First Overnight Visitor in a Year!

At the end of February, we got to have Jack for a weekend. We have missed this kid! His family moved from Lake Tyler into the town of Tyler so he came to stay with us while the transition from one house to another was happening. We got to do all of our favorite things–hilariously, he asked to go to the thrift store first! We played lots of games, Grandpa fixed requested meals, we went to the park, visited Aunt Lue and Steven, read books, watched movies, and enjoyed having our little guy around again.

Snow Days, continued

We were among the fortunate who did not lose power or water. We went out for some walks and enjoyed the snow, along with the coziness inside, mindful that others were not so lucky. My poor sister had no power for five days in San Antonio. Since she has a lot of animals, including fish in a large aquarium, she did not want to leave her house. Thankfully she did not suffer any ill effects but it could not have been comfortable!

People in Texas are still dealing with the after effects–high utility bills, broken pipes, home repairs, and a non responsive state government and utility companies.

Snow Day

I interrupt the blog catch-up to report that Texas is having quite a winter snowpocalypse. Apparently our state is not on the national electricity grid, having chosen to “go it alone” as we are wont to do. Unfortunately, we have also failed to take precautions for major events like the current very low temps and out of character weather. I read that, in its wisdom, the state government opted out of having backup plans for problems like this, thinking that a large scale outage in 2011 was a “once in 100 years” event and we wouldn’t have to worry about it again. Well, at least not the “we” who are living.

At first we were told there would be “rolling blackouts” to preserve the grid from being overloaded. It was estimated that people’s electricity would be out for 15 to 45 minutes at a time, no big deal. This was yesterday and some homes have been without electricity for over 24 hours now, some for partial days, some for sporadic periods. Others have no electricity AND no water. Somehow, we are among the fortunate who still have both. We have cranked down the thermostat to do our part in conservation and have taken the usual cold weather precautions. Thankfully we don’t have to be anywhere and can just hunker down at home. My couch and my warmest blankets and socks have been my best friends. I’ve been knitting and Rich made soup. We’re trying to keep up with family and friends in various parts of TX and beyond.

I am worried about those who have no home or whose homes are so cold they are having trouble managing. The city has opened “warming stations,” but you can only go for awhile to warm up and charge your devices, no overnight stays. The homeless shelters are full. Plus the roads are bad and we’re advised not to get out. No good choices for people who are suffering; once again all of the inequities of society are revealed.

I feel like I make everything political but to me everything does have a political element to it. Why should TX be allowed to opt out of the federal electricity grid? Weren’t our officials recently threatening (once again) to secede, but now they want emergency help from DC? Why do we not have better infrastructure and emergency preparedness locally, statewide, nationally? Why are some people always at more risk than others?

In a year full of somewhat avoidable difficulties, here’s another that could have been mitigated if we could be a bit more forward looking. Why is that always too much to ask?

Katy Trail

I have heard of the Katy Trail since moving to Dallas but had no idea where it was located, nor anything about it. Come to find out, it’s not a trail through the woods, as one might expect, but a nice walking path that stretches from the SMU area to downtown Dallas. It’s called the Katy Trail because it was once the southern branch of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad line, shortened to K-T and then Katy. The greenbelt and walking trail were established in 2000 for the use of walkers, runners, and bicyclists. It was fairly busy the day we went, but everyone was good about keeping distance. We didn’t walk the full trail but got in a few miles and enjoyed the exercise.

Nourishment

Even before the pandemic, we mostly ate at home–who wouldn’t when married to a chef? 🙂 Since the virus hit, we have not eaten inside a restaurant at all, have eaten on an outside patio two or three times, and have picked up take-out maybe a handful of times. I am comforted almost daily by a home cooked meal. Here’s a sampling.