The past week has been an unfamiliar experience for my family. We are avid outdoor campers, but this would be the first time we stayed at home and ended up with no water, power, or heat. Though, we are the lucky ones. Our power held out longer than most which meant we only experienced 24 hours without heat and power. Unfortunately, several water lines burst at our house.
I have to admit, this week has been surreal. I was not expecting such a winter in Houston. I am from Canada and assumed, naively, the winter would be as mild as the last one where 3℃ was cold. Not freezing and certainly not with such side effects from the cold. And, although we have not been completely resilient, we have a few lovely lessons from the week, so far.
I enjoy having a gas stove under normal conditions.. The control of the heat and the ability to toast red peppers, chapati, marshmallows, whatever, over a flame right in my kitchen. But now I LOVE my gas stove. All we needed was a lighter and voilà, a full time cooking course and water disinfection facility.
The Boil Water Notice. Expected and Understood. Not only do I get to use my wonderful gas stove to boil the water, I now have the opportunity to use my old backcountry water filter too! My new filter — it’s lighter, rolls up smaller, and filters 3 litres of water at a time — is in Canada, so this poor filter has sat, neglected for years. But today is its day to shine.
To be clear, we have shut off the water. But there is an issue with the shut-off valve. So, once we found the busted pipe, we created a lovely drainage system. The good news, we now had a source of water to boil. The bad news, it fills the bowl, and then upgraded bucket, in 30 minutes. So my husband found emergency tape to seal the pipe, temporarily.
No water equals no showers?? Not anymore! We welcomed this morning with leak number two! You can spot my husband’s arm, in the black sleeve, as he valiantly attempts to close off the leak with the same tape used inside. When asked how his shower was, his response was a flat look while he striped off his clothes directly into the dryer. I might boil some water and take a sponge bath instead.
The bottom line is, the week has been challenging. But in the end, I am grateful for the books I have to read while we deal with the challenges the winter storm has brought us. I can disappear into a book, then peak out and see if there is a new challenge to face, or even a new positive — we now have had power for 48 hours straight — then read another book. I am fortunate to have power so I could write this blog post, many don’t. I also have a novel experience I can put into a book, or empathize with characters in dystopian stories. So I hope everyone stays warm & dry and enjoys their favourite warm beverage as we finish the week.