I’m Tired of Living Through Extraordinary Times in Texas
But until such a time comes—and with the knowledge that the state would not provide aid to those who desperately need it—we planned for the storm to the best of our ability. My girlfriend and I were lucky: We had a well-stocked hurricane kit, snow pants from some camping trips we’d taken, more than enough blankets and coats, non-perishable foods, cash, and every lidded pot filled with water while we had water pressure. We only lost power for 36-hours, and it was after Monday—which was when it got down to 14 degrees.
But your own good luck stops mattering after a while, as your anxiety about your loved ones takes over. My grandparents, both in their 80s, lost power on Monday morning and spent the night huddled in layers in one room of their house. They would continue to do so for the next two days. Those days felt frantic. My texts to my abuela would go through green instead of the usual blue because her phone was off. I had no idea when it would turn back on; I just had to pray.
The closest warming shelter to my grandparents didn’t have transport for the elderly and information felt hard to come by—I still couldn’t figure out if they were open overnight. Joel Osteen had opened his megachurch, but getting them there would require freeway travel, which was itself extremely dangerous.
My parents live just outside of Dallas, near the airport, about five hours north of Houston. North Texas was being hit with much of the same conditions as the south, but was closer to the cold eye of the storm. They’re older, both diabetic. My mother is recovering from surgery. They set themselves up in their living room, next to the fireplace. They live at the base of a valley—all hills, nothing flat. Leaving could be deadly. Maybe they could make it to the Hyatt connected to DFW, but again that required freeway travel. I felt paralyzed: Inaction was the safest course of action.