Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All Shook Up

The theme song yesterday was Elvis singing, "All Shook Up"

The epicenter of the Chino Hills earthquake is just over one hill and one dale from my little Eden.

My husband was upstairs starting to shave and I was downstairs in my study when the earth threw its tantrum. It seemed as though the house joined the earth by throwing things at us...The pictures missed me… The lamps missed me…The puppies jumped in my lap and huddled. My husband was about to put the razor to his face when he got introduced to my toiletries as the medicine cabinet started hurling its contents at him.

We were okay. The only thing that went out was phone service. We pay for four lines and none of them worked.

While my husband ran to check on the neighbors, I proceeded to get ready “just in case”. We have emergency water supplies and such in a cabinet outside, so this was more of an exercise in minimizing breakage. My car was moved out of the garage in case another tremor were to either empty the attic or render the door unusable. Breakable items not already laying face down on the floor already- that’s where it went. The major exception was that if it required a ladder to take down- forget it. For 72 hours- I assume the place I least want to be is where my feet aren’t firmly on the ground.

We were very lucky. The grocery stores nearby had their shelves emptied and quite a clean up ahead of them. There are houses with roof tiles loosened. A few blocks from here I understand there was damage to homeowner utility lines. A few collections may have been seriously hurt, but I haven’t heard of anyone seriously injured, so there are lots of things to say thank you to God for in the aftermath.

I wish I had a better telephoto lens. In the canyon behind my home are some old trees where the larger birds disappear in to. The earthquake shook the old leaves and dried stems of vines to the ground. The structure of the limbs is now visible. I watched the hawks sitting on their throne, waiting for the bunnies and other wildlife that comprise their diet to emerge. I would so love to share that moment with you on film, as nature showed me grace in the disaster's aftermath, but my little lens doesn’t do the sight justice. But your imagination will.

So instead, I will leave you with Lydia’s list to prepare for an emergency. Always kiss your loved ones when you part for the day- there are no guarantees that life will be the same at the end of the day as it was at the beginning. Don’t run your gas tank until empty- you may not be able to fill up to get home or get away. Keep the barbecue maintained and with back up fuel on hand in case it becomes your main kitchen appliance if you can’t get back inside your home. Keep enough cash that if the banks are closed- you aren’t worried about imminent poverty when disaster strikes. Keep your sense of humor. But most of all- keep your faith.


Anonymous said...

Excellent report on the terrifying day yesterday! My heart and my head felt strange all day and I seemed to cry often! I was sitting here at my computer and on the phone with Edda's high school bud and my Curves friend, Arlene, when it started! All I could do was to repeat over and over, "OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD"!Arlene was so calm and I heard her tell a grand child to come stand by her that it was just an earthquake. Her calm manner helped me so much. I watched helplessly as our new 52" flat screen TV shook and twisted violently back and forth as did my big computer monitor in front of me! I was hearing glass shatter! Fortunately it was just a glass vase in the downstairs bathroom. In all the bedrooms there were pictures, books, perfume bottles, toys, all over the floor! Drawers were fully opened! Reminded me of what the house might look like after a robbery! Thankfully Daryl was here with me but when John finally got thru I let loose with the tears and they didn't stop. The water works were going on and off all day!
I really want to thank all the friends and relatives who were calling or emailing all day! It really does ones heart good to know that people care about you! I made a good many calls myself to check on friends. One has lost a number of collectibles and even though it's heart breaking, it's just "stuff" and thankfully she is ok.
XOXO Trisha
p.s. Our friend, Allen, has extensive water damage in his condo because of the broken water heater in the unit above him!

Anonymous said...

Lydia, I live in DB myself and it appears you were very lucky. I'm glad I don't own a digital camera, wouldn't want a reminder of the shaking that went on in my home. I'm still working on picking glass and ceramic pcs out of my carpeting. Some did even survive soft landings. I don't want to see more airborne items flying around my rooms for a long time. I think I'll probably have the glass conquered sometime tomorrow. Thanks for the wonderful description of the eventful day we all had in Diamond Bar when the earth beneath our feet feels feisty. Edda

Rogue River Sue said...

Good job of filling in the blanks for folks. Your descriptions were wonderful mental pictures. Your 'hints' are invaluable. I will forward your blog to all I know who live in So. Cal. I lived through many quakes being a resident of LA for over 50 years, from birth to retirement. During one quake I was holding onto my belly, as I was pregnant with my son, and jumping into my daughter's bed (she was 3) to keep her calm and giggling with her during aftershocks. I worked 9-1-1 during several earthquakes and fielded many questions. During the Northridge quake my friend's home fell down upon them and they had to crawl out through the rubble. Scary stuff. My nephew was at the World Series at "The Stick" in SF during that quake. He came away with a chunk of concrete from the stadium. He "rode" the upper deck as it swayed back and forth. Being California residents, most have tales of their own experiences with quakes. Thankfully I now live in Oregon, away from the San Andreas Fault .. we do have an occasional Tsunami here, but I'm too far inland. Good planning on my part! Thanks Lydia.

Lydia said...

Thank you to all have written on-line and off.
That was quite a disaster drill nature sent yesterday.
Something I had not adequately supplied is moist pet food. That is now taken care of.
You have to hand it to modern US building codes. In many places of the globe - they would have been pulling bodies out of the rubble. Here we had some water lines burst and a couple roof tiles fall.
On of my neighbors is a construction manager for a commercial firm that just finished a center in Chino Hills. In his office, his chair was jumping up and down- may be a foot high- with him in it. The only damage seen on initial inspection was some dry wall cracks- easily repairable- not structural at all.

Loving Annie said...

Glad that you are okay, Lydia. Are the phones back on today ?

Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing with all of us your experience.

Yesterday, I was having lunch with a friend at Carl's Jr. in Diamond Bar. Then, around 11:40, at first I felt something moved, which became a sudden jolt that moved north and south, which lasted about 15 to 20 seconds.

My lunch hour was over, which proceeded me to return to my work (Vons in Diamond Bar) and find that the place is a mess as if someone has turn the place upside down.

Around 15 minutes later, my instincts told me to go home, which is just down the street to check out if there were any damages. Well, water was pouring from the ceiling (due to hot water heater broke from the unit above me), which caused few inches of water to flood the floors of my kitchen, dining room, hallway, part of the bedroom and most of the bathroom.

Thankfully, I own a carpet cleaning device that extracts the water, until the carpet cleaning company would provide their services and the big machines.

24 hours later, I can safely say that more than half of the water has been dried up, but I would need few more days for dry environment in my home.

More importantly, it is my health and my friends like Lydia and others are well. This quake is just an exercise for the big one, whenever that happens.

I urge everyone to take the following precautions:

1) Brace your Hot Water heater
2) Develop Emergency plans for water, food, etc
3) Know your neighbors better
4) Do not use the phones, which overwhelms the system.
5) Exercise calm and seek emotional support

Again, Thank you Lydia.


Lydia said...

Thank you for asking. Phone service wasn't out too long. Do not remember which came up first- the land lines or the cell phones. But I do remember that out of state service was restored first. Surprisingly, we never lost electric power or internet connection.
Do you remember the Loma Prieta Earthquake? A neighbor is a civil engineer. At the time he specialized in after- disaster assessments. He was called by the Governor's office that night. There were expectations to find thousands dead in the days that followed. But because the cross town rivals of the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants were playing each other in the World Series- people on the west coast were safely at home glued to the television.
I remember the cover of one of the major news magazines- catcher Terry Steinbach's wife was on the field with her husband- obviously distraught. Imagine- and this was in the days before cell phones- she is here from Minnesota with her earthquake kit in her car- their child with a babysitter across a bay they didn't know if they could get across. The Nimitz Freeway near where they lived- collapsed.

Lydia said...

Hi, Allen! Welcome to my home on the internet and thank you for posting.
You cued more thoughts on preparing for a disaster- keep a kit in the car- ladies, make sure you have comfortable shoes in case you have to hoof it home. And if you take medications. It's a really good idea to have a few extra pills tucked safely away.

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