Thursday, February 3, 2011

-5 Wind Chill/19 F, No Heat or H20, H20 Sold Out!

Where's the Waterboy when you need him? The shelves are empty as the stores are sold out of water, and we have no water or heat at the house. There are "Civil Emergency" signs all over stores throughout town. It's crazy, and I'm freezing.

We live on the edge of Tucson, kind of between Tucson and a small blinking town along it. We are typically several degrees colder here than in town. We woke up to 19 degrees and a -5 wind chill. The pipes were frozen solid. Of course we wrapped blankets around the pipes outside and we checked them first thing this morning, only to find the blankets were frozen solid! Then the water company alerted the news our area is basically frozen solid and may stay this way for a long time. What could we do but bundle the kids up tight in layers under their snow jackets? They are about the only kids here with such jackets and on days like this boy are they glad!

Before long we realized the house was a might bit chilly. We normally have it at 68, still colder than we like but hey finances are tough. The thermostat showed it was 62, and we sighed, knowing this was not good. This area runs on gas for heat, stove and oven etc. We dialed Southwest Gas but the line stayed busy. A quick trip to their website informed us the hard freeze not only messed up water, but caused our area to have a gas leak.

After a couple hours, DH and I were cold, hungry, and now in desperate need of a functioning toilet. We tried several places that were closer to our area but all had signs up saying they were shut down either because of the gas leak, or because their water was frozen. Restaurants, supermarkets, I can't imagine the financial impact this is having. We drove further into town and eventually settled on a McDonald's based on the amount of cards in the parking lot. Yeah, you KNOW we were in serious need if went there (not really fast food people). Their bathrooms worked, we got a snack and a drink, and sat for a half hour but didn't warm up because their heat didn't work either, their workers were bundled up as heavily as us.

We bought a camping kettle at Ace on the way home so we could boil water on the grill outside and have hot chocolate. Thankfully we have a lot of camp gear. We set up the camping potty in the bathroom. It's been 10 hours since we got up and there's still no sign of water, no gas, no heat. Our kids have been on antibiotics for strep, and our daughter just started her second 10-day round of antibiotics because her strep never went away. I want to be sure to keep her warm as I don't think being cold will help her get better.

We thought about getting a small firepit and some firewood at Ace but they only had one pit left and it was really expensive. There were signs on the front doors of every place we went notifying of the "civil emergency," and told whatever they were out of. We really needed to buy some water, but there was none to be found. Thankfully we finally tracked down found some of the little 16.9 oz ones and bought those as there was no other choice.

The kids are home from school now. We always meet them outside and the first thing they said was, "Something bad happened at school today! The pipes broke and we had no heat or water!" They thought it was just the school that left them freezing all day. Their mouths dropped when we said once inside the house they couldn't kick off their shoes and layers and get comfy, because it's just as cold in the house as at school! Sorry munchkins!

Our plan for tonight? All of the rooms are closed off, and all of us will bundle up together in one room to conserve body heat. We will entertain ourselves with tv or videos. Tonight will be interesting, with 4 people and 3 dogs piled up in one bed!

Schools are shutting down tomorrow because there's no water or heat so it's unsanitary and a health concern for some of the kids. I'll update when we can.

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