Sep 17, 2011

Rock & Roll, WInd & Rain


    Before we felt anything we could hear it.  The rumble was heavy and low.  At first, it sounded like a semi or garbage truck was not following the speed limit in the neighborhood.  When I didn't see any trucks around, I started looking up for a low flying cargo plane.  Then, I felt the ground move.  One of the women I was talking with was sitting on the porch and had tipped her chair back against the wall, balancing on only 2 legs.  As the shaking started, she spastically lurched forward, thinking she was loosing her balance and about to fall over.  The other folks I was standing with, stumbled a bit, like when you're drunk and have trouble remaining in a stationary upright position.  I bent my knees, in sort of a surfer pose to keep my balance and we all looked at each other with really perplexed expressions.
  It only lasted 10-15 seconds, but it was long enough. 

Fault line in my front yard
   It took us a few moments to let the experience sink in and one of the ladies asked,  "What just happened?"  I told the group, "I think we just had an earthquake."  We exchanged a few whoas and questioned whether Virginia really got earthquakes and then went to check on the kids in the back yard.  All of the kids were happily playing with Legos on the back porch and completely oblivious to the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that had just rocked our world. 

  I wandered back over to my own house and did what every other person would have done, raced to my computer and posted on facebook that there was an earthquake!  My goal was to be the "first on the scene" with my reporting and I was successful.  It only took a few minutes and others in my news feed were posting their experiences as well.  

  I also turned on the news.  Sure enough, news reports were starting to hit the air of an earthquake felt in Washington DC and New York City.  It took a little bit before they started mentioning that the rest of Virginia had felt it along with Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia and all the way up to Canada.  The epicenter was located between Richmond & Charlottesville and reports of damage started coming in. 

  I tried making some calls, but my home phone and cell were both out of service for about 20 minutes.  I walked back over to the neighbors house to see if they had made contact with their oldest son.  They had just dropped him off at college in Charlottesville 2 days before.  They hadn't seen the TV and I told them they should turn it on.  Right away, Mom ducked back into the bedroom to try and reach him.  I gathered up the kids and we watched some of the news, staying alert for aftershocks.  There were a few, but we didn't feel any of them.


  What an exciting year this has been!  Five days after the earthquake, we welcomed Hurricane Irene.  The hurricane for us, was somewhat of a non-event.  It was an intense and windy rainstorm and not much else.  Not to say that we don't take hurricanes seriously, but we don't live in a flood zone and we were mostly prepared to ride it out.  We have a battery operated weather radio.  I filled gallon baggies with ice and packed the deep freeze.  We had plenty of food as I had just done my big grocery run. 
  We were short on only 1 item: Chocolate Milk.  It seems that everyone under the sun starts hoarding it when they hear of a potential natural disaster!  2 grocery stores were completely wiped out of all dairy products AND chocolate syrup.  I was dreading the thought of being trapped in the house with Lil Bit and no chocolate milk!  I made a trip back to the store for something totally not storm related and magically, it had been restocked.

   Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! 

Big Red demonstrating how strong the winds were
  Handsome and I spent a good portion of the storm standing on the front porch watching the rain.  During the calm in the center of the storm, we drove around the neighborhood to look for damage.  Only a couple of trees down along the fence line and a few roofing tiles blown from their original homes.  We ventured over to a friends house to check for damage.  They evacuated because they were concerned the very large trees in the backyard may not hold up against powerful winds.  Everything was still standing and in good condition.  We went on to Walmart and picked up some soda, chips & beer to ride out the rest of the storm and headed back home.  (Yep, Walmart was still open & busy during a hurricane.)

  When it got dark out, we could see the transformer explosions in the surrounding neighborhoods.  Luckily, we did not loose power.  The lights flickered a few times and the tv jumped but I never had to reset our clocks.  Our little subdivision was it's own little island of light, as almost every home in the surrounding area was dark.  The next morning, we stayed at the house, played and watched tv.  Handsome did work stuff, checking in on his people and making arrangements to get folks back to work. 

Our only storm damage, the tree in the front yard
  Irene was a dud for us personally, but I realize she hit many others very hard.  I hope those affected have the support they need to recover and move forward.  My thoughts are with those who were not so lucky.


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