Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Seat Belt and an Earthquake

Sunday was the day of the great Earthquake of 2006. I was at my laptop, and Maia was watching television. Power Rangers, Mystic Force. One of her faves.

The quake rattled the house for a good ten seconds. I was at the lanai door looking out over the city when the next one came. Another good ten seconds or so. That one felt even stronger than the first, though I understand it wasn't.

The sky darkened, and rains came almost right away. These pictures are from about 10 minutes after the quake.

The power went out at about that time. Kristina said, "Well, at least you can't go to work today," and Maia echoed that: "Yay, Daddy can't go to work."

Even though I've been working pretty much around the clock for the last month, I've tried to save weekend mornings for Maia. But the stress from work has taken its toll.

I was thinking about my big project one morning, putting Maia into her carseat.

"Are you angry at me or the seat belt," she had wanted to know.

I laughed, and said neither, but it disturbed me that I had let work invade our lives to that extent. I know it's a little bubble that we live in.

The night before we had been to Chinatown for dinner. We had parked on a side street, there was a crowd of people sitting on the curb and lining the street, and I hadn't liked the looks of the situation. They were all probably harmless, but there's a lot of alcohol and drugs in that area, and I had wanted Maia to stay close. It annoyed me that she wouldn't listen and hold my hand, and I had let it show.

"Hold Mommy's hand," she had protested.

Something about her tone had made me ashamed of myself for losing my temper with her.

"Maia, when Daddy gets angry at you, do you forgive Daddy? Like last night?"

"Yes," she said.

Communicating with Maia on this level is still a new thing for me.

"Thank you, Sweetie. I appreciate that."

We spent the morning home, mostly, though I went out a couple of times--to check the broken house (it was fine) and to look for milk (everything was closed, except Mom and Pop grocery stores that had plenty of beer but no milk).

Towards noon, we all ventured out to go to the accountant's office, if you can believe that. This was the 15th, our tax return was on an extension, and it had to be in the mail on the 16th. So there we were, in the middle of a storm, in a city that had no power, dropping off our tax stuff at the last possible moment, at an empty office.

We got to the accountant's, Kristina discovered she had picked up the wrong envelope, and we had to make a round trip. This time, Kristina discovered that the accountant had sealed off the bottom of the door to his office, just to stave off this sort of eventuality, I guess, and so went off in search of lunch--which, surprisingly, we found, courtesy of a takeout restaurant that operated on gas burners.

About four in the afternoon, I barbecued meat and cooked some potatoes and zucchini on a little barbecue that we use for the beach. I overdid the beef, and it all tasted a little like charcoal lighter. It was dark by the time we finished dinner, and so we lit some candles.

By early evening, some lights had come back on in the city, though we didn't get our power back until the next day.

All in all, it was a good day.

I've missed keeping this up.

John, Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Blogger SXYMMA said...

I thought about you guys when I heard about the earthquake. I'm glad that you and your family are safe. You're a very talented photographer, btw. I've tried taking pictures of candlelight, but can't get the setting on my camera right because either the flash comes on (which ruins the effect obviously) or it's blurry.

10/20/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Thanks. My secret is that I take a gazillion photos. One or two of them are bound to come out. :)

10/20/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger SXYMMA said...

haha I do the same thing, but then I like all of them - and can't decide which ones to post. With kids as cute as ours it's hard to pick :)

10/24/2006 06:06:00 AM  

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