The extended power outage
William enjoying the extended power outage
Ernest enjoying the power onage
It’s nine degrees in Austin. We’ve had half a foot of snow in the area, says the KXAN webpage. I haven’t looked out, so I don’t know if we’re in the area. I do know the electricity is out, so it must be our turn for the rolling blackout. And I woke before six a.m., couldn’t go back to sleep, and so got up so I could be bored here instead of in bed.
I’m not used to this. Few who’ve lived in Central Texas any length of time are.
In extra-cold weather, my mother used to say there was nothing between us and the North Pole but a barbed wire fence. Somebody took the fence down.
When I was a child and the electricity failed, we used kerosene lamps. But we don’t have those, and our lease probably prohibits them, although not specifically. It prohibits candles, but I doubt anyone thinks about kerosene lamps anymore. I don’t know if you can still buy kerosene. I guess you can. I haven’t had a use for it lately.
David left a while ago ago for Home Depot (we pronounce it Dehpot), pushing a dolly (we pronounce it doily) for firewood. (Someday I’ll say those words in company where I’d rather not say them and be thought strange, but what else is new.) HD is in walking distance, if you like that kind of thing. I couldn’t dissuade him. He said firewood will be in demand so he’d better go as soon as they open (six a.m.). He didn’t mention that he never gets cold, or that’s the way it appears to me, but he’s from Illinois so this isn’t a big deal to him. I guess.
It’s a big deal to me. I worry about hypothermia and slipping on ice and breaking something and not being able to get up and a myriad of other possibilities. I suppose worrying keeps me from being bored. Writing a blog post keeps me from worrying.
After he’d been gone several minutes, he called to tell me to call HD and ask if they were open, weather conditions being what they are. I had to google for the number, and I can’t see the keyboard, so that took a while. Then I found his phone wasn’t on. He called a few minutes ago to say he might have to cut some firewood and so he’d be gone longer than planned.
I had visions of him having to buy a saw and find a tree, but the cutting would be done at HD. I still have a country mentality, for which I do not apologize. Sometimes it comes in handy. Country folk aren’t as dumb as is sometimes depicted. We just have a different concept of firewood.
David built a fire last night, our first in this apartment. Practicing, I guess, since we already all toasty. It’s working fine, if you’re sitting in the fireplace.
My father didn’t like fireplaces. He said when he was young and fireplaces were the main source of heat, there was always a dog lying right in front of the fire and everyone else froze. I can imagine my grandfather thinking that’s where the dog should sleep.
So far the cats are ignoring this one. Last night there was a fire in the courtyard outside our living room. I was about to sound an alarm when I realized David had just built one in the fireplace behind me and it was reflecting in the window. Ernest the Cat, sitting in my lap, was just as concerned as I was, about both. He backed away from the real one and ran to the bedroom. William seems unconcerned, but that’s his usual attitude.
We had a similar situation at our previous apartment. David got the fire going, the living room filled with smoke, our fire alarm went off, and Chloe the cat marched up the stairs. I met her when I was coming down. She was the only cat I’ve ever seen who could purse her lips in disgust.
We have nine hours of logs after this one burns down, plus embers. I like to think we’ll be in line for electricity by then. I thought David was crazy to go out in the cold but smart to stock up on firewood. In Texas, you never know. As they say, if you don’t like the weather here, just wait a few minutes.
This time it’ll be more than a few minutes. According to the forecast, this will last for a while.
David and the wood have just returned. Scrap pine. Looks like boards to me. It doesn’t look like it’ll last that long, but it also doesn’t catch fire quickly. It does pop, as pine should. He read the thermostat and said the fireplace is working well–it was sixty-nine degrees in here. Not where I’m sitting, I thought. He reread and said it’s really fifty-nine. I think it’s thirty-nine. He also wonders if we’re part of the rolling black-out because it’s gone on so long (he gets up early). I’ve never been in a rolling black-out, so I wouldn’t know.
He also raised the blinds. Yes, we did get snow. A significant amount. No dead grass is sticking up through it. The local news website says six inches in “the area,” but we might not be in the area. I’m not going outside to see how much we got, and heaven forbid I should build a snowman. It’s pretty. It’s also time for it to go away.
When we were in Alaska, I bought a sweatshirt at Denali. It was summer–and amazingly comfortable to this Texan–and I thought the purchase an extravagance. When I went through my closet, tossing unnecessary clothes before last year’s move, I considered getting rid of it. How glad I am that I didn’t. I wish I had kept the huge, baggy turtleneck I gave away. The one I’m wearing is okay, but I could use more coverage. I wish I had some wool slacks. I wish my sweats weren’t in the wash. I’m wondering if I could get some flannel pajamas over the slacks I’m wearing. I wonder if I can fit into that heavy wool coat I bought in 1992. It’s sitting in the pile that needs to go to the dry cleaner after Covid lets up, but I’m willing to make allowances.
I wonder why I don’t wrap up in several of the throws David has given me, plus a couple of blankets. I wonder why I don’t get on my stationary bike and generate some heat. I wonder why I don’t retrieve the blanket that’s covering it to keep Ernest from chewing the foam rubber off the handlebars.
I wonder why I don’t take my Kindle and go back to bed. I could pull the covers over my head and read.
It’s fifty-nine in here.
It’s nine outside. I’m lucky. I hope everyone has shelter and warmth and everything else they need to make it safely through the cold.