Saturday, June 26, 2010

30 seconds of shaking feels like forever: earthquake aftermath

So we endured an earthquake here in central Canada. Apparently North America is getting squeezed in on the edges so we rumbled and buckled here in the middle. Awesome. The quake epicenter was 60 km north of us. Super awesome. When it happened i was alone in the house, just getting ready to tackle cleaning the sty i refer to as my studio/ office when i heard a weird noise. a rumbling noise that turned into shaking. Then harder shaking and before i knew i had shouted "earthquake!" tweeted that shit was falling off my walls as it shook, and still it just. kept. going. 30 seconds of shaking feels like forever.

Once I started to see things falling off the shelves in the office, heard more clanging and glass falling in the stairwell to the floor below me and the windows rattled I really started to wonder if this was It. I knew that if kept going much longer and started to shake any harder the house would fall in so I jumped under the door frame for a few seconds. I could hear the beams creaking and see the walls bouncing. I was really afraid. At this point, thank the universe, I could feel the rumble starting to ease, but it still kept going. I'm pretty sure the dogs, who moments before were under my feet, were barking and down on the main floor by this point. It was crazy and loud and chaotic I have no idea where they were when I was doing all this. I remember looking down the stairs at all the broken glass from falling pictures, and there the dogs were, at the bottom of the stairs looking up at me.

My only instinct as it started to decrease was to get the eff out of the house. I slid on the flip flops, grabbed my laptop (hello? twitter was the BEST for info, fast) my wallet, the dogs, the phone and out we went to the back porch. At that point I dumped everything on the patio table, locked to dogs in the back yard and headed through the house to the front. I needed to see wtf was going on with the neighbours. Needless to say people were everywhere. The elementary school next door was evacuated. The kids were pretty loud and freaked. People from the 18 floor apartment buildings across the street were emerging packed like mules with kids and pets. I can only imagine what that felt like for them when it shook. Neighbours shouted across the streets back and forth " did you feel that? what WAS that? are you ok? did your stuff fall off the walls?" Holy wow. Luckily everyone was fine. No structural damage that we can see. But I'm still shaken by it. Rattled on the inside.

Since cleaning up the obvious debris and straightening every single piece of art hanging in here I've also had to go around and straighten piles of books that had shifted, vases that had fallen over, glasses that now at on the edge of shelves. It's like everything that could move danced around a bit and settled a few inches from where it originally was. As the days have progresses I still keep fnding little reminders of the power a quake. I thought I'd just share them here.

Poor little guys.
Wow. Were we lucky.

Happy Saturday all!



Suzie Ridler said...

Well your instincts were right, that is the best thing to do, get out of the house. I am so sorry for the losses you had, so sad! I was so confused by the first earthquake we had out west I thought it was a tornado!

leel said...

Thanks Suzie,
The losses were minimal (and sorta tongue in cheek)it was the power of it all that has my ears perked these days. I can imagine confusing it with a tornado. If it had been dark or cloudy that day I would have thought the same thing but it was a fairly nice afternoon. My first thought really was EARTHQUAKE!

firstofmany said...

Ah, brings back my memories of the earthquake in San Francisco on October 17, 1989. I was holding our kitten when the rumbling started and she ended up hiding in a cinderblock on our porch. The upstairs neighbor had her water heater pulled loose and it was only a matter of minutes before hot water was pouring onto our neighbors back porch (where she kept all of her birds). We had glasses thrown clear across our kitchen and evening darkness coming on. We grabbed our cat, jumped in our car and headed over to be sure my mom was OK (we lived less than a mile away at the time) and once we saw that she was OK, had flashlights and water. We went back and focused on clearing away danger, broken glass, running water, turning off gas mains, etc. Then the party began, everyone was outside, candles lit and wine flowing. We didn't notice the aftershocks until after we climbed in bed. The aftershocks seemed to go on for days and made me crazy because we were already on edge and jumpy and literally jumping into doorways at the slightest tremor. At some point it began to get hard to tell if the shaking was from within.

Glad you are mostly OK.

Jacqueline said...

I was home alone, waaaay up on the third floor in my little nest, futsing around with the puter, when I felt the first rumble ... My "flipping heck!" moment came when the minor jiggling of things on the desk top increased in a wave to the rest of the room within seconds. Scared the bejesus out of me, and it took me a few seconds to wrap my brain around the notion of an earthquake. Earthquake?! Huh?! In Ontario ... nah!

Funny thing was, I'd just arrived home from a long shlep downtown, was stinking hot and had pulled my shirt off (at home, that is.) When it dawned on me that the rumble WAS SIGNIFICANT, I ran like a crazy person downstairs to the front door, forgetting my bag ... and my shirt. And then I had a true dilemma on my hands: Stay safe and topless outside, or brave the quaking floor and look presentable if the house collapsed. Sort of like wearing clean unders if you're found under the wheels of a truck ... Took me a day or so to laugh about that one.

Poor broken fishy. He is lovely! Glad to hear you're well and that all is mostly back in place! xx


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