I spent the last week battling the forces of Mother Nature – and losing. Last Tuesday, on August 23, 2011 around 1:51 p.m., I was sitting here at the computer, minding my own business, and trying to work out just how I was going to make $30 stretch to pay for food, school supplies, gym uniforms, agendas, school clothes and a million other little things that need to be paid for and taken care of before school starts.
While I was obsessing, I was chatting with some friends via instant messenger, and the kids were in the bedroom playing video games. I heard this low *rumble* at first and didn’t think anything of it, but then it got louder, and I started to hear things rattle. My first instinct was to yell at the kids to stop jumping on the beds…but then that rumbling noise got louder and that’s what scared me into stopping what I was doing and LISTEN. As I listened, I started to feel the ground under my feet shake and the things on my desk started to shake. My first instinct was a plane was crashing into one of the apartment buildings (which would have accounted for the rumbling sound) and if the floor was shaking and the stuff on my desk was shaking – I figured we only had seconds to get the hell out of dodge before we were flattened under a 747 with a blown engine. I screamed for the kids about the same time they screamed for me and we ran into the hallway at the same time and just huddled together for a second. As the floor started to move more and the noise became louder, my eldest started yelling, “We need to get out! We need to get out!” So out we went. I grabbed the dog up in my arms and shoved the kids out in front of me while grabbing my shoes in the other hand and just left everything else behind. My only thought was getting them out of the house and to safety.
When we opened the door to our apartment – we saw all of our other neighbors coming out and meeting out front and everyone was asking, “Oh my God! What just happened?” I checked out front and out back, no jets laying in a building anywhere so the only other logical conclusion – it had to have been an earthquake.
Earthquake it was. A 5.9 on the Richter scale as a matter of fact and the epicenter was just a mere 47 miles away from where we lived. The last *major* earthquake felt in Virginia was from May 31, 1897 in Pearisburg which was a 5.8 to 6.0 on the Richter scale. In addition, when we lived in Powhatan County in 2003, there was a 4.5 earthquake in Goochland County – but we did not feel that. Just heard what sounded like a huge BOOM and the paintings on the wall shook a bit, but the floor didn’t move. ( http://www.virginiaplaces.org/geology/quake.html )
THE FLOOR MOVED THIS TIME. And scared the living daylights out of us all. To make matters worse – we were alone. It was just me and the boys that day – the Man Thing was on a business trip out of the city. Naturally, when I attempted to call him directly afterwards I could not get through because every single other Tom, Dick, and Harry were on their cell phones trying to get in touch with friends, family, and loved ones as well.
We survived, even though Mother Nature had shaken us up quite a bit. There are images all over the internet of the devastation caused up and down the East Coast from this particular earthquake – but I am especially thankful for the fact that we did not feel any of the repeated aftershocks that occurred. I don’t know that the boys (or I) could have dealt with more shaking and rolling.
It took me a few more days to bounce back to my normal self than it did the boys…but I believe that had something to do with the fact that I had epilepsy as a child and in my 20s I had sporadic seizures – so I don’t think my brain is exactly *wired* like everyone else’s brain. That shaking feeling didn’t leave me till a good 24 hours afterwards (like my brain was still in earthquake mode) and it took me a good 48 hours afterwards to regain my normal equilibrium and sense of self.
By the time I got my head on straight after that – it was time for Hurricane Irene to come through and land us a few blows as well. But that’s part II…