2021 February 24

Thursday, February 24, 2021

Liberty Hill Dental was our first stop today. And an expensive stop it was – and that was only the first installment.

After Ella was done at the dentist, it was to the the trailer and another truck load of stuff to moved to the apartment

That was it for the day. Not very exciting, I know. It was also very wearing on two old’ bodies. And more trips tomorrow. Heather will be there to leans a hand and vehicle.

2021 February 23

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I missed sunrise by about 20 minutes. However, I did capture the bright white ball of light in a sky loud robin’s egg blue.

We had poached eggs for breakfast. I haven’t made or eaten them in years. With all this moving of things. I found the poaching cups. So, I made use of them.

Ella washed and dried 3 loads of clothes today. I didn’t know we had that many clothes. I guess it’s time for me to winnow down my clothes again. The thrift stores can put them into hands of those who need them more than I.

While Ella worked on laundry, I spent time organizing and reorganizing the kitchen. Finding places for everything in a kitchen with no drawers (of any size) isn’t easy. Many things have been relegated to preparedness kits. Kits like those that helped us get through the recent polar vortex.

Our groceries delivery, that was scheduled for between 3 and 4 today, hasn’t happened by 9. I gave up, locked up, and went to bed. It’s been cancelled twice. That’s understandable considering the recent weather which ain’t ‘Fit for Man nor Beast(Quote from WC Fields’s 1933 Mack Senett short ‘A Fatal Glass of Beer’.)

STEPS: 3236 1.4 miles

2021 February 22

Monday, February 22, 2021
Another sunny start to the day.

Our first bit of business for the day was to trade 63 pounds of aluminum cans for $18.90. The trip to and from Hill Country Recycling in Marble Falls made for an enjoyable outing and it helps to recharge the truck’s batteries.
The money will go into the Grandies funds. The money will be used to support their various ministries.

We then went to our trailer at the Stocktank RV park. We loaded up the truck with more stuff to bringing to the apartment. Slowly we are getting the trailer emptied. Now we just need to find places for all of it.

On the way back through Liberty Hill, we stopped at Winkles for a spray can of white enamel. The used dryer we purchased had some rust on the top surface. A couple coats of paint and it looks almost good as new.
Ella did two loads of laundry today. It had been a long long time since we had a washer and dryer of our own.


©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 February 21

Sunday, February 21, 2021

It began with clouds instead of sun this morning. With a forecast of mostly sunny, I was expecting more. It eventually lived up to that which was forecast.

The swimming pool ice is melting

Those footprints on the pool ice aren’t fresh — I hope.

My full length pull over face mask.

Notice the resemblance?

The fire department as well as the rescue unit arrived at the apartment complex shortly after noon today. We never found out what was going on.

We took a trip to the church, because Ella said we needed to pick up “our Lenten package.” She said Pastor Michel will be in the vestibule handing them out. I said that I doubted she was going to wait there all day. I don’t have her phone number, so Ella called. To no avail, ring no answer. 
While there we loaded the backseat of the truck with aluminum cans. We had collected them on the first Sunday in February but had no room in the truck. Tomorrow, if it goes as planned, we will take then to Hillcountry recycling in Marble Falls.

Then it was out to
the trailer and loaded a smaller load to bring back to the apartment. We brought mostly kitchen and closet items in this load. Ella worked on clothing while I tried to take care of the kitchen. I washed all the dishes, skillets, etc. before putting them away.

Once again we were fed soup by some restaurant in the area. If you couldn’t tell by the chicken leg, it was chicken broth with veggies and noodles.
Since it reached 72° today, I think we are out of the danger zone now. Eventually, folks will stop feeding us and that’s okay.

Some of the management staff were here today, even though this isn’t a regular office day. Since it’s been a week since any of them were here, maybe they wanted to see if the place was still standing.

Walked 1.7 miles today

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 February 20

Saturday, February 20, 2021
Today’s breakfast provided by God through godly people.
Isaiah 58:10-11 If you give some of your own food to feed those who are hungry and to satisfy the needs of those who are humble, then your light will rise in the dark, and your darkness will become as bright as the noonday sun. The LORD will continually guide you and satisfy you even in sun-baked places. He will strengthen your bones. You will become like a watered garden and like a spring whose water does not stop flowing.” God’s economics goes counter to the economics old Man. With God you give and then receive.
The sectional Couch arrived today thanks to Jenny and Heather. Arik was here to help with the unloading. As soon as the couch was in, they left to get the washer a nd dryer.
Jenny and Heather (that’s her bottom up) got the sectional assembled, with a last minute assist from Arik.
Arik got the washer and dryer alli hooked up and ready to begin cleaning clothes.
Some stuff has moved from trailer to apartment. Not everything. Big things have migrated with the help of Jenny, Arik, and Heather. Actually, I’m amazed at the amount that was moved today. With the washer, dryer, and sectional couch.

Every room is cluttered as we try to find a place for everything

Went to the trailer and loaded two trucks with things to bring to the apartment.

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 February 19

Friday, February 19, 2021

Last night and again today, the fire department has been here. Last night the alarms in the apartment went off. We all (or most) gathered in the lobby to see what was going on. The firemen came and determined that it was a broken pipe in the sprinkler system. However, without water in the system, it was hard to discover exactly where the problem lay. That’s why they were back this morning.

They were here all day, going door to door checking on people. Asking if we have heat, water, food, medications, or anything else that we might need.

As of about nine o’clock, we’ve had some water in spits and spurts. Though it may not be necessary, I boiled several pans of water, just to be extra sure.

We were blessed with two eggs yesterday. Someone brought food and water to the apartments last night. With no oil or butter, I poached one of the eggs for myself. I opted to make a sandwich to add more bulk to breakfast. I took a bite and realized how tasteless the sandwich was without salt, pepper, or butter.

Then I remembered that when Jenny brought us hamburgers, there was leftover ketchup. Much better to have flavor. I will say it again, God is good.

The Kindness of Strangers

This is part of the pool water collection system. If I understood correctly, the firemen helped with this project also. Don’t hold me to that. My hearing isn’t that good. And I wouldn’t want the fire department to get into trouble.

Early this morning, Ella went to assist with our in-house food pantry. They were expecting more deliveries this morning. She was on her feet for several hours veggie switching to a job where she could sit. She was dividing loaves of bread into 4 slice Ziploc bags. That way someone wouldn’t take the whole loaf and leave others without.

I did not go to help, at first, because I was sneezing and snotting. My CPAP ran out of water during the night. That almost always leads to sinus headaches, sneezing, and a runny nose. Anyway, I didn’t think that I’d be too welcomed with my sneezing and nose blowing. Not during the time of Covid.

After I had my nose under control, I also went to the lobby to sort food. Knowing that some people hoard food. I repackaged chips, cookies, and snack cakes into individual-size Ziploc bags.

I also carefully made my way to Rudolf the Red Nose Pickup truck. I had an email from the HUM device in the truck stating that the battery was low and I needed to run the truck to recharge. I ran it for nearly an hour. That had the added benefit of melting the ice from the windows and doors.

Sunset with real sunshine. Of all the things we’ve been doing without, sunshine was what I missed most.


©2021Thomas E Williams

2021 February 18

Thursday, February 18, 2021
Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday

Nine years ago Ella had cataract surgery.

Q. Ella tell me about your cataract surgery,
A. It was far easier that I ever thought it would be. After the first eye was done, I was surprised at how Vivid the colors were. I spent a lot of time opening one eye and closing the other just to compare the colors between the two eyes.”
Q. How long was the surgery on your eye?
A. “I really don’t know. I think a half an hour. Maybe an hour at the most. It’s been 9 years.”
Q. And how long between getting the first eye and eye number two?
A. ‘I think it was three months but I’m not sure. I’d have to look at our calendar to see.”
Q. How about wearing glasses before and after?
A. “I wore glasses with coke bottle lenses. Now I don’t have to wear glasses at all, except for reading.”
Q. Would you recommend cataract surgery to people who have cataracts?
A. “Yes if they need it and don’t have any underlying medical reasons not to.”

This is as close to sunshine as we’ve had for a bunch of days now. We’re hoping to see more of it tomorrow. The forecast is for sun enough to bring us above freezing for the first time since Friday or Saturday.


©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 February 17

Wednesday, February 17, 2021
We Received This Email
“We understand many PEC (Local electric company) members have been without power, some for an extended period of time. We understand the frustration this can cause. We want to explain the events that have required the majority of these outages.

Like other electric utilities across Texas, PEC is complying with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ (ERCOT) directive to implement service interruptions to ensure stability across the entire statewide grid. The demand for electricity on the ERCOT grid is currently greater than the supply of generated electricity. To protect the grid and ensure it remains stable, the demand is lessened in a controlled way. One way to lessen demand is to conserve electricity, and many of our members are graciously responding to these pleas. It’s greatly appreciated!

When demand cannot be adequately reduced through conservation and other measures, ERCOT can require that PEC reduce demand by a specific amount:

The requirement to decrease demand can happen almost instantaneously, and ERCOT can change the amount of the required decrease, up or down, almost instantaneously.

PEC interrupts service to different feeders across PEC’s system for limited periods of time. This has the effect of turning off electricity to the homes and offices on those feeders.

PEC “rotates” these interruptions, meaning that when one set of interruptions is restored, PEC will interrupt service on a different set of feeders; this ensures the same amount of load is interrupted each time, therefore keeping the same decreased demand on the system.

In addition to these interruptions, the extreme temperatures and icy winter weather have led to infrastructure damage across our 8,100 square mile service territory. The forecast says the Hill Country is in for another hard freeze overnight. These temperatures have created hazardous road conditions, particularly at night, that prevent our crews from restoring infrastructure power outages until conditions improve. Our lineworkers and other PEC employees have been working diligently around-the-clock to safely make restorations as quickly as possible. And we have made progress! But we know there are still members without power, and we are working to get everyone restored as quickly as is safely possible.

This combination of factors has made it difficult for PEC to provide the reliable electric service our members have always counted on. Unfortunately, it appears rotating service interruptions will continue until at least mid-day Wednesday at the earliest, or when the icy conditions start to dissipate. We ask our members to please bear with us as we work our hardest to restore power and resume normal operations as soon as possible.
This is an email from my truck, telling me that my battery is low. I’ve been TO the truck this morning but not IN my truck. Last night’s freezing rain has the doors frozen shut. If/when I’m able to do so, I’ll start it and let it run for awhile.
Once again we are the only ones in the lobby. Now that our furnace is running, it is warmer in the apartment than the in-common areas.
With nothing else to do today. I’ve sorted my medications for the next 2 weeks.
We played Fast Track. We also brought a Uno game with us in case anyone wanted to play.

Self Reliance

or the Inmates are Running the Asylum

Management has not been to the complex since early Sunday. That’s 4 days ago.

Water is shutoff and electricity is on a system of rolling blackouts. The picture below shows a group of individuals dipping water from the frozen swimming pool.


©2021 Thomas E Williams

This is my second attempt to order groceries delivered. The first order was cancelled because of bad weather. Friday’s weather is predicted to be much better.

2021 February 16

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Freezing fog? That doesn’t sound good!
The swimming pool at the apartments is now an ice skating rink
Plenty of sun this morning but no one is sun bathing. None of the lounge chairs are in use today. Judging from the lack of tracks in the snow, they haven’t been used in the last week either.

We went out for a drive this afternoon. Well. Let me rephrase that. We went out for food today. But it ended up being just a drive.

The food pantries were closed and the grocers were either closed or had hundreds (not an exaggeration) of people waiting in line to enter the store.

We got into CVS but they were picked clean of food. Ella picked up a case of diet Dr Pepper. However, when I pointed out the line, that snaked around through the store, to reach the checkout, she decided it wasn’t worth it.

We Have Heat

At least we have heat when we have power. The service people got the heat working. They were missing a part but were able to by pass it for now.

©2021 Thomas E Williams

🇺🇸 2021 February 15 🇺🇸

Monday, February 15, 2021
🇺🇸 Presidents Day 🇺🇸

Weather Still the Big News

At 8:30 a.m. it was 50° in the apartment. The rolling blackouts are going 2 hours off, 2 hours on, and repeat, or so I’ve been told.
The good news – the sun is shining!
Isn’t it pretty?
We sat in the lobby playing Fast Track. About ten o’clock ee were talking to Arik about the weather and power outages, when he said, “Power just went out again.” About a minute later our power went down also. About 1:30 p.m. it came on again. Power went out again at 8 o’clock TONIGHT. On again at 10:45.

When I made these “buddy burners” out of tuna cans, corrugated cardboard, and candle wax; I never envisioned using them like this. But I  heated some survival chilli while the electric stove wasn’t available because of the rolling power outages.
My improvised stove is the buddy heater under an upside down wok-type pan that I balanced on 2 cans so the wok wouldn’t smother the flame. The wok pan has a heavy gauge flat bottom that became the perfect heating element on which to set my pan of chilli.

Just as the chilli was done cooking over my improvised “stove”, the electricity came back on.
As soon as we were done eating, I cooked spaghetti and put it in the refrigerator. That way I have another meal prepared if they take the power down again. Cold spaghetti is better than not eating, and if we have power, it can be microwaved.
After the spaghetti was taken care of, I cooked a pan full of rice. We have milk and sugar to eat with the rice for breakfast hot or cold.  If we have power, the rice can be served with some canned beef and mixed veggies.


©2021 Thomas E Williams