I Survived:: Lessons From Grown-up-ing

I celebrate my 46th birthday in a matter of weeks, but the past month has given me a few brand spankin’ new firsts, and I’m here to tell you about a few. To fully understand the humor {and seriousness of the panic}, I need to give you a little background. I married at 23. I never lived alone. Not a day. While I hate the admission, I have a underdeveloped skill in navigating natural disaster preparedness. Well, lets just spill the tea. If it has to do with house or car operations and I’m just flat spoiled. My dad did it for the first 23 years and my more than capable engineer and all around planned hubby has now carried the torch almost as long as my dad did. I also have the single best father-in-law that any human will ever be gifted. These 3 have carried much {all} of the heavy lifting in this arena for, oh, all my life.

On February 1, my daughter and I moved to the Austin area. I am the grown-up in charge of this house. This is a rather important distinction because my teenager is a mini-Dad and could outthink or plan me in 2.3 seconds. However, I am the grown-up. I have to do the bugs and the trash and the clogged toilets. Grown-up life is so glam. Back to the learning…We made it a full 10 days without a natural disaster. On February 11th, the ice started.

I Survived:: Lessons From Grown-up-ingOur house is in a small town on the lake. We have owned it for all of 8 big months. We have a water well. We have a septic system. We have LOTS of small windy two lane hills on the way to our house. Oh, and did I mention that I have lived in masterplanned neighborhoods in Houston for all of my living days? Well? Septic? What? I was unprepared for what those days would bring. In the midst of the adventure, I learned some hard earned lessons and I thought you might want to gain some free advice and a good bit of laughter at my expense.

1. It is VITAL to clean all of the things in preparation for a possible winter weather event. This rookie mistakenly had a sink full of dishes and was on the disappointing end of the preferred underwear pile. You are not leaving like my hurricane self knows, so prepare for the long haul. By clean, I mean go nesting mom on the house. There is a very good chance that you could be sleeping on a floor and becoming tightly bonded to your toilet plumbing. Just get it all fresh and clean so that something in your house feels clean or fresh.

2. Should there be an interruption in water, move DIRECTLY to the paper goods. One cannot and should not create any unnecessary mess. Not even that butter knife. Just make due with the plastic, and here is why. When the dishes cannot be washed, and you get stressed, you MIGHT put the dirty dishes in plastic totes and leave them. Until you get water back. Which in this not-so-hypothetical example, could be 2 weeks. And if that happens, you have a big, fat giant disaster on your very cold hands.

3. A word to my septic system sisters. I see you. I have learned enough to know that I need to know nothing else about this neat feature at my new home. I now understand that anything with water is concerning in the death grip of winter. When it came to the toilets, in particular, I just kept thanking toilet paper Jesus every time the water that I could spare once a day to flush that toilet was not freezing. More importantly, I needed the settling system to keep on moving so we could remove the toilet contents with no return. I will forever be grateful that this knowledge is all from the positive side of the septic world. In this area, our care taking paid off.

I Survived:: Lessons From Grown-up-ing
4. Did you know that when your A/C compressor and fan have blocks of ice in them, this impacts your heater’s ability to heat your house? I did not know this. Dumb me. I thought – heater and A/C. Two seasons. Two different machines. I also did not know that there are emergency coils that can help you have a bit of heat in case of emergency. This was an emergency. We ran on emergency heat for almost a week. I also now know just how many layers are necessary to prevent my cold self from going ice cube in a cold house. I learned to build better fires. I learned about how much wet wood sucks. {It is at this point that I need to say that I recognize the gift of that emergency heat. Maintaining power was a gift that I know many Houstonians did not have.}

5. Water. Never in my life could I have imagined that I would be without water more days than not in my first 27 days of this move. When the pipes quit dripping, We knew we still had 4-5 days of below freezing temperatures. It was time to be serious about rationing. This is why we planned and filled the bathtub. We have water. We have wood for fires. We can make this an adventure or we can kill each other. We did a little of both. But the lack of water went well beyond the freeze. Our well {yeah, I learned A LOT about wells} pipes all exploded. The pump broke. There are still things missing, but we have water after 2 weeks. I’ve never been more thankful to wash a dish.

I Survived:: Lessons From Grown-up-ingI could go on. What I know today, is that I have again proven that I can survive. Because of icy roads, we hardly moved for a week. My daughter had never seen snow, and by best estimate, we saw about 10” over the days. We have a large driveway hill that immediately became an ice slide. We had tears. We were frustrated. We laughed. We argued. And we made a memory that will never be forgotten. Neither will the smell from the inside of that dishes container.


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Lacy H. is the mom of two teenage girls - Anna Jane {2002} and Ally {2005} - and has been married to her partner in all things, Lucas, since 1998. A 4th generation Baylor Bear, she bleeds green and gold. You’ll often catch her listening to everything from Dr. Dre to Panic! At the Disco and watching “Criminal Minds” and “30 for 30” on TV. Her mid-life “growth” has included learning to play a pink bass and adding to her tattoo collection. This season has also moved her away from two decades of serving and leading in the Christian Church. Her personal journey through brokenness and healing grounds her life. Sometimes the road has taken turns filled with rebellion and pain, other times it has been beautiful and full, but it has always been an adventure. After years of crafting communication though the spoken word, she found a passion for writing. Continually fumbling through the messiness of life, all of her faith and doubt and healing can be found on her blog, The View From The Bathroom Floor. Lacy’s interests include LUSH, the weather {she has 6 weather apps}, knitting, podcasts, college football and growing up. You can follow Lacy on Facebook and Instagram @theviewfromthebathroomfloor and Twitter @lhilbrich.

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