Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Last night I nearly pooped my pants. No really, I'm not kidding. It was a tough call between pooping my pants, puking, and passing out. In the end, I settled on a fourth option, crying, because it seemed the easiest to deal with.

See, last night we had this little earthquake (5.6! Not so little to me!) and I was freaked out way more than I can explain. I was at the grocery which is very close to our house and our house is close to the epicenter. This all translates to a good bit of shaking.

Let me say now that we are fine. Our house is fine, our animals are fine, nothing broke, nothing really fell other than some books tipping over and a few things shifting a tiny bit. But I did not fair so well.

Since moving to the Bay Area I have been mentally preparing myself for earthquakes. After trying to deal with the thought of them in a few different ways I settled on denial. Why buy an earthquake kit when we'll never feel one all the way down here in the South Bay? Bottled water, smottled water, we'll never get one this far south. Are you starting to see how dumb I am?

The fact that last night's earthquake was not only noticeable, but actually caused (minimal) damage to the grocery store that I was standing in, totally freaked me out. Hello!! Did no one get the memo that the South Bay ISN'T SUPPOSED TO GET EARTHQUAKES??? DO NOT WANT!

I managed to pull myself together enough to check out and get home. Of course, pulling myself together meant standing in shock for a bit while the produce guy asked if I was going to pass out or if I wanted some water. Once home, I immediately dissolved into tears which did not stop for quite a while. Lots of friends called or texted to check on us (thanks! It made me feel so cared for!) and some tried to lighten the mood by suggesting that jparks and I might get eaten by "the gaping, hungry maw of Mother Earth." (cough cough dsandler cough cough). By 10 I had worn myself out enough that I was ready for bed, but I didn't sleep that well as I kept waking up expecting aftershocks.

The lessons learned are: 1) even in the South Bay I'm not guaranteed an earthquake free life and 2) jparks won't let me move. While I know that the built up pressure has been released and chances are we won't get another quake for awhile, I'm still buying a Costco membership this week and stocking up on supplies. Obviously denial didn't work out so well for me, so now I'm moving onto to preparedness.


  1. I don't know if it's any consolation, but that is what I call a "respectable" or "noteworthy" earthquake, and you did *great*. Really. Look on the bright side:
    A) You survived.
    B) You have now earned bragging rights.
    C) You're now going to take them just seriously enough to stock up on provisions.

    That's about all you can ask for, really. I do, however, suggest that you have a mini quake kit for the car. It's basically just a first aid kit with a few extra things you might need. I wouldn't pay for a ready made one unless you're lazy enough or just don't want to think about it. If you make your own, I'd get a wide, flat, plastic case of some sort and buy some first aid supplies and also add some trial size soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc. I also highly recommend keeping some Powerbars in there and some water tablets that kill giardia and the like, and some panty liners. The panty liners are good for in case you can't go back into your house for a few days and you either A) are at that time of the month, and B) you're not on that time of the month, but you don't have any extra underpants. =) Oh, and a space blanket can't hurt, either.

    My "earthquake kit" in my car has come in handy for a couple non-earthquake first-aid requiring moments, actually, I do highly recommend it.

  2. And a flashlight and extra batteries.

  3. I'm really sorry, Regan. (And, in my defense, uh, you were not supposed to see that.)

  4. Thanks Jennie, I hadn't thought of car kits. Will get on that immediately.

    Dan, I have always known you were a bad seed, now I have proof :)

  5. I'm glad you're okay. And that the grocery is somewhat okay, too. Stock up on ice cream, too. I know it's horrible advice, but what I equate with earthquakes is getting to eat all the ice cream in our fridge when the power was knocked out by the 89 quake. And, um, SILVER LINING: Have to eat the ice cream. No other choice.

    But, seriously, glad you're okay.

  6. this is an entirely rational response. People say "tornadoes are so much worse!" and I say "tornado gives you warning. An earthquake is Mother Nature's suicide bomber."

    My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.

  7. I wasn't kidding when I said I want to move home. Calgary is natural disaster free. The mountains protect you from tornadoes. There are no active faults. The insurance companies seed the skys so that all of the hail falls outside of the city so there is no damage in the city. Really the best place to live. (if you can handle snow in the summer and shorts weather in the winter, Calgary has weird weather)

    Also Earthquake kits? Really? Hmm, we don't have one either. We have a Costco card, wanna go this weekend? :)

    All I could think of when my house was trying to fall down around me is that Chachi would die in front of me. It was horrible.

  8. Hey, didn't G give jparks an earthquake kit? Adam got one that is now in the closet. Although, when the shaking started, all I did was grab my phone, my shoes, and a jacket and headed to the internal door frame, earthquake kit completely forgotten.

  9. Linda, we do have that kit. I've never looked in it though so I assumed it was crap. Jason checked it out to show me that it's actually good. But I would still like to add some things to it. Bottled water, extra food that isn't some freeze dried "food bar", etc

  10. Hi Regan,

    I'm a longtime Ugly Green Chair reader who just found her way over to your site today. I was also super-close to the epicenter of that earthquake and was very freaked out for a good long time afterward. I just wanted to commiserate about how much it sucks to discover the earth can move beneath you at any time; I have a theory that folks who grew up in California are much less freaked out by the occasional shake than we transplants are. I'll take a Buffalo snowstorm over a Bay Area earthquake any day.

  11. Katie that is totally true, locals are way more casual about earthquakes than transplants are. During the shaking I could tell who was local (the produce guy that causally said "oh, it's a earthquake. Fun") and transplants (me, trying to figure out if flipping my shopping cart over and getting under it was a good idea or not) I've always said I'll take a hurricane over and earthquake and, even after going through Katrina, I still stand by that statement.