Tuesday, October 17, 2006

shake, rattle and roll

Sunday morning, I woke up at 5am with a reprise of my brutal headache of last week. I was due on the tracking field at 7, but a hard rain was pouring, and so I got up, drank a half-liter of water and took some Excedrin and went back to bed. At 6am, I turned off my cell phone alarm, and announced my intent to ditch tracking and sleep in. "mmmffff" came from P's side of the bed, and the tracking dog in question, Ella, lodged between us in the bed, flipped over on her back and sighed. Around 7am, the radio came on, and P and I were just waking up, mumbling about how much nothing we planned to do that day. Suddenly, the house started to shake, and continued for what seemed like an excessively long time for it to be a big truck on the street below. My first thought was "BOULDER!" Nuuanu, our neighborhood, is known to be kind of geologically unstable; I live on a street which is best known as the street that the boulder rolled onto, several years ago, killing a resident in her bed. We love our quiet forested abode, but "BOULDER!" is never far from our minds, especially in hard rainstorms.

All this thinking must've taken about 5 seconds, because then P and I established that oh yeah, it's an earthquake, and uh, duh, we should go stand in a doorway. So we got up, stood in the office and bedroom doorways, while the house shook, and the windows rattled, and everything felt like it was going to break apart. Ella tucked her tail and ran cowering into the living room, and Cricket had a barking fit, running wildly around. We tried to calm him down, while sweating the possibility of a boulder, or the old part of the house (the one we just moved heaven and earth to make level, last year) cracking off and falling down the hill. Shaking stopped. "Wow. Man. An earthquake. Dude." Hey, our 15 years in California gave us cool heads in such times...

Breathing easy, I left the doorway, noted that the power was out, and then the shaking started again. This time it seemed like it was harder, and I waited for it to get worse. I found my doorway again, wondered aloud if I shouldn't be in the newer part of the house, and P muttered something unintelligible about the damn rock walls around us. It felt as if the shaking was coming from under our feet. It stopped, and we sighed. Cricket calmed down, and we tried to find a radio station for information. No dice. After some milling around, I called my dad on my cell phone, back in Virginia. He reported that we'd had a 6.5 magnitude quake and some mudslides had happened.

We spent about an hour, waiting for boulders and mud to come down on us, in the pouring rain, then got bored and decided to conserve some water. So we filled up all our water bottles, and pots and pans. Then we decided that we'd better use the hot water before it cooled down. Our water heater is electric. So we took a hot bath, and made tea, and later, oatmeal with skillet toast and butter. Hooray for the gas stove!

The rest of the day, a rainy, dark, gray day, was marked by frequent trips up to the car to listen to breaking news on the radio, some house cleaning and reading and the eating of all our possibly perishable food, like sliced turkey, brie, salad greens, etc. We felt it was a shame to waste our ice supply, so we made some mango margaritas on the rocks, with some mango puree, and limes we had hanging around. Our liquor cabinet is healthy enough to sustain such a disaster, it would seem. I dusted some shelves and took the dogs for a walk. P walked downtown to see if he could buy some batteries for our flashlights. No dice, there. Fortunately, a pagan household is rarely without a healthy supply of candles, so we didn't curse the darkness, too much. I knitted on Pink Clapotette til eyestrain got to be too much. More brie, red grapes, steamed green beans and the rest of the salad.

I went to bed with Diana Gabaldon's "Voyager", and read til around 10pm. Slept well in the amazing quiet darkness, and was awakened at some unknown time by all our power coming on, including the damn streetlight that always shines in my eyes in the bedroom.

It turns out, Hawaii got through this with minimal damage. The epicenter of the quake was somewheres north of the Big Island, and overall, we did really well. We weren't as prepared, with batteries and such, as we probably should have been, but we were okay for food and the like. It was the biggest earthquake I've ever felt, though the Loma Prieta quake, in the Bay Area, in 1988, was bigger and did more damage, but I was living in Davis at the time, and we were minimally affected.

Some recent pix...
Our gardenia is blooming furiously. This bloom is a bit past its prime, but smells heavenly.

And because Cricket is featured disproportionately in this blog, I leave you with a pix of Ella, the tracking dog, the wonder dog, the perfect dog, coming down the steps to the house. Not pictured are the lava rock walls and scary steep hill. But there are 31 steps that lead down to our house, so you can get a feel for how steep the pitch of the property is.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm a new visitor - came via La-The-Sage's journal. I see you have a poodle. I am interested in them (we have collies now) for our next dog but husband says they are "froo-froo" dogs. I would like to not have to clip them, and I hear they don't shed...that is one thing that interests me a lot, and I've heard they are super nice dogs, as well. Bex

LA said...

Delighted you guys are okay! Wolf had heard about the quake and when I told him you'd been in it his eyes got huge and he said, "Oh no! She must come live here with us right away! We don't have earthquakes!" No, we don't and I can guarantee I'd freak right the hell out if we did. No mango margaritas, I'd need thorazine.

Those steps are on the front or the back? And what keeps that stairwell from sluicing water right into your house? Typical Yankee, I saw the pic and thought, "Man, shoveling those must be a bitch." Because you guys get soooo much snow, right? Durr.

Truly glad all is well on your end. ~LA

Reya Mellicker said...

So glad you're all safe and sound! Wow, what a story.

I was in SF during Loma Prieta (today is the anniversary, strangely enough). It scared me to death. So glad you're able to keep a cool head and heart through it all!

KimS said...

Whew! Glad to hear that you all are just fine-- and that your house is fine!

(Lady) Kim

Acornbud said...

Finally, Ella:)
What a day, eh? Good day for camping indoors, reading, knitting and Sudoku.

Stephanie said...

When I heard about the earthquake, I immediately thought of you. I'm glad and relieved to know that you're all right!

Rebecca Clayton said...

Wow! So glad to hear you're all right! I didn't understand what your house was like until you showed us this picture of your steps. Yikes! Our little level spot here on Droop Mountain seems like the prairie by comparison.

KnitPastis said...

Oh wow, you were in the earthquake area too. So glad to hear all is well and you were still able to salvage some wonderful food & drinks during it. The flower is so beautiful!

Bethany said...

So glad to read that you and yours are ok!