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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Surviving the Earthquake

OK, so maybe "surviving" is a bit of a stretch...it was only a 5.8 earthquake on the Ritcher Scale but it was downright freaky!

I have not ever experienced an earthquake so this was a new one on me. You don't really think of Virginia as earthquake central so when it hit no one knew quite what was going on.

Claire had just gone outside to sunbathe with our next door neighbor. Zach and I were in the house just kind of rambling about when all of the sudden it sounds like 20 people are storming up and down our stairs. The whole house starts to shake and I think a helicopter is trying to land on our roof. The cat freaks out, scrambling to get out of the way of whatever is bearing down on us. I hear his nails clawing and clawing and clawing on the hardwood floors. As he escapes down the cat door into the basement I think I see smoke billowing up from the basement. I wonder if the water heater is about to blow or the furnace or the house is just going to come tumbling down around us. I tell Zach to "GET OUT NOW!" He bolts for the front door and I head to the garage door. Outside, we are away from the dangers in the house but who knows what is waiting for us outside. What are we walking out into? A bomb? 9-11 has left all of us just a little scarred.

My neighbors all start to stream out of their houses wondering what on earth has happened. We all stand around assessing our fear, shock, uncertainity and confusion trying to figure out what the hell just happened. The news comes through in a matter of seconds.

An earthquake hit and it's over...

Only 30 seconds has passed. Did I really think all of those thoughts and feel all of those emotions in a mere 30 seconds? It's amazing what the human mind can process in a matter of seconds. As I stand on my street with my neighbors and two of my kids I realize we have just "survived" an earthquake and my legs start to shake. Zach says his legs were shaking too. Adrenaline rush. What a surreal experience.

We escaped with very minimal damage and no injuries. It was the talk of the everyone I ran into later as I was going about my errands. Earthquakes don't happen here...they're a novelty. People were amazed at what an impact a 5.8 earthquake had on our day. Our little, tiny earthquake didn't cause any damage but it did rattle my bones.

Next up ~ Hurricane Irene is forecast to hit the East Coast this weekend...what a week here in good ol' Richmond.

I am glad there was not much damage. I'm happy to report this tale of "survival" is really just a big ol' story we can tell over and over and over again. But mostly I'm relieved everyone is safe and sound.

Oh, for the love of my children...

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