Friday, April 11, 2014

Reflections on an Earthquake, Part Five

I used to find amusing how prepared Chilean mothers were for that forever-imminent phantom of an earthquake. "I always remind my son to have shoes next to his bed!" was a phrase I often heard in reference to bedtime routines. It was as though earthquake preparedness was imprinted on their parental DNA. "Obsessed" is a word that may or may not have crossed my mind a time or two!

I recall this as I instruct my boys to put on shirts as they head to bed tonight, while I inquire as to the whereabouts of their footwear, and as I turn their discarded sweatshirts inside out and within easy reach at a moment's notice. A 6.2-magnitude aftershock rocked us a bit at prayer meeting tonight, and now I am the one thinking, "You can never be too sure!"

I find myself making mental lists of what we could do better next time. Those cute little head flashlights we give away for birthday gifts to kids? How about seven of those handy the next time the city goes dark! The emergency lanterns with built-in battery-operated radios that many of our neighbors had the night of April 1 now make me drool. Gotta get me one of those! One friend made hanging flashlights for everyone in her house. I like that idea, because we could hang them all in one place for easy access in an emergency.

Today the gas company manually turned off our switch and said not to touch it until they returned. It's after midnight and technically tomorrow now, and they haven't come back. Two calls to the company in the course of the afternoon told me they were supposedly "still working." Since our kitchen stove, hot water, and laundry dryer all function on gas, I am missing it quite a bit (though we did get take-out Chinese food for all our troubles!) 

I asked my next-door neighbor at one point, "Did you get your gas back?" He solemnly informed me that they have never used the piped gas because that is a hazard in earthquakes; they buy gas in containers so they are not dependent on the system. Ooooh. That's smart. Did I mention he is a risk assessment engineer and that they have an extra water tank and a back-up generator, too? I want to be like them in the next earthquake! 

Before heading to bed, I checked to make sure any breakable dishes were somewhere they couldn't be jostled to the floor should it shake tonight. I double-checked that the dog was on a leash since a good tremor can knock open the door to the back patio. I scrolled through the latest seismic reports and listed to the squeaking of the mirror on our dresser through a couple of minor movements. I considered the fact that all blankets have now been restored to their proper places on beds in bedrooms. I wondered if we should always keep a stash in the cars for future earthquakes and nights spent on four wheels.

And suddenly, I realized that I don't sound all that different from those "obsessed" mothers I once knew. :)

Related posts:
Reflections on an Earthquake, Part Four
Reflections on an Earthquake, Part Three
Reflections on an Earthquake, Part Two
Reflections on an Earthquake, Part One

1 comment:

Caleb Stein said...

Thank you for sharing this. You are en encouragement to me to blog our experiences in Peru. We also hope to adopt if the Lord allows. God bless you, momma in Chile!! :) Ecko Stein, missionary mom and wife in Peru