What a wild week we’ve had.
On Tuesday, there was a 5.8 earthquake, the largest quake in our area since 1897. Central Virginia is not known for its seismic activity but it does happen once in a blue moon. Having lived in L.A. for 40-some years, I consider myself to be a “seasoned veteran” of such events, but this one took me by surprise. It was so out of context. I was sitting at my desk on the 8th floor at 1:55 when it sounded to me like a very large person walking down the hall, shaking the walls and the floor. (Which sounds crazy, but I think this was a flashback to my office in California where we had a secretary who was large and when she walked by, it sounded/felt like a small quake. I’m not kidding.) My co-workers starting screaming “earthquake!” and “get in a doorway!” and some of them grabbed their purses and were down 8 flights of stairs and out the door before the shaking stopped, I’m sure. For a lot of them, it was their very first experience. For me, I was calm and moved to a doorway, but it still got my adrenaline flowing. I’ve always been on the ground during these things and it was a little different being that high up. And I was awful glad I wasn’t on the 17th floor where we have some other offices. Of course, we weren’t in any danger, this was not a Japan-level event.
Next up, Hurricane Irene with dire predictions of wind damage and flooding, etc. The Usual Stuff. We’ve lived in Richmond 15 years now and hurricanes and tropical storms are still a novelty to me, but I’d say we’ve had more of them in 15 years than the really big quakes we lived through in 40. Isabelle was a big deal in Richmond as was Gaston. We’re 100 miles from the coast and so many of these storms stay to the east of us. Plus we live on the west side of town, so we’re even farther away from the center of the destruction.
However, we were scheduled to get on a jet plane the morning Irene was to hit and head west to California. On Friday, American Airlines cancelled our 6:30am flight the next day out of Richmond airport. We were afraid we’d have to wait until Sunday afternoon at the earliest to get out which would mean missing a family get-together that couldn’t be rescheduled during the week due to everyone’s busy schedules. Thankfully, AA called and offered a flight out of Charlottesville at the same time. We are about a 1/2 hour further away from C-ville airport than RIC so we just had to get up a little earlier (3am), hit the road at 4:20 and got to the airport at 5:30. Boarded on time but sat on the plane for 40 minutes while they worked out some vague issues.
Since John and I were lucky to be on the flight, we didn’t quibble about not having seats together. I sat next to a real nice guy named Gary from Mechanicsville. He was pretty chatty and we had a nice conversation on the leg from C-ville to Chicago. He and his wife were on their way to Reno where they would meet a family member and drive to Mammoth Lakes, California (one of our old vacation stomping grounds) and Yosemite for the week. They’d not been there before so I was able to tell him about it and give him a lot of tips for things to do.
Our flight from Chicago to LAX was uneventful. Our son picked us up and brought us to John’s sister’s house. Sue and Ken have always been very accomodating and we stay with them. Later we met my parents and brother for lunch and hung out with them for the afternoon. We regrouped with Kaspar family members for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.
Since I’d gotten up so early, I was dead tired and went to bed. Only to be wakened at 3am by some kind of alert on John’s iPad. I laid there for a half hour and decided I wasn’t going to go back to sleep. So I got up and sat in the living room in the dark LOL. They have their lights on timers and I don’t know how to operate them manually. I also don’t know how to turn on their TV because of all the remote controls they use. Luckily I had my laptop sitting right there so I fired it up and watched an episode of The Quilt Show. Good thing I’m a little behind on those. I suspect it’s going to be most of the week before my biological clock adjusts to California time.
And then one of the lights came on at 4:53. Odd.