Photo: Snow and ice cover our studios in Temple.
I went to bed on Sunday knowing that we were going to get hit with some weather, but I had no idea how bad it was going to be.
Like millions of other Texans, I woke up Monday morning without power and heat. I thought it was just a temporary outage and it would be back on at any time. I was wrong.
The neighborhood I live in is fairly new, less than five years old, and we've been there about three and a half years. In that time, and since we've moved to Central Texas in the summer of 2017, we've seen some severe weather but mostly rain and wind. The winters here are pretty mild, which is why I really love it here. Yes, we may see some colder temps but usually it's pretty manageable with only a couple of days a year that even require a heavy jacket. I'm mostly just a zip-up hoody kind of guy so that suits me just fine.
As Monday morning turned into afternoon, I kept hope that power would return soon. Without power, we also had no internet or Wi-Fi so I had no real phone usage either. My carrier isn't the best here in Central Texas and I usually have very little LTE access no matter where I'm at so with no Wi-Fi, I am basically cut off from the world which means no updates on anything.
I ate a bag of chips and a cold piece of leftover pizza around 2:30pm on Monday and still I thought we'd get our electricity back on at any time. As afternoon turned to night, I had no appetite and prepared for what would be a very cold night.
Our neighbor across the street borrowed a generator from a family member and took my daughter in for the night. She was spending the day with them anyway since they had kids close to her age and they stayed busy playing board games and keeping each other company. The generator allowed them to hook up an insta-pot and a space heater, which apparently warmed up a bedroom nicely. I stayed at my house to keep my dogs company and eventually I ate another bag of chips and fall asleep with both dogs, Daisey and Baylor, on the bed with me. It was actually pretty warm and I slept well.
Tuesday morning came and still no power. I found it hard to get out of bed, but made it to my car to warm up a bit, eat another bag of chips and let my phone charge. I kept hope that we would get power back at any time and then boom, we had power, and then it went off. That felt like progress so once again I decided to wait it out thinking we would be back to normal anytime.
Tuesday afternoon saw the power flicker on and off a couple of times, and each time I would turn the heater on to warm up the house. As soon as I would walk away, it would go off again. I ate another bag of chips while I thought about what to do next. After waiting a couple of hours, and eating another bag of chips, I decided 36-40 hours of no heat was enough. I packed a bag, got my daughter to do the same, and headed to the hotel my wife is working at.
I had avoided that earlier because I thought I could make it till power was restored, but the thought of another night, and another bag of chips, was just not something I wanted to deal with. I had an option to go someplace warm and I decided to do that.
Once I got to the hotel I was able to catch up on the missed news from the past couple of days. I see they've titled this Winter Storm Viola. I saw that millions of Texans are without power and heat. The idiot mayor of Colorado City, Texas resigned after public backlash from his comments about how "only the strong will survive". All the rumors of water being shut off and in some places, boil notices and restrictions are in place, how the outage will affect gas prices, and how ERCOT is set to change energy prices to meet high demand.
There's so much going on with almost no answers to any of the questions that millions of Texans are asking right now, the most important being "when will will get our power back on?"
For those that need it, there are some warming stations open and here's a link to those available in Bell County.
City officials in most areas are asking folks to stay off the roads unless it's absolutely necessary to be out. The roads are very icy in most places and it looks like more is on the way.
Hunker down Texas. Let's get through this the best we can.
LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.