Sunday, January 10, 2010

My First Time

Yesterday, Humboldt County, CA, experienced a 6.5 earthquake. You can see how this compares with the other minor earthquakes experienced on a daily basis by most of California at this website. That huge blue block at the top of CA...that's the one that hit us.

I've been through several of the minor ones, so this was not my first quake. Most are a gentle rumble, a slight sway. But my first time living through a moderate (yes, 6.5 is only moderate!) quake, I thought for sure I was going to die. Not trying to be melodramatic. I honestly thought it was the end.

My daughter and I were sitting on the couch when it happened. It started gently, a little rumbling and shaking. But then it honestly felt (and sounded) like a Mack truck slammed into the left side of the house. You should try tamping down your horror while trying to put on a happy face for your child as all your glasses come crashing down in the kitchen! I shielded Madelyn with my body, because I thought the living room windows might crash on us.

The aftershocks, thankfully, weren't very serious. I think there were some 3.4s or something around there...but I was too shaken to feel them. Maddy didn't have socks and shoes on, so I told her to stay on the couch while I tried to clean up the glass shards that were all over the floor. She just ate her Nilla wafers and drank her milk as she watched me. She didn't cry at all!

I immediately called my husband, who was fishing on the Trinity River with a buddy, and let him know that had been a massive earth quake. He got off the water right then and came home, but that was a 2-hour drive from inland California. The power was turned off, and sirens and ambulances were going off all over the city from the time it happened to the time my husband got home. It was like something from a movie. Creepy and scary. Had to keep Maddy out of the kitchen even though I swept up, because the flashlights started catching the shiny pieces of glass that I hadn't seen with my naked eye. The floor and counters didn't fully get cleaned until this morning.

[The picture above is of Eureka Natural Foods, a local grocery store here. Can you imagine what everything else must look like? We haven't ventured out yet to check things out.]

I am blessed to have wonderful neighbors. Everyone was out checking on everyone else. My neighbor came over to smell for gas and then he just turned it off as fire trucks began driving up and down the streets, waiting for people to flag them if there were gas leaks. He checked out heater to see if it was run on gas or electricity. Unfortunately, the fan blower runs on the house got cold. Maddy slept with us last night to make sure she stayed warm, but that meant Allan and I got no sleep as she tossed and turned and sighed and bumped her head. Lights came on about 2:30 a.m. or so...and then the heat. So I brought Maddy back to her room and was able to get about 5 hours of sleep eventually.

But this experience has taught me something. You never know when your final moments will be. I felt like I came as close to death yesterday as I ever have. It was my "first time," so to speak. And to experience this with my daughter, desperately wanting her to be able to live a full and happy life, was nothing short of terrifying. The important things come to life and flash through your mind: my husband, my daughter, my parents. How I might never see them again. How I would miss them.

But I know where I'm going, people. I know that had yesterday been even more serious than it was (say, if I had been standing under the kitchen cabinet, for instance, when the glasses came crashing down), I know where I'd be. I also know how important it is to tell people how much you love them every single opportunity you can.

You never know when it might be your last time.

Wordle: signature


Anonymous said...

Ain't it the truth. Glad you were protected and your daughter was in peace. Blessings :O)

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Wow that does sound terrifying-sooo glad to hear everyone was ok!

Terri Tiffany said...

We never heard about it here. I am so glad you and your family are safe! That would be scary!

PatriciaW said...

Oh my gosh, Jeannie. I heard this was a quake but not how big, and certainly didn't think I knew anyone in the area. How scary! So thankful to God that you and your daughter were safe. Prayers for all who were affected by the quake.

Katie Ganshert said...

That is terrifying! But oh so true. About where you are going. And telling people you love them. And never knowing when it's our time. Life is truly precious.

Dominique said...

I'm glad you and your family are well.

Sarah Forgrave said...

We experienced a 5-point-something earthquake here in the Midwest a year or two ago, and talk about scary! For this Midwest born and bred girl, I never thought I'd experience an earthquake unless I was visiting California. So even though I didn't have any glass shattering in my home, I know that eerie feeling of the earth moving beneath you. Glad to hear you are safe!

Jessica said...

Oh man, I can't even imagine!! :-(

I'm so glad you guys are okay now.