San Diego has been rocked by quite a few medium-sized earthquakes recently. My friends on the East Coast have responded with appreciated concern each time I mention (via Twitter or Facebook) that another temblor has hit. Not having experienced an earthquake, many of them imagine something akin to the 1974 disaster movie–you know the one staring Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner. And while Hollywood’s version of the this natural disaster is dramatic, I have found that even when the quake registers more than 5.0 on the Richter scale, there’s not much too it. The floor shakes for a few seconds and then it’s over. Now, if buildings were falling, or highway overpasses crumbling, I am sure I would feel differently, but as of this moment, based on what I have experienced, I’ll take an earthquake over a hurricane any day.
Flashback~ (no way I can) Forget About it – Hurricane Opal.
It is the first week of October, 1995. I am living in this (see below) very cute home in Atlanta, Georgia. I live there with my husband and my then two-year-old daughter, our dog Sid and cat Mr. Kitty (yes, that was his name and he answered to it, thank you). I was newly pregnant with my son. The type of newly pregnant where you feel like crap. Oh, and my husband was out-of-town on business.
I don’t remember much about the days preceding the hurricane. I know it was being reported on the news, but I was busy being mom and dad to my daughter, and was sick–nauseous, tired, cranky. So, forgive me, but I am not sure when forecasters first started mentioning Atlanta and Opal in the same breath. What I do remember hearing (this was maybe eight hours before Opal made landfall) was that Atlanta could sustain winds of up to 80 miles an hour. *Huh*?! It was suggested that any bed that was close to a window be moved. Apparently, all of this was going to go down at night–when it was dark, and we were sleeping. Windows, we were warned, could definitely break in that type of wind. *Uh…daughter’s crib is right next to window*. *And my bed is right next to window*. *And husband is out-of-town*. *And I feel like crap*.
No way I was letting a window blow in on her.
As soon as I heard about the wind, I called my husband. Remember him? He was out-of-town. Several states away. My end of the conversation went something like this: “Hurricane’s coming–you aren’t here!” “The windows are going to blow in–you aren’t here!” “I have to move the crib across the room, up against the door!” “I can’t move our bed!!” “What happens if I am asleep and the windows blow in on me??!!!” “And you aren’t here?!!!” I have no idea what his end of the conversation sounded like, I doubt I was listening.
Turns out, I shouldn’t have worried about sleeping through the windows breaking. At what I later learned was the exact moment Opal (her winds anyway) hit Atlanta, I was awakened. I have never heard a noise like the noise those winds made. You know how everyone says an approaching tornado sounds like a freight train? Hurricanes do too. At least Opal did. I jumped out of bed as soon as I heard the first whooshing sounds. My heart jumped in my throat five seconds later. I ran to my daughter’s room to make sure she was okay. Amazingly, she was still asleep, safely in her crib away from all windows, so I ran back to my room. Not sure why I was running places, house was really small, must have been the adrenaline. I think the power went out shortly thereafter.
To be continued…