Being Prepared (Part 2)
Soooo.... Unless you've not been reading or watching the news... Most people would know that a large portion of Texas were hit by power and water outage.
I think around 90% of Houston also lost power and water due to sudden freak weather.
Apparently some arctic air broke off the artic region and made its way southwards and brought cold weather along its path.
And since I am staying in Houston... well, I was hit by power and water outage for 36 hours.
Power went out first. Then after around 12 hours, water stopped.
24 hours later, power came back first, then after around 12 hours, water came back.
When power went out... I wasn't too concerned. Even when it went down to -10 degrees Celsius.
It was cold, but I could always wrap up with more clothes. I had all my France winter wear so it wasn't too big a deal.
When power went out, the main thing I lost was, heating, refrigeration, cooking ability as my apartment was fitted with an electric stove, hot water, internet. Telco reception was intermittent.
So heating wasn't too much of an issue for us.
For the first 12 hours, I left my food in the fridge using the residual cold to keep the food in good condition. After I realized my meats were getting soft, I put them in plastic bags and left them on the balcony. The temperature outside was cold enough to keep my food in good condition.
I bought a portable canister stove for hurricane preparation. So I still had cooking ability.
The loss of hot water was a bit troublesome cos we couldn't take warm showers, and with the kind of temperatures, we weren't going to take cold showers.
The loss of internet and reception wasn't too much of an issue. My wife couldn't work, but besides that, it was just boring.
The thing is, we had faith that eventually, in a couple of days, things would be fixed.
And I had enough resources to last me a couple of weeks anyway.
When water ran out, it was a bit more troublesome. Cos we couldn't wash our cooking or eating utensils, or flush the toilet regularly.
I had bottled water ready, cos... well it's Texas, we always need to be ready. Hurricanes and floods happen yearly, so it's always necessary to be ready.
I also had a big tub of water filled up as we heard some areas were starting to lose water before us.
So we had drinking water, and also some excess water for washing or flushing sparingly.
One thing that I didn't read in Singapore media was that the road were all frozen up. The media talked about power and water outages. I don't think I read that... well the roads were frozen. Means we can't drive safely. It's not snow. It's ice. So vehicles can't steer, cos there's no friction. Vehicles can't brake, they just slip and slide.
So things were pretty tough cos some people were stuck on the road when the cold came, or they couldn't drive out for supplies, or emergency teams couldn't go and help people, etc... It's not only the cold and power and water outages that was the problem.
Overall, the whole experience wasn't too big an issue for us.
The worst thing was that our hair got really oily after 2 days without a bath and that was gross.
Besides that, we were pretty warm, had enough food and water.
Since I had nothing to do, I was reflecting a lot during those 2 days.
There's a lot of difference between reflecting when there's internet and other distractions.
Versus thinking about life when there's really nothing.
We really take for granted these simple things like power and ready clean water.
And I thought back about history...
We watch so many shows about kings like... Lord of the Rings, or Game of Thrones, and other medieval shows.
People actually spend their lives fighting against the elements. They fight against the cold, floods, wind, rain, fire, etc. That's what their lives are about. Surviving in a harsh environment.
There's no electric to power their heating, there's no ready food and water.
Before winter, they need to prepare, food, water, firewood, etc.
In the shows, they only show the main characters who are usually the kings or leaders. They don't need to do all these menial tasks.
But that's what life was about. Surviving harsh environments.
People don't turn on a tap for warm clean water. People don't go to NTUC at anytime of the day to pick out food.
When it's cold... like what I was experiencing, I don't want to waste energy by going out into the cold and trying to find food or resources. That needs to be done BEFORE the cold hits.
Mankind has been improving their lives to get out of this problem.
To get themselves more secure.
They domesticated animals so they didn't need to hunt.
Farmed so that they don't need to forage.
Man has been trying to remove uncertainty from their lives.
And as things progressed, they had steam power. Which is using the power of steam.
Then after that they had electric power.
And then I also realized... Man has already mostly achieved what they wanted to achieve.
They have removed a bulk of the uncertainty of life. Survival became a non-issue.
We have power, water, gas, 99% of the time.
We have almost any kind of food.
We now have so much time to enjoy life. BUT yet... so many people cannot do so. There are more things to achieve... HUH? Doesn't make sense.
As I lay bundled up in the cold on my bed with oily hair, all I wanted was a warm shower, warm food. I really didn't care about any other material stuff.
In truth, most of us already live like the kings of old.
We have any kind of meat on demand, spices which used to be super expensive, we have heat and water on demand. Internet, TV, entertainment on demand.
But yet it is not enough...
Be prepared... It's actually quite easy.
As I think back on the past few days, I realized that frozen food isn't optimal, cos it thaws out and I could end up with bad food if the weather wasn't suitable to keep it well.
Canned food is better. So I'm planning to stock up a bit more canned food. I had eaten up most of my stocks which I had bought when staying indoors during the onset of COVID. Looks like I need to stock up a bit more again.
Bottled water is necessary. Never know when I'll need it. I usually don't drink bottled water. I just use tap water. But it's important to keep a couple of cartons of bottled water just in case water runs dry, or if tap water gets contaminated. Houston was on boil water notice for a couple of days, cos there was no water in the pipes so germs could grow in the pipes, and even when water came on, we needed to boil water before consuming it.
A portable gas stove is also important. With enough fuel to last for a couple of weeks. This ensured that we would have a warm meal in trying times. I'll be bringing this portable stove back to SG. I never realized how important it is. Sure we take gas for granted in SG. But really... never know.
The thing is, we live in a very protected environment in SG.
We don't really need to think about being prepared.
After staying in US and COVID.
I feel, it's very important to be prepared. Even in SG. Cos... we never know when we might need it.
We don't want to be unprepared when we need things. There would be a mad rush when people suddenly want to buy the products, like face masks just a year ago.
Food, water, cooking ability, canned food, back up battery power...
And... CASH... we don't realize this, we think credit cards will work...
Well, they didn't work when the power went out in Texas. Some supermarkets were nice enough to give away the food.
4 days after we got back power and water... life has pretty much returned to normal.
Supermarket shelves were empty and are slowly filling up again. For most people life is slowly getting back to normal.
It doesn't seem like too big a deal for those prepared.
And yet, for some, these few days have resulted in their lives never being the same again. People lost loved ones during just these fateful few days. It's quite sad. It doesn't take a lot of money to be prepared. And yet, it is so important.
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