365 in 52 [2021] ~ Week Seven

First and best news, Aunt Sharon is out of ICU! Praise Jesus! Thank you all for praying and checking in on her. Sharon spent 8 days in the ICU with poor oxygenation due to pneumonia from COVID. She is still on supplemental oxygen. The plan is to slowly wean her down on the oxygen and then send her to pulmonary rehab to see if her lungs can recover. COVID is such a serious virus, please protect yourself and your loved ones. We are heartened by the recent study that shows the initial vaccine is 92% effective at combating COVID after 2 weeks. We hit the 2-week mark today.

Day 43, February 12th, 2021

Little Lola Says, “Let Me In”

It’s getting colder and colder. The weather predictions are pretty dramatic. We’ll see… often they say we will get inches of snow but nothing really materializes. One thing’s for sure… Lola doesn’t want to stay outside long now that it’s freezing! She looks so tiny sitting outside of our living room slider.

New Braunfels lifestyle pet photographerher
Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/2.8 | 1/160 | ISO 1000 | handheld

Day 44, February 13th, 2021

No photos today. I was bone tired and I think I might be battling a mild depression. It happens sometimes. Hopefully it will go away once spring hits. I need Weight Watchers to resume in-person meetings. I feel so out of control and unhappy with myself.

Day 45, February 14th, 2021

Before the Winter Storm, Day 0

Curtis and I exchanged Valentine’s gifts Saturday evening and spent most of the weekend on the couch watching TV. It was pretty darn cold out and there was a layer of light ice on the pavement. I spent some time in the afternoon at mom’s house. We both read our Kindles in front of her fire. It was nice and cozy. This is the view out of my front door. You can see a little light ice on most everything now.

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/2.8 | 1/160 | ISO 320 | handheld

Valentine Polar Vortex

We started seeing the first snow flurries around dinnertime. At 7 p.m., mom wanted to check her outside faucets to make sure they were dripping in preparation for the storm. It was already in the teens with a wind chill near 0. Sure enough, all of our outside faucets were already frozen. Curtis, Dominic, and I spent the next hour using boiling water, hair dryers, and space heaters to unfreeze the hose bibs (2 on mom’s house, 4 on ours). We managed to get 5 out of the 6 unfrozen and dripping. We also decided to fill up our bath tub with clean water, just in case. I don’t think we’ll need it, I pray we don’t. Around 11:30 p.m., I let Charlie out for one last pee and we had a good 1-inch of snow. It was so incredibly cold.

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/1.8 | 1/100 | ISO 4000 | handheld

Day 46, February 15th, 2021

After the Winter Storm, Day 1

I woke up at 3:45 am because the power went out. Anna got up shortly afterward, she is such a light sleeper like me. Power came back on at 6:15 am so we had hot coffee and watched the sun rise over a snow-covered world. It was 8-degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -10. Brrr. Everything in the city shut down. Everything. It seemed like an adventure at the beginning.

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/9 | 1/400 | ISO 80 | handheld

Pool and Palms, Day 1

The pool looks so beautiful with snow all around it. The palm trees aren’t too happy with the snow. I’m not sure they are going to survive. We were warned that it was very very slippery out. Several neighbors posted photos of cars sliding off driveways and down the hills of River Chase.

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/9 | 1/400 | ISO 80 | handheld

Patio Table, Day 1

I wish we had thought to put out a ruler somewhere to measure the snowfall. We got several inches for sure. They are calling this a once in a lifetime event for Texas. The kids were enchanted. Lola and Stuart were a big fat nope on going out at all.

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/10 | 1/400 | ISO 80 | handheld

Driveway, Day 1

We lost power several times throughout the day. Many of our River Chase neighbors lost power last night around 2 am and it hasn’t come back on for them at all yet. We are hurrying to charge devices anytime the power is on. We are starting to see photos on Facebook of wreaks and cars in ditches with warnings not leave the house. People have been falling going outside to walk their dogs as well. I forbid mom to leave her house for anything and make her promise to wear her Apple Watch constantly. This is our driveway, you can’t even see the edges nor the street.

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/10 | 1/400 | ISO 80 | handheld

Day 47, February 16th, 2021

Icicles

We lost power overnight for about 6.5 hours. We woke up to the house being 58-degrees inside. School is canceled for today and tomorrow which we figured would happen. I decided to put my macro lens on the camera to take a few photos around the property. It’s too dangerous to walk outside for far… it’s snow on top of ice and very very slippery and very very cold. The icicles are already quite long!

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/6.3 | 1/200 | ISO 250 | handheld

Snow Covered Cactus

Power continues to cycle on and off every few hours. It’s a problem for the whole state. ERCOT is having massive problems keeping up with demand. Our local electric company is struggling to get to broken lines. Many people are cold today and worried about loved ones. A few people venture out to find that nothing is open and warn that it’s dangerous to drive anywhere. It’s so weird to see our potted cactus laden with snow… the pads look heavy with the weight of it. That’s how the world feels today.

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/6.3 | 1/200 | ISO 250 | handheld

Charlie Romping

Even though everyone agrees that the snow is pretty to look at, our Labradoodle, Charlie, is the only one in the family happy with the cold. He enjoys romping outside and comes in with tiny snowballs stuck all over his chin and feet. I have to coax him back in, he wants to stay outside longer than is safe. The other pups hold it as long as they can, then go out begrudgingly. 

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/6.3 | 1/200 | ISO 250 | handheld

Hose Bib Ice

I’m so glad we left the hose bibs dripping. We also left all of our inside faucets dripping with the cabinet doors open to keep them warmer. So far, only our shower heads are frozen inside and we still have water. But outside, the cold temperature has made our patio a frozen lake. We are hearing reports of frozen pipes and a few busted ones already.

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/6.3 | 1/200 | ISO 250 | handheld

Sago Palm

It’s crazy to see our sago palms covered in snow! I’d love to get out and really get some good pictures, but it’s just too cold and with no power in the house to warm me back up, I don’t feel like it’s safe to leave the porch. That’s why I haven’t let the kids go out to play either… it’s near 0 wind chill and with no power, I’m afraid of them getting too cold.

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/6.3 | 1/200 | ISO 800 | handheld

Day 48, February 17th, 2021

Power Outage Detritus

It’s now Wednesday. It rained and sleeted last night and turned our entire city into an ice rink. We have ice on top of snow on top of ice. The city has said, “Roads are Impassable. Stay Home!” We aren’t equipped for this weather. We are trapped in our home.

Power is a major problem. We have lost cell service several times too. Power was on and off every 30 minutes through the night… Anna was completely freaked out. The dogs hate the chirping of the smoke detectors which happens every time the power goes out so they start shaking. No one got much sleep. The house is staying in the 60-degree range. It’s fine with layers. When I took mom her coffee, she was panicking a little because her tortoises were cold. I immediately put Sunshine on my tummy. She warmed up pretty quickly and scared the crap out me when she wriggled her feet on my skin. Clover warmed up on mom’s neck. The pets don’t want to go outside at all except Charlie.

We did have good water pressure early in the morning so we all took very quick warm showers this morning. Ahhh, I’m so used to showering every day, going several days without is yucky. I got a few empty water bottles refilled from the filtered fridge water too. It was good timing because we lost all water pressure at 11 am. Not even a trickle anymore. I think we’ve lost most everything in the fridge, but I stocked up last Thursday on frozen food so we still have stuff to eat. It’s hard to predict how long the power will be out since they are doing rolling power outages; the fridge can handle a couple of hours… but longer than 4 hours isn’t good. We finally gave up today and transferred perishables to coolers with bags of snow packed around the food. They are predicting more snow tonight and cancelled school for the rest of the week.

We had power for 5 hours in a row late afternoon (!!!) so we were able to eat a hot dinner. Some of our neighbors still haven’t gotten power back from Sunday night. The power company is asking that we keep our thermostats below 68, not run the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or TVs. There is too much demand on the grid. We unplugged everything we could.

With no power, no heat, no cell, no water, no lights, there isn’t much for the kids to do. They are so used to being entertained by devices. After dinner, we lost power again so we offered to play some board games but we just ended up in the living room together in front of our gas fireplace chatting. We need meds refilled but none of our doctors offices are open. We had to cancel or reschedule three appointments. Stores are only open for a few hours and it’s impossible to get there and there isn’t much to buy since trucks can’t get to the stores yet. Thank goodness we have some candles and flashlights too. The Boy Scouts lantern has been most useful.

New Braunfels lifestyle photographer
Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/3.2 | 1/160 | ISO 1250 | handheld

Day 49, February 18th, 2021

During the Winter Storm, Part 1, Day 4

We got another 3 or 4 inches of snow through the night, all through the morning, and into the afternoon. It’s still very cold. We still have no water and were told that if we do get water, we have to boil it to use for drinking or cooking. Power was up and down but it looks like most everyone has power again as of Thursday afternoon. We haven’t lost power again since 11:30 pm on Wednesday. Shhhh. Here is another view from our front porch. It’s a lot more snow compared to Monday, isn’t it?

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/11 | 1/320 | ISO 200 | handheld

Pool and Palms, Day 4

We’ve lost a couple of trees and bushes around the property. I’m pretty sure most of our plants, bushes, and flowers are not going to survive this arctic blast. With no water at all, we can’t wash our hands and we can’t wash dishes. Thank God we have hand sanitizer and I filled the bathtub on Sunday. We are using the tub water to give to the dogs and flush our toilets. I hope we don’t have to resort to melting snow for those things. We are using bottled water to drink but it’s running low. I’m hoping to hold off boiling water to wash the dishes by hand, I hate doing that. All of our dishes are dirty. 

Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/11 | 1/400 | ISO 200 | handheld

Patio Table, Day 4

I can definitely say that I prefer no power over no water. I didn’t realize how much we rely on it! The city has opened watering stations so that people without water can come get up to 5 gallons and a free case of drinking water. We may have to do that tomorrow. I woke up with the worst headache of my life this morning, I think because of dehydration. I need to stop rationing the bottled water and just drink it. We can always boil snow if we have to. Look how much is on our patio table!

Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/8 | 1/320 | ISO 200 | handheld

Driveway, Day 4

You can see why we haven’t been able to leave the house. The driveway is completely coated in snow-ice-snow-ice. They say in a week it will be near 70-degrees… that is very hard to imagine right now! If we don’t get water back by Friday night, we might find a hotel to stay at just to shower and eat. But I think the end is in sight. It’s supposed to warm up to 40 on Friday. C’mon water! That’s all we need now. And a major house cleaning. Every dish, blanket, sweater, and towel is dirty now, as well as every surface of the house. I’m so grateful that we don’t have a busted pipe. At least not yet… once we get pressure back, we’ll see if we escaped any broken pipes or water damage. Fingers crossed! We are luckier than most in that we had enough supplies to get through this crisis. What an adventure!

New Braunfels nature photographer
Nikon D750 | 20mm | f/11 | 1/320 | ISO 200 | handheld

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