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I’m the crazy dog mom

Thursday, February 18, 2021
I’m the crazy dog mom

Go home, 2021. YOU ARE DRUNK, and it is cold.

My husband and I snuggled up on the bed Monday night, not because we were still feeling the effects of a raging Valentine’s Day. We were not.

We were huddling in the bedroom with our two 70-pound dogs, a small gas heater and 15 candles because of a rolling power outage that stopped rolling before it even started. So far, this power outage and the ice have been the two must consistent things this year, and I’m telling you they are drunk.

First, I want to say I do not blame the electric providers or workers for this. Those poor men and women are still actually out in this stuff, not whining about it while sitting on the couch wearing six layers of clothing, with dogs draped over them for extra heat like me. They are the heroes. I’m mad at the state of our infrastructure, which is a whole different column for a different day.

But today, we will dine on forced togetherness.

The power went out at our house sometime between 1 and 3 in the morning Monday, according to my bladder. But at 5:30, the toilet seat personally told my patootie that the heat had been off close to four hours. The Collins household kind of woke up in a wrong mood, complicated by the fact that coffee requires electricity.

Although it was President’s Day, I wasn’t supposed to be off work. But the roads were too icy to go to work where there was power, and I couldn’t use my computer at home because, no internet.


Only I couldn’t even enjoy the snow day as God intended because I was sitting on my couch wrapped up like the kid on A Christmas Story cutting a stare across the coffee table at a man who was as cranky as I was that we woke up in a house devoid of heat and TV shows and the temperature outside was a record low of -2, because of course it was. It’s 2021 and too cold for murder hornets.

The day was all a roller coaster from there.

The thrill of finding coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts was followed by the absolute defeat of learning no propane could be found in Wichita County. None. We had filled up our two tanks anticipating the weather, thinking even if we lost power it would be off occasionally and for only about 45 minutes at a time. That was kind of a big lie.

Since the blackout stopped rolling as soon as it began, we had been without power for 12 hours at that point, using our propane heater to heat the house. Please don’t email me - we followed all safety measures and kept the house well ventilated, I promise.

We drove around for an hour looking for an open burger joint so we could eat something besides cereal for dinner. We foraged for food, y’all. An added bonus was that the car’s heater works without electricity, and I had a full tank of gas, thanks to previously unappreciated Camp Fire Girl skills.

The last time we had a power outage we had only been married a couple years and it was in the summer. We went and got takeout chicken, played Gin Rummy on the coffee table and had ourselves a time. What a difference a few years makes. I did look at him early in the day Monday and say, “I think we’re going to have to do what the kids call “interfacing” today. Buckle in.”

He and I are not used to that much interfacing as we are old and set in our ways.

By nightfall, our home turned into Little House on the Snowy Suburban Prairie as we sequestered ourselves into the bedroom with 15 candles burning and phones glowing.

I swear it looked like we were about to either have a seance or sacrifice a chicken in there.

We survived Monday using only our skills, propane and a miner’s headlamp.

The outcome of Monday’s social experiment: Absence can definitely make the heart grow fonder and stuff. So can electricity, and toilet seats at room temperature.

Thankfully after 34 hours, the power came back on before noon Tuesday and I was able to catch up on two days worth of work for the paper. Not that is mattered because the rolling blackouts began at that point and by Wednesday morning had no power again and sadly, we are out of chickens to sacrifice.

Your paper is late because of this, but you know this by now.

We are one of the lucky ones, though. Many of my friends never got power back and as I write this on my iPad Wednesday morning with 10 inches of snow outside and no heat, they are on their 56th hour with no heat in dangerously freezing temperatures.

Texas can do better.

Please stay safe and warm, y’all. I hope this is the tail end of 2021’s drinking binge.