Here is wishing everyone a warmer week after the longest white Valentine in recent memory. Many remember the foot of snow in 1985 as we look back at those old pictures developed at the 1-hour photo at La Villita. Some mentioned that roofs collapsed but I only remember how quickly the sun came out and melted my snowman. So, what changed so much in 25 years? To begin with, this cold front was quite different, never in recorded meteorological records had there been so much cold in all the 254 counties of Texas, a one in a million event. Kind of like the flood of 98. We must be buying our tickets at the EZ-Stop next to Livingstone Church. I think a lot of people, not all, learned something and were thankful for something.
We learned that a house with a fireplace will probably be worth a few thousand dollars more in the real estate market. That even though you have a gas stove with an electric igniter you friends on FB will tell you a match also works to light it. That you can flush a toilet with a bucket of melted snow or pulled from the creek or swimming pool. Not so many learned that when it is less than 40 degrees outside your garage or back porch can also double as a refrigerator. We also learned the value of modern insulation in a new home. Our baby monitor records the minimum and maximum temperature and even with many hours without power the temperature never dropped below 47 F inside. Not comfortable but not dangerous.
Many people expressed their gratitude that, at least on FB, since we don’t have a daily “newspaper of record” nobody mentioned a carbon monoxide poisoning or much less hypothermia. Ex cub scouts brushed off their “be prepared” moto and looked out for family, friends, and neighbors. Our local PD made several wellness checks to make sure isolated citizens were ok and it was the perfect excuse to call that neighbor whose dog poops on your lawn and you had been angry at for months. Some of our radio stations went on and off the air and we all scrolled Facebook obsessively looking for the latest FB live from our elected officials until we overloaded our cell towers and even those didn’t work so well but we were thankful for the local information. If you didn’t have FB you probably got a concise call in English from the emergency services to give you an update.
If you really really want to know what happened with the power, water, and sewer system. Ask the people who know because they passed the budgets during the last 25 years. I’m sure they will give you much better information than the FB experts. Ask Mayor Garza, Valdez or Alcala, Rowland, Reno, Liz, Fred C. or Fred C. Tina, Mary Ann, Diana, John, Mike, Najla or Lee. They were each there for four, eight or more years making the hard decisions on current needs vs. future investments. Same decisions you make at each paycheck on paying bills or saving for retirement.