Our 28th year of publishing

Published October 5, 2021

Was 2020 really all that bad?

Asking for a friend who’s tired of the cold, heat and no power

By John Toth / The Bulletin

I’m just about ready to sing “Auld Lang Syne” to 2021 and try my luck with 2022. As it turns out, 2020 was 2021’s little brother, like Covid-19 was Delta’s opening act.

Remember when on New Year’s Eve many of you posted messages on Facebook about how happy you were that 2020 was over?

“Good riddance,” we posted. We were so glad to get rid of 2020 and start a brand new year. I did it, too. I was sick and tired of 2020 and looked forward to a fresh start. After all, how could 2021 be worse than 2020?

Let me ask you, dear reader, which one did you like better: The power outage during the big freeze in February or the power outage caused by Hurricane Nicholas in September?

It has been that kind of a year, and I'm only talking about the weather. I won’t even mention politics or Covid. And we have three more months to go.

If I had to choose, give me the summer blackout. I know that it’s uncomfortably hot, but I have this horrible allergy to the cold. I have always hated the cold, even when I lived in climates where there were four seasons, unlike here, where we have summer and almost summer.

But this year the almost summer part went haywire in February, and we froze for a few days while ERCOT was figuring out what was happening.

ERCOT stands for Electric Reliability Council of Texas, although as I was freezing under four blankets during one of the powerless nights, it felt like the reliability part was missing.

Opening the windows helps in the summer because I can cool the house down some at night. Although that also entails letting in so much humidity that the bedsheets and I become one. (No need to take a shower - I feel like I already did. I’ll just wipe off with this pillow case.)

But that’s still better than 12 degrees outside and the copper pipes getting ready in the attic for a surprise shower through the ceiling. There is not much one can do in 12 degrees other than try to keep from freezing. That’s worse than sweating into the bedsheets.

Transplants from Chicago are rolling on the ground laughing right now because in 12 degrees in the winter they jump into Lake Michigan for a refreshing swim.

While we were cleaning up the debris from the Hurricane, I asked one of my neighbors if she preferred the summer or winter blackout, since now we got a taste of both in the same year. She chose the cold weather power loss.

So, as of now, according to my limited sample, it’s a 50-50 split.

Now for some good news.

ERCOT saw fit to turn our power on intermittently, just long enough to allow the freezer and refrigerator to keep everything cold or frozen during the February power loss. And if they didn’t, all we had to do was put all the food in a box and set it outside, although it would have been hard to drink frozen milk. We could have licked it like a Popsicle, though.

Linemen worked heroically to restore power after Hurricane Nicholas. We got it back on the third day after the storm - no complaints there. We were very lucky and grateful.

In all my years, this was the first time that I went through both a cold and warm weather power outage in the same year. There had to be some sort of record set by this double header.

This is also the first time I have been in the eye of a hurricane since 1983. At that time, I went driving around the area with another reporter. I wanted to see if those TV reporters were really blowing in the wind or just acting.

This time, I used the time we were in the eye to catch up on my sleep, only to be woken up when the back end reached our area.

Note to self: Wind blowing in one direction sounds the same as wind blowing in the opposite direction, except for the sound of trees being uprooted.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send comments to john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)