Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tomorrow makes the 10th anniversary of the Nisqually Earthquake here in Washington State. It was the first earthquake that I ever felt and it was pretty big - 6.8 and lasted nearly 45 seconds.

It was late in the morning and I was still in my jammies. Jax was playing quietly nearby (I was reading my forums) and Dex was asleep on the couch. I heard a rumbling and thought it was a loud truck going by. The house started to shake too and I thought that it must be a really LARGE truck. Then I looked across the family room into the kitchen and I could see the house rolling and it clicked - EARTHQUAKE! I picked Jax up and ran under a doorway. I clearly wasn't thinking correctly because I left Dex sleeping on the couch! OMG! What kind of mother does that?!

When the house stopped rolling (it seemed to last forever but it was just about 45 seconds), I rushed back to Dex who did not even stir. Nevertheless, I picked him up and I was shaking a bit. For some reason I could not make calls but could take calls coming in. Stephen called to see if we were ok. He was pretty shaken up because he was in a taller building at work and could really feel the building sway.

There was no damage to our house or belongings with the exception that the top row of my PEZ collection fell down! Several others "danced around" and were facing the wrong direction. I am sure it wasn't worse because the cabinet was strapped to the wall.

Anyway, I have felt just one small one since that first BIG one but I did not realize it was an earthquake - I just thought the washing machine was too full and was shaking the house. I hope we don't have any others anytime soon. I look at the destruction of Christchurch in New Zealand with 145 dead and still a couple of hundred people missing, and I think about how lucky we were that the Nisqually Earthquake was deep in the ground (about 32 miles!) as it did not cause nearly the kind of damage that one at a much shallower depth would cause. And just to say, there definitely was some damage (google Nisqually earthquake images) but no casualties and not many injuries. We were so lucky.

So Happy Anniversary Nisqually Quake. Hope we never have to celebrate the anniversary a new quake.
Here's a photo of road damage (approximately 2.25 miles from me as the crow flies)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I worked in the health room at the school again today. I always get a kick out of the kids who come in there. Today we had 4 "head injuries" (kids bumped heads at recess), two kids with muddy clothes from falling in the snow at recess as well as a couple of belly aches.

One of the boys with a "head injury" insisted in lying on the bed with an ice pack on his head. Whenever I would turn my back to him, he'd let out a loud moan and would look away quickly when I turned back to him. I was concerned at first that he was really hurt until I spoke to his mom (protocol to call all parents when kids have hit any part of their head). She said with a heavy sigh that he had at least one "head injury" a month last year and it looked like this year he was on target for repeating that feat. He wasn't too keen on returning to class until the school secretary came in and sent him back. She told me jokingly that I needed to toughen up and send the kids back to class. I can't do it!

I have enjoyed volunteering in the health room this year. Some of the kids are so funny and some are a little sad. We see "frequent fliers" and some kids trying to be so tough when they are clearly hurt. I give clean clothes to kids who have fallen in the mud or peed their pants. They get a little pat on the shoulder with their bandaids and it is amazing how much better these kids can feel with an ice pack wrapped in a paper towel.

And when some of the 5th and 6th grade girls come in with stomach aches, I feel for them because I think some of them are probably experiencing their first menstrual cramps. I love the brave little boys who come in with blood streaming from their knees saying that "it doesn't even hurt!" while they wait patiently for me to put on my blue nitrile gloves (they finally replaced the latex gloves when I told them I had a sensitivity and wouldn't be able to continue to volunteer unless the blue gloves returned).

Anyway, I am only in their 2 days a month and it is a pretty easy volunteer gig. And much more interesting that photocopying (but not as fun as teaching Art Start). I am looking forward to my next shift.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cars' teacher told me today that all of the girls are all ga-ga over him in class. She said that the hasn't done anything to encourage it but all of the girls fawn over him. Cars frequently gets chosen to help out the star of the day if it is a girl. He has been bringing home drawings that one girl at his table group has been making for him. Another girl just cannot wait to say HI to me when I come in the room then tell me all about what Cars has been up to.

He, I think, is oblivious to it. Well, oblivious to the fact that they are girls. Besides, he only has eyes for one girl - T. She was in his class last year and he is always telling me about what she did at recess. The other day he was eating an apple and was trying to get the little stem off. I told him he needed to hang on to it and twist it around and for every turn, you say A-B-C and whatever letter you are at when it pops off will be the first initial of the girl you will marry. When it popped off at D he told me that it should have been a T (!).

I'd better watch out for my son, the lady's man!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

My family and I were approved today as "trusted travelers" so we will get NEXUS passes that will allow us in the super-fast no waiting lines at the border when we drive to Vancouver. Hurray! We still need to go to the Vancouver Airport (or Toronto next time we are there) to get the iris scanning done in order to use the NEXUS pass at Canadian airports. It will save us so much time when we travel to/from Toronto too! And it was only $50 for 5 years. Both Stephen and I had to pay the fee but it is free for kids aged 18 and under.

I almost want to drive up to Canada this weekend just to use it! And maybe we could consider day trips (well, still 3 hours driving each way but no wait at border will make it doable).

Friday, February 04, 2011

DH and I decided to upgrade a few things around the house. We had a builder-installed brass chandelier in the dining room (and matching pendant in the front hall) so we splurged and bought a new chandelier and pendant light. I was so delighted with them! The chandelier is much BIGGER and looks great! Plus the lights are halogen so really nice clean light (sorry, but I hate fluorescent lights!).

After we installed the chandelier I noticed that the dimmer switch would get HOT. In the past with the old light, I noticed it would get warm but this was HOT. I even brought over our instant read digital thermometer and the dimmer switch (which is metal), and it read 97 degrees!! Ouch!

So I looked online and after reassuring myself that my house was not going to burn down immediately, I realized that our light switch is probably a standard 600W while our chandelier is a 900W. Oops! Who knew? Anyway, we have ordered, through a contractor, a new light switch that he will install next week when it comes in.

The contractor has also installed 3 new bathroom sinks (the 4th will be installed next week), 3 new faucets, repaired our leaking shower, installed an electrical outlet outside the bathroom door (so we can use a night light and NOT keep the bathroom light on all.night.long). He is going to install a new kitchen sink and faucet as soon as the sink gets here (just ordered it - a Kohler Langlade "Smart Divide" in Caviar). He also installed a new security light at the side of the house which will make taking the garbage out much easier (it was PITCH black out there as neither the backdoor light nor the garage light reached the side of the house). He also ran the wire so we can install an overhead light in our bedroom. I am having a hard time finding exactly what I want though so he just had to cap off the box he installed and Stephen can install the light once we get it.

Now that we've started here there are so many more things that I would like to do. Long term (i.e. expen$ive) list and short term. Long term I'd love to install a gas fireplace insert in the living room, get a gas stove top (currently have a ceramic/glass one), hardwood floors in dining room, and the list goes on. Short term, I'd like to stain the deck and porch(in the summer), fix the lattice work around the deck (got broken digging for septic tank), and sew some new curtains for my kitchen.

If we keep at it all, we'll have a brand new house!