Frozen in Austin – Day 6 – February 17, 2021

Lost power sometime between 5AM and 6AM. Not sure when, but it was before we got up. A bit of a restless night trying to find the warmth; we turned our heater down to 64 to conserve power and gas. #doingourpart

Got out of bed at 730AM; ground coffee in the hand grinder, the last of the Ethiopian, and started the water boiling. Made coffee in the chemex for the wife and I. Pretty darn tasty. Down to 2 cartons of milk (we normally stock 4 because I go through Mootopia like a mad man.)

Started working about 8AM on getting quick tasks done. Setup my temporary desk at the kitchen table and Cassandra made us breakfast at about 10AM. Eggs, Bacon, Roasted Potatoes, and Melinda’s hot sauce. Not a bad meal with no power.

We have agreed that we are basically camping in our own home.

I let work people know that my batteries would only last until about 1PM and everyone agreed the best thing for all of us was to worry more about living and less about work at that moment.

I started operating under the assumption that any meeting for which I was a major participant occuring within the next 36 hours would need to be pushed out to next week. So far Tuesday and Today’s meetings were all moved to next week. Maintaining a solid work attention span when it is 50F inside the house is difficult. Small, quick tasks are easy.

There is also a lot of checking the power situation online and comisserating with others going through the same thing.

Luckily, the cell towers in our area stayed online. We have been using the AT&T 4G network on our phones instead of the LTE network. We don’t get a great LTE signal in our homes and so it was unreliable. Though the 4G network is technically slower, it is more reliable and has a stronger signal.

There has been lots of speculation today in the news about who or what is responsible for this happening in Texas. Almost no one is talking about climate change. Only about how the state wasn’t prepared despite being warned in 2011 when this happened the last time.

We started collecting the snowmelt from the roof for non-potable water purposes. Fliushing the toilet and washing disshes or ourselves. Why do we need to collect water? Well the power outages have lead to the water supply freezing up and so…just as our power is likely to come back sometime soon, we will have no water.

And that might not be a huge deal for us, the hospitals here are already starting to feel the effects. Some South Austin hospitals are already having to transfer patients to other area hospitals. Dell Seton Medical downtown being one of them.

All this to say, I am grateful we have not had too rough a go of this one. There are so many more who have it way worse than we do and that’s what really upsets me about the lack of political ownership in this state.

The motives of those in power in this state are pretty simple: party over people, values over progress, and blind ignorance over science.

Texas failed its people this week. The people failed the planet this last half century. What will change?

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