Spam is doing OK, too.  Is there anything the rest of us can do for you guys, or anyone else having difficulty?  I would gladly contribute to a gofundme.  

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Last I saw on FB, Spam was hanging in there. She was using her complex's pool water to flush toilets because no water, but I think they had food and everything. 

We're doing ok for now but still firmly in survival mode. Once the reality of repairs and deductibles start to hit, we'll have a better idea of what is needed to recover. So thanks to all of you. I'll let you know if we need anything when it's all said and done. 

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I don't have water. We're waiting for the pipes to thaw to see where I will have a leak. I still have electricity but mostly because I'm in an area with two major hospitals and several nursing homes. We've been schlepping water from the pool to flush the toilets but I'm not gonna lie, I'd kill to do laundry and take a hot shower. 

Today my sisters dialysis clinic didn't have any water so they told us we needed to go 21 miles to the other side of town to squeeze into a clinic for her dialysis. This was hard because all the major roads and highways have been closed down so I had to kinda figure out my own Wayz map of traveled roads that I could use to get her over there. Wait 3 hours and head back before it froze back. 

I feel worse for my students. I haven't talked them all week but I am pretty sure they do not have heat or water. 

I have brought in a friend to stay too that had no heat. 

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4 minutes ago, Cerina said:

Once the reality of repairs and deductibles start to hit, we'll have a better idea of what is needed to recover. So thanks to all of you. I'll let you know if we need anything when it's all said and done. 

Take pictures of everything. And start an inventory of what was damaged as soon as possible. Your insurance will probably be pretty easy to deal with since it’s a major issue almost everywhere in Texas. But if you need any help dealing with them, I’m here.

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2 hours ago, RUAJedi2 said:

This.

And again...

Spam and Cerina....

Is there a restaurant nearby that is operating we can all load up on a gift card so you all don’t have to worry about and meals and can focus on getting done whatever needs to be done?

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We are starting the great thaw out. I think I am good.  I appreciate and love you guys. 

Neighbors came together in my complex. We have scraped sidewalks of snow and laid down deicer. Shared food and helped schlep water to flush toilets to the elderly in my complex.

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What we really need right now, and it would take some coordination and is kind of a big ask, is plumbing parts. There are NONE down here. People are patching holes with bicycle innertubes and radiator hoses or just pieces of foam laying around the house. If we had parts, Trevor could service more customers (and inexpensively) and make money. It would be win-win. More people could get running water back, and we would make some money for future expenses. 

Would you guys be willing to go to the store and then overnight a box of stuff to us? Maybe you can pool resources and one person can do the shopping and shipping? I can get a list of supplies needed later if so. 

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47 minutes ago, Cerina said:

What we really need right now, and it would take some coordination and is kind of a big ask, is plumbing parts. There are NONE down here. People are patching holes with bicycle innertubes and radiator hoses or just pieces of foam laying around the house. If we had parts, Trevor could service more customers (and inexpensively) and make money. It would be win-win. More people could get running water back, and we would make some money for future expenses. 

Would you guys be willing to go to the store and then overnight a box of stuff to us? Maybe you can pool resources and one person can do the shopping and shipping? I can get a list of supplies needed later if so. 

yes....what do you need?  be specific because i have no idea what i am buying.  

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@Cerina, we had a pipe bust in our garage. I grabbed three sticks of JBWeld and that did the trick. I knew what Lowe's and Home Depot would look like, so I went to AutoZone instead, knowing they have that type of stuff in stock. No line there. Nothing was picked over at the time either. I don't know if that will be enough to fix the leaks you are trying to fix, but its worth a shot. I would have hopped in here sooner and mentioned that to you guys, but we just got power + internet back recently.

@Ms. Spam, if you need drinking water, firewood, or pantry food, let me know. I have a few 5-gallon jugs that we filled up before this all kicked off, and my wife is a bit of a prepper so the pantry is always stocked. That's one of the perks of marrying an Alaskan, I guess. I'm over in North Central, just inside 1604. Sounds like you're over in the medical district, or Stone Oak maybe? Let me know if I can help.

Attached photo is a summary of how my life has been the past few days.

meanwhile.jpg

This photo was taken on the first or second day. Wasn't nearly as chipper by the end of it, but we all tried our best to stay positive and be thankful knowing there were a lot people that were either less fortunate, or not as prepared. If we didn't have a gas fireplace, it would have been pretty rough. Even then though, it got down to 47 in the house at one point before I sealed off all the rooms that weren't near the fireplace and moved us all into the living room around the fire. After checking NextDoor, looks like some folks, (without gas), a few streets over were burning their wood furniture to stay warm.

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