Some Scary Thoughts During This Cold Snap

We Americans like to think how great and advanced our nation is – and we are.

But during this cold snap I had a few scary thoughts on just how dependent we are on our great advanced technologies – and what would we do if something happened to them.

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The energy company that supplies our heat sent an emergency text to all its customers asking them to turn down their heat to 65 degrees so that they would not run out of gas this week.

“Due to extreme temps, Consumers asks everyone to lower their heat to 65 or less through Fri.”

 

The cold temperatures meant everyone’s furnace was running more and the demand for gas was much higher than normal.  Of course, the company has reserves for times like this.  But, a fire at a compressor station in southeast Michigan had caused them to shut down the plants there.

Even the governor posted a video on her Facebook page asking customers to lower the heat in their homes as much as possible,

“so that we can deliver enough gas for everyone to have some heat, and to protect our most critical facilities like hospitals and senior citizens’ homes.”

General Motors shut down eleven facilities in Flint, Lansing, and Orion Township and asked thousands of workers at the Warren Tech Center to work from home through at least Friday.

Ford Motor Company lowered the temperature in its Livonia Transmission Plant and Van Dyke Transmission Plant to minimum levels and stopped heat treatment processes at Sterling Axle Plant, as well as the paint process at Michigan Assembly.  Many other big commercial users closed their plants or reduced their natural gas usage.

Normally in a shortage like this the utility could buy gas from other utilities in neighboring states.  But this cold snap covered all the midwest and there was probably little extra gas to buy.

Of course, the cold snap moved on and we are back to normal.

But some scary thoughts I had:

  • What if the cold snap had lasted longer?
  • What if another processing plant had a fire or other malfunctions?

Unlike Grandma and Grandpa who had a wood stove, we would have nothing to keep us warm.

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Since our power company also uses natural gas to produce electricity, that would probably mean no lights and even my electric stove would not work.  So how would I cook any food?

And our water plant would not be able to provide water and sewer.  Unlike Grandma and Grandpa we had no well and no outhouse.

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My thoughts went on and on.

I realized just how dependent we are on all the advanced technology we have.  I’m thankful for how much easier to makes our lives than our grandparents, but I also realized how quickly we could be brought to our knees.

I also thought how much we take for granted on things many in the world still do not have.

  • Clean, hot water by just turning on a handle on the sink.
  • Comfortable temperatures in the bitter cold of winter or the sweltering heat of summer.
  • Lights so that we can stay up late at night or rise early in the morning and not have to work by candlelight.
  • Refrigerators so we can keep enough food for weeks or months and not have to go to market every day for fresh meat.

I could go on and on about all the blessings we have today – but this episode of possible gas shortage has once again made me realize how thankful I should be for the life we Americans live.

And how dependent we really are on technology.

9 thoughts on “Some Scary Thoughts During This Cold Snap

  1. Those are scary thoughts. Sounds like it was a scary time. I’m sorry so many of you had to go through it. On the plus side, counting blessings and realizing what we take for granted is a good thing. Also makes me think investing in a wood-burning stove would be a good thing. But if you did have an outhouse, how awful it would be to have to walk out there to it. Makes me think of The Long Winter in the Little House on the Prairie series. I wonder how they went to the bathroom when they were snowed in. Of course Laura didn’t say, but I wish she had. I’m curious to know how they handled that!

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      • I visited a chamber pot museum in Germany. Ha. What a thing to do. It was memorable. So then you opened a window to dump it? In Little House, their windows probably didn’t open, and I’m pretty sure the snow reached the roof. I guess they must’ve cut a hole through the snow somewhere. That doesn’t sound like fun once the snow melted.

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      • Well every morning we took the pot to the outhouse and emptied it there. Since I was the youngest that was my job. Dad would shoveled a path but I had the joy of emptying the thing. Lovely memories. HA

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      • Wow! I’m the youngest in my family. Dodged a bullet being born later. The house I grew up in was built in 1862. It came with an outhouse, but thankfully the house had been updated with indoor plumbing. The outhouse became a garden tool shed.

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  2. Didn’t Minnesota have a problem with their gas or electricity and some people went w/o for 40 hrs. As cold as it was it would have been difficult.
    I guess that is why some religions believe in having a years worth of food and water stored up for emergencies. Something to think about.

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    • I don’t know about Minnesota. I suppose having food stored might be helpful – but if you have no power how would you cook the food or heat the water? Also, I think if a tornado or flooding or fire were the disaster your food supply would be gone too.

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  3. It does make you think, doesn’t it? My family just went through 5 Days with no power (see my post on the subject) it really does get you thinking about what you take for granted and just how fast things can fall apart.

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