Now that the waters have receded (from our apartment) and the ice has melted (from the Great Texas Polar Event of 2021), here are a couple of things I’ve learned from the experience.
1.) You cannot have too many flashlights, lanterns or batteries. Seriously. When our power went out, I was three lanterns short, and I kept misplacing my goddamn flashlight — you know, you put it down to carry a bucket of floodwater outside, then can’t find the thing when you come back into a darkened room.
Addendum: You don’t need trillions of candlepower to get by. Seriously, again. In fact, my trusty Surefire was often too bright, its beam blinding me when bouncing off a mirror or white wall.
Next steps: I’m going to get at least three more battery-operated lanterns like this one:
I already have one of these, and for long life and adequate lighting, it’s the best: it saw me through the last Plano power outage (5 days) back in 2016.
As for flashlights, I’m going to get a bunch of these Maglite 3C bad boys:
I used to pack one on hunts and camping trips back in South Africa, and over about five years it never broke, flickered or burned out — and those were the days before LED bulbs, even. (I can’t believe that I don’t own one now, come to think of it. ) There is going to be at least one in every room in the house, and in each car as well. (Note: I already own a sufficiency of “tactical” Surefire and Fenix flashlights, and also a couple headlight types as well.)
I’m also going to get a lanyard to hang a smaller Maglite around my neck, just in case.
2.) My little butane cooking stove was completely inadequate to cook anything outside — the wind kept blowing the flame out, and even in calm conditions, it took over half an hour to boil a single pot of water, because butane sucks under frigid conditions. Here’s the offending object:
Next steps: what I’m going to get is a sturdy camp stove, like this one:
…which uses Coleman Fuel, white gas* or in a pinch, even gasoline (which I always have on hand in a spare fuel can). Or I might just go crazy and get one of these:
I don’t care much about portability because it’s for in-home emergencies like we just endured.
Conclusion: it doesn’t seem to matter how well prepared you think you are — I certainly wasn’t, even though I thought otherwise. (I didn’t run out of batteries, which is the only good thing about the whole sorry business.) Next time will be better, I hope.
*Coleman Fuel and white gas are almost the same, except that white gas, while cheaper, doesn’t have the extra stabilizers and corrosion-preventatives that the branded Coleman Fuel contains. Even so, either will last up to ten years in an unopened container.