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Laelth

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Wills Point, TX
Home country: USA
Member since: Sat Oct 16, 2004, 02:36 PM
Number of posts: 32,013

About Me

I am a native Georgian who's currently hiding out in Texas. I am a liberal, and I am extremely proud of the imperfect (but evolving) republic that we call the United States of America.

Journal Archives

This is ... pretty much back to normal. 03-03-21 UPDATE.

I am pleased to report that things are “pretty much” back to normal in Laelth’s World in the Free State of Van Zandt (East Texas). It’s currently 39 degrees outside. We’re expecting a high of 66 today. If the current, 10-day forecast is accurate, we will not dip below freezing any time soon. We nearly reached freezing last night, but not quite. As of today, it appears that the Great Texas Freeze of 2021 is over.

Daughter and I are also pleased to report that we have a new toilet, a new kitchen faucet, and that all of our internal water lines have been replaced. We have a new, external, waste-water hose, and a new water regulator. We offer our sincere thanks to our DU friends for making all this possible. Honestly, you did. Thank you.

🙏🏾

Here’s how it went down. We returned to the trailer Monday afternoon. At that point, there were no apparent leaks in the trailer. Within an hour, however, our floor was flooded again, but our plumber got on the project immediately, and we were tentatively dry by 8:00 PM on Monday. We have experienced no leaks since. Fingers crossed.

The plumbing in our laundromat in the park was destroyed by the freeze and is being replaced now. It will be a few days before we can wash clothes, but, otherwise, things seem to be back to normal. Our internet access is abysmal. To us, that’s pretty normal. We’re in an internet dead zone. During the freeze we had remarkably good internet service, but that was because roughly half of the county’s population evacuated. They have returned, now, and our internet access is as poor as ever.

Our Governor remains an idiot. That actually “feels” normal. He recently “reopened” the entire state and eliminated all mask requirements. Daughter and I will continue to mask up, obviously, but mask-wearing has always been been considered “optional” among the VERY free people of the Free State of Van Zandt, and that has been true throughout the pandemic. Now, we expect to see mask-wearing and social distancing completely disappear.

Neither the Daughter nor I are eligible for a vaccine yet. No telling when we might be eligible. The park is still flooded in a number of places. No telling when management might be able to finally fix all of the park’s underground water leaks. We’re applying for FEMA rental assistance. That’s not actually “normal.” That’s a product of the Biden administration’s emergency declaration. Thank you, Mr. President.



I suspect that this will be our final post in the This is bad ... series. I can not conclude without mentioning my sincere gratitude for the love, concern, prayers, advice, positive vibes, and material support generously given to us by the DU community. You all made a significant, positive contribution to our lives and well-being. If there is ever anything that we can do for you, please let us know.



-Laelth


Previous “This is bad.” threads are linked below, solely for their historical value.

This is bad. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470783

This is bad. 02-16-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470956

This is bad. 02-17-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181471625

This is bad. 02-18-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472034

This is bad. 02-19-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472438

This is bad (but not too bad). 02-20-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472943

This is really irritating. 02-21-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181473645

This is ... amazing and touching. 02-22-21 UPDATE. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181474282

This is different. 02-23-21 UPDATE. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181474689

This is even more different. 02-24-21 UPDATE. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181475140

This is interesting, but it’s getting old. 03-01-21 UPDATE. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181477352

This is interesting, but it's getting old. 03-01-21 UPDATE.

It’s now 46 degrees in North Dallas, TX, where the Daughter and I have been hanging out in a motel room for the past five days as we wait for a plumber to repair the damage done to our trailer in the Free State of Van Zandt (East Texas). Our plumber has already replaced both the kitchen faucet and the toilet. He plans to tackle the leaks behind the walls and under the cabinetry today, but today we have to check out and return to the trailer. The likelihood that we will have running water (without leaks) when we arrive is low, but we have no choice. We must go.

The temperatures here, yesterday, reached 73 degrees. I was in shorts. This morning it’s 46 with a wind chill that makes it feel like 43 degrees. Back to jeans and socks. We’re doing well, under the circumstances, but we would be very happy to return to a more stable life. A motel room 70 miles away from home is great when your home lacks running water, but we feel helpless and useless. We’re just waiting, and it’s depressing to know that our internal water lines still won’t be working properly when we return today. Perhaps we will have running water tomorrow.

Interesting observation:

When we left the Free State of Van Zandt early last week, it was typical to see roughly 50% of the population masked-up in public. Here, in North Dallas, over 95% of people remain masked-up in public. The difference is really quite dramatic (urban vs. rural attitudes re. masking).

Interesting anecdote:

On Saturday evening, I was returning to my room in the motel and waiting for the elevator. From down the hall, toward me, comes a black girl, maybe 9 or 10, trying to carry about 5 big blankets. She’s dragging one of them on the floor. She’s embarrassed that she’s not carrying her load well. She smiles at me, drops the load, gathers it up again, and carries it. Behind her is a black woman in her forties, and, in addition to her room key and purse, is carrying about 4 big blankets. She’s struggling with them, but she manages to keep them off the floor.

I smile at her (and her daughter or, perhaps, granddaughter), and say, “You’ve got plenty of blankets!” I hold the door to the elevator and welcome them in. Both smile, but neither responds to me. I say, “Well, you know you’re gonna be warm.” The adult woman says to me, “Yes, sir. It might get cold again.”

I was stunned ... puzzled. We were in a heated hotel/motel. Electricity has been consistent for over a week. The weather forecast had no prediction of freezing temperatures in the next ten days. Why did this woman want all of these blankets with her, inside her motel room? Why not leave the blankets in her vehicle?

I have only one reasonable guess ... a form of shell-shock. This woman isn’t taking any chances. For all I know, she’s already lost one or more loved ones to the deep freeze, or to COVID, or both. She’s gonna have her blankets. The fact that the motel has electricity today doesn’t mean that it will have electricity tomorrow. The fact that the weather is tolerable today doesn’t mean that the weather won’t be brutal tomorrow.

Shell-shock from the Texas deep freeze appears to be a real phenomenon.

More tomorrow.

-Laelth


Previous “This is bad.” threads are linked below, solely for their historical value.

This is bad. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470783

This is bad. 02-16-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470956

This is bad. 02-17-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181471625

This is bad. 02-18-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472034

This is bad. 02-19-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472438

This is bad (but not too bad). 02-20-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472943

This is really irritating. 02-21-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181473645

This is ... amazing and touching. 02-22-21 UPDATE. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181474282

This is different. 02-23-21 UPDATE. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181474689

This is even more different. 02-24-21 UPDATE. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181475140

This is even more different. 02-24-21 UPDATE.

It’s now 66 degrees in Terrell, TX, heading for a high of 70 today. That’s a big change from the zero degree temperatures that this area endured only a week ago during the Great Texas Freeze. Today, the Daughter and I are moving once again. We’re headed to more comfortable amenities in North Dallas thanks to the greater availability of motel rooms and the generosity of some of our dearest friends. Thank you!

We’re looking forward to the change, but we’re still worried about when we may be able to return to our home—such as it is—in the Free State of Van Zandt (East Texas). Our plumber is still working on his daughter’s house. Our alternate plumber has not been in touch with us. Admittedly, we spoke to them and made tentative arrangements on Monday. It’s only Wednesday, now, and neither one promised us when they would be able to address our plumbing issues. Patience, I feel, is in order.

The “boil order” for all tap water in Van Zandt county has been lifted. Presumably, water pressure is now high enough to properly filter the water and make it potable. That’s some good news, but, otherwise, we have nothing more to report today.

We remain safe, dry, fed, and comfortable even if we are, effectively, homeless. We send our best to you all and thank you for the continued concern, prayers, support, and good vibes.



-Laelth


Previous “This is bad.” threads are linked below, solely for their historical value.

This is bad. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470783

This is bad. 02-16-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470956

This is bad. 02-17-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181471625

This is bad. 02-18-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472034

This is bad. 02-19-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472438

This is bad (but not too bad). 02-20-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472943

This is really irritating. 02-21-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181473645

This is ... amazing and touching. 02-22-21 UPDATE. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181474282

This is different. 02-23-21 UPDATE. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181474689

This is different. 02-23-21 UPDATE.

It’s a balmy 48 degrees in Terrell, TX. We’re headed for a high of 73. It’s shorts weather!

The daughter and I have evacuated our trailer in the Free State of Van Zandt in favor of a nice, dry motel room with running water (now that motel rooms are actually available). A dear pair of old friends, whom I have known since 1991, are footing the bill so that we can enjoy a little comfort as we wait for plumbing repairs on the trailer.

That’s another story. We found a plumber that we trust. He lives in the park, and management has used his services in the past to handle various jobs. He has promised to get to us next. When “next” will be, we have no idea.

Our plumber is currently working on his daughter’s house. Obviously, she takes priority. When I spoke to him yesterday, he had just got done doing about 14 hrs. of work on her house, and he wasn’t finished yet. Things appear to be working in a pattern that is being repeated across the state. Plumber fixes obvious leak. Pressure returns to the system, and that increased water pressure causes something else to bust. Rinse and repeat. My plumber was only half-sarcastic when he predicted that he might end up replumbing his daughter’s entire house.

No clue when he might get by to start working on our trailer, but he was hesitant to even throw out a ballpark estimate. It’s impossible to know how much is broken until he gets in there, fixes something, and then looks for the next leak. I am already aware of three, separate leaks. There are probably more.

This is a nightmare, but we extend our sincere thanks to all our friends. We are safe, dry, and sleeping in a facility with running water. We continue to be thankful for the love, prayers, emotional support, and good vibes that have been showered upon us by the DU community. Y’all are the best!



-Laelth


Previous “This is bad.” threads are linked below, solely for their historical value.

This is bad. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470783

This is bad. 02-16-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470956

This is bad. 02-17-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181471625

This is bad. 02-18-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472034

This is bad. 02-19-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472438

This is bad (but not too bad). 02-20-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472943

This is really irritating. 02-21-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181473645

This is ... amazing and touching. 02-22-21 UPDATE. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181474282


This is ... amazing and touching. 02-22-21 UPDATE.

Good morning, DU. What can I say? I am touched and deeply appreciative for the love and the generosity of spirit of this community. Yesterday, the Daughter launched a GoFundMe to help us cover the necessary costs of repairs to the trailer in which we live—an RV beset by burst pipes, hoses, and valves caused by the Texas Deep Freeze. The response of the community was swift and overwhelming.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/laelths-tx-deep-freeze-recovery-fund

What can we say but thank you all, so very much. A great weight has been lifted from us. We truly were not sure how we were going to be able to pay for the needed repairs to our water lines. At this stage, the trick will be finding a reputable plumber who has the necessary supplies to do the work and who won’t gouge us too much. That’s my principal project for today.

It’s currently 32 degrees in the Soggy State of Van Zandt. Our low last night was 28, but that marks the official end of the Great Freeze. We are not expecting any further freezing temperatures for over a week. Now the trick will be drying out.

All the snow is gone, and while gasoline is still being rationed at local gas stations, the Daughter and I have nearly a full tank, so we’ll be fine. Electricity remains on. Internet is better than usual (because a lot of people still haven’t returned to the area, thus allowing for more available bandwidth). Essentials are in short supply at all local stores—meat, dairy, bread, and bottled water. New, post-freeze shipments are arriving, however, so we expect the shelves to be restocked within a few days.

That’s all I have for today beyond my sincere gratitude. Bless you all.



-Laelth


Previous “This is bad.” threads are linked below, solely for their historical value.

This is bad. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470783

This is bad. 02-16-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470956

This is bad. 02-17-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181471625

This is bad. 02-18-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472034

This is bad. 02-19-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472438

This is bad (but not too bad). 02-20-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472943

This is really irritating. 02-21-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181473645



This is really irritating. 02-21-21 UPDATE.

Good morning, DU. It is an overcast, dreary, wet, windy, and still-cold Sunday in Laelth’s world in the Free State of Van Zandt (East Texas). It’s allegedly 46 degrees outside, but the wind chill is making it feel much colder.

Water returned yesterday afternoon as expected, and, despite my best efforts to dry out our trailer prior to the deep freeze, we have numerous leaks. The main, kitchen faucet is just flat-out busted. When it’s turned on, all the water flows out where the faucet meets the sink. That’s not right.

Initially, I thought that was our only failure. This morning, however, I discovered (by seeing all the water on the floor) that there are, at least, two more leaks ... somewhere ... coming from busted pipes, valves, or hoses in the walls. To top it all off, our “water out” line to the park’s septic tank is still frozen, so our waste water is backing up into our tanks. Only answer? I had to turn our water back off until I can get some repairs done.

We’re expecting another freeze tonight, so I am hesitant to try to warm up the frozen, underground septic line just yet. Until I can get waste water out of the trailer, I don’t want to allow any water into it. This ordeal may last another week—perhaps more. Plumbers are booked solid.

On the bright side, I was actually able to cook food on the stove last night. That was a nice change. We continue to have reliable electricity. We still have food, bottled water, and internet access. We are still doing quite well under the circumstances.

Thanks, DU, for all you do. I look forward to ending these updates soon. Today, I just needed to vent some frustration.

-Laelth


Previous “This is bad.” threads are linked below, solely for their historical value.

This is bad. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470783

This is bad. 02-16-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470956

This is bad. 02-17-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181471625

This is bad. 02-18-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472034

This is bad. 02-19-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472438

This is bad (but not too bad). 02-20-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472943

This is bad (but not too bad). 02-20-21 UPDATE.

Good morning, DU. This Saturday is bright and sunny in Laelth’s world in the Free State of Van Zandt (East Texas), and things here are not too bad.

The temperature is currently 21 degrees with a high of 43 expected this afternoon. That will melt us completely. Freezing temperatures are not expected to return until Sunday night. Even then, the low is expected to be around 28. That’s plenty high enough to keep the pipes from freezing with slow drips on all the faucets. Late this afternoon, after the big melt, I will see if I can get our water up and running again.

As you may recall, our last day above freezing was Sunday, Feb. 14. We actually broke freezing yesterday and had a five-hour melt in the afternoon as the temperature rose to 36 degrees, but that wasn’t enough to get our water moving. Fingers crossed, we will have water later today. We remain on a county-wide boil order for all tap water because it’s not moving fast enough through the pipes to be deemed safe. Non-emergency use of water (showers, baths, sprinklers, etc.) is technically forbidden until full water pressure returns.

We continue to have reliable electricity. We have food, bottled water, and internet access. The minivan has a full tank of gas. Ultimately, we’re doing quite well under the circumstances.

Thanks again to all our DU friends and allies for your generous moral, spiritual, and material support. You have meant a great deal to us through this remarkable experience. Cheers!



-Laelth


Previous “This is bad.” threads are linked below, solely for their historical value.

This is bad. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470783

This is bad. 02-16-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470956

This is bad. 02-17-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181471625

This is bad. 02-18-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472034

This is bad. 02-19-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472438

This is bad. 02-19-21 UPDATE.

Good morning, DU. Once again, things in Laelth’s world in the Free State of Van Zandt (East Texas) are not too bad.

The temperature is currently 12 degrees with a high of 33 expected today. You may recall that our last day above freezing was Sunday, Feb. 14. Current weather forecasts continue to predict that our deep freeze will break tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 20) as temperatures are expected to reach 43 degrees. We continue to have no water due to the widespread freezing and subsequent bursting of underground pipes. Otherwise, the Daughter and I are still OK.

At the moment, we have a hard-packed, icy 4 inches of snow on the ground. That should all be gone by tomorrow afternoon. We have had reliable electricity for over 54 hrs. Looks like the grid in our area is stable now. We’re warm. We have food and, we have internet access. Life is good, but a shower would be really nice.

The minivan is safe on the major road near the RV park. Several local businesses have reopened, so we ventured out for gasoline and other supplies yesterday. Gasoline was being rationed at the station nearest us (no more than $20.00 worth per vehicle). Bread, nearly all dairy products, bottled water, and a few other items were unavailable at the Dollar General, but that was to be expected. No post-blackout deliveries have arrived yet.

Water remains the big issue—here and for most of the state. Still no clue when water may be restored. Still no clue how much damage has been done. We will keep you apprised of what little we know.

Thanks again to our DU friends and allies for all the moral, spiritual, and material support. You mean a lot to us. Cheers!



-Laelth


Previous “This is bad.” threads are linked below, solely for their historical value.

This is bad. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470783

This is bad. 02-16-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470956

This is bad. 02-17-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181471625

This is bad. 02-18-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181472034

This is bad. 02-18-21 UPDATE.

Good morning, DU. Once again, I am happy to report that things in Laelth’s world in the Free State of Van Zandt (East Texas) are not too bad.

The temperature is currently 25 degrees with a high of 28 expected today. Our last day above freezing was Sunday, Feb. 14. Current weather forecasts predict that our next day above freezing will be Saturday, Feb. 20 for a total of six straight days of sub-freezing temperature—a rare occurrence in these parts. Needless to say, we have no water due to the widespread freezing of underground pipes, but that’s our biggest irritant. Otherwise, we are OK.

We only got about an inch of snow yesterday. So far this week, about 11 inches have fallen here, but some of it has packed down, and some of it has sublimated. At the moment, we have a hard-packed, crunchy 5 inches on the ground. The minivan, thus, is not stuck. We can still “get out” if need be (though there’s really nowhere for us to go).

The main source of our relief is that we have only had one, momentary loss of power in the past 30 hours. We’re warm. We can microwave food and, given that we have internet access, we are much less bored. No clue whether we will lose power again. No promises have been made by ERCOT, but we have a half a tank of gas and can still use the minivan for heat if the need arises.

There are reports of massive water infrastructure damage all over the state. Our own RV park shows evidence of big, slushy patches of snow that indicate water line breaks. No clue when water will return. We have a good bit of bottled water left, however, so the lack of water is merely an inconvenience, as opposed to a source of serious concern at this time.

Many, many thanks to you all for the good vibes, well-wishes, suggestions, and offers of assistance. We will continue to update. We’re not out of the woods yet.

-Laelth


Previous “This is bad.” threads are linked below, solely for their historical value.

This is bad. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470783

This is bad. 02-16-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181470956

This is bad. 02-17-21 UPDATE.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181471625

This is bad. UPDATE 02-17-21

I am pleased to report that, right now, things aren’t so bad. Thanks to DU for all the prayers, thoughts, good vibes, and all the positive karma this site generates. It has meant a lot to me.

Power was restored yesterday at 11:30 AM. We got 12 1/2 hours of power before it cut off at Midnight. It was nice to be able to make some coffee and cook some food in the microwave. Sandwiches were getting old. At midnight, we returned to the minivan for heat. Power returned again at 3:00 AM this morning and continues to run now—8:30 AM. Internet service, for some reason, is superb.

We only got 3-4 inches of additional snow yesterday. We may get a little more this afternoon, but we’re not “stuck.” I can still get the van out onto the main road if need be. We still have a half a tank of gas. Water, of course, is unavailable—pipes frozen solid. It’s currently 23 degrees. We’re expecting a high of 25 today. Temperatures may reach 34 degrees tomorrow for a brief period, but we’re not expecting a real thaw until Saturday.

We’re not so panicked at this point. We will be fine if the electricity remains on.

More tomorrow.

-Laelth
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