I remember the first time I saw snow in person. It was several years ago after moving to Texas from West Palm Beach, Florida. I remember how excited the kids were, and it was only about 1-2 inches. They had a snow day off from school, they played in the snow with the other neighborhood kids, they made a snowman - it was a fun experience for them.
When we first heard that snow was in the forecast, my mind immediately went back to that snow day. The kids are 19 and 23 now, so they may not have shared my immediate excitement that we get to wear our winter coats, but I know they recalled that snow day many years ago.
Our trip to Paris back in January 2019 also came to mind, and that made the idea of playing in the snow even more exciting. Little did we know what was really headed our way.....
To say that we were totally unprepared is a total understatement. At one point, it felt like it was about 40 degrees inside the house. We could see our breaths as we talked to each other. Even with several layers of clothing and heavy blankets we were freezing. My fingers and toes were numb and aching at the same time.
Our power went out from day one and we had about 38 hours straight with no power. Our gas fireplace wasn't working for some reason! Imagine what a gruesome discovery that was.
Fortunately we have a gas cooktop, and so we were able to cook and have warm food and coffee. We had plenty of food in the house and we had water most of the time, although it did go out for a short time. We did have a busted pipe, but it was just our sprinkler system, and my plumber was able to come over pretty quickly to fix it for me.
When our power was restored, we were excited, but of course it went out again after a few hours - at least our phones were all charged up.
Things were a bit hairy for sure, but I am blessed that our home was not significantly damaged, and we made it through without major harm.
But I know this for a fact, if ever this crazy weather should happen again, I will be better prepared.
I have already began to make some investments in "bad weather preparation kit"
1 - A Diesel Generator
I totally wished I had a generator last week for sure. I will be investing in a diesel version, since diesel fuel is usually less in demand in disaster times.
I saw some pretty insensitive posts on Facebook, about why hurricane country (Texas) people would not own generators. Well, the answer is that during hurricane season it is still pretty warm, and power usually goes out for only a short while, unless of course you are in a major impact zone, in which case you would not want to be home to even need a generator.
I also had a little fear of having a generator in my home. I know with proper use they are safe, but the idea that it causes the deaths of so many people was also a concern for me, and I didn't see the need to own one. Now I do.
2 - Cordless Space Heaters
If only we had some space heaters, things would have been a bit more bearable during the night time hours. Especially for my poor chiweenie, Rufus. Little known fact is that Rufus was named after the "naked mole rat" in the Disney Animation series Kim Possible. That's because Rufus has very thin hair and he almost looks like a naked mole rat. Imagine how cold he was with not much fur to keep him warm. We has him all bundled up, and he was fine, but boy did I wish I had some space heaters. I found this cordless space heater and I will be stocking up on a few
3 - Solar Phone Chargers
We had a couple of solar chargers but they weren't the best. We needed direct sunlight to keep them working and they would only charge the phones to a certain point before they would die. We were still very fortunate to have them.
4 - Greenhouse
I have been wanting a greenhouse for a long time, and I am not exactly sure that it would have helped my cactus plants, but anything would have been better than what they endured. It would be nice to grow some herbs and vegetables in case we couldn't get to food for long stretches of time.
5 - Flashlights
I am ashamed to admit that we had only one flashlight in the house and we couldn't even find batteries for it. This is one thing I will be stocking up on and tons of batteries as well. We were using our cellphone flashlights, but of course, we needed to conserve as much as possible in case we needed to make an emergency call
6 - Pipe Insulation
I will admit that I didn't rush out to insulate my pipes until the last minute, and I didn't do a great job might I add. Fortunately I live in a new home, built within the last 3 years and the main pipe was insulated, but not the sprinkler pipe that I had installed after I moved in.
And that brings me to the last thing I wish I had last week - a home maintenance package. Yep, I wish I knew that my fireplace wasn't working, I wish I was confident that all my systems were operating at tip top condition, but the truth is that I am too busy to do all the maintenance that all homes need.
I have since been looking online for a good one. John Moore seems to have a good one, but I need to do a bit more research before committing. I know they can be a total waste if you choose the wrong one, and I know there are scams out there that I need to be aware of as well
I can tell you that if my home wasn't newer, things could have gotten a lot worse. You've seen the videos of really horrific damages from burst pipes and the weight of the snow on tree branches. Yikes! I was shocked at some of what I was seeing.
A part of having a beautiful, comfortable and functional home that nurtures you, is that you nurture it back. As a designer, I understand that need my clients have for a beautiful and comfortable home that functions for their family lifestyle very well. I know from my own experience last week that having some peace of mind that you have done everything you can for your home so that it can stand up to extreme weather is priceless.
Last week's severe weather has also taught me to always plan for the worse case scenario as you build a new home. One of my dear clients was as snug as a bug through it all because she and her husband invested in a heavy duty generator when they built their custom home a couple of years ago. I don't know this to be so, but I can imagine that they must have looked at that line item on that house budget and wondered if they should remove it in favor of something pretty back then. That generator allowed them to be able to offer help to others who weren't so lucky during the extreme weather.
Preparedness will definitely now be a part of the conversations I have with my new build clients.
All eyes were on Texas during this weather crisis last week. Did you learn anything from our experience? Leave me a comment below
Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!