Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The earth moved

Yesterday was my "end of summer" cleaning day. School is back in session for almost everyone by now (including me and Chris) and some have already been back for weeks. I wanted to head into our busy season with a clean house so I spent the morning vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing baseboards, etc. I took a break for lunch in the early afternoon and it was right after I finished that the earthquake happened.

When I heard the first rumblings, my initial thought was that there was someone in the house and as my adrenaline picked up, I looked around me for something I could use in defense. That only lasted a second because as soon as the china cabinet started rocking and wine glasses started tinkling I knew it was either an earthquake or something had gone horribly wrong in our building. I jumped off the couch having flashbacks of the earthquake drills we used to do in elementary school in California but when I didn't see anything I could duck under I just ran out the front door and tried to get to the ground since we live on the top floor of our building (all this took a total of like 5 seconds).

As my neighbors and I all stood outside feeling the ground move beneath us, I realized many things that never crossed my mind when I was in emergency mode. I was wearing a stained and dirty shirt from cleaning all morning, I hadn't showered in many moons, I had no shoes, AND in my haste, I ran out the front door thinking that if that china cabinet fell over I just didn't want to be there to witness it and never thought about the fact that our front door locks behind me. I was definitely locked out of our house. And cell phones weren't connecting, which to my dismay was the only thing I grabbed when leaving the house.

Ten minutes later while the neighbors and I were still outside chatting (one had gone into his apartment and came back out telling us the news was saying it was a 5.9 - one of the largest, if not the largest ever in VA), Chris called me from a land line and found out I was locked out so he headed home to let me back inside. I did a quick survey of the house and thankfully nothing was broken. The glass panels in the china cabinet shook so hard that the rubber lining holding it in place fell out, a couple books and frames fell over, and one picture fell off the wall in our bedroom - but nothing broke!

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful, but an aftershock (4.2 on the Richter) hit around 8pm interrupting our evening. This one lasted only half as long and I knew what it was from the start so it wasn't quite so unnerving. Never thought we'd have an earthquake that strong in Virginia...crazy!


Elizabeth said...

so glad you guys are ok!! and glad nothing broke :)

jennie said...

well done having the good sense to get outside! (even if you were locked out!) my coworkers and i all just stood around in the classroom looking at each other in disbelief questioning- could this really be an earthquake?? thankfully the kids didn't come back until today!

grammy said...


Patty said...

We're sorry we missed the excitement, considering no major damage. thanks for calling and letting us know.

LA-jan said...

A 5.9 is a bit of a shaker! Nothing like a mid-day adrenaline boost:)!