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Friday, August 01, 2008


So we had an earthquake last Tuesday. It shook us all up. (Yes, that is a small grin you see.)

My sister and I were in the nursery. She was changing Noelle's diaper and I was packing for our upcoming move. Though it was quite frightening at the time, and although my sister said afterwards, "I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry," the whole thing is rather comic three days later.

You see, I thought there was someone pounding around our apartment. But when clearly no one was bursting into our place, and throwing themselves down on our floor, I looked at Annie, who whispered at once (because she's been in one before), "Earthquake."

At that precise moment the entire apartment began to sway. The eeriest part was the sounds. The walls and floor began groaning and creaking their protests. Annie grabbed Noelle and we lunged for the doorways.

The thing only lasted 20 seconds, but have you ever sat through 20 seconds of the earth shaking? While 20 seconds may not be enough time to hear a complete song, or microwave a dinner, you can still get alot done in 20 seconds. You can, for example, sit for a moment and watch the walls bending, you can grab your daughter from your sister's arms, you can begin to imagine the roof caving in and the floor falling out, you can jump up to grab a phone in case you get trapped beneath rubble, and you can dash across the expanse of the apartment to the front door where neighbors are all standing outside.

Yeah, 20 seconds is long enough for adrenaline to thoroughly work its way through your system.

With in 20 minutes we knew that nothing serious had happened. It was just a joy ride not a catastrophe, but I gotta tell ya, for a full two minutes afterwards my heart was pounding and my hands were trembling and I would not let go of Noelle.

Back to the quake: when my sister opened the front door and braced herself against the frame, she found herself standing next to my neighbor, who was himself taking shelter in his doorframe. He looked over, grinned, and said as mellow as an ocean breeze, "This is my first one."

That's when the apartment settled back down and I realized that I might need to settle back down too. I decided I wanted to be as zen as Edgar about the whole thing.

Or I could have been as upbeat as my mother. She was very chipper about the whole thing. While my apartment is by the beach about 40 miles away from the epicenter, my mom was up in the San Gabriel Valley, much closer. The fact that we couldn't get a hold of my mom for about 30 minutes after the quake worried us.

(Everybody and his brother was calling everybody and her sister and so the network was busy. Not very encouraging should there ever be a real catastrophe!)

But then a text beeped brightly across my cell. It was my mom with only this exclamation, "Earthquake!" No kidding. When we were finally able to get through to her we found out, no worries. She had been getting a pedicure. "My salon chair wiggled two inches across the floor!" she said delighted. "And all the Vietnamese ladies got really quiet!"

Okay, so the earthquake was no big deal. I was getting the picture. Everyone seemed to think it was more fun than frightening and I think I would have felt the same way had it not been for Noelle. Something about having her created a very different reaction in me. A reaction I didn't fully expect, and I don't think I could have controlled. I'm still marveling at the way my body immediately assumed survival mode. Had I actually mentally coached myself about how to curl myself around her so no falling debris would hit her head? Had I actually commanded my sister to get the phone so we would have a way to tell people where we were under the rubble?!

As soon as my mom got off the phone, Dwayne called.

"Hey! There was an earthquake!" He said excitedly. It turns out he was riding around in his truck oblivious. "Did you feel anything?"


Quick update on the "Nourishment" post. I took Noelle back to the doctor yesterday for another weight check. She had gained a miraculous ten ounces in 14 days. That's nearly an ounce a day! Holy fat goose.

Dwayne accuses me of feeding her foie de gras style.


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