Sunday Post with Berls | The one with the “rolling” blackouts

Posted February 21, 2021 by Berls in The Sunday Post / 12 Comments

BerlsSundayPost

The one with the “rolling” blackouts

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kim @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

News at Home

The short version – I HATE THIS WEEK.

Texas froze. I live in Dallas. It sucked. I was anxious. I was cold. I cried a bit. I still jump every time the heat turns off thinking we’re losing power. And I finally have water, but no hot water… so I have to boil water to do dishes and take a sponge bath. I’m trying to find the humor. And I really REALLY want 1 week with no bad things. ONE WEEK!

What follows is lengthy but the above basically sums it up.

Sunday – 2/14

Holy shit, I forgot this week started with Valentine’s Day! Gah that feels like at least a month ago! I had planned to clean and do laundry, but since I have off tomorrow, I decided to relax. Bad choice, but who knew? Well it turns out Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) did, but since they didn’t share until late Sunday night (and even then with very misguiding information) we will blissfully unaware and unprepared.

I found out Sunday night at about 9 pm that we would have rolling blackouts lasting 45 minutes MAX, beginning overnight. At this point Dante was already asleep, so we just warmed up his room a bit, took out Buffy’s doggy door so that we would have a better seal on the door, shoved some towels under our doors and windows and went to bed.

Monday – 2/15

Power turned off around 1 am and turned back on at 2 am. They cycling on and off woke us up, plus I wasn’t sleeping as well because I was worried about Buffy making a mess since she didn’t have her doggy door. I noticed it was longer than 45 minutes but didn’t stress. It turned back off at roughly 3 a.m. and when it still wasn’t back on when I woke up feeling a little chilly at 5 a.m. I started to get worried about Dante. He doesn’t sleep with blankets – as an infant they don’t recommend it. By his age, it’s okay, but when I’ve tried to give him one he just throws it out of his crib. I had bundled him up, but I was really worried that his room, which tends to be cooler than ours, would be too cold. I basically didn’t sleep as it got colder and colder and the power stayed off.

Dante woke up at 7:30 a.m. and while he was chilly, he was okay, so I was glad I had let him sleep. At that point our power was still off from 3 a.m. and we were trying to figure out what to do. I checked ONCOR (our area’s provider) and it said the whole rolling blackouts thing from the night before and to contact them if you’d been out for more than 2 hours. So I tried to call and found out I was one of an estimated 1000 people on my block with no power (so all of us) and there was no estimate for when it would be back on. At that point, Kiko’s phone had already been ringing off the hook because he was on call (maintenance for our apartment complex), but there was nothing he could do with power out.

So with no idea when we’d get power, we decided to close all the vents in the apartment except the vents in our room. We nailed a thick blanket up to cover the hallway into our bedroom so that all the heat would be trapped in and the cold air would be trapped out. And then we tried to figure out what to feed Dante… who does not eat what he does not like and since we had NO IDEA this was coming we had hardly any food to eat that didn’t require cooking. As I was begging him to eat his breakfast of deli turkey, applesauce and gerber puffs at about 9:30 a.m. the power turned on. (6.5 hours no power, temperature in the house was in the 40s I believe this time)

You should have seen me and Kiko jump into action. We abandoned Dante in his high chair and started running around cooking food and plugging in cell phones, making sure the space heater (which I had impulse purchased LAST WEEK) was plugged in and powered full on to heat the bedroom. Not even 30 minutes after the power came on Kiko’s call started in earnest for heaters not working, which was soon followed by water not working. Power turned back off a 1:20 p.m. (4 hours power!) – thankfully by then I had fed Dante lunch and our bedroom was up to 70 degrees.

I had thought for sure Kiko would be able to come back when the power turned off, but by then his hell of broken pipes had begun. This was when I decided to fill the bathtub with water (turned out to be a good move). So Dante and I hung out in the bedroom which was cozy at first but as we went into the night hours with no heat and no Kiko got colder. When Kiko got back around 4:30 we still had no power but we had water and he managed a lukewarm bath. When we still had no power at dinner time I fed Dante the turkey and applesauce and Gerber puffs from breakfast. I ate some cold pasta I had boiled in our earlier patch of power. Then we hunkered down for the night. We had moved Dante’s crib into our closet so that we could all be (1) together and (2) keep the heat in one small area. Plus in the closet he was in the smallest space with very little way for cold air to get in. And we had the space heater pointing at the closet entrance so that when/if we got power it would heat Dante up first. So in layers we went to bed.

Tuesday 2/16

At about 1 a.m. we got roughly 2 hours of power (almost 12 hours no power that time). I know it was 2 hours because Buffy needed to go out and the power was on. I ventured into the main part of the apartment to let her onto the balcony (where her doggy door normally goes) and noticed the little clock we have was blinking 2:00 (that little clock became our counter of how long we’d had power lol). While I was looking at it, the power went out. I had not brought my phone or flashlight with me and about killed myself on the way back to the bedroom with Buffy. In that 2 hours, though, the bedroom had managed to get fairly warm. The apartment had dropped into the 30s this time, but at least the bedroom was warm.

I can’t remember what I fed Dante, I think it was some mandarin oranges, with his milk (which we had started storing outside since the fridge was off and we knew for sure it was cold enough out there) and some more deli meat? And I just tried to entertain him and keep him warm in the bedroom. Kiko was out most the morning working on pipes. He took a brief break to walk to Target — couldn’t get car out — with the baby stroller so he’d have a way to bring things back. He bought us bottled water (just in case – turned out to be a good move) and things we could eat without power. Since everything was very picked over he basically brought home junk food… but it was food. He also scored an outdoor grill/fire pit, which made me breathe a little easier about our cooking options with power out.

Power popped on at roughly 12:30 (another 9.5 hours without power) and since I was supposed to be working (and would have to use PTO for missed hours) I tried to get some work done. Kiko came back when the power was up this time and he made Dante some eggs and rice (another challenge this week was that Dante’s Nuture Life meals didn’t make it because of the weather so we were low on food Dante likes in general). I got in 2 hours of work before the power turned off. I also had stuck a frozen casserole in the oven while power was on, in hopes that by dinner time it would be warm enough to eat.

Then Kiko was back out there and Dante and I were back in the bedroom. He didn’t make it home for dinner… the casserole was warm-ish. I would have liked to use the outdoor grill to warm it up but without him to do it or watch Dante I didn’t see how I could. And by this point Dante was a bit panicky. It was dark and he kept running into me when he was trying to come to me. Not being able to see well was scaring him. We had dinner under a flashlight. Dante ate the meat from the casserole but didn’t like anything else… so I caved and gave him Cheetos.

Sometime that evening – I forget the time – we got power for about 1 hour. In that time I managed to I had managed to boil some water and put it in a thermos for Kiko to have some tea and to reheat the casserole – both were still warm when he came home at 10 p.m. to power off again. No shower to warm him as by this point we also had no water. Thankfully I had filled the bathtub and he had bought bottled water. The bedroom was warm-ish and we went to sleep exhausted but warm enough.

Wednesday 2/17

Today things started to improve. Power was more on than off over night and the bedroom got toasty warm. I started work at 7:30 am when power popped on and managed to work most the day. Power was on and off – much more what I had expected the rolling blackouts to look like. Water still out and Kiko still working nonstop, but started feeling hopeful.

Oh I forgot – on Tuesday I found out that my brother was having a hard time filling his epilepsy prescription and it was going to run out today. Without it, he WOULD have grand mal seizures and they could kill him. His pharmacy didn’t have it in stock and the shipment was delayed. He and his partner called all over and finally found emergency supply today. Until he HAD the prescription in hand and had made it safely home (it was a 15 minute drive in normal weather and our roads were not plowed… we have very few of those down here) I was a mess. I sobbed with worry. It was just more than I could take. But he got a 3 day supply and we could breathe for a few days.

I also found out yesterday we have a big problem – water got into the gas lines (probably because of all the broken pipes) and it froze. Meaning the gas lines were frozen and I guess frozen gas can explode. So they had made the decision to shut off all water (that wasn’t already off because of broken pipes) to keep more water from getting into the gas line. And then we hope and pray that it doesn’t explode. Since the roads are marginally better, we debated me taking Dante and staying with a friend who never lost power or water. We decided the chance of it exploding was lower than the danger of driving right now. So we’re staying in and praying we made the right choice.

Thursday 2/18

Power was on all night! It actually got too warm because we were nervous to turn off the space heater. What if the power cut out and we had wasted warmth? The power was on most of today as well, with a few blips. It was an almost normal day, with me starting work at 7am and Dante playing in the living room instead of the bedroom. I cooked breakfast (our regular oatmeal) and lunch (still eggs and rice because of supply issues, but warm!), Dante even took a nap (he didn’t nap the rest of the week – stress?).

Work was insanely busy because we have a survey next week – it would have been busy anyway and this winter storm really screwed us up. I worked 11 hours today and Kiko was gone about as long. We’re beat up but so thankful for our heat… still no water. Keeping Dante in the bedroom 1 more night, just to be safe.

Someone called me 3 times from a number I don’t know at like 11:30 tonight. I almost answered, but I considered that it might be my mom or her boyfriend/fiance/husband(?) – the last thing I need right now is her drama, so I ignored it… but I do wonder.

Friday 2/19

Another night with power all night. Today was a normal day basically. I worked another 11 hours and I am exhausted. Kiko got home at 5:30 and they actually don’t have to work this weekend after all. And Friday’s the on-call person changes, so his personal hell is over. We even were able to get take out. Still no water, but we boiled Dante a bath and then me (my first bath/shower since Sunday). We moved Dante’s crib back into his bedroom and have started trying to get our home back in order.

Saturday 2/20

I spent today trying to get the house back. I did 6 loads of laundry (remember my bad plan to do it Monday? So I have 2 weeks worth. Dante and I didn’t go through much but Kiko wore a ton of clothes). Put Dante’s bedroom back together. Cleaned bathrooms. Buffy had made a huge mess of the balcony – her potty area had been snowed and iced, not to mention we weren’t braving the cold to go out there and clean it up. So she just peed and pooed all over the balcony. At least she was outside, I can’t blame her. So I cleaned the balcony and bleached the hell out of it. And then I went to the grocery store…. where the shelves were empty. I managed to get some staples and most importantly everything Dante needs.

Also, remember the package of Dante’s foo that hadn’t arrived? Well it showed up tonight. I’ve already been refunded and was prepared to trash it. They told me, though, that the box and gel packs are designed to keep food cold for extended periods and that as long as they weren’t more than half melted the food would be as if it’d been refrigerated. Well the gel packs were frozen solid! So yay, that’s one relief!

Headed to bed very late, but thankful to have (cold) water and power and all my chores done so I can just relax and blog tomorrow.

Blog News

I will update this next week. I had a poor reading week due to the stress, but I did finish a book I had already started (In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware) and I read my TBR List pick (Prison Planet Barbarian by Ruby Dixon). Otherwise I started several but read little.

Last week on Because Reading

How was your week? What are you Reading?

About Berls

Michelle adopted me as part of her blog when I decided to close down my blog, Fantasy is More Fun. The blog was dying, but my love of reading and the blogosphere was still strong as ever - so I found my new home here at Because Reading!

I'm not just a book lover, but a one time author (that hopes to be more in the future), wife, mom to the cutest, happiest, best 1 year old and step-mom to the craziest, sweetest 20 year old on the planet. My family mean everything to me and they appear frequently in the Sunday Post with Berls. So grab a glass of wine and chat books, blogging, and family with me!

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12 responses to “Sunday Post with Berls | The one with the “rolling” blackouts

  1. Thinking about how STRESSED OUT I was on the first day of Snowmageddon here in Arkansas when the power was only going off for like the blink of an eye and then back on…worried about how I would keep the 93-yo warm if the heat went off….I cannot IMAGINE what your week was like trying to keep a baby warm and fed and entertained PLUS take care of your own selves and nerves. Lordy!!!!! Glad ya’ll made it through ok.

    Jinjer recently posted: Snowed In!
  2. I actually read this at 4am when I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been worrying about you all week. I am so impressed with how resourceful you are and your resilience. We have camping lanterns which would be easier with Dante than flashlights and they are not all that expensive about $20 although they do take D size batteries. I am just so sorry you had to go through this. Every weird weather event or other weird event reminds us of what is truly necessary and important in life. I hope this week is SO much better in every way.

    Anne - Books of My Heart recently posted: Read-along & Giveaway: Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh
  3. I am sorry to hear that you were effected my the harsh weather and power outage in Texas, and with a small child! I have been keeping you all in my prayers. I wish you all the best in the days to come. Stay safe and warm.