My hubby and I were excited becasue for the first time in a year, we were going to go out, and leave Growly Bear with her Grama and Grampa for the night! There is a Halloween Dance here every year, so we were going to dress up, and get our drink on, and go out to have some fun with friends.
We had just dropped Growly Bear off at my parents house for the night, and were at a friends house getting ready for the dance. We'd only been there for about 20 mins when it hit. I didn't even clue in at first what was happening!
We were in my girlfriends bathroom doing our makeup and chatting, and we heard what sounded like a freight train coming. It went on and on, long enough for me to ask if her washing machine was going and for her to say no, that she thought someone pulled into the yard in a noisy truck. We were all puzzled and looking at one another when her boyfriend yelled for us that it was an Earthquake and we had to take cover in doorways, NOW.
As we started running out into the house where the guys were, everything started shaking violently and banging and popping. The noise was insane! The floor felt like it was going to give out, and I remember wondering what room was under me, and where in the basement was I going to end up. I kept thinking I wanted to get outside, but knew I couldn't becasue of power lines and trees.
I had my phone in my hand and tried dialing my parents house, but between the shaking from the earthquake, and my shaking becasue I was so scared, I couldn't dial.
Half way through, the power went out, and the 5 of us were left standing in total darkness in different doorways around the house with everything shaking and groaning and popping around us. It felt like it went on for all eternity, but in reality, I think it lasted about 60 seconds. Longest minute of my life!
I got completely hysterical (helpful, yes I know!) and my husband started telling us we had to get out to our vehicles and get to higher ground.
My hubby and girlfriend, and her boyfriend are all on our volunteer fire department in our small town, so they have been trained in Earthquake disaster preparedness. They knew that the severity of the shaking, and the length of the quake could quite possibly trigger a Tsunami, and we had to get out of there quickly.
Thank god my husband is the best possibly person to have in a disaster situation! Unlike me, he goes into this calm survival mode, and is completely level headed and able to tell people what needs to be done. He's my Knight in Shining Big Dodge Pickup!
Now that I look back, I realize how funny it was to be taking instructions from a half way made up Professor Plum (my husband) a partial made up, snakes in the hair, Medusa (my girlfriend), and Buzz Lightyear (the other firefighter in our group). My other girlfriend looked stunning as a beautiful version of Marry Poppins. And then there was me, the hysterical one in ratty sweats and a wife beater, as I hadn't even started getting ready yet.
One the shaking stopped, we raced for our vehicles grabbing only our shoes, coats, and my girlfriends dog.
By this point, my husband had my parents on the phone and knew they were all safe. Thank god for cell phones, becasue the regular phone lines were out. I was slightly less hysterical by this point knowing that at least Growly Bear and my parents were OK.
We knew we had to get to my parents house, which is way up on a hill. If a Tsunami was coming, we'd be safe up there.
My mom called us while we were making our way to them and asked that we pick up my Grandmother. We stopped for her, and then continued on to pick up my girlfriends mom. And off we headed to the safety of my parents house.
When we got there, they were all completely fine, but my parents were a little shaken (bad pun intended!) Growly Bear was sitting in her high chair, completely oblivious to anything that had happened, happily eating a snack that "Bumpa" (aka - Grampa) had made for her. I wrapped my arms around her and burst into tears.
My mom told us how she had grabbed Growly Bear and ran out into the middle of their yard, away from trees and power lines and the bank in front of their house.
Their home is built literally RIGHT on the edge of an enormous cliff, and my poor mom was terrified the entire house was going to slide down the cliff. She was yelling for my dad to get out of the house too when the power went out and everything was black, and she was left standing with my baby in her arms, in the cold, and the rain, as everything was shaking under and around them.
Within about 5 to 10 minutes of us getting there, neighbors from all around us started showing up with candles, flashlights, food and of course, BOOZE!
I was feeling much calmer by this point being surrounded by family and loved ones, though I was still a little jumpy.
Having a house full was the perfect distraction. The aftershocks continued the entire evening (and still are happening pretty steadily!) but the mood quickly lightened, and we ended up having quite a fun a party!
After getting us settled in, the fire department called for my husband and the other volunteer members to meet so they could start evacuating the lower parts of town. Turned out we were in the middle of a Tsunami warning, and they wanted to make sure people were moving to higher ground.
Pretty hard sending my husband and one of my best friends out into the black of night to areas of town that could potentially be hit by a tsunami. But, that's part of their job, so off they went.
Thankfully, they were probably the most informed people in town, and were able to keep us all up to date on what was happening with texts and phone calls.
By this point, we had power back, and were also able to keep an eye on the news, and what the outside world knew about us being at risk. It was a long evening, with lots of tremors and shakes, but we made the most of it, and actually ended up having a pretty good time!
At about 1:30am the warning was called off, and all the firefighters were all allowed to come home. There ended up being a small (3 meeter) tidal swell, so I guess that was the extend of our tsunami.
Yesterday was spent still hiding out at my parents house, although everyone else had gone home in the wee hours of the morning. I was too chicken to leave though. So, we spent the night. And the day was spent with me and my mom in our jammies, drinking tea, and staring at each other wide eyes whispering, "Did you feel that!", with every rumble, and taking turns grabbing Growly Bear and getting ready to vacate to the back yard if it picked up as badly as it had the night before.
I'm still on edge, but we are home now, and all is well. We are still experiencing after shocks , (I actually just sat through a 5.1 as I was typing this. And last I checked, we were at a total 67 after shocks since the big quake at 8:00pm on Saturday night) We are told that we could continue experiencing them for up to 3 weeks as things settle back in.... Yay!
Mother Nature is angry lately! Earthquakes on the West Coast. Hurricane on the East Coast. Yikes!
Stay safe everyone!
Love and Hugs