Houston Snowmageddon 2021

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Man. Last week was a hard week. 

February has long been one of my favorite months. It’s the official start of the new year since we all know that January is just a test run. I get to celebrate my birthday and MisterE and I get to vaguely acknowledge Valentine’s Day. It’s fun!

Well, the weatherman said snow was coming to Houston last week and we all thought, “Yes! Snow pictures with the kids and a day of stuntin’ for the ‘gram!” It sounded like yet another February win! I went to bed on Sunday night with cute outfits prepped and my camera fully charged. 

It was all rather exciting…until it wasn’t. 

It was about 1:00 am on Monday morning when the electricity went out. We knew because all 142 of our connected devices let out a collective, dismal bleep. I rolled over and thought nothing of it. 

I woke up at my usual time and admired the pristine white snow outside my window. “Oh, Hurricane is going to love this,” I said to MisterE. He didn’t respond because he was 100% asleep. We have some of our best conversations while he’s asleep. 

The house, unfortunately, was losing heat fast. By the time the kids woke up we were living in an icebox. 

Still, I was cheerful. I bundled up my babies and took them outside to experience the snow. We had a fun time making the teensiest, tiniest snowman you’ve ever seen. There was a snowball fight, and we made snow angels. It was totes adorbs. 

Once back inside, MisterE figured out how to ignite our gas fireplace using batteries (hallelujah!). 

We then literally spent the entire day huddled in the 3 foot space directly in front of the fireplace, as that seemed to be the limit of the heat generated by the tiny flames. We played Jenga, completed puzzles, ate snacks and cuddled right in that spot. 

Regaining warmth by the fire. Hurricane refused to move from here for two hours. Chief got frustrated when he discovered he couldn’t climb directly into the fireplace.

As the day grew dark, electricity became a distant memory. We insulated our bedroom and mentally prepared to share our bed with the children for warmth.  

MisterE and I practice attachment parenting, yes, but we do not (and I can’t stress this enough) we DO NOT bed-share with our children. It seems like a really cute thing to do, but Hurricane is a violent sleeper. Honestly, I don’t know what she gets so angry about in her sleep, but I guess I’m glad she’s a fighter.  

That night I got no sleep because I had to use my body to shield Chief from my Hurricane’s theatrics, while simultaneously ensuring that he didn’t roll off the bed. I was shivering the whole time, because I couldn’t pull the covers up for fear of suffocating the kids. 

MisterE slept well, because men are from Mars. 

Morning came, and still no electricity. We relit the fire and wrapped ourselves in throw blankets. There are three throws for every one person living in this house, and I bet you MisterE won’t be complaining about that ratio in the future. 

Just when we thought we were going to pass out from the cold, the lights came on! We practically screamed with joy. MisterE warmed up the house, recharged our powerbanks, and checked on the pipes. I called friends to see who might need to come and stay with us since we now had electricity. I even logged in to work! I was so eager to reclaim my normal life. 

Chief was the captain of the flashlight: wouldn’t let anyone else hold it.

My mom came to stay with us that evening, as she had been without electricity for 48 hours at that point. She ate a full meal, we got the kids ready for bed… and then the electricity went out again. 

There was nothing to be done except to hunker down for the night, wrapped in layers. I cried because I felt, somehow, that I was a failure because I was unable to give my children basic warmth

MisterE spent the entire day bundled up like this, going in and out of sleep. Poor dear.

The next morning MisterE noticed my mood and he stepped up like he does when I’m down. He lit the fire, cooked a hot breakfast (hooray for gas ranges), and entertained the kids while I sought some solitude to recharge. 

Just as I thought I had pulled myself together enough to put on a happy face for the kids, we discovered that we no longer had running water! 

Everyone just kind of went quiet. 

It was around then that our area went under a “boil water advisory,” and it was so absurd because there was no water. And no electricity. And no cell service with which to call the City of Houston and point out in entirely sarcastic terms the stupidity of it all. 

Again, we huddled quietly by the fire. 

My mom’s neighbor was able to send a message that electricity had been restored in their area, so for the sake of the kids we chose to relocate to my mom’s house. 

We hurriedly packed some essentials and decided to take any food we could save with us. MisterE’s priority was all the meat in our freezer. My priority was the 60 bags of breastmilk I had frozen. My mom’s priority was getting the kids’ shoes on so we could leave already.

We settled in to her house, warmed up, started to prepare dinner… and the electricity went out again.

I generally do not use foul language in front of my kids, but you better believe that in that moment I used foul language in front of my kids.

This is where time began to blur for me. I don’t know how many days we spent at my mom’s place. I just know that when the electricity finally returned I hurriedly baked a pound cake and we drank margaritas instead of boiling water to drink. So good. 

MisterE made sure I did nothing on the night we finally returned home. He put the kids to bed and lay in bed with me while we watched a Nollywood movie on Netflix. This is something we NEVER do. 

The next morning he did the grocery run so I wouldn’t have to deal with the extremely long lines that had been reported. I had listed the essential items we needed to survive the upcoming week. MisterE came back with the complete list, and comfort food and purple flowers for Hurricane. 

I was reminded of why I fell in love with this man. He brings balance to my life. 

Long story short: we survived. Short story long: I’m traumatized. 

Earlier today, MisterE abruptly closed one of the living room blinds and the sudden loss of light threw me into a panic! Later on, the lights flickered while I was cooking and I screamed

So, what have I taken away from this experience – besides trauma that needs to be unpacked in therapy? I need to continue in my pursuit of an intentional life, because life comes at you fast. 

I’ve recommitted to decluttering and simplifying all the spaces I occupy, and helping other crazy-busy people do the same. I’m going to be bolder and more creative in my decorating and DIY projects, because life is too short to live in a bland home. I’m diving headfirst into life as a health and fitness coach, and I’m sending these kids of mine to daycare because my sanity matters.

All that to say: It’s going to be a fun year at PaperDiem. Stay tuned!

Were you affected by the snowstorm? How did you cope? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to like and share this post! 

Have fun! 

Hey there! I am...

Chioma Ikoku sitting on a velvet green couch, gazing out of an unpictured window.
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A homebody with wanderlust striving to balance the thrill of travel with the comfort of home. On the road, I am a photographer and storyteller. At home, I am an interior designer and personal servant to my two kids. In all cases, I seek out good food and belly laughs.

If you're looking for ways to tap into your spirit of adventure - with or without a suitcase - you've come to the right place!


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  1. Fiyinfoluwa Adesioye on February 22, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    I’m so glad you made it. Thanks for your article.
    We didn’t lose power for long, but hosting a friend’s family of 4 for 2 nights, hearing and observing their experience with the cold before coming to our place, plus not being able to purchase bread and milk from our local grocery store after hubby queued for about an hour in the cold further impressed the severity of the situation on us.

    • PaperDiem on March 3, 2021 at 2:33 pm

      Thank you for reading! What a blessing that you were able to help someone in need! So sorry your hubby had to experience that: that cold and those lines were no joke!

  2. ARI BOB NABENA on February 22, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    That was a rollercoaster of an experience. Also, glad you guys survived the cold.

    • PaperDiem on March 3, 2021 at 2:32 pm

      It’s funny how it seems so long ago now. The human brain really knows how to suppress suffering 😅

  3. Chi obi on February 23, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Glad you had fun with it. Positive perspectives is required for the tough times we live in

    • PaperDiem on March 3, 2021 at 2:34 pm

      It made for a good story, and we’re all just stories in the end 😊

  4. Koko on February 26, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    Great post, as always.
    Loved your encouraging note at the end. Life truly does come at your fast!

    • PaperDiem on March 3, 2021 at 2:36 pm

      Thank you for the constant encouragement! I do it to make you proud 😉

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