Earthquakes and things that shake the house

Being a totally Midwest kind of guy, prior to last Friday I had never felt an earthquake. I know there have been a couple that shook my home town before and members of my family felt them. But I didn’t. Maybe when those earthquakes hit I was watching the Chicago Cubs on TV and I could only deal with one disaster at a time.

I felt the earthquake Friday. I felt two of them. My wife and I get up early and I was sitting reading the paper when the house started to tremble at 5:37 a.m. At first, I thought the clothes washer was just out of balance because that kind of shakes the house, too, and I was supposed to get that fixed. But we weren’t washing clothes at time of the morning and I quickly figured out what it was.

“Did we just have an earthquake?” my wife asked.

I turned on the TV. It took about 10 minutes for the TV stations to start broadcasting the information, but once they got into it, they were in full earthquake mode. It’s really amazing how fast they can tell us exactly where the earthquake hit and how strong it was.

Last week we had a wonderful young woman from Ethiopia staying with us on a Rotary Club exchange program. It was her first trip to the United States. I told her we had just experienced an earthquake, and while she felt it, she was quite surprised to find out what it was. I think after a few weeks observing this country, she just expected that every once in while the whole place would start shaking loose for awhile before coming back together again.

The night before we had all gone to a terrific blue grass concert at Purdue by Cherryholmes. When it was over we had a root beer float in the Union.

“Do you realize,” I told our friend, “that in the last 10 hours you have seen a blue grass concert, experienced your first root beer float and an earthquake. You have really seen America on this trip. I don’t think there is anything more we can show you!”

One of the neat things about earthquakes is it gives you something different to talk about at
the office. Again and again at work Friday morning we all went over where we were when we realized what was happening. And when another one hit at 11:15 a.m., we all gathered to talk about it again. It sure beats work.

I noticed a headline in the Los Angeles Times that kind of had fun with Midwest people getting all excited about a 5.4 earthquake. My California friends also thought it was amusing.

“I’ve had bigger earthquakes than that in my backyard,” one of them told me.

We’ve had a 7 magnitude shake at our house before, too. But that was when the clothes washer first started going out of balance.

I guess the good thing about the earthquake is it reminded me that one of these days I have to get that fixed.

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