Earthquakes and Hurricanes, oh my!

Monday August 29, 2011

What a week for  the natural disasters!    This is the obligatory post-earthquake, post-hurricane post, mostly for my own archival purposes.

In the past week, two historic meteorological events took impacting practically the entire eastern seaboard.

Let’s take them in order.

The Earthquake

On Tuesday, August 23, 2011, at 1:51 pm, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck (hit? occurred in?)  Mineral, VA, a small town bordering Lake Anna, about 90 miles southwest of the DC area.  Where were you when it struck?

I was upstairs on my bed, enjoying some peace and quiet, reading a book, while the kids played on the computer downstairs.   I felt the rattling and thought it must be the washer’s spin cycle (our W/D are upstairs outside our bedroom).   Then it continued.  I briefly thought a jumbo jet was flying low overhead and then it hit me, EARTHQUAKE!  I jumped up and flew downstairs and yelled, “Kids, come NOW!”   The house was still rattling and my heart was thumping.   But I wasn’t sure where to go —  a doorway, away from windows, somewhere strong…  instinctively (but incorrectly), I hurried the kids to the basement, where we all sat under a well supported doorway.

Of course, by the time we got there, it was over.   The actual quake only lasted a few seconds, but it took a lot longer for my nerves to stop shaking.

Although Californians laugh at us East Coasters, it was a significant event here.  It was reported felt from Georgia to Maine, even up in Canada.   It is also the biggest quake in recorded history for this area — the biggest quake prior was an 4.8 (estimated) that occurred in 1875.

Fortunately, very little damage occurred around the region, and nothing to speak of at our house — we didn’t even have anything fall off the walls.   Apparently cell service was out for a while, but the electricity stayed on and everything was eerily the same right after.

So we survived the big shake (and slept through it’s aftershock).  Next time, I’ll know what to do.

 Hurricane er Tropical Storm Irene

Right on the heels of The Big Shake, East Coasters turned their attention to Irene.   She was big and bad and due to be a real humdinger.   I remember Isabel, in September 2003, when I was 7 months pregnant with my first baby and we lost power for 5 days.   So I was mildly concerned.   I was less concerned when I learned the storm was downgraded to a Cat 1 and likely to only be a tropical storm by the time it reached inland us, but I still made sure the flashlights had batteries and the car had gas.

As I realized it was more and more likely we’d be spending a weekend stuck inside, I got itchy to tackle some organizational projects.   For some reason, coming home from vacation has lit an organizational fire in me and I’ve been looking at all the nooks and crannies in my house for ways to better manage the stuff we have everywhere.

So, in preparation for the coming storm, I went to Home Depot.   I ignored the empty shelves formerly containing flashlights and batteries and turned instead to the lumber and hardware aisles.  I bought plywood, hex bolts and dry wall anchors.   We were not boarding up windows, but had plans to build a platform for our washer and dryer.

I don’t want to give away the big reveal, but lets just say we were very productive this weekend.

Mike worked all day Saturday on the project, and the kids kept asking us when the hurricane was coming.   While he slaved away, I found ways to keep busy as well.   I swept, I steamed, I re-orged drawers from the kitchen to the closet.   I bagged up about a dozen pairs of shoes to be donated and through away another half dozen.

I can’t wait to show you the fruit of our labors, but am saving that for it’s own post.

As for Big Bad Irene, she was a bit of dud.   We did have non-stop rain all day and it looked kind of windy out side, but that was about it.  Thankfully for us, no loss of power (tho neighbors across the street did, as did our church) and no storm damage.  Lots of little tree debris, but nothing major.

So that was how we survived the epic storm.   How was your weekend?


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