Posts Tagged ‘earthquake’

Wiggles and wobbles

August 17, 2013

There were timtams for morning tea this morning. Yum!  The children were very appreciative.  But half-way through his, Fainjin suddenly pulled something out of his mouth and said, “I think my tooth just fell out!”

“Really?!” I was surprised, because he hadn’t mentioned a wiggly tooth at all.  “Come here, let me see.”

He put the rest of the timtam in his mouth, and came over.  I sighed.  Now he had a mouth full of chocolately caramelly biscuity crumbs.  I gave him a Look, and he giggled and looked abashed.  When he’d finished, I asked him to open his mouth so I could see.  He opened wide and stuck his tongue out – so I couldn’t see his bottom teeth.  The thing in his hand certainly looked like a little tooth.  Eventually I got to see his bottom teeth, and sure enough one of the front ones is missing.

I asked if it had been wiggly, and he said no.  He didn’t seem in the least upset, more amused and rather pleased.  It turns out that lots of other kids in his class have lost several teeth already, and he was feeling left out.  Having lost one now he feels much more grown-up; it is a rite of passage.  I just hope the Tooth Fairy remembers to come tonight.  Ahem.

Meanwhile, things have been a bit shaky around here.  Yesterday at 2:30pm we had a 6.6 “severe” earthquake, which shook our house pretty hard and knocked some light things off shelves.  I was home with a friend visiting, the children were at school, and The Dad was at work.

My friend was very worried about her daughter at kindergarten, so we left almost immediately after the shaking stopped.  That meant we didn’t feel the 5.7 aftershock just a few minutes later – you’re much less likely to feel a quake when you’re moving around.  But more things were on the floor when we got back home!

Pearl hadn’t felt the quake, she was walking somewhere, but Fainjin & Babess had and their classes had done “turtles” very well I’m told.  The school evacuated onto their fields and playground after the shaking, then returned to classrooms to collect their bags and be dismissed at the usual time.  I did notice that there were more parents there earlier than usual – like me!

Our friends came home with us, for the company, and we took refuge in cups of tea for the mums and gingerbread men, lego and children’s TV for the kids.  The Dad had left work early, but didn’t get home for nearly three hours because of traffic chaos in the city as everyone tried to leave at once.  Luckily we were able to keep in contact and knew that we were all safe even if we weren’t together.

At 5:30pm there was another big shake – 6.0 and severe – that had all of us at home back in doorways and under tables being “turtles” again.  The Dad was nearly home at that point, stopped at traffic lights, and felt the car rocking.  He saw a woman in the car ahead of him put on her handbrake and get out of her car, looking very uncertain about what to do.

The children have been remarkably settled.  We had a big shake a month ago, and Babess was very upset by that, refusing to go  to the toilet by herself and waking at night for weeks – she’d only just stopped again, so I was worried we might be back to square one.  But apart from wanting me to escort her to the loo a couple of times, she has been fine.  Pearl woke at 2am and told me there had been another earthquake, but it was a much quieter night than I dared hope.

We expect days and weeks of more aftershocks – and are very thankful that, like last month, there seem to have been no injuries caused by these quakes.  There has been property damage and there will be disruption, but let’s hope this is the worst of it.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

All shook up

July 3, 2012

I was going to write something cute about our day, but just as I settled in to write, we had a rather large earthquake.  Geonet puts it at 7.0 on the Richter scale, and in our house it started with a little shake, then kept going and getting larger, lasting about a minute or so.  The adults were all in doorways and the children even woke up.  I had time to snatch up Babess and cuddle her while the shaking was still going on, and tell the other two to “make a turtle” or get in the doorway.

We’re all ok, everyone else is asleep now but I am still quite awake.  It sounds like there was some small damage (goods off shelves in supermarkets and so on) closer to the epicentre.  The quake was very deep, which will have limited the damage.  There is no tsunami threat, we are told.

So no cute stories tonight.  Stay safe, everyone!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Anniversaries and art

February 22, 2012

A year ago today we were reeling in shock.  It’s been a hard twelve months for the people of Christchurch, and their friends and families too.

We remember.  And not just on the anniversary.


Fainjin had his first “art day” at school today.  He did a very good sketch of a sunflower, and a lovely picture of himself driving a spaceship.  The kids drew vehicles of their own choice, and stuck photos of themselves “driving” in them.

His picture really stands out among the others… because his photo is upside down!  We asked him about it, and he explained that in his spaceship, the driver rolls around (a bit like a hamster wheel, I gather).

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Sad but true

December 28, 2011

Fainjin got a couple of emergency-services Lego sets for Christmas, and he and Babess have been playing with them a lot.  Today Babess set a miniature alarm clock to beep constantly (yes, very annoying), and rushed around dramatically saying, “Oh no! Da alarm is going off!  Dere must be a eMERgency! … Is dere a earthquake in Christchurch?”

Fainjin, who is less dramatic and more technical in his Lego play, barely even looked up as he replied deadpan, “There’s always a earthquake in Christchurch.”

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


July 5, 2011

We had quite a shake here today.  Literally – a 6.5 earthquake in the middle of the North Island, widely felt in our area.  I was sitting at the kitchen table (home with Fainjin, who has croup).  I would characterise the shaking as insistent, rather than violent, and it lasted quite a long time, about 30 seconds according to news reports.  For me, it went a bit like this: “something’s wrong… what’s wrong?… the kitchen door is rattling… why is it rattling? Fainjin’s not out there, he’s in the lounge… oh, the table is shaking!  oh everything is shaking! ummmm…”

Fainjin was unconcerned, I don’t think he even really noticed it – or if he did, didn’t realise it was a quake.

Pearl was at after-school care, and when I went to get her I asked whether they had felt it.  “No,” came the reply, “and you’ll never guess why!  We were all outside assembling for an earthquake drill!”

Nice to know they’re prepared!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Turtles and tunes

June 19, 2011

“Mummy Mummy! Want to see how you do an earthquake?!” asked Babess this morning.  She was very keen and enthusiastic as I was eating my toast.  “Yes, ok then,” I replied, and she immediately dropped to the floor in a perfect “turtle” – kneeling down, head on the floor and arms protectively over her neck.

It gave my heart a pang – it’s great that she knows what to do, and I’m thankful that daycare have obviously discussed and practised it, but I hate to think of all the kids in Christchurch who do it for real every day at the moment, and I hate to think that the same could happen to us at any minute.

Pearl’s choir had a concert this afternoon, in the church whose hall they practise in.  It’s the same church my sister got married in, and where my grandmother was a soloist in her youth, so there’s a lot of family history there.

They all sang beautifully, and it was wonderful to hear the clear sweet voices ring out in the old church.  Fainjin and Babess were not particularly interested, but we managed to keep them tolerably quiet and still, and at least no more disruptive than any of the other children there!

Pearl was thrilled to see that her grandparents, aunt and cousins and even a great-aunt turned out to hear her perform.  She had been worried about singing, having been away for four of the last five practices, but having such strong support there gave her a great boost in confidence.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


February 27, 2011

My heart is sad and my soul is weary this week.  The pain and misery in one of my favourite cities is hard to bear.  There are happy stories, inspirational stories, but they are all born of tragedy.  Normally a news-junkie, I’ve been found myself unable to watch the evening news on television, and skimming quickly through the newspapers, carefully selecting what I read.  The stories are too raw, too powerful, too close.

I have to say, the media are doing an excellent job of telling those stories (that I have read), and of getting information to those who need it.  They, like the rescue workers and essential services, are working in terrible conditions and under incredible pressure.

We are fortunate – we know where all our friends and family are, and they are mostly ok.  Mostly.

But life does go on, with its ups and downs, and we must keep on keeping on.  Children are an excellent distraction in times like this.  Fainjin had three days at home this week with a short-lived tummy bug: he was sick one day, and bouncing off the walls the rest of the time (there is a very sensible 48-hour stand-down from daycare after vomiting).

During this time, he discovered or re-discovered two delightful activities: sliding on the kitchen floor in your socks, and watching Diego on TV.  Diego is an “aminal wescuwer” (animal rescuer) who lives in the South American jungle.  Fainjin is much enamored of this idea and has been saying “Mummy, I’m Diego now” – although I suspect he still wants to be a firefighter as well.

He managed to artfully combine both recent passions yesterday morning, coming out barefoot to the kitchen and asking, “Please Mummy, can I have my socks on? ‘Cos I’m Diego… and Diego lives in da snoooow.”

Ah yes, the famous snows of the South American jungle!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Quake. Again.

February 22, 2011

This afternoon another large earthquake hit in Christchurch.  This time, it was shallower, the shaking was more violent, and people have died.

Lots of people are hurt, homeless, and frightened.  Some are still trapped in collapsed buildings.

There will be great stories of heroism, miraculous escapes, and heartwarming kindness to emerge in the next days and weeks.  They will comfort us in our sorrow and fear, and reassure us that people are basically decent creatures.  (I’m sure there will also be tales of looting and despicable behaviour, but they will be the minority).

Once again, we check our emergency supplies, make mental notes to improve our preparedness, talk with the children about what could, might, one day probably will happen here, and feel lucky that this time it didn’t.

My thoughts and love go out to those in Christchurch, especially the families of those hurt, trapped, or killed.

Some links:

NZ Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (quake updates) and preparedness

Red Cross NZ (donations) (news, pictures, video) (quake reports and maps)

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


September 4, 2010

We were woken this morning at 4:35 by a crashing sort of rumble and a shake.  At first I thought that Fainjin had climbed over the bedroom-doorway gate, but as soon as that crossed my mind, it was replaced by the thought “Earthquake!“.  And as soon as that thought crossed my mind, it was over.

“Quake?” I asked, and “Oh, yes” came the reply.  I don’t know why I always assume he is more awake than I am when this sort of thing happens.  I flicked on the radio, and heard the announcer say that there had just been a small shake in Wellington.  Ok, then.  The children slept on, we didn’t even get up to check on them.  Then there was a correction on the radio – Wellington might only have felt a small shake, but in Christchurch there were several reports of damage and a lot of frightened people.  We kept the radio on for updates, but drifted in and out of sleep.

Just before 7am, there was another report about the quake – 7.4 they said, it was later downgraded to 7.1 – and then a music break.  The Dad laughed at the first note.  It took me a few seconds longer to recognise The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”.  About half-way through the song, the announcer apologised and changed to another song… I suppose someone hadn’t really looked at the playlist before pushing the button.

We got up and went about our day, punctuated by calls, emails and texts to and from family and friends, everyone checking in.  Some reported no damage, others floors strewn with debris, others some structural damage to their roofs and houses.  Everyone is safe, for which we are very grateful.

It could have been so much worse.  A few hours earlier or later, and there would surely have been several deaths.  The photos of the damage to the  inner city are just incredible.

We won’t be the only family in NZ checking our Earthquake Kit this weekend.  It’s a good reminder to make sure there is sufficient (and reasonably fresh!) bottled water for all of us for three days, a supply of batteries, a radio, torch, food the children will agree to eat before they get to starvation point, and an up-to-date first-aid kit.

How well are you prepared for a natural disaster?

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

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