Out Of The Ice
Martha enjoying a warm room on a cold day.
So as you know, I’m posting some free samples from my free PDF book (yeah, yeah, I know that’s redundant. I’m good at redundancy. It’s one of the things I do best. Or finest. Or foremost. Or…insert thesaurus entry here.).
Anyway, the free book is The Martha Chronicles, and you can get it here: https://www.michaeljaytucker.com/basic-01
And, here’s another freebie chapter. It is number 4 and deals with wheelchairs, slips, and…ice storms.
Great stuff, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Out Of The Ice
My next posting to Facebook was on February 3, 2022, and reads as follows:
So here’s something funny. After going to all that effort to get the ramps installed so that Martha can get out and about, we were hit by a minor ice storm. Oh, it isn’t terrible. It certainly is no where near what my friends in New England, New Mexico, and Kansas are suffering. But, still, we’ve got a goodly chunk of sleet going on here. And if there’s one place you don’t want to be in Texas during an ice storm, it’s on the roads. (There’s a song by James McMurtry entitled “Holiday.” One of the concluding lines is “...as deadly as a Texan on ice.” Too true. *Way* too true.)
But we’ve managed to stay warm and cozy. Here’s a few pictures of our living room this morning at about seven a.m. I think we’re doing rather well :-)
That’s all there is to it. As I noted in the post, I did run some pictures along with it, one showing a cozy scene inside our house, one showing Martha wrapped up and enjoying a warm time in the front room, and one showing our backyard, covered …or, at least, tinged with ice.
Actually, there was a lot I didn’t say here. First, there was a back story which some of my Facebook friends knew, but which others didn’t. To wit, the year before, at around the same time (actually, Valentine’s Day week), we had had a much, much, much worse ice storm that shut down the whole state.
Texans don’t normally have severe winters, at least not this far south. But, for whatever, we most certainly did in 2021. It brought everything to a standstill, and very nearly crashed the state’s power grid.
It was among the worst such events I’ve ever seen, and mind you, I spent over thirty years in Boston. But, of course, in New England, people are prepared for snowy weather. There are snowplows and sand/salt spreading trucks, and drivers are at least a little bit used to slippery roads, though admittedly no one is ever completely ready for things like black ice.
By contrast, Texas lacks things like plows and sand trucks. I’ve never even seen a snowplow, here. And I suspect I never will. So, roads were impassable.
Also, there was politics involved. For a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with the pseudo-libertarian rhetoric of the age, power-generation and transmission is largely unregulated. Thus, the industry had not been forced to make the investments necessary to prepare for a Black (well, white) Swan event like the ice storm. So, things just shut down. We spent a week during which the power would be turned off, and then brought back on, with maddening irregularity.
And, well, we were cold.
I must confess, I was truly frightened by the Ice Storm of 2021. It was the only time in my life when I felt that we might suffer serious injury because of the cold itself…something I had not thought even at the worst of times in the Boston-area. Indeed, as soon as Spring came, I bought a large backup power generator, specifically, a natural gas-powered Generac. It sits beside the house, now, like some sleek visitor from another world. I hope it works. As yet, I’ve never had reason to employ it.
I’ve also wondered what impact the Ice Storm will have on the politics of the state. I’m afraid that it will have none, even though you can make a very good case that the system as it stands is flawed. The pièce de résistance to the whole sordid affair came when our good Senator at the time, the ever remarkable Ted Cruz, was videoed taking his family to a luxury resort in Cancún. While his constituents froze and went hungry in the dark, he was off to frolic on the beach and enjoy gourmet cooking.
Sort of hard to forget that. Or forgive it.
Oh, one other thing I didn’t mention. Martha nearly had a wheelchair mate. Shortly after the storm, I went outside and found that there was a large sheet of ice just beyond the front door. I wanted to get rid of it so travel would be a little safer for Martha should we get out of the house. Unfortunately, there was absolutely no sidewalk salt to be had. I visited two hardware stores and our local Walmart, but…all sold out, or they’d never had any in the first place. (At one of the stores I visited, a clerk told me that some homeowners were buying swimming pool chlorine and using that instead. In a word, YIKES. I’ve read a few too many books about World War I to be cool on that one.)
I ended up getting an extra large container of cooking salt and trying to spread it about. And…of course… I stood on the ice…and…
I fell pretty darn close to where Martha had taken her fall. I remember thinking that it would be amusing if I had to go to the hospital. Maybe they’d give us a two for one price. Is there such a thing as a CRT for couples?
Fortunately, I wasn’t hurt…much. I was just very sore, and rather grumpy, for a few days afterwards.
There was a good side to it, though. Made me more appreciative of what Martha was going through.
I could have lived without it.
I mean, really, do you have to appreciate everything? I didn’t think so.
The room she was enjoying.
And the day outside
Copyright©2022 Michael Jay Tucker
Anyway, the free book is The Martha Chronicles, and you can get it here:
The room she was staying warm in.
And the cold outside.