Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10/30/07 Earthquake!

I was all set to write a light and cheerful down'n'homey post, all about our nice family day, until....

....8:04 pm. Katrina and Julian in the bath, Gabriel about to get in. The washer was in spin cycle, and started to shake the house. Too much. That's odd, I thought with sudden alarm, I'm only washing Halloween costumes on the "delicate" cycle. Then I looked around and saw the surreal movement of the walls, the windows, and everything else my imagination and perceptions have rolled up into faulty memories. But I was here for Loma Prieta in 1989, so I knew it was for real.

Normally not a big deal. But Dave was out to dinner, and I was alone with three naked children on a second story, with few good options for a quick exit. If the narrow odds came through and this really was a nasty one, we were in a bad spot.

Controlling, barely, my freaked-out-ness, yet keeping the boys on the ball, I whisked a protesting Katrina out of the bath and into a towel, pulled Julian out with one arm, and rushed us all downstairs to the front door. There we waited for a few minutes, with Katrina crying and wiggling and objecting greatly. It was quiet. And still. I started to think I was overreacting. Maybe it really was just the washer! But our still-swinging chandelier in the dining room confirmed it.

Kids being kids, they all recovered immediately, and we went about our evening business. I put Katrina right to bed, bathed the boys quickly and then told them we could go downstairs and look on the Internet about the quake. Gabriel peppered me with questions, reaching hard to understand why rocks would slip underground. He was very focused on finding out the number of the earthquake. 5.6, as it turned out, centered in San Jose about 10 miles from us. Not a big deal, and Gabriel took it all in stride, though Julian had lots of questions about dinosaurs stomping by!

5.6, Alum Rock, San Jose

It does remind me, however, how very, very unprepared we are for a major disaster.


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