Brrrrrr!

Holy crap it’s cold. 4 degrees below zero this morning, it has warmed up to a whopping 5 degrees as of right now. With the wind blowing out there from 15-25 mph, that makes for some damn cold.

A few hours ago I was practicing in the music room, and the power went out. “This ain’t good!” I called the power company, TVA who supplies the power to the local money grubbers, I mean power companies, in their infinite wisdom, instated mandatory rolling blackouts.

WTF? I have lived here for a long time, never ever heard of mandatory rolling blackouts. But then again, my heat pump, which by the way, doesn’t work that well in this kind of cold, has been running constantly for probably 24 hours, right until the power went out. I imagine EVERBODY is using massive amounts of power right now. So, I guess I understand the blackout thing.

Fortunately we do have a fireplace, there is a fire crackling behind me. One of my boys had got some wood up, just in case. And just in case happened. Soon as the power went down, we brought in wood and got a fire going. I turned the heat down to 60 degrees and it comes on and runs a bit then shuts off. The fireplace does not heat the house well, most of the heat goes up the flue, but it does radiate some heat. So it’s cozy close to the fire, chilly elsewhere in the house.

Yesterday, the wife said, “honey do you think we should stock up on some water?” (Which is something we do when bad storms, whether thunder or snow, are predicted. Having a well means if the power goes, so does the water.) I figured it’s a cold snap, we’ll be fine. Well, when the power went out, I had to concede she was right. So I have several gallons of water on standby now.

I am wearing long johns, 2 shirts and 2 pairs of socks right now. As I type this my fingers are cold. Even with a fire it’s just that cold outside.

But none of this is new to me. I grew up in a more northern clime than Tn. I grew up in Ill. and Iowa. Snow and cold were just another day of the week. On my Uncle/grandmothers farm, where I lived for a while, and visited often, there was a gas stove in the living room and that was it. It was set fairly low and what heat it put out was for the entire house. I wore long johns, 2 shirts, and 2 pair of socks then too. It was a matter of day to day living. When you went to bed at night, and you could see your breath in the room before you dove under the blankets, you just dressed for it and that was that.

I have experienced much cold in my days. Worst I was ever in, I was driving a big rig through Wyoming en route to Seattle. It was 60 below. The fuel I had been putting in the truck was pre-treated with fuel treatment, to keep the diesel from gelling up. There were dead trucks all over both sides of the interstate. I was sweating bullets, knowing I could be next. The truck heater was blowing wide open and there was a layer of ice a half inch thick on the inside of the windows except where the heat was directly blowing. I knew if I didn’t find a truck stop soon I’d be the next dead truck on the highway. Lo and behold I finally found one. I pulled in, parked, dressed up in everything I had, jumped out of the truck and I was immediately struck by the severity of the cold. It hurt to breathe, painful, you had to breathe very carefully in small doses, and more through your nose than through your mouth. Didn’t take long to figure that out either, I have never breathed air that actually hurt my lungs like this. The cold defied all my clothing as well, I was bloody freezing within seconds.

I managed to pop the fuel cap off a tank and shine a light in there. It was starting to gell. I went inside, probably the longest 150 yards I ever had to travel. Bought the fuel treatment I needed to keep the truck engine from starving, from gelled up fuel, and poured a couple quarts in both tanks. In the nick of time really. That was a close one. And undoubtedly the coldest cold I have ever experienced.

So, this cold snap will be survived I think. But I got to tell you it ain’t no fun. It is deadly cold out there. You do not want to be caught out in it, broke down, or whatever hard luck may find you. Much better at home with a meager fire burning and a pot of chile on the stove. Which reminds me, I need to make the cornbread.

Y’all stay safe. Stay warm. Stay Healthy.