Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake Part 2

I apologize - I know everyone is sick of hearing about the East Coast's earthquake.  I'm even sick of hearing about it, but I wanted to write down my experience for posterity & rather than handwriting it somewhere, I figured I'd type it here.  Plus, talking about it helps me to grasp what happened.  Visually, it was so wrong my brain has had a hard time accepting it.   I'd also like to say that those aftershocks everyone has been feeling aren't aftershocks.  They are my parents turning over in their graves after hearing the words that flew out of my mouth while the house rocked & vibrated.  And that is my warning for what's to come.  This post won't be exactly G-rated.

I was sitting on the front porch drinking coffee, knitting and enjoying a gorgeous, non-humid day and thinking about the coming fall weather.  I heard what sounded like the door from the garage to the house slamming shut.  Sounded like Hubby had come home from work, but I knew he hadn't.  I wondered if the dogs had knocked something over.  I decided when I got to the end of the row in the knitting I'd go check & see what was up.

A minute or so later, I could hear the washing machine going crazy as though it was out of balance.  I thought, "Cr*p!," started to get up to go deal with it and realized, I wasn't doing laundry.  (A first!  LOL)  I sat back down and the noise got louder and louder and louder.  The entire house had turned into an out of balance washing machine and the sound was amplified by the size of the house.

What the F***?

The front door was violently vibrating, so much so that I could see daylight between the door & the frame. The glass panel was going crazy & I had that instant thought of, "It's going to blow!"  Meanwhile, there's a distinct rumble coming up from under the house.

"Sh*t!  F***!  The house is exploding!  The thought ran through my head that at any moment, a giant fireball was going to be blowing out the glass in the front door & I should probably move.   I started to get up but was rocked back into my chair.  I noticed that while the front door was violently vibrating at a very high rate of speed, the walls were moving in slower waves.  My 4 legged deck chair had suddenly turned into a rocking chair and the floor felt like it was falling out from under me.

I had the,"Its an earthquake!" thought and looked up at the porch ceiling which was moving all over the place.  But that can't be.  Ceilings don't move!  And walls don't wave.  What the F*** is going on?  The house really must be exploding and I need to get away from the door where the fireball is going to come blasting out of at any moment.  I got up and lurched down the 3 porch steps, holding on to the railing and still almost falling.  "Sh*t! "F***! Piss!"  (A particularly fun saying that's reserved for true emergencies.)

I stood out in the yard and felt the ground move.  It was like trying to stand up in one of those fun house round tunnel things that spin and move up and down at the same time.  It was very disorienting.  I was still waiting for the fireball and still repeating, "Sh*t! F***! Holy Cr*P!  What the F*** is happening?" over & over again.  I could hear one of the neighbors screaming like crazy.  I'm still not sure if it was a child's screams or an adult's.

I looked up at the house and ....  I can't describe it.  It was like if you look at an object then close one eye, then the other.  You know how your perspective changes & it looks like the object is moving?  Well, that's what the house was doing.  One minute, the roof line was straight, the next minute it was at a weird angle & blocking out that little puffy cloud, then it was straight, then tilting away from the cloud....  Meanwhile, the house was leaning in one direction and the porch was tilting the other way.  And the walls were pulsating.  Like they were taking super deep breathes.  My darkest fear has come to life.  The washing machine has gone berserk, come to life & taken over my entire house!  (Thank you Stephen King for my slight fear of washing machines.)

Meanwhile, the noise continued to get louder & louder and higher & higher pitched.  Imagine that out of balance washing machine spinning at about a gazillion rpms and the sound amplified to house size.

Sh*t!  F***!  What the F*** is happening?"

And then it stopped.  Total quiet, total calm.  Except for the neighbor who continued to scream for a few more seconds.

I felt a bit nauseous and laughed at myself for being motion sick.  It was probably more like shock, but, my tummy did have that icky, "get me off this rocking boat" sensation to it.

I pulled my phone out & started dialing Hubby.  I have no idea what I was going to tell him.  I still hadn't come to grips with the idea of an earthquake.  I was still convinced that something in or under the house had exploded.  Honestly, I was still waiting for the fireball.  Of course, the phone wouldn't work.  No service.  All circuits are busy.  Great!  My house just exploded and all the freaking circuits are busy.  

About that time, the idea of an earthquake started sinking in.  I decided I had to go into the house & see if there was a fireball or not.  Besides, the dogs were in there.  The dogs were in the house with the fireball!   They were probably scared witless and peeing on the floor.  I have to admit though, I was still thinking that when I opened the front door, a gigantic fireball would blow my face off.

I sucked up my courage, opened the door and was greeted by one whimpering dog.  Minnie was coming down the stairs whimpering and carrying her "baby" - a very dirty pink teddy bear that used to be Sarah's.  Once Minnie claimed it as her own, there was no taking it back.  Anyway, Minnie came on down the stairs & promptly heeled, although she has no idea what heeling is.  I peeked into the living room and didn't see anything wrong.  Unbelievable!

Max came down the steps and joined our search party.  We went room to room and saw no damage.  We went upstairs and found nothing wrong.   Nothing damaged, at least.  Just about everything in my son's room was on the floor, but I'm not sure I can blame the earthquake for that.  I'm pretty sure his book case & CD rack hadn't been empty previously though.   Came back down and checked all the water sources.  I just knew there had to be busted pipes somewhere.  Nope, all looks good.  We went out into the garage and there was one unknown object (some mysterious Man-Thing of Hubby's) laying in the middle of the floor and Hubby's level was still swinging back & forth in a rather wide ark.  Other than that, nothing.  We went back inside and I noticed that all the cabinet doors were standing wide open.  Don't know why I hadn't noticed that the first 2 trips through.  I think I'd been too busy looking for fireballs.  A few things had tipped over inside the cabinets, but nothing had fallen out.  The dish soap & hand soap had fallen into the sink and several things were a lot closer to the edge of counters & ledges than they'd been before, but nothing was on the floor.  Freaking amazing!

I went outside & checked to make sure we still had a roof & a fence.  Yep, still there.   And of course, the leaning dead tree that refuses to fall & scares the life out of me is still leaning.  It hasn't changed a bit.

About that time, Hubby pulled into the driveway.  I started psycho-babbling to him about the experience & he walked around the house looking for damage.  He found one small crack in the foundation but that was all.  Inside, the only damage he noticed was a few nail-pops.  They'd already been noticeable, but the earthquake had forced the nail heads all the way out of the drywall.  

Hubby instantly started trying to call his family to make sure they were okay while I immediately got on Facebook and joined the crowd of quake survivors.

Later, we noticed that the fireplace door had shifted a bit and the gas logs had toppled over.  And my brand new can of air freshener had fallen into the toilet.  That was the height of our quake damage.  The thing that I'm the most amazed by is the things that didn't fall.  I hate to publicly admit to it, but there's a pile of precariously stacked books on top of a bookshelf.  Normally, if you don't tiptoe through the room, something falls off the pile.  Naturally, the earthquake did not disturb a single one of those books.  And my yarn pile in the living room....  I have a few (thousand) knitting projects going on and there's a dangerously high pile of yarn on top of a shelf.  It too is one of those piles that tends to fall over if you look at it funny, but as the laws of gravity would have it, not a single skein hit the floor.  Amazing!

As much as I complain & fuss about my hubby, he sure did build me a good  house.  Nice and tight without being too tight.  Now, let's see how it likes the hurricane that's headed our way.

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