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.

What To Do On a Cold Winter Day

Baby it’s cold outside.  Right now it’s 7 degrees with wind chill at -5 degrees.

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But it is going to get worse.  The whole Midwest is getting hit this week by an Arctic blast of snow and cold air.  By Wednesday our high will be -2 degrees with wind chill factors unbelievable.

This is when I am glad to be retired.  No getting out in the freezing temperatures.  No walking on icy parking lots.

But what do I do being stuck inside all week?  Some ideas I’m planning.

  • making Irish coffee

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  • binge watching all six seasons of Downton Abbey

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  • playing scrabble with a super scrabble board

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  • reading, reading, reading

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That’s my plans for the week.

However, I may not do any of that.

My daughter is going to be out of the country on a mission trip and her husband will be working.  With the weather forecast it appears there may be no school this week.

So – I may have my granddaughter all week.

When she comes to visit, everything else stops.  My only purpose when she is here is to be her playmate.  We color, we play school, we play the piano, we make all kinds of creations with play-doh, we read.

Her mother tells me I should say “no” once in a while and have her play by herself.  I always say I will but when she looks at me and says “please, Grandma” I can’t resist.

Part of the reason I can’t say no is I remember my older grandchildren and how quickly they have grown up, moved on with their adult lives.  I know how quickly this “grandchild of my old age” will also be grown and playing with grandma will not be such a high priority.

So – what I will do on this cold wintry week really depends on whether school is cancelled or not.

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For all my friends and family in the Midwest, stay warm this week.