Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And So I Lived To Tell The Tale!


In case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic with my title :)

I have had a post in the works about getting ready to go back to school, but it will have to wait because, well, if you live under a rock, you didn't hear that we had an earthquake here in good, old Virginia.

Guys.... it was scary.

I've only experienced one other earthquake, when I was a young girl, and I remember thinking it was thunder; that's how small it was. My mom later informed me that it had been an earthquake. I thought it was pretty cool and exciting. Now I know that it isn't. It is incredibly surreal and I could hardly believe the feelings of helplessness that kept sweeping over me.

So, if you're ready, here is my tale...

The girls and I were sitting at the kitchen table, doing a craft. Andy was driving at the time, running some errands. The 2 baby boys were napping, and Jonah was at a friend's house. Laylah had just asked me a question, and I glanced up to answer her. My view was such that I could see out the sliding glass door, and I noticed a rumbling in the distance. It kept getting louder.... and louder. I remember thinking, "Huh, that's funny. The sky is clear. Why is it thundering?... Or is that a plane...?? What the heck is that noise?!"

And then the shaking began. Slowly, at first. I felt my eyes widen and Laylah said, "What is it Mom?" and I exclaimed, "I think it's an earthquake!" and immedietly the girls broke into tears. I ushered them over to the closest doorframe as the shaking got worse and worse. I reassured them , even though inside I kept thinking, "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Why won't it stop! How long is this going to last?" It felt like I was standing on a crazy ride in a funhouse or something. Things started falling off the walls, decor started falling off of shelves. Drawers in the kitchen opened and closed, light fixtures were a swingin'. It lasted about a minute, but it felt like much, much longer. I could still see outside and I noticed our barbeque and deck shakin' away. The helpless feeling is almost indescribable. And it was just so LOUD. Not knowing how long, or how bad it would get, it just terrified me. At the moment, all I could think about was my family who weren't around me. I didn't feel comfortable leaving the girls and running to check on the boys. So we waited. It slowed down and eventually the shaking stopped, but the vibrating rumblings continued. I was still comforting the girls, especially Laylah, who was still crying. Sadie had been going crazy, but we finally got her to come over by us and stay.

And then, it stopped. Finally. I ran for my phone to call Andy. No service. I called for Laylah to run down and check on Bear while I sprinted up the stairs to check on Magnus. Sleeping away, through the whole thing. Laylah came back up and said Bear was sleeping still. Phew. And then I went and collapsed on the couch. I still felt wobbly and my heart started pounding every time I thought about it. I was thankful it wasn't bigger, but just the experience was truly terrifying.

I was finally able to get a text through to Andy, who texted back that he was fine. He had thought something was wrong with the car, oblivious to the swaying street and traffic lights around him. He didn't even know it was an earthquake until I texted him. Then the shaking car suddenly made sense!

I got a hold of my friend, who had Jonah at her house. She said he was a bit shaken up (literally, haha ;), but fine. I started researching quickly after that. I found out the epicenter was in Mineral, VA which is in my ward boundaries. So close to us. Crazy. I found out that they were going to postpone the first day of school, which was supposed to be the next day. What a way to end the summer, eh? I just kept feeling so relieved that it happened on Tuesday instead of Wednesday on my kids first day back to school. They had to check out all of the school buildings. Although damages weren't severe, several schools need repairs. A few roofs caved in. My neighbors chimney ended up in their living room. Many old and historic buildings (built in the 1800's) will have to be knocked down because of damages. The east coast is just not equipped or prepared for an earthquake of that size, a 5.9.

We have had several aftershocks, up to a 4.5 magnitude. I realize that when I take a step back and look at it all, it is pretty comical (especially all of those hilarious pictures and jokes flying around the internet... "Virginia Quake of 2011.... We WILL rebuild" captioning a picture of patio furniture with the lawnchair tipped over.... I got a good laugh out of that one :), but I will be the first to admit that it was incredibly scary at the time. I really hope to never experience anything like that again.

Oh wait.... Hurricane Irene is headed our way in a few days. Here we go again...


Armstrong said...

Wow so scary! I'm glad you and your family are ok. I can't believe it hit so close to you. I bet your parents were worried sick! It's a good thing we had so many earthquake drills in school, now we really know what to do. You are such a good mom. Board up the windows, good luck with IRENE!

Laney said...

My SIL lives in Delaware. They were driving to an off-site meeting and didn't realize it was an earthquake either until they parked and the rumbling/shaking continued.

I'm glad you're all ok. Mother Nature can sure be scary!