Kerfuffles and Quilts

Such a kerfuffle.

In the previous post, I went on and on about forecast cold weather, possible snow, possible icy roads, and–my own special bugaboo–possible power outages.

Hysteria stemmed from living through the February 2021 Texas Freeze, six days without power, four without water–I never tire of repeating that–burning 2x4s in a faux fireplace and, on the last day, sending David off to bail our errant auto out of impoundment.*

The snow was nothing new–I’d survived heavy (for Central Texas) snowfalls twice in the mid-’80s–but the fact that a major municipality can, and will, selectively shut off power to an entire neighborhood without a by-your-leave was a revelation. It made my prior existence, turning off water before going to bed, draining pipes, heating with a propane tank across the driveway and a space heater in each room, seem like paradise lost.**

Anyway, the prospect of freezing temperatures/ice/snow put a cattle prod to my PTSD and spilled it all over the Internet.

And then nothing happened. No snow, no ice, no power outage. Extra cold, but low temperatures taught me an important lesson: At 33 degrees F, my new plastic knee works. Getting from the house to the car, and from the car to the house, I made excellent time. Didn’t run, but made, as they say, tracks.

A happy non-event.

That was January. This is February. And another forecast–ice storm. Not pounding snow, but possible ice and slush, which means possible downed power lines, which means possible power outages. Not for six days, maybe, but for long enough to cause extensive shivering.

This time, I think, it will happen. Today’s physical therapy talk was all about the number of Thursday’s patients calling in to cancel. And the number of therapists who might call in to cancel.

Sounds serious. Below freezing at noon tomorrow. One hundred percent likelihood of precipitation.

But after a mild case of the fantods, I said, Oh, phooey, or words to that effect, and let it go.

If the electricity fails, I shall pile on the bed every blanket, quilt, afghan, and throw within reach–and shall ask David to get down from the shelf those without reach–and shall make of them a cave and crawl into it.

If wakeful, I’ll bury myself with the laptop followed by the Chromebook, good for at least six hours on battery. If bored with computers, I’ll occupy myself with an Energizer Bunny flashlight and a book.

None of that 2021 hysteria. In 2022, this aged Girl Scout is prepared.

Large kitty throw
Small kitty throw
Book throw
Tortilla throw
Auntie Borden’s granny square afghan
Annie Munk’s wedding gift afghan
Granny Woodward’s patchwork quilt
Grandfather Frank Waller’s Bull Durham tobacco sack quilt
Grandmother Mary Veazey Barrow’s baby quilt
Generic blankets
Flannel pajamas
Flannel pajamas and slipper socks, mismatched but who cares?

***

*We parked in our usual handicap space but David forgot to display the placard. The morning of Day #6, he went outside and returned to announce the car had been stolen. After a moment’s reflection, we decided there was a more likely answer. He called a taxi, forked over a bunch of money, and drove home.

**The 2021 storm was a mere blip in the lives of the Davises. We were cold and miserable, but that’s it. People died. Unnecessarily. Politics.

***

Image of ice storm by Claudia Trapp from Pixabay

White Stuff

I woke late this morning (really one morning a couple of weeks ago) and looked out to see a dog dancing around on some white stuff. It took a moment to realize the white stuff was snow. I dressed, took my camera, and headed out to document the event.

The first time I saw snow I was five years old. Dr. Luckett was at the house to see my mother, who’d come down with the flu. My father asked if he could wrap me up and take me outside, but the doctor said no, it wouldn’t be a good idea. I spent most of October through April with a chronic sinus infection, tonsillitis, and a raging fever, and going out into the cold might start things up again.

I haven’t seen much snow since. In 1985, I believe it was, fifty miles south of Austin, we ended up with about twelve inches of snow packed and iced over. I felt so sorry for the cardinals swooping down and finding nothing to eat that I threw an entire box of Bran Buds across the ice. Tramp, my terrier, walked around licking up the cereal while I called to him to stop that. His Sweet Babboo, the neighbors’ pit bull, Becky, stood beside me on the porch, wishing she could lick the yard, too. When you told Becky not to do something, she obeyed, mostly. Tramp did pretty much as he pleased.

Cardinals’ beaks might not be designed to eat Bran Buds, but I didn’t think about that. My beak isn’t designed to eat them either.

In 2000, David and I spent Christmas in Maryland, and I learned what it felt like to walk through the woods, kicking my way through white powder. It was beautiful.

It was still snowing when I got outside that morning but the white stuff was quickly turning to slush, and before I could get back inside, what had started as flakes sifting onto my hair turned into wet plops.

But here is one little event of Austin in January 2021.

A good ice storm is prettier than snow, much more impressive, but I don’t think I’ve seen one of those since the ’70s when I had four impacted wisdom teeth removed, and I could have done without it then.

No Complaints

Here’s how ROW80 has gone since Sunday:

  • Monday: Late entrance into ROW80; post took two days to complete; goals set, not attempted.
  • Tuesday: Type type type type type type type type type type…316 words.
  • Wednesday: Type type type type type type type type type type…323 words.
  • Thursday: Type…type…44 words; one word was XXX.
  • Friday: Type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type…551 words.
  • Saturday…Type…Play Poppit…type…Check email…type…type…Check Facebook…type…type…type…Play Poppit…Play Poppit…type…type…type…Check email…Check Facebook…Check email…Play Poppit…Check Glassboard…Play Poppit…type…, and so on…505 words.
  • Total: 1739 words / 5 days = 347.8 words per day

That’s not exactly what I set out to do–an average of 347.8 words per day isn’t the same as minimum of 300 words a day–but I’m not complaining. Having put in the promised five days and produced the promised 1500 words, I owe myself no more words until Tuesday.

Tomorrow, however, I owe Travis County an afternoon of jury duty. This is my third summons in four years. I don’t complain about that, either, though the summonses are beginning to seem redundant.

I do complain about being called down to the courthouse, where there is practically no parking, on a blazing summer day, when walking to the bus stop would turn me into an ambulatory puddle of sweat.

The first time, I took a taxi. The second time, David was on holiday and drove me. Tomorrow, he’s going to pick me up and drive me downtown on his lunch hour. He’s very kind and is also probably tired of hearing how standing outside waiting for a taxi–I don’t trust the cabbies to negotiate a certain turn–renders me a stationary puddle.

Anything more on this topic is premature. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll gather material for future posts or future fiction. But my goal is to end the day with nothing more remarkable than the weather to write about. I’ve served on juries before. Deciding the dispensation of other people’s lives and treasure, though a civic responsibility, is not something I relish.

***

To see what other ROW80 writers have to say, click here.

The Cockles of Our Hearts

According to his PR people, Punxsatawney Phil did not see his shadow, so spring will arrive early this year.

He also predicted the Steelers will win the Super Bowl.

His official statement appears here.

I don’t give much credence to P. Phil’s forecasts. When I was very young, my mother let me in on the secret that even if the groundhog didn’t see his shadow and scoot back into his burrow, we would still have to endure another six weeks of coats and scarves before spring arrived.

And thus was a seed of cynicism planted in a young girl’s heart.

That’s okay. It comes in handy.

At present, Austin’s official temperature is 25 degrees Fahrenheit. My laptop gadget reads 23 degrees.

My right hand and the little strip of skin between the bottom of  my bluejeans and the top of my sock is about minus 2.

im testionmg tp see wjetje4r I cfnm tu[e wi9tju gl;ves om.

Obviously not. That looks like a visual rendition of what happened when my cousin Jimmy wore his baseball glove while practicing the piano.

According to the article cited below, when P. Phil was making his proclamation, the temperature was 35 degrees. That means Pennsylvania was 10 degrees warmer than the air on the other side of the sliding glass door beside my chair.

That is not right.

Because of the storm (here called a “norther”) Texas is experiencing a series of planned rolling blackouts. How long they’ll last can’t be predicted. I’ve turned off lights, television, oven, and coffee maker. I set the thermostat on 65 and hope that’s low enough to make a difference. I turned off the desktop computer. Then I tried to access the wireless network from the laptop.

D’oh.

I turned the desktop back on. With the thermostat at 65, and all the lights and appliances off, perhaps that one extra computer won’t upset the grid.

Central Texans are officially keyed up in anticipation of tomorrow’s possible snowfall, perhaps one to three inches, perhaps. Snow isn’t reliable in this part of the country. In my entire scholastic career, first grade through retirement, I got only two days off because of snow.

This time, however, it’ll probably happen. It’s becoming more common.

The colder weather makes more blackouts almost certain. For me and mine, that’s not much of a problem. I do think about the people whose houses aren’t so warm as mine, especially babies and the elderly. Fortunately, the weekend is supposed to be warmer.

But–drum roll, please–for those anxious about the future, word has already been spread abroad: This Sunday’s Super Bowl in Dallas will not be affected by blackouts.

How timely.

Just at the moment of our greatest need, comes an announcement guaranteed to warm the cockles of our hearts.

I’m already feeling the burn.

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Related Video (Be sure to watch. It’s cute.)