Monday, February 28, 2011

The Quake

Sophie was playing on the floor near me as I was putting Lachie's braces on his legs for standing practice. I was just about to stand him up when it hit. Another quake. Worse than before though, it was so violent!

Thankfully the kids were in the living room with me, so we ducked for cover on the ground together. Once the shaking stopped I looked around and saw the TV teetering on the edge of the shelf. I lifted it down to the floor - the kids were crying because they wanted me to hold them but I really had to secure things.

I moved the table to the living room and put the kids under it, preparing for the inevitable aftershocks. The dog was whining and shaking and refusing to leave my side and the kids would cry at each shock. I put my cell in my cleavage and grabbed my battery radio. I shook the batteries out of the remote and put it in the radio and put the headphone in. The radio also took up residence in my cleavage, LOL. My laptop still worked so I looked up info on there - not much available yet. I tried to call Andy and some idiot said he was at lunch and unavailable, but he was in his desk the whole time! Thankfully he emailed me to say he was OK. Dad rung to say he was OK, he was at Merivale having lunch with Colin. Colin was angry but OK and on his way home in the van with his awesome caregiver, Lynne.

I put Lachie in the carrier on my back, put Ave on the lead and took Soph by the hand. We went out into the street to see black water gushing up at the base of the power pole over the street. It was amazing - the silt settled on the road and nice, clear water ran off down the drain. I spoke to the neighbours to make sure they are all ok and ducked back inside. Andy had emailed to say he was on his way home.

I kept trying to call Mum but the phones weren't working. I finally got through and she burst into tears - soooo much chaos at school with 700 odd kids panicking around you. She had to stay till most were home. Some never got picked up :(

Dad came around and just said "oh it's awful" and burst into tears, holding me. He stayed for a bit, weeping and shaking. Ian wasn't home yet but had been in contact to say he was OK. Dad went home to look after the puppies and wait for Ian.

The hours slowly ticked by with my listening to the radio, my laptop battery went flat. We'd wander out to the street to chat with neighbours then come back inside for a bit. I was having waves of panic the entire time thinking about aftershocks and thinking about Andy out there, somewhere.

Mum came over to wait with me once she got away from school. My uncle Graeme had been staying with her so he came too and managed to open Lachie's bedroom door which had been jammed shut by a falling cupboard.

Finally - Andy slowly turned into the driveway - car covered in silt. I was so happy to see him that I almost got run over running to get to the car. Finally all that panic started to subside into *just* anxiety. In a split second we both agreed to leave and stay on the coast. I rang Sue who told us to just come over asap.

My car had little fuel in it and although Andy's car did, we couldn't get both carseats in it and his tank has an anti-syphon thing so we couldn't get the fuel out. I'd heard on the radio that there was fuel available in Woodend - we made the risky decision to drive there and chance running out and not getting back.

We ran around gathering supplies, clothes, food, water, electronics, toys, dog food etc. It was so hectic but we just wanted to escape. We asked Dad to look after the animals and we took Ave with us. Poor dog had the smallest gap in the boot to sit in the whole way but coped well.

Thank goodness, we arrived at Woodend to see not only was the petrol station there, undamaged and open but it was one that accepted our fuel card! And the queue wasn't terrible as we'd expected. I can't believe we managed to totally fill up and buy some essential supplies (Tim Tams, pies and coke! LOL). We started the 3hours drive over to Moana. We got there around 11pm. The kids were stoked to wake at that hour to see Nana and Grandad and have hot milo. At this point Andy had driven for 9 hours total!

We stayed for 5 days (I think??), which was great. We watched alot of news but we also got to enjoy the country atmosphere, Soph loved horse riding, playing with the calves and chickens and painting posts for grandad. Mum and Dad cleaned up much of the mess here while we were gone, which we appreciated.

I discovered I hadn't been as good at packing as I thought - I had no underwear for me and very little clothes for any of us. Thankfully some caring forum mums came to the rescue with donated clothes - which will be passed onto the welfare centres once they are needed.

Andy had to work on Monday so we reluctantly came home. We still had no power at our house and our house smelled rank - Dad missed one freezer when he was cleaning up and it was filled with meat and fish etc *gag* We stayed at Mum's house for two nights because she had power and water etc. There was others staying there too - my uncle, Mum's workmate Kushla and her son and all us lot.

Yesterday I went to WINZ to get a grant for food - $150 to stock ours and Mum's cupboards which was much appreciated! The dust is awful though and my asthma is playing up really badly. My next hurdle is getting my medication when my GP is closed and so is the pharmacy that I normally get my pills from. *sigh*

Home today - our power is back on! Yay! It's somewhat intermittent but still, it's great to be back in our own home!

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