Friday, February 19, 2021

Winter Storm - February 2021 Part 4

yesterday afternoon, the snow lost its charm

Well, Jamie finally got to dialysis.  You can read her account of the past week here.

With the water main breakages, etc... it's been all sorts of operations that have had to do without, and dialysis centers have been hit pretty hard.  She went from last Friday til today (it is Friday) when - normally - she's in on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week.  

They were unable to run her for the full duration, as there are only a few clinics open, and this morning she was sent to the wrong clinic (at 6:00 AM no less) and then traversed the city on a path I would not have recommended with freezing temps and roads, but she made it, safe and sound.  Of her usual 2.5 hour run she did get 2 hours, so she should be good for a bit.  

Still, these are the 1,000,000 stories of "this went a bit beyond 'we shivered a bit'" that are going to be flooding out of this event.  

My colleagues from work are trying to fix things for a bunch of ungrateful college applicants, and we're having trouble on the IT side as - hey, there's no water for cooling our data center (why we aren't in the cloud - do not get me started).  There's *massive* spikes for electric consumers who were on flexed rate plans (I saw a story about someone who will pay $3800 for this week's bill alone), and the water damage to property is going to be flat out insane.

Anyway - as you can imagine, Jamie's dialysis has been our "white knuckle" item.   Her clinic called at 2:30 AM to give her a location, and when she let me know, I know I didn't sleep for a good hour after.  I also woke up for an hour-plus when she left.

When I did wake up, I had to run out and shovel snow into an Igloo cooler and march it to our upstairs bathtub, because:  we don't have water.  We have some jugs of drinking water, but things like "flushing a toilet" become luxuries.  I'll be honest - I don't think I've had a shower since... Tuesday?  

oh, good,  Roof daggers

My neighbor, Joel, who is the definition of "mensch", had offered to take Jamie to dialysis, but his grandson had messed with his phone and he missed my message in the wee hours.  He knows how to drive in snow as he has roots in Alaska and Utah, unlike me... who is from Austin and Houston.  Well, Joel suggested we come get some of his pool water if we're in ahrd need of toilet water.  And I expect that will happen sooner or later.

The city officials have to be conservative in all of their estimates while also making sure people don't loot and riot (I am not exaggerating - things could easily get ugly in the next days once we're not huddled in place and back to enjoying 60 degree days).  My guess is we'll see water restored sometime Monday or Tuesday.  But every water main they check is going to have issues, and those have to get fixed before they can open the next level down.  And, I live in South Austin, which is the poor relation to main-Austin.  Like, they literally wouldn't include us on maps of Austin for official business sometimes as recently as five years ago (yes, we're in city limits, but we're not, you know, as rich or fancy down here).  So, the chance that any city officials are thinking about those of us more than a couple of miles "south of the river", as we say, is just intensely low.  

It's likely tomorrow we'll break our COVID quarantine and head to my parents' house in the outskirts of Northwest Austin.   Jamie has her first vaccination shot, my parents have theirs, and I'm largely expendable.

One thing I've known for a long time is that: this, too, shall pass.  

And, yeah, as of the noon news, which is on right now, we broke freezing in Austin for the first time in six days.  When I was out shoveling earlier, I was doing so trying to find the sweet spot when the ice that had covered the snow was a little melty and allowed for shovelling.  I've turned off water in the houses on either side of my house as one neighbor is in SF with their son and the other is between tenants.  

Yeah, today is a mess, and so begins the recovery at our house, across town and across the whole multi-state area.  San Antonio, San Marcos... we're not doing great.  I really have no idea what's happening in Abilene, Lubbock or DFW.  Houston - being warm and swampy, is cold, but they seem to have melted away a couple of days ago.  

Sorry this is so rambling.  I am very, very tired.   

what a mess


Stuart said...

Glad to hear Jamie got to dialysis.

Groboclown said...

Very glad that Jamie had dialysis. I hope you had buckets to save that "flushing snow", but having access to pool warer should help. Do you have access to drinking water? I wish the best of luck to you for getting water back.

NW Austin just had the water turned back on, but there's now a lot of burst pipes being discovered. I've spent the morning fixing a pipe at my parent's home.

The League said...

Hey man! Sorry - I missed your comment until now. I was using am Igloo chest cooler to haul snow up the stairs of my house and to the tub. We didn't need it in the end - that was to try and get us to Wednesday of this week, if necessary. We're good on drinking water out of bottles and boiling city water at this point.

We got super lucky on burst pipes.