Home Life Texas rolled by winter storms: A dispatch from my frozen living room

Texas rolled by winter storms: A dispatch from my frozen living room


At 2 a.m. Tuesday, too cold to count sheep, I started tallying the toll of this disaster:

Twenty-four hours without power at my home.

Forty percent of Austinites suffering the same fate.

Four million Texas households without electricity, last I read.

Maybe $100 in spoiled food in my refrigerator. A water bill I didn’t want to think about, with my faucets running on slow drip.

Nine degrees outside.

All four members of my family set up to sleep in the living room, where a gas fireplace — thank God for that gas fireplace! — provided the only flicker of heat in the house. A meat thermometer I placed upstairs registered 40 degrees.


How long do we have to endure?

But the most important number of all is anyone’s guess: How many more hours of this?

I’d been following the news coverage and checking Twitter as much as my draining cell phone battery would allow. I understood the state’s power supplies were overwhelmed by demand and bowled over by Mother Nature. I understood that hospitals, nursing homes and emergency responders needed an uninterrupted power supply. I just couldn’t understand, amid the longest stretch of sub-freezing temperatures I’d ever experienced, how light and heat for millions of Texans were not deemed essential, too.


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