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…