How does an ant eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Big problems are composed of smaller, albeit interconnected, problems. Solving the smaller problems will have an implication on the larger problems.

17 September 2011

Hurriquake Week

When disaster strikes….

I survived my long week of natural disasters – but I am not entirely sure they are over just yet. The earthquake and hurricane clearly weren't flooding, as more tropical rains continue to hit the DC area. What a crazy week or two, to say the least. That being said, I must say, come on Mother Nature…bring it! While I am very grateful both the earthquake and the hurricane that hit this past week were minimal, it would have been “fun” (I know, I must have a sick mind, but I did work in disasters, so can you blame me?!?) had they been a little less half-assed and hit just a bit stronger! In my opinion, both were quite weak, but at least added a little excitement to the week.

I loved the communication between coasts though, after the earthquake - "Hey east coasters: welcome to our world and what we live with everyday in California. Stay Safe." And the response from East Coasters, "Hey, Californians: Shut up and let us wallow in our abject terror." (Please see part of an article I came across about this at the end of this post...was too funny not to include.)

I have been through a few earthquakes in Utah, but I think that this 5.8 quake that hit Virginia is probably my biggest, to date. It made us all pause and second guess if we were just going crazy or if the ground was actually shaking – sure enough, after it began to sustain itself for more than a few seconds, I wondered if it was going to get worse and if I should crawl under my desk. It was just enough to do some damage around the area, knock a number of things out of place at home (surprisingly, my old rowhome was still standing!), crack our office wall a bit, and offset the rest the work day! Many were sent home and those of us that stayed at work definitely didn’t accomplish much after that. It didn’t make the commute home very pretty either – the roads gridlocked and the metro trains going no faster than 15 mph. I had one friend that it took 3 hours for her to get home – downtown DC to Arlington, walking would have been quicker! My commute wasn’t too bad, took double what it normally does, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was longer than that.

Four days after the earthquake, the East Coast embraced itself for Hurricane Irene that was looking to hit DC at a category 3 and NYC at a category 2. Fortunately for many, Irene lost strength after ramming into North Carolina, but still swept through the area as a hurricane and being downgraded to a tropical storm about the time it hit NYC. I have definitely been through East Winds much stronger than this hurricane, but it was still enough to topple over many older trees around Capitol Hill – we lost about 4 or 5 really big trees on my street, totaling quite a few cars, but otherwise the area was pretty unaffected…we didn’t even lose power! I have to admit that I was disappointed. That Irene had ruined my weekend in NYC with the girls and prevented me from flying out to Utah to still celebrate Cass’ 30th with her, the least she could have done was provided a little more excitement for me! Ha! Kidding! Kind of.

I watched this one fall, across the street from my house
Went to check out the damage by the tree outside my house and saw this...wait, something doesn't quite look right here! Where did the street go?! Looks like a jungle down there!
A block down the road

And a clip of the article I mentioned above, about the earthquake...

Californians can't get enough of snickering at how quaintly hysterical we East Coasters became after our earthquake today. A report from a waiting room in Santa Barbara, via Twitter: "CNN is on going on and on about the east coast earthquake. People here are laughing." In a misguided attempt to be sympathetic, LA Weekly wrote, "Even by L.A. terms 5.9 is a rocker." Even by L.A. terms—because, you know, Southern California invented earthquakes.

Listen, we know the average Californian was born amid a thundering 7.5 magnitude quake and popped out directly into a mudslide. We've all read tales of how the bright pioneers of San Francisco bathe their young in tsunamis and kill mountain lions for sport (and yet would shrivel and die if the temperature fell below 65.)

But can we wimpy East Coasters just have our moment of absolutely shitting ourselves in fear as our non-earthquake-proofed buildings wobble and creak around us? Can we crawl around on our carpets to survey the paltry damage—look, a book fell off a shelf! That could have given someone a serious goose-egg!—without some Californian standing smugly in the doorframe like they learned in grade school, chewing on a PowerBar from the earthquake preparedness kit they carry around in a Lakers fanny pack at all times?

We deserve our fear, California. Because of 9/11! This earthquake could have been another 9/11, for all we knew. Yeah, didn't think you had anything to say to that.

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