Last Friday, at about 8:30 in the morning, Anchorage, Alaska experienced a major earthquake. Seven point oh on the Richter Scale. That is the largest earthquake many of us have ever felt.
Thank you all very much for your kind words in emails and on social media. I feel very fortunate to have so many people care about our well being. THANK YOU.
This is our home in Anchorage. My office is on the third floor.
It is a widow’s watch with very high ceilings and many windows on every wall.
While it can be cold in the winter up here, it is a lovely place to work, unless there is an earthquake.
(This is my office in the dark of 8:30AM. I took the photo today, and yes, I tidied up a bit.) So last Friday morning, I was going about my business, answering emails mostly likely, when things started to shake.
In the past, my plan has always been to head downstairs to safer ground. (We experience earthquakes several times a year.) So, I instinctively began to do just that.
These are the stairs I tried to walk down during the earthquake, but it didn’t work that way. Basically, I was tossed down them. I banged up my left knee and my right elbow in the process. Earthquake + Spiral Staircase = Tumble Down.
Finally, I managed to get to safer ground. During each pause in the action, I would dart some where in the house. First back upstairs to get my phone. Next down to the lowest level of our house.
Meanwhile our crazy orange cat Kato is scrambling in and out of rooms seeking shelter. The older cat Speedy actually found a secret hiding place—don’t ask me where, it’s his secret. He didn’t come out for 48 hours.
Tok, the dog, and I stayed put.
The husband called listing all the things I should be doing. Part of his real life job has to do with oil spill response and safety, so he has no problem barking orders about these things.
“Fill every empty bottle with a lid, the bathtubs, and sinks with water”. A couple of years ago, we lost power for almost a week because of a wind storm. If the power goes out, you are going to want water to flush your toilets. The earthquake had unsettled our well, and all the water was a rich tan to medium caramel color–not exactly drinking water.
“Smell for gas leaks and check the water tank.”
I say I will do these things, but Tok and I really don’t want to move from our little hallway haven.
The boys start calling. They have been evacuated and are standing outside their school. Son number three is beginning to understand why we tell him it is a stupid idea to wear shorts in the winter. Kids begin posting images on Snapchat sharing the status of their schools.
Everyone is on the road trying to get to safety while at the same time doing their best to prepare for the unknown. The grocery stores are swarmed with shoppers stocking up. There is a run on water.
The store’s response is to just haul all their water out into the middle of the store—no reason to stock when the shelves will just empty again.
Frey Meyers will only let you take out twenty bucks cash.
We were all in mild state of shock. Finally my family makes their way home. We begin the clean up and the preparation for worse. But it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t get worse. Thank you forces of the universe.
And that is the weird thing. It was really tramatic and scary while it was happening. I keep replaying in my head the image of me bouncing down our spiral staircase trying frantically to get down from our third floor. The animals were bonkers, and things were falling all over. It was out of control.
And then one day later, we are okay. The events don’t add up to the results. Thankfully this is true. We are okay. We lost some pottery and pantry items, Speedy went awol, son number three froze in his shorts. But other that we are fine.
We are very lucky.
Yes. There are major infrastucture problems to deal with—our children won’t be able to go back to school until next week—but we are fine.
I think the hardest thing is the aftershocks. Some 1,800 aftershocks have been measured since the earthquake. You feel the rumble, and your body immediately goes into flight mode. The aderneline releases, and you feel fear of the unknown. And then it is over again until the next time. Experts say it is the new normal. At least for a couple of weeks. Here is the visual on that–those dots are quakes. You can read the entire story here.
And that is my earthquake story. I feel so grateful for all of you, and for the amazingly precious human life that I get to live.