My First Earthquake

July 29, 2008

Getting a line on the phones right now is like winning the lottery, but we’re all fine after today’s earthquake.  I know you’ll all think I’m a big nerd for saying this, but it was a little bit cool!  (I’ve been here for four years already, it was about time I felt something!)

I happened to be standing in the entryhall when the door started rattling ferociously.  I thought someone was trying to get into our apartment but as I peered out the peephole there was no one there.  So I passed it off as being one of those chinook-like winds that go barreling down the walkway during storms.  Little Red was standing over at the other end of the apartment, looking out the windows.  He looked a bit scared, and said, “Mummmy…”  I explained to him that it was a pretty big wind, eh?  and asked him if he saw the trees swaying.

It was only after I passed it off as a big wind did I notice that the chandelier was swaying and that we had just experienced an earthquake.  huh I guess I should turn on the news.

I tried calling both Paul and Angela, Paul to ask if he had felt it and Angela to see if she was okay, but couldn’t get through on any number.  It took a while, Paul said “5-10 minutes of trying to get through!”, but finally we connected and shared our little stories.  He was a little nervous for us, but as soon as I explained to him that the epicenter was in Chino Hills he realized that out in San Bernardino he had felt it stronger than we had, and he was relieved.

Angela was very rattled when she came over, but she had been napping and awoke to the horrific noise of the mirrored closet doors shaking — not a great way to wake up!  She made calls to all her family members letting them know that she was okay, visited with us for a bit, and went back home. 

It was 11:42 when the ground shook so Janel was here for lunch soon after, and we talked very lightly of the whole thing.  She was here in 94 for the Northridge quake, so this was nothing for her.  Besides, she works in one of the safest buildings in the city.  And I just seem to have a slightly dangerous sense of adventure — no fear!  (I was disappointed when Hurricane Daniel turned and skipped Oahu in 99, and likewise let-down when Hurricane Isabelle stuck to the Virginia coast in 2003.  I’m insane, I know.)

We finished our lunches and went to the wading pool.  It was only a 5.4, wasn’t especially close, and the aftershocks were increasingly weak.  We weren’t going to miss playing in the water with our friends just because of a little ol’ earthquake!


Which Brings My Non-Classical Count to Two

July 27, 2008

My brother-in-law’s band, the Indio Bait, comes up to LA every once in a while to play.  (It would be more often if they only had survival jobs like all the other people in LA who are in bands, instead of careers.)  Paul makes it a point of always attending, but last night was the first time I actually went, too!  Instead of going on at 11 pm at the Roxy or the Mint or some other place down on Sunset they were going on at 9:30 at Zen Sushi in Silverlake!  I think it took us all of 8 minutes to get there.  (And yes, I find it fitting that the first club I visited in LA was Zen Sushi, although I do sometime hope to make it to their shows at the Roxy of the Mint, because that’s just cool.)

Angela’s washing machine is out of commission right now so she offered to babysit the sleeping boys while she did laundry — a winwin for sure.  Boy Blue was actually awake when we left but asleep within five minutes.  That was a miracle that could only happen because it was Angela.

The club was nice enough but I was unimpressed with the way they managed the bands.  Until yesterday afternoon the plan was that the Indio Bait would play in the main lounge at 10 pm for 50 minutes.  Hours before the performance they called and changed it to 9:30 for half an hour upstairs.  (There was a Filipino party in the main lounge or something … ?)  Many of the people planning on attending just didn’t get the message in time so the showing was low.  Even the drummer had a hard time with the change of plans, arriving only two minutes before the show was supposed to start. (yikes!!!)  We helped carry his stuff in, and  I have never seen anyone set up a kit that fast!   As a result, their first song was also their sound check.  (Paul missed the first song as he was driving around Silverlake trying to park Covey’s car.)  They were a bit rattled, and weren’t as tight as they normally are.  But they were still great!  It was so much fun to be out!

(As another comment on the poor communication with the club, they didn’t have any names on the list for the bands.  I didn’t mind the cover charge, as it was low, but was annoyed that they didn’t even have anyone on the list for the Indio Bait.  The girl said, “I haven’t even talked to them today.”)

It was really fun.  Eleas was there, of course, supporting Mark.  And Janel showed up with two of her friends, so I was pleased I did my part to help swell the ranks.  I felt so free and young and cool, going out to a club with my husband.  No diaper bag, just my driver’s license in my back pocket.  It was great!

The last concert I’ve ever attended was my first non-classical concert.  We saw Camper Van Beethoven on E Street in DC in early 2003.  I definitely need to get out more.  But I can, with my children getting older, a fantastic neighbour babysitter, and a family member in a band.  Sometimes I really love living here!

Panic at the Pool

July 24, 2008

Our routine for the wading pool is as follows:

Park the stroller at the bench near our friends.  Little Red takes of shirt and shoes and gets into the pool.  I undress Boy Blue and put him in the pool.  Then I go back to get Aiden and sit on the side of the pool.

Today, however, as I went back to get Aiden I watched Jack give Boy Blue a hug.  Boy Blue lost his balance and suddenly I was screaming as I ran the six steps back to the pool, “JACK!  Stop holding him under!!!”

I scooped my scared baby out of the water and held him for a long time, neither wanting to let go.  He cried a little, to let me know he could breathe and did not swallow any water, and then he just held me quietly.  I moved him a few times to make sure he was okay, and I held on to him as fiercely as he was to me.  I knew he was fine.  I knew he had only been under water for five seconds.  But we were both pretty freaked out. 

After a while he started to feel better, and I sat poolside with both babies on my lap.  Then Aiden on my lap and Boy Blue beside me.  Then he finally went off to play.  Finally, 40 minutes after we arrived at the pool he was squealing and splashing like normal.  He even played with Jack, his dear friend who had meant no harm, much to the relief of Jack’s stressed-out mother.  All was forgiven.

He’s napping now, as though nothing had happened.  I’ve checked on him twice already.  Everyone is fine, although I am a bit rattled.  I think naptime calls for some self-medicating chocolate today.  As I pulled him out of the water I also surfaced a whole host of thoughts and emotions I hadn’t ever considered before.  I don’t think I will ever forget seeing my baby’s eyes staring at me, startled and scared, an inch under the surface of the water.  I’m going to need some time to work through this one, I think.


July 23, 2008

(shamelessly stolen from April)

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn’t matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It’s actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I’ll assume you’re playing the game and I’ll come to your blog and leave one about you.

Happy Nappy

July 22, 2008

It’s a tricky thing to get all three boys to sleep in the afternoon, let alone to have the sleep overlap.  I was very concerned on our walk home from the park that I had lost it again this afternoon, as Aiden was fading and Boy Blue was out.  As far as I was concerned, Little Red just couldn’t walk fast enough, we just couldn’t get home fast enough. 

Boy Blue miraculously transferred from the stroller to his crib and didn’t even stir when I removed his shoes.  I got Aiden down (without bothering Boy Blue) within the hour.  I boldly decided not to crochet or clean, and told Reed that I would be upstairs for quiet time. 

Long after Aiden awoke and I got him back to sleep I realized that I could no longer hear Little Red playing and I went down to check on him. 

There he was on the couch.  Thumb in mouth, face on book, fast asleep.  It was so sweet.

I realized that the afternoon was nearly over and I should start to tidy up.  As I picked up Little Red’s viking hat he opened his eyes and told me “but I want to play.”  He returned immediately to his slumber.  He slept through the phone ringing to announce that Janel was here.  He slept through our conversation.  He slept until 5, when we finally awoke the babies and brought them downstairs.

I’m Here Until I’m Not

July 22, 2008

I fell off the wagon.

Hello, my name is Heather, and I’m addicted to  I had been clean for two months but I slipped again last week.

This time I moved our family to Anchorage, Alaska.  I even figured out which neighbourhood we’d likely move, and I investigated the schools.  I was already planning the weekend vacations we could take from that little spot of heaven.

For kicks and contrast I also moved us to south Atlanta, Georgia.  Although the cost of housing is half of what it would be in Alaska, it shouldn’t take an advanced degree to guess which location was most appealing. 

I was doing well for a few days.  I thought I had found the right balance between fantasy and reality.  But on the third or fourth day my perspective began again to be skewed and I knew I had gone too far.  I actually really like it here, and when/if we leave it will be very difficult.  I need to live now, here.  This is my life.  Alaska can wait.


and that is how you lose your deposit

July 20, 2008

Paul had early morning meetings, which left me to get the boys ready for church on my own.  I’ve done it before and I wasn’t worried.  As I was finishing up my morning regime I thought, “I am so awesome.  The boys are dressed.  I am dressed.  Not only will we be on time for church, but we may even be early.  Yay me!”

Little Red interrupted my self-praise and said, “Mummy, come look!”

He proudly displayed the newest piece of art, co-created with his brother.  The two had gotten dry erase markers from my husband’s briefcase and had drawn all over the carpets (and on the washing machine, but that was easy enough to wipe off!)  I sent the older one to time out downstairs, and tossed the younger one in his crib where he couldn’t expose himself to the toxins I was about to use, and I set to work on the carpet.  I knew I had to act fast, because we have several t-shirt stains from dry erase markers.  Once set, they do not come out of fabric.

What part of you thought this would be a good idea?  I didn’t say it.  But my mind was screaming it so loudly as I scrubbed the carpets in my skirt that I’m sure they heard me anyway.  Spray, scrub, vacuum.  Spray, scrub, vacuum.  We got to church only a minute late, and me knocked down a few (considerable) steps off my high horse.

I left for church not sure my efforts would pay off.  They did, fortunately.  I think the carpet is okay.  Our $1300 deposit will live to die another day.  (I’m thinking the chipping plaster on the walls will be the winning ticket.)