Creature Comforts

We’re fine.  The dogs are fine.  The house is fine.  Some stuff rattled into the floor and Gretchen is still very sensitive to the aftershocks, but there’s no structural damage, nothing of any real value was broken, and now I can focus on getting ready for Irene. 

photoThe post title goes with this photo, which I snapped when Gretchen dropped (Sissy’s) mousey – a beloved gift from Auntie ‘Nita – off to get a sip of water.   Crazy dog.  Mugsy used to intentionally drop tennis balls in his water bowl when he was hot, as though the ball must also want to cool down.  This is one of those times I’d like to know what was running through her little head…

I’d like to particularly thank my west coast friends and Kiwi relations who haven’t made fun of those of us more than a little rattled by our ‘quake.  Some have implied our 5.8 – 6.0 (they keep changing it, not that it matters) shaker was no big deal at all and we need to buck up and get on with it.  Fine.  I’ll remember that when they’re so danged excited about their centimeter of snow…

There has been some serious structural damage.  A home or two was damaged, perhaps to the point of ruin, and a couple of national treasures – the Washington Monument and the Episcopal National Cathedral – sustained some very real damages.  Likewise, more than one school in Louisa County is being inspected by engineers, and several require at least minor repairs.

March 2011 004

Gg's personal portable disaster kit

Please be gentle with us.  This continues to be a big deal as we’re still getting aftershocks in the 3s and 4s.  Stuff is still rattling on and off of walls and counters, and maybe that’s no big deal in your world, but here, it’s unsettling, especially for wee Gretchen Greer.

For those of you not earthquake savvy, here are a few interesting things we’ve learned in the past 20 hours or so:

  1. If you’re in a moving vehicle, even a near 6.0 quake doesn’t register with your system.
  2. Evidently, a 3-4+ aftershock can be dampened so that only the audible parts of a quake are evident when you’re on an elliptical machine humming along at 160 steps per minute.
  3. Dogs are early earthquake warning systems.  Several of us were altered before one or more of our tremors by a dog.
  4. Shallow fault lines create really intense, widely-felt quakes.
  5. 100 year old brick buildings don’t like to shake.
  6. Pampered Chef’s Executive series griddle can “surf” to the floor from a draining board without so much as a scratch.
  7. It’s fascinating to see what stayed put – a pedestal mounted large, flat screen TV – and what didn’t – that griddle.
  8. Earthquake drills in Virginia schools aren’t as trite as they seemed before yesterday.
  9. When the cell towers are taxed, I can still RECEIVE tweets, but not texts or calls.   Nothing happens out-going.
  10. I’m glad a local newscaster is a new friend.  I joked when I grabbed my phone immediately after the first shaker, that she’d let me know what was going on.  She did, even though she wasn’t technically on the clock… but soon was.

Now, about Irene…

Edited to add:  Sissy wanted to mark the anniversary of another significant August 23rd…

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16 comments on “Creature Comforts

  1. km says:

    Think about the directionality of the seismic activity. Your TV was probably moving left/right and not front/back or it would have been closer to toppling.

    I always sleep with a pair of tennies close to my bed just in case I have to evacuate…I don’t want to be bare foot.

  2. Mary says:

    The thing west coast folks need to remember is that east coast building codes don’t have to meet any seismic requirements. I was able to text periodically and the telephone landlines still worked unlike 9/11 when nothing did. And for those of us in DC, a shaking building usually is caused by a man-made event, not an earthquake. There are a fair number of traumatised folks at the Pentagon because the earthquake felt a lot like it did on 9/11.

  3. Katherine says:

    So glad you are all safe and able to prepare for Irene. Tell Gretchen that huddling close to Mom doesn’t mean you are scared, it is comforting to your people! There are prayers going out for your comfort and safety in the days ahead. Thanks for the interesting info on earthquakes.

  4. Nancy says:

    I hadn’t heard about the Washington Monument and the Natl. Cathedral being damaged. :o(

  5. Sue says:

    I’m so sad about the damage to the Cathedral. I used to love spending the day there looking at the stone carvings.

  6. AlisonHyde says:

    How hard the shaking is felt is very different on different topography; here, some of that power would be disseminated among many many other faultline cracks. You don’t have those cracks. Ours would be deep; yours was shallow.

    I can only think of once when any of us were even able to feel one for sure that was below a 4–and that was during a back-to-school night once, where the first grade teacher was in the middle of telling the parents that on the very first day of school the children were taught to duck and cover: get under their desks and hold onto the legs.

    While she was saying that, we had one start! A 3.4, if I remember right. My 6’8″ husband raised his hand and said, looking at the tiny desk, “Are we supposed to duck and cover now?”

  7. Snort…it’s not like a 6.0 isn’t a pretty good shaking! You all don’t believe it a bit when folks act like we don’t react to those out here, too. As to the centimeter of snow…I’d die of happiness if it would just reach my house this year, instead of stopping 25 miles away.

  8. Walden121 says:

    Glad everyone is good, even the griddle! I agree, I’ve only been in one earthquake where I knew it was happening and it was scary . . . first thing I did was run to my bookshelf to save my books! Yes, I know, very stupid, but I was like 15 and a huge nerd . . . who are we kidding I’m still a huge nerd.

  9. Terrie says:

    I’m glad you’re all ok and didn’t have any real damage, but it’s sad to hear there’s damage to the Washington Monument and the Episcopal National Cathedral.

  10. Amy Darsie says:

    We didn’t have any aftershocks, thank goodness. But that was all the buzz when I went to work and the patients had a lot to talk about.

  11. gMarie says:

    Earthquakes are scary no matter where you are or what you are used to. Look at Japan, they experience lots of shaking, but they certainly weren’t blase about the most recent one. Your coast is built on much different terrain than ours, I don’t thinking mocking is in order at all. 🙂 So very, very glad you are all safe. I love that GG thinks that little mousy needs a drink. Very cute. g

  12. Blond Duck says:

    I’m SO glad you’re ok! I feel so bad–I didn’t know you were affected!

  13. Louise says:

    GREAT news that all is well with you and yours, Chan. Can you believe we felt a few rumbles all the way here in central PA.

    Batten down the hatches for Irene! Stay safe…

  14. Kathy says:

    Yep, it was quite a shaker and also true our buildings are not built to sustain such a shake. Also we have a lot more old historic buildings on the east than they do on the west which will never sustain an earthquake of any proportion. Most of the USA population is on the east coast so that’s another big factor. LOL….on their skiff of snow. We’ll remind our west coast friends of that next time it happens…snort. On to Irene…

  15. Bubblesknits says:

    Yeah, I was reading an article about how the earth under the east coast is cold and hard, which makes the shaking more pronounced. They compared it to ringing like a bell. Whereas, the ground on the west coast is more…I think they used the word “spongy”, and therefor absorbs more of the shaking.

    I hate that the Washington Monument was damaged. I remember going to the very top to the viewing area when I was in middle school. It’s a very vivid memory because it was so awe inspiring. Considering it already swayed a few inches in decent wind, I can’t imagine what the earthquake did to it. O.o

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