Saturday, January 9th, 2010
Two kids and an earthquake
My family lives under that big blue square.
We had a 6.5 magnitude earthquake about 4:30 p.m. Saturday. We felt maybe 15 seconds of shaking. A few light precariously positioned non-breakable objects fell in our home. We were in the living room at the time, so we exited the front door and stood outside with neighbors for a few minutes. The power went out during the shaking and would stay out for four hours. Outside, we did a sniff test on our gas line.
My first reaction was to get the various locks on our door open. My wife’s first reaction was to ask our daughter, “Now what are you supposed to do in an earthquake?” @#$%^&*! If you’re near a table you get everyone under it. If you’re standing by your front door, you get the hell out! Stand up, let’s go!
Folks closer to the epicenter in Eureka, Calif. had windows break and objects fall, and store ceiling tiles and light fixtures fall. So far the worst injury reported is a broken hip.
Here’s a link to a few photos (a Twitter feed, pics will scroll off in a few days) and more photos and the inevitable Facebook group. A friend’s teen was in a bowling alley at the time. The customers exited through a side door, but not before being asked to relinquish their rented shoes. Yep, the kid was picked up by his mother after he sprinted up a hill in his socks to get out of a low-lying tsunami-friendly zone.
We handled the situation at home by diverting attention, listening to music and engaging in play. My wife did a good job of silencing talk of the earthquake (and my intense news interest) by forbidding me to use a portable radio. I snuck one or two listens just to be sure events weren’t serious.
Our 2-year-old son was spooked pretty good… being quieter than normal, no laughter or happiness… wanting to be held at all times. The situation was compounded by his not having words to tell us how he feels.
His reaction made his 5-year-old sister a little scared, but she eventually snapped out of it.
We present power outages as opportunities to play. What kid doesn’t love a flashlight? It gets dark early this time of year, and we have thermal black-out curtains, so we held a dinosaur shadow play:
We kind of melted after dinner when I brushed my son’s teeth. He normally screams and thrashes about like a banshee, but this time he sat like a lump and quietly let me brush his teeth. He went to sleep without incident too.
We rounded out the evening with our daughter by watching home movies still in our video camera and playing hangman. At bedtime, her moon in her room provided a night light and we broke out our supply of glow sticks for just such an emergency. About an hour later, the lights came back on.
Update: He’s back to his old giggly self this morning.
See related: Lessons learned from a power outage