Posting! Every day! All month!
I’m tired already, but I’ll soldier on.
So, the other night, we had an earthquake, a first for the small fry around here. It was just after 8 when the rumble and rattling started. It wasn’t a rolling, wavy quake, but a Hollywood movie style, dinosaur stomp type, up and down, fast staccato SHA A A A A A A A KE.
I was up to my elbows in pumpkin guts at the kitchen table with Willow, Sophie and Lex. We were finishing up the pumpkins while Nathan took a bath. The girls had already finished their pumpkins and bathed, so they were hanging out in their underpants. I was standing (with my bare feet on the floor) to get the best leverage on the pumpkin insides (it was a big ass pumpkin) and so I caught on to what was happening quickly. I heard and felt it all at once. I’m sort of an EARTHQUAKE! oh, heh, false alarm, nevermind! kinda girl (especially in tall buildings and parking garages) but I knew this was one. I rounded up the kids (without using my hands, because they were slimy) and told them we needed to step outside. Then I yelled to Lex, YOUR BROTHER — TELL HIM TO GET OUT OF THE TUB NOW!
By the time we all stood huddled together near the front door, Willow in an oversized coat belonging to her brother, Sophie in a sweatshirt and Nathan in a towel, the earthquake was long over with. We stayed in the entryway, in our odd huddle, hearts pounding. I got the unclothed kids into warm pjs and thought about sleeping in the van.
We finally cooled off a little and came back to the kitchen. I was pretty surprised that nothing even fell off the shelves. I turned on the local radio station and we listened to a (drunk! he was so so drunk!) caller going on and on about how that must’ve been a 7.9.
Uh, dude. NO. Not even. I guessed 5.5, so I was only a scootch off. (Look — it’s already on Wikipedia!)
The station kept taking these calls and I couldn’t help but laugh. People were all, I FELT SHAKING. IT WAS AN EARTHQUAKE! And the radio guy would ask DID ANYONE GET HURT? IS YOUR HOUSE OK? and the callers were all WE’RE FINE! NO DAMAGE!
and that went on and on and I found it weird that SO many people were compelled to share their tale of, non drama. Lex, however, was riveted. He decided that even though our phones were out (all circuits busy) he was going to be on the radio.
He did it, too. I don’t know how long he tried, but in the middle of calming Willow, who was hysterical and made me laugh by asking between sobs Is our food okay? and talking about aftershocks with Nathan, I heard Lex recounting our evening. I didn’t get a chance to hear him on the radio, but as his voice came to me down the hall I heard him say that his mom was screaming at him to get his brother out of the bath. There was a pause. Then he said that his brother had hit his head. Oh, he’s okay. Thanks.
I think being on the radio was the very most exciting part of the night for him. It was pretty awesome.
Everyone piled in to bed with me, though Lex did end up sleeping in his room. I didn’t really sleep, very aware that between me and my babies and the only exits is that stupid gas furnace heater thing in the hall. All I could think of was that if we had a really big quake, it would blow up and trap us in my room and I’d have to push the kids out the broken windows to the sidewalk and the fact that I hung my purse (with my maglite and wallet and keys and medicines) by the front door wouldn’t help us at all. I can be really morbid and doomish when I apply myself.
48 hours later and the only shaking is coming from sugar overdoses. I have such mixed feelings about living here sometimes. It’s gorgeous and fun and I am not interested in moving the older kids away from their dad (by the way, John was at work and that’s why he wasn’t in my story), but one day there is going to be a devastating quake here. It’s a when more than an maybe. My brother and I used to look at maps, planning to find a place to live with no natural disasters. We’d felt earthquakes in California, gone through hurricanes in Texas and seen enough lightening and tornadoes and fire ants to make us want a safe spot. Our search was pointless, as one or the other of us would always point out something that would disqualify all the places we considered. Floods, quakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, locusts, electrical storms, quicksand, scorching heat, blizzards. . . we never did find a totally safe spot. And, where I am now is sure very nice when it’s still.