Sunday, August 24, 2014

Scary Earthquake This Morning

Last night we didn't get to bed until about 1 a.m. because CPA Boy was streaming video on his iPad and I was finishing a movie on the DVR.

So I had been asleep for just over 2 hours and enjoying a good dream when CPA Boy started screaming in his sleep. He does this fairly often as he is susceptible to terrible nightmares. I guess the earthquake had impinged on his sleeping mind and he reacted as if he was having a nightmare.

I sleep with earplugs so it mutes the screaming but doesn't keep me from hearing it. I woke up and thought he was thrashing around because he was still in the throes of the nightmare. But no, the bed was moving because of the earthquake! I reached over to wake him and said, "It's an earthquake." (Thanks, Captain Obvious.)

It was 3:20 a.m. and very dark. I stumbled to the bedroom door as it was difficult to walk while the house was shaking. This particular quake lasted about 20 seconds for us. A couple of things fell down but that was it.  One of my shampoo bottles fell over and CPA Boy's bottom desk drawer rolled open. When I checked the pantry a package of cookie mix fell on the floor.

I talked to Pop this morning --- he lives a few blocks from us --- and he also had a couple of things fall. Something in the medicine cabinet fell over and a plastic Coke bottle fell off the refrigerator. Coke has a thing now where the bottles have names on them saying "Share a Coke with Kelly" (although I haven't actually found my name yet). I found both my brother's names and brought them to Pops so they could get them when they visit. One of them decided to take a dive from Pop's fridge!

The only other weird thing was that the light fixtures were all swinging but the one over the dining room table was really wild. It wasn't quite a 180-degree swing but close. I climbed up and grabbed it to make it stop.

We were up for about an hour checking TV, radio and the Internet but it was a long time before any information came out. So we headed back to bed but it took forever to get back to sleep.

As of this time we personally have felt no aftershocks. Here's a map of the area:


We live in Petaluma, just a little bit northeast from the final "a" in Petaluma. The quake was centered on the reddish circle just south of Napa, about 21 miles away as the crow flies. The quake was closer to the small town of American Canyon but both it and Napa bore the brunt of the damage. (San Francisco is about 50 miles south of Petaluma, not shown on the map, and Sacramento is to the northeast of Fairfield and Vacaville, also not shown.)

The thing with earthquakes is this: when one starts you react immediately because you never know if it's just a little one or the Big One. My instinct is to run and get to my son, even though he is now a grown man. (Notice this means I just abandoned CPA Boy, leaving him alone in our bed. Sorry, CPA Boy!)

I have felt several earthquakes in my life but I only remember a small handful of them:
  • I certainly recall the Loma Prieta quake of 1989. I was at work in Santa Rosa, really far away from the epicenter north of Santa Cruz. It felt pretty strong in Santa Rosa but I don't recall if there was structural damage. We did lose electricity at work though. 
    • CPA Boy was at work in Petaluma (we had just started dating a couple of months before and both worked for the same company in different cities) and felt it more strongly than I did.
    • My mother hated earthquakes and Pops, who was still at work, immediately picked up the phone to call her. All he said was, "I'm on my way."
  • There was a small quake when we lived at our last house, so maybe 14 or 15 years ago. The quake was not significant in any way but my reaction was to jump off the sofa and start to run upstairs to get The Boy. By the time I reached the first couple of steps it was over. (Need I add, I left CPA Boy by himself on the couch?)
  • During the summer of 1982 I was living at Kresge College at UC Santa Cruz. I was lying on my bed reading. Again, the quake itself was not significant but I remember it because I HEARD it before I FELT it. There was a rumbling sound that caught my attention and then a jolt. That was it.
And are we prepared for an earthquake? Um, no, not really. I really need to get on that!

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