Thursday, August 25, 2011

Earthquake Story

Okay, we have been ridiculed and demeaned over the last two days about our OVERreaction to the earthquake.  So, before I tell our story you need to realize that when you hear a loud rumbling and the earth starts shaking in D.C. your first reaction is not earthquake.  The alternative is sometimes even more terrifying.  I also want all of you west coast earthquake experts to observe us over the next few days as we sit idly by in our homes while Hurricane Irene pummels us.  I wonder what your reaction would be in a hurricane.  I am guessing similar to our reaction to our baby earthquake.  That being said here is our somewhat hilarious story.

By chance, on the afternoon of August 23rd we ended up about 20 minutes from home at my friend Jill's house.  We were sitting in the living room watching the kids play.  All the kids except Atley who was in the bathroom taking care of business.  Suddenly, we heard a low rumble that was mildly shaking the windows.  I looked at my friend and said, "What is that sound?"  Her reply, "I think it is just a truck going by."  Afterall, they do live near a busy street.  Quickly the sound increased as did the intensity of the shaking. Jill and I looked at each other and yelled, "EARTHQUAKE!" at the same time. Instinctively we found ourselves on the floor of the living room with all the children rushing towards us.  I will never forget the look on Atley's face as he ran to us from the bathroom-white as a ghost and still trying to pull up his pants.  One of the kids yelled, "I don't want to die."  I heard Atley say, "Is this gonna be like Haiti all over again?" Harley, well, she just giggled incessantly.  Like mother birds with our babies wrapped around us in our nest, Jill said a prayer.  Impressive right? She thinks to pray while my first instinct was to profane! We heard breaking glass and things crashing throughout the house. I began pulling the cushions off the couch thinking maybe we should try to get under them. About the time I pulled off the last cushion the shaking stopped.  After we were sure it was over and that it wasn't coming back the kids went on a scouting mission to investigate the damage.  Boxes of Lego's fell off of a shelf as did a few nicknack's, books, a cup of water on a night stand and a dish of change.  Nothing major but for us first time earthquakers a little unnerving.  We tried to call the husbands who work together. Jill was able to reach her husband, but I couldn't get through to Scott for a few hours.  He had been evacuated from the museum where he was working.  He was in the basement working on a computer console when the unit started shaking.  He said he thought it was one of his guys shaking it to irritate him until he heard things falling and people running in the hall.  Although, he said he wasn't terrified,  he definitely felt the desire to get out of that basement quickly before he had the entire American History Museum on top of him.  Traffic was horrendous for several hours as the entire city made an exodus to the suburbs.  I stayed at Jill's until the rush died down and we watched the kids have an occasional earthquake drill.  They even built a panic room, full of pillows and blankets.

That is our story, more of an adventure than anything else and maybe a lesson on what to do next time.  I love this picture from a local blogger, who was soliciting help for the victims of the D.C. Earthquake of 2011.  Just look at the clean up we are left to face all while the world focuses on such minor issues as Libya and unemployment.


Melinda said...

Great instincts. We west-coasters go to countless earthquake safety classes during our school years to learn how to do exactly what you did when the quake hit (get down...not profane - though that helps too).

Good luck with Irene. Two disasters in a row is a bit ridiculous.

Roscoe and Daisy said...

Oh my Melisa you are hilarious- I love to read your blog stories. I'm glad you guys are safe from the massive earthquake but wondering how your holding up with hurricane Irene now? Thinking about you guys back east-take care!