by Jim Hnshaw


We just went thru a horrific winter storm here in Texas. Started to say lovely Texas, but not this last week! It started on Saturday, when we learned a storm of epic proportions was headed our way. We had 5” of snow on Monday, and we reached 0 degrees on Tuesday. Wed brought more snow. It just kept coming. On Monday we realized one of our bathroom sinks had frozen up. Followed by the kitchen sink the next day. These were the cold-water side the first couple of days, then the hot side froze up as well. In our guest bathroom we lost the tub water, but if you turned on the sink cold tap, you got some flow out of the tub. Puzzling.


Worse yet, on Monday we heard that we would experience rolling blackouts, since our electrical grid is not part of the national program, we believe we are unique, don’t need anyone else. So on Monday morning at 4 am our power went out, stayed off for 35 minutes or so, back on for a couple of hours. Followed by the same cycle several times on Monday. Our home is new, really tight and well insulated. Our temp in the home never dropped more than a couple of degrees, we stayed comfortable.


So, by Friday we finally had temps about freezing, water flowed again in all of our faucets. Snow melted; life got better. But here is what I learned.


First, we are blessed to have a new home, used pex for the plumbing lines. Pex will expand when frozen, but typically not burst. Metal pipes freeze and then burst. There were horror stories of multi-level apartments and condos that had pipes that burst on the upper floors, usually in the attic. They had to evacuate the entire building, and move everyone out. But think about this, where ya gonna move to, some parts of the city had no power for over 2 days! Friends just north of us were without power for 56 hours, when it came back on and warmed up the home, pipe burst in the attic, flooded water and insulation down into several rooms.


But here is my message for today, these sorts of opportunities bring out the best (if you are looking for the best!) in people. Our neighbors in the right side of us sent a message over when power was out: you OK? I replied we are, but we need a couple of D batteries to power up the ignition system on our fireplace, take the chill off. In a few minutes we had a baggie with 2 D batteries and 3 carrot muffins brought to our door.  So, we were able to run the fireplace even if the power was out.


So, we sent a message over to our other neighbors, you OK? They said yes, getting by. I am blessed because I married a woman who is smart and thinks ahead. She had cooked a bunch of meals and froze them ahead. That day we were enjoying a pasta dish with chicken, was excellent. I asked if they were hungry, quick response, they were! Told them we had a chicken pasta dish and had enough for them. They were really appreciative.


One final note, we had picked out our home rather quickly, knew the part of town we wanted, found the builder that we could work with, bought it. Did not realize we were 1/2 mile from a large hospital, and fairly close to a police station. What that meant was that our electrical grid stayed up the rest of the week. Awesome!


So here is your application. In every circumstance, look for the positive. You will find it, just gotta have the positive detectors engaged. And then celebrate the good that is all around us.


Thanks for listening, we’ll talk later.