Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Earthquake! (1:53 AM)

But just a little one. According to the preliminaray report, it was a 4.2 magnitude located 3 miles north of Wrightwood, CA. (So I probably wouldn't have even felt it down here had I not been awake and blogging.)

Being a native Californian, I was under the the computer table within nanoseconds. And I scarcely had time to be glad that I'd bolted the bookcases to the walls before it was over.

Public Service Announcement: Catholic Bibliophagist urges her readers to hoard books responsibly! Get those bookcases properly bolted to the walls. She lived in a neighboring community during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, so she knows what she is talking about!

At that time we did not have any of our bookcases properly bolted, but I had taken the precaution of placing all tall bookcases is a separate library room which was not also a bedroom. Let me repeat that: Never put tall bookcases where they could fall on you while you sleep! We lost several bookcases during that quake. The Billy bookcases from Ikea were pretty stable. But several other kinds either fell over or collapsed. One of them collapsed sort of sideways across the closed door of the library which blocked our entrance to the room for quite some time.

Our kids still remember that earthquake fondly because after Daddy checked for major damage and gas leaks, they all got to huddle in our bed and listen to him read aloud The Hobbit. (He thought it would provide a distraction and help them to calm down. He was right.)


Catholic Mom said...

When I was on bedrest and heavy meds, in the hospital, during my first pregnancy, my loving husband read aloud to me The Hobbit, with occasional digressions to make sure I was listening.

alicia said...

we lived about 6 miles from the epicenter of the Northridge quake at the time. I was at work 6 miles the other side when it hit.
We lost the particle board bookshelves in the bedroom - the vibrations basically disrupted the glue and turned them into sawdust. My husband awoke to flying books and groggily told our baby (then about 5 y/o) "Quit throwing books at me" before he realized what was really happening.
We were lucky. Around $15000 damage, all cosmetic. We lost basically everything breakable in the kitchen, the kitchen floor was destroyed by what fell on it, the contents of the fridge were all unusable (door open for several hours with no power). My husband evacuated the 4 kids who were home out to the car in the driveway, bringing out blankets and stuff to them in between aftershocks. We were lucky that he had a cell phone (for his work, he is a broadcast engineer) and he was able to get ahold of my stepdad in Huntington Beach who was able to phone me at work at the hospital in Woodland Hills where I was busy. It was quite a night.
Maybe some day I'll blog the memories of that one. I've been through a few quakes in my day - the Sylmar quake in '71 and the '94 Northridge being the biggest.
I still freak out if I am in a town like Philadelphia with lots of tall brick buildings.....

Catholic Bibliophagist said...


Wow! Besides the bookcases, we just lost a few wine glasses. And due to the broken gas main, we were without gas for quite a while. And without water, of course. I noticed that the damage could be pretty localized. Our house appeared pretty untouched, but the house across the street had a huge gash in the stucco near the foundation. And their sidewalks were buckled.

Catholic Mom,

We read aloud a lot to our kids, and my husband used to check on whether they were paying attention by occasionally substituting his own outrageous ending to a random sentence. It certainly kept them alert!