Texas Snowmageddon

Hello from wacky weather Texas! The last of the snow melted here in Dallas on Friday. By Monday, our temperature was 81 degrees. Today as I write this, it’s 48, but that’s Texas for you. A weather roller coaster ride!

Here’s a picture of my view after the first snow.

 

What my family went through during Snowmageddon Texas Edition was nothing compared to what others endured. We only lost power for a day, and we never lost water service. Others were without power for a week or more. While our house pipes didn’t freeze, our pool froze over, though. My youngest son had fun doing a photo shoot with his penguin, Tama, to memorialize our adventures. The only damage we sustained was broken pool equipment pipes. Unfortunately, so many others have not been as lucky. Houses have been destroyed by burst pipes and for some safe water is still an issue.

   

My small adventure brought back memories of my grandparents’ northeastern Iowa farm and reminded me how difficult daily life could be in the past. My grandparents’ house had electricity but lacked running water and indoor plumbing. A gas heater warmed the downstairs. I can still picture it—a giant brown rectangle that stood in the living room. It had a glass window through which we could see flames. It was the monsterish kind that scared poor young Kevin in Home Alone. Upstairs we went without heat.

My grandparents’ farm in Decorah, Iowa

A simple task such as bathing a preschool me and my brother Saturday night to attend church on Sunday was a major project. My grandma would pull a dented round galvanized tub into the kitchen. Water had to be hauled from the pump by the milk house. After that, she boiled water on the stove to mix with the colder water to eventually get bath water. No wonder folks in the past only bathed once a week and didn’t have to worry about exercising! Daily life provided all the workout they needed. Sleeping upstairs in the winter meant wearing the warmest jammies possible and sleeping under mounds of blankets. And don’t even ask me about the outhouse…

I’ve always loved reading historical romances, but the recent snowstorm reminded me how we romanticize 🙂 the past. My small taste of life without electricity during Snowmageddon reminded me how past generations had to be strong, determined, and tough or they didn’t survive. Our favorite historical authors incredibly weave the feeling of the time period and daily life into their stories. They transport us to a time we often wish we could visit. After my recent short technology deprived stint , I’m thankful they don’t make the trip too realistic, and now I appreciate their talent of knowing what of past time periods to leave out even more. The past is a nice place to visit in a novel, but as for me, I wouldn’t want to live there!

Please continue to pray for those struggling to overcome the effects of the snowstorm. For many recovery will be a long, expensive process.

To be entered in today’s giveaway for the thankful, grateful, blessed sink mate and llama chip clips, comment on this question. What would be the toughest modern day item or technology for you to do without if you lived in the Old West?

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Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at www.juliebenson.net.

62 thoughts on “Texas Snowmageddon”

    • Sabrina, thank you for stopping by today. Going without electricity is tough because not having it knocks out so many different things, such as hair dryers. I look like a wet puppy without one! Take care and stay safe.

  1. electricity, indoor plumbing, and a/c, might as well add my cell phone, kindle, and laptop

    My grandparents didn’t have indoor plumbing till 1978. Getting a bath in a wash tub or a sponge bath is all we got when we visited, and they actually had two outhouses. One is still standing–not in use, filled in–and my dad uses it to store gasoline for his tractor. lol

    denise

    • Denise, you and I have so much in common! I don’t know what year it was, but I remember my grandparents getting indoor plumbing! They had to add on to the house for a bathroom. It was off the kitchen. I can’t tell you how thankful I was when they added that. It still was cold going downstairs to the bathroom in the middle of the night during winter months, but it was nothing like having to go outside! I won’t even mention what the other option was when I was young…Thank you for stopping by and sharing your memories! Take care and stay safe.

      • We do have a lot in common.

        My grandparents had a four-room house. It was probably built in the 1920s. They had two rooms added to the front, a bedroom and a living room. The old living room became a bedroom, one old bedroom became a bathroom/laundry. I think that room was chosen because it was over the dugout basement (the old wringer washer is still down there) and easier to run pipes. Then the kitchen was modernized. It didn’t have central heat. They had a woodstove up until the late 80s, then they got an oil stove.

        It was a special program for elderly in Tennessee. As long as they lived in it for 10? years, they didn’t have to pay for the upgrades.

        My dad uses it for his apiary.

        Uncle Stacy and Aunt Bessie had similar improvements. They were my grandpa’s aunt and uncle, and their house was probably from the mid-1800s. When I was a little kid, they were the oldest people I knew. They had been born in the 1880s.

        • Wow. I think my grandfather built their house. They also had a four bedroom and had six kids. One bedroom they never used. It held all my maternal great-grandmother’s things in it after she died. No one was ever allowed in there. Downstairs there was one long rectangular room and the kitchen. That was it. Later on they added the bathroom but that was the only addition ever.

  2. Electricity would probably be the toughest. Water availability in the house would be tough, too!

    • Bonnie, I had forgotten how many things need electricity to run until we lost power in the storm. Thankfully our across the street neighbor has a gas stove and she shared her chili with us. Eating cold meals got very old, very quickly. At night it was difficult because I didn’t have enough candles to light the room much. I need to get a couple more small lantern style flashlights for when we lose power. I understand now why folks in the past rose early and went to bed early. Thank you for stopping by today. Take care and stay safe!

  3. So many! Running water, indoor plumbing (especially for toilets), electricity, modern washing & drying machines (who wants to do laundry in a river? ?), refrigerator, and so many more. I’d definitely miss the main ones, water, indoor plumbing, and electricity.

    I saw so many heart breaking pictures of Texas during snowmageddon! I have friends on FB who told horror stories of frozen or burst pipes, no electricity for heat or cooking, the lack of safe drinking water, and food spoilage. Evidently the stores were bare too…if you could even get out, that is! It just made me so sad to read about. On the other hand, I also saw stories of neighbors helping neighbors. People who had electricity inviting neighbors to stay with them so they could keep warm & sharing food, neighbors giving wood to families who had fireplaces, etc! I love when communities come together in a crisis to help each other ?

    Funny thing what we take for granted in every day life? My grandma loved through the depression and raised 9 kids, she’s was a heartier woman than I ever could be, lol!

    • Trixi, it was scary how many people were without power and safe water for so long. Authories told folks to boil water, but not what to do if they couldn’t because their electric stove didn’t work and they couldn’t get out to buy bottled water. And you’re right, when we were able to drive, a lot of stores shelves were bare. Dallas had it much easier in comparison to Houston and Austin. The saddest thing is various people had been warning this exact problem could happen and had the power companies winterized fully, this disaster would’ve been avoided. Now people are dealing with the aftermath. Plumbers are so busy they can’t get to everyone. It’s going to be a long recovery for some families whose houses or businesses were destroyed when pipes burst. Thank you for stopping by to chat today and stay safe!

    • Minna, it still amazes me how long it took my grandparents to put in indoor plumbing. It was probably in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s! I wish I could’ve found the picture of me as a child in the galvanized tub in the middle of the kitchen. I’m sure after I got out of the tub, my mom put my hair in pincurls for the night. Anyone else remember those? For those of you who avoided that wonderful experience (ugh) little sections of hair were twisted, then rolled into a kind of spiral against the head, and secured with two bobby pins. Then I got the joy of sleeping like that! Okay, now I’m appreciating a curling iron a whole lot more…

      Thanks for stopping by today, Minna. Take care and stay safe.

  4. Julie, your thoughts echo mine. We were without water for four days, and were thankful it wasn’t worse – when the pipes thawed, they were intact. But melting snow on the stove to wash dishes is not fun…especially when you find a dog turd in your pot on the stove. UGH! It made me so thankful for something I used to take for granted – unlimited water. Love your memories of your grandparents, and you’re right – we’ve grown soft.

    • Laura, you are such a hoot! There would be no way I could boil snow. I have four dogs and foster them as well. I would find more than one dog turd in my pot!

      You had a much rougher time than we did. We had water the entire time and we only without power for around 12 hours. We were lucky our house pipes never broke. So many folks had pool pipes break like ours did, it’s been hard to get someone out to assess the damage, much less get them fixed. We now have something resembling a Louisiana swamp in our back yard!

    • We didn’t shower while the electricity was out. One, the bathrooms were super dark and two, we didn’t want to run out of hot water. I realized later, we could’ve used candles and flashlights. I’d have made a terrible pioneer. I just don’t think of creative solutions in a timely manner. I think of them longer after I no longer need them.

  5. I’m glad you survived Snowmageddon without any damage. it sure is surreal seeing all the people still dealing with the after effects of the storm. I pray things will get back to normal soon. I feel lucky we didn’t lose power (something good about living next to a hospital because they won’t shut down a power grid that a hospital is on) or water, though we did have to boil water for a few days before using it. I don’t think I wouldn’t enjoy living without electricity or running water. But then again, back in the old west days, they didn’t know any different, so I’m sure they didn’t miss it much.

    • Janine, I’m glad you did well during the storm. It’s hard to believe in 2021 folks were having to boil water for days! I’m hoping the insurance companies don’t give people a hard time with claims and respond quickly. I don’t know what the poor people without insurance will do. Thank you for stopping by today. Take care and stay safe.

    • Debra, my grandparents didn’t have running water when I was young so anything to do with that became a bigger deal–bathing, laundry, cooking. Laundry day was just that, a whole day event. Even after she bought a new washing machine, she still had the old wringer one on her porch. (I wish I had it now to put flowers in! But that repurposing is for another post!) Then all the wash was hung on the line outside to dry. I wouldn’t want to use the old washer, but I wish I had space for a clothes line. (That is is my dogs wouldn’t tear down the stuff!) Nothing smells as good as sheets dried outside.

      Thanks for stopping by today and reminding me of those wash day memories. Take care and stay safe.

  6. Definitely indoor plumbing. My uncle’s house had an outhouse and it was scary to use, you never knew what would be inside when you opened the door.

    • Vicki, I’m right there with you! I though my grandparents’ outhouse was scary too! I hated it. As a kid I had nightmares of falling in. And then there was the smell. I would hold my breath whenever I was in there. Ugh! I’d go without heat and A/C before I’d go without indoor plumbing. Thanks for chatting today. Take care and stay safe.

  7. I did a lot of long camping trips as a kid, so roughing it wouldn’t be too hard for me. But I rely so much on my phone. Contacting family and friends who live far away, the apps that help me organize my life, and even the games which keep my young children occupied.
    Continued prayers for the people of Texas.

    • Jess, I wasn’t a camper. My husband likes to tease that my idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service! The closest I got to roughing it was the farm. I don’t mind hiking and working on the farm, but I want indoor plumbing to clean up afterward. Phones are hard to do without now, especially since so many people no longer have landlines. So many people, my husband included, no longer wear a watch, but use their phones to know the time.

      You’ve got me curious. What apps help you organize your life the most? I’m an organizing nut, but I haven’t found any really helpful apps.

      Thank you for stopping by the corral to chat today. Take care and stay safe.

  8. Good morning Julie! Oh what an adventure our Snowvid2021 was on Texas, for sure and your right by calling it Snowmageddon! We were without water, electric and gas for days. Water because I had to shut it off due to busted pipes. I have 2 houses across the highway from each other, my eldest daughter lives in one. We had gas at her house for a few of the awful days to keep warm and cook & have hot water until we had water leaks and our local gas pipes froze. My youngest & I slept always slept nights in our cold house because we have animals that don’t get along with my daughters animals and we could cuddle with them. I think they still wonder why we turned off the lights & heat! My old farm house was just as cold outside as inside! It took a couple days after water, gas and electricity were restored for us to get the pipes fixed. Many still do not have the help, money and/or access to the supplies needed to get water. Luckily ours ended up minor repairs! I’m grateful my ordeal lasted a out 8 days and not longer. Us modern time people in Texas are not equipped for subzero & below freezing days on end. All-in-all we could have had it worse even though at times it didn’t seem like it. The thing about the old pioneer days is that people didn’t have what we have and are accustomed to. Thank goodness we had cars to charge phones and get warm every once in a while. I’ve since learned from my northern friends that since our Texas homes and businesses aren’t equipped for that kind of weather & temps for days on end that we should have cut off the main water supply and opened up all the faucets in the house to bleed the water lines. Did they bother to tell me that prior to the storm? No! Lol I’m sure many of us Texans will now prepare for this to happen, just in case, then it probably won’t happen again in our lifetime. Now we just have to deal with Governor Abbott opening up Texas, even no masks needed any longer before everyone can get vaccinated. Let’s see what happens next. 2020 & 2021 have been very historic! Stay safe! By the way I read where we are supposed to have a warmer than normal Spring.

    • Wow, you had it much tougher than we did. I know what you mean about us not being equipped to handle such cold weather for more than a day or two. We have much less insulation compared to northern homes. A lot of times our bathroom pipes are on outside walls which makes them more prone to freeze. We don’t have wool sweaters or long underwear because we’d use them so infrequently they’re not worth storing. I’ve heard to leave faucets dripping during cold weather, but I haven’t heard to shut off the main water supply and drain the pipes either. Good news is the pipes wouldn’t freeze. Bad news is we’d have to go without water. I, too, worry how some people whose houses and/or businesses were destroyed will financially survive. Then there’s the issue that plumbers can’t get to everyone fast enough.

      I’m right there with you being concerned about Texas opening up 100%. I wish we’d tough it out a little longer until more of us could get vaccinated. I know I’m going to keep wearing a mask and I won’t be going out to eat any time soon. No thanks. I’ll stick with take-out. I’ve avoid catching COVID this long, I don’t want to risk it now. You take care as well, and thank you for stopping by to share your Snowmageddon experience.

  9. Oh yes – we too had a Warm Morning stove in the living room at our house – but it is only 1 level and our bedroom was the farthest from it so I understand the warm jammies comment – but doing without electricity and indoor plumbing would be the hardest for me – I can read anywhere!!

    • Teresa, I still like sleeping in the cold. I turn my thermostat down at night. I’d much rather wear warm jammies and add an extra blanket than have the heater set to a higher temperature. Having gone without indoor plumbing as a child at my grandparents’ farm, I’d choose that over electricity any time. Someone said earlier that the outhouse scared her as a child. I’d forgotten how scared I was to go in there. Thank you for stopping by today. Take care and stay safe.

  10. It would have to be electricity because I had to do without a few years ago after an ice storm which meant I didn’t have any heat or a way to cook either. We had a huge ice storm this time around but I didn’t loose my power and I thank God for that. I live in KY and it seems like the when bad weather hits Texas it seems like it comes right up to KY. It took forever for all that ice to melt and then the rain came and now we are flooded. We still have a lot of tree limbs that need to be cleaned up from the ice storm but it will have to wait until everything dries out.

    • Rain and flooding on top of the ice storm? Wow, that’s really a mess. My best friend lives in Lexington and she said y’all got ice, then snow, then more ice, and I think snow again! That makes it so much scarier because there’s no way to know how bad the roads are under the snow. I think it takes longer to melt as well. We were lucky. Once the temperatures warmed above freezing, our snow melted quickly. Take care, stay safe, and thank you for stopping by today.

  11. that must have been quite the adventure when you were young. I was thinking no toilet, but then I would just put in a pot in the bedroom if I needed it and clean it in the morning and replace it. I know how to use a wood stove for cooking. I like the ambiance of candles and sunlight. I love to read, sew, needlework. HMMM this is a tough one for me. I think I would miss electricity because I would miss not having music or batteries for a cassette player or CD player for music.

    • Lori, it was an adventure, and the older I get the more I miss farm life. Though, I’d never want to go back to the no indoor plumbing days. I wish I knew how to cook on an open fire. If I’d known that I could’ve cooked with the fireplace fire. Between blankets, snuggling dogs, and the fireplace, we could keep the main room fairly warm, but the rest of the house grew pretty cold. We were only without power for 12 hours, but some rooms dropped into the 40s temperature wise. It’s funny that you mention the ambiance with candles. At night we often turn off the lights around 7. For some reason if we do the dogs settle down. I love to light candles then, too. During the winter it just been a quiet, calm, soothing way to end the day.

      Thank you for stopping by the corral today. Take care and stay safe.

  12. I would need hot water and heat. Those are extremely important and vital since I cannot abide cold. I lived through several ice storms, and many lengthy, cold winters in the Great White North so I know what discomfort and difficulties the Texans faced.

    • Ellie, I’ve gotten soft living in Texas. I went to Iowa State University. The center of campus was called Little Siberia in the winter. I remember walking to campus in days with below zero wind chill. I’d wear long underwear, pants, regular socks and wool socks. On top I’d put a turtle neck, wool sweater and sometimes a blazer over that. I’d wear a long down coat, a hat, a scarf up over my nose, and gloves. The only visible part of anyone was our eyes. No way I could stand that walk now. Thanks for stopping by to chat today. Take care and stay safe.

  13. It would be electricity. Without electricity, we don’t have running water as we live in the country (have a well). Fortunately we do have an automatic gas generator. When I was a child however we lived with my grandparents with indoor plumbing and for a few years no furnace. The upstairs was not heated so we used hot irons and placed them where our feet would be in the bed. I remember when the coal furnace was put in. My grandmother was so excited. You would have thought it was Christmas morning! We did have running cold water as there a hand pump in the kitchen (water cistern was under the porch). Hot water came about 2 years later. My grandparents did not get indoor plumbing until I was 17. Fortunately my mother, myself, and siblings moved out when was 8 to a house with a toilet, but no tub or shower.

    • Karen, sounds like your childhood country memories are similar to mine. I remember what a big deal it was when my grandparents got running water and indoor plumbing. They never did get heat upstairs, and I don’t think they ever replaced that monster heater downstairs.

      I’m still torn between electricity and indoor plumbing. Electricity because it controls so many other things, but plumbing because those outhouses are scary and smell awful.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your memories. Take care and stay safe.

  14. Electricity and indoor plumbing are a big requirement for sure. I can handle everything else but the reality is much harder. Winters do test your strength and resilience.

    • Ruth, like sejoc 1968 said above, in Texas we’re not prepared for winter the way folks in the north are. Neither are our houses, and apparently, our power companies. Hopefully after this disaster the power companies will fully winterize so this never happens again. It’s unbelievable that in 2021 people died because they lacked heat and had nowhere to go. It’s heartbreaking. Thank you for stopping by today. Take care and stay safe.

  15. Our experience with Snowmageddon was much the same as yours. We live 30 miles NE of Dallas. The pool man is coming to replace the cracked pipes today. Most certainly was not expecting that expense this winter. I can’t believe Lake Ray Hubbard and Lake Tawakoni froze over! Also many of our county roads now have potholes so big and deep that you could lose a tire in them, due to the ice; taking the girls to school, I’ve chosen a different route, to avoid those huge potholes! Will definitely be looking to buy a cord of wood this summer, in case we have a repeat next year.

    • Sherry, I’m so glad your experience wasn’t worse. I think those of us NE of Dallas had a much easier time than to the west and south. My brother said Austin was a mess with ice for days. We still haven’t been able to find anyone available to replace the pool pipes. Ours now resembles a Louisiana swamp more than a Texas pool. It should be fun trying to get rid of all the algea and whatever else in growing in there now. But if I had to have broken pipes, I’ll take pool ones over house broken pipes any day! I don’t know what the people whose ceilings collapsed because of broken pipes will do. Rebuilding their houses will take months. I definitely have a lot of blessings to count this winter. Thank you for chatting with me today. Take care, stay safe, and I hope the pool repairs aren’t too expensive.

  16. We are so used to the comforts which are there for us. Experiencing harsh, neverending winters requires great endurance. No heat would be extremely hard and no hot water as well.

    • Anne, I don’t know how my grandparents survived the winters without running water or indoor plumbing. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must’ve been for generations before them. People definitely had to be stronger. Thank you for stopping by today to chat. Take care and stay safe.

  17. Hello I would have to say my electricity and indoor plumbing because when I was a young girl we had an out house and in the winter time we sure didn’t stay in there no longer than we had too Lol Blessings Julie for You!

    • Sarah, I’m amazed how many people have experiences with outhouses! Okay, that doesn’t sound right. I expected when I wrote the post that I would be the only one whose family or grandparents didn’t have indoor plumbing. With so many people mentioning outhouses, I bet I’m going to have a nightmare about one tonight. Lol. Thank you so much for stopping by to chat. Take care and stay safe.

  18. Colleen, it must not have been as hot in the past as it is now. Otherwise, I don’t know how folks in Texas and other hot, humid states stood it. I wonder how many people died of heat stroke. I’ve had my air conditioner go out on a Fourth of July weekend before and had to wait until the next week to get it fixed. The house was over 90 inside. Definitely no fun and made for a crabby family! Thank you for stopping by today. Take care and stay safe.

  19. Indoor plumbing and electricity, would be the toughest ones. I live in west Texas and our electricity was out for a day and a half, we stayed warm because we stayed in 1 room and my husband brought out an oil lamp and we had some candles burning and it worked well. Our house is all electric. He also brought out a little camping gas stove we had and he made us some coffee in a perculater we have and he also cooked in the little found gas stove, so very Thankful our electricity was out for only a day and a half. We are just so spoiled and used to all our commodities we have now a days.

    • Alicia, thank you for stopping by the corral today. My boys and husband did some camping when they were in the Boy Scouts. Years ago we had a couple pots and a coffee pot that we could’ve used in the fireplace. I sure was regretting having given those away the last time we cleaned out the garage! We did the same thing, staying in one room, the one with the fireplace, bundled up in multiple layers and curled up in blankets.

      I’m so glad it wasn’t as bad for you as it was in Houston or Austin. I’m hoping no one ever has to go through that again because of poor planning. Take care and stay safe.

  20. My A/C would definitely rank way up there, followed very closely by indoor plumbing!! I’ve been without power and A/C because of a hurricane for 7 days in the FL heat.

    • Trudy, those are my two biggies as well, but having gone without indoor plumbing, I think I’d put that first. However, doing without either one is tough. Thankfully, we don’t have to go without either one! Thank you for stopping by today. Take care and stay safe.

  21. My grandparents sold their farm and moved into town when I was six. You can probably imagine how happy I was they then had a bathroom and a nice house near other relatives. I would not use the outhouse at the farm because my mom told me a little boy had fallen through the hole and drowned in the poop. I was terrified I’d fall through so I either used a chamber pot inside or just squatted outside. I love writing historical novels, but I do NOT wish I lived then. Give me all the creature comforts available, please. :Loved your post, Julie.

    • Caroline, I always worried the same thing at my grandparents’ farm, that I would fall through the hole! We used a chamber pot for us kids, especially at night. Not that using one is much fun either. I so admire your ability to make those difficult, hard times a place we would like to live in. That’s not an easy task. That’s why I write contemporaries. I didn’t possess that talent! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. That’s high praise coming from you!

  22. I’m grateful that we were without electricity for only 5.5 hours and didn’t have any broken pipes. Indoor plumbing is so nice! Air conditioning is also a necessity for our humid toasty Texas Summers!

    • Caryl, it’s hard to pick one thing, isn’t it? I think today we’ve all agreed indoor plumbing and electricity would be hard to live without. I know I could deal with not having electric lights, and I could get a gas stove, but A/C? As you said, that’s a must have in Texas! And no indoor plumbing is just a deal breaker! Thank you for stopping by today. Take care and stay safe.

  23. It is hard to come up with one. I would say from a health standpoint, I would have to say my C-pap machine. The other non medical item I would have trouble giving up would be the a wide availability to books either through bookstores or libraries. At that time, writing was not as widespread a career as it is now.

    • Debra, you make a good point. I forgot about all the people who need medical equipment. I know people on ventilators had a terrible time during the snow storm. I can’t even begin to imagine how scary it would be to have to worry about the equipment my life depended on not working. Thank you for reminding me of that. Take care and stay safe.

  24. We made sure we had a wood stove installed when we built the addition to our 1898 house. It keeps the house mostly comfortable and I can cook on it. I will say the old house was well built, but had no insulation and the curtains flapped when it was really windy. The 1860’s farm house I grew up in would have wind and snow blow in around some of the windows. We made sure we insulated this house well when we renovated/restored it. We have oil lamps so night and evening lighting is taken care of. The longest we have been without power was 5 or 6 days. Not an issue until we lost water on the 4th day. If you can get snow it is inconvenient but doable. There are books and games, so entertainment is available.

    For me, what I would miss the most would be refrigeration. As long as it stays below 35 outside there is no issue, but once it warms up, there is no way to keep food cold enough. It takes a whole different mindset and way of shopping & food preparation to live with out it. I spent 3 years without it in the tropics and you just adjust.

  25. I never even thought of the C-PAP machine. Both my husband and I use one. That would be a big problem.

  26. Hi, Julie! I love the pictures of the frozen penguin. 🙂 It was definitely one for the books. I also live in the Dallas area and was without electricity for an extended period of time. Thankfully, no pipes froze.

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