19 August 2013

Shakes and makes

You'd have to have been living under a rock (or maybe just not in NZ) to know Wellington has had a pretty shaky few days.

I'm pretty sure we all thought that the 6.5 earthquake last month was the only 'big' one we'd be getting for a while, and as expected the aftershocks dwindled away gradually getting smaller and few and far between. And life went back to normal.

So I don't think anyone was expecting what happened on Friday, I think it would be safe to safe it took everyone by surprise.

I'd left work at 2.15pm like any other Friday, after picking up Nikki from Life's Wonderful Happenings who was coming to stay the weekend with us. We had just come off the motorway, and were pulling away from the first set of traffic lights when all of sudden the back of the car skidded around and it felt like I  had a puncture. Now that I know that was when the 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit, I'm guessing the back wheel was actually spinning out as the wheel struggled to get any traction on the road as the ground rolled around us.

I pulled in and checked the car and was puzzled as to why there was no sign of a flat tyre. I told Nikki how weird it was, and she joked that maybe there'd been an earthquake - although neither of us thinking for a minute that was actually the case - and so we continued on our way to daycare. I also remember wondering why a whole bunch of people were milling around in the car-park across the road from daycare looking a bit bewildered, but it wasn't till we got upstairs and heard the news that everything then fell into place.

The cellphone networks were pretty jammed but Mark managed to get through to me and ask if we were OK. He was relieved to hear we were already at daycare, and sounded pretty shaken after being in his building on his own through the big jolt.

We left daycare at the usual time to head up to school, but people were already starting to flee the CBD (and it would get progressively worse over the next few hours). So the 5-7 minute journey took about twice as long and were late arriving to school, only managing to get there a few minutes after 3pm.

At this stage, the whole school (those who hadn't already been collected by their families) was sitting outside up on the top court. We quickly found Noah and then decided to retrieve his bag from his cloakroom before heading home. We were only inside the building for a minute or two (and also went into his classroom to retrieve a DVD) but in that time there was quite a nasty aftershock so we high-tailed it back out of the building. His whole school has been earthquake strengthened recently - which I am very relieved about - but even so his classroom this year - which is on the bottom of a 3-storey brick building - is not somewhere you'd want to be hanging around in on a day like this.

We arrived home and found a few things dislodged and fallen off shelves again like last time but thankfully nothing broken this time. After a strong and much needed cup of tea, the boys, Nikki and I played card games for the afternoon trying to take our minds of the frequent after shocks we were feeling as we sat in the lounge together.

Mark (who'd made the decision to leave work early and try and get the grocery shopping done) got stuck in the traffic gridlock that hit Wellington for several hours as everyone tried to get out of the city at the same time. It took him an hour to drive a short 1 km to the supermarket and even then he had to give up and walk the last bit. Luckily a New World worker took pity on him afterwards and helped him get the groceries back to the car, as his left arm - despite being out of his cast since Monday - yay for that - is still very weak and not up to carrying heavy shopping bags around.

There was another nasty 6.2 aftershock at about 5.30pm as I was cooking dinner which stopped us in our tracks and sent us for the doorway. I was very relieved to see Mark finally arrive home at about 5.45pm. As we sat down for dinner I realised I hadn't given a lot of thought to how the boys were coping with the events of the afternoon, but it came apparent - as Mylo refused to go to the toilet without me and Noah then acknowledged he really didn't want to sleep on his own - that the shaking had actually taken its toll.

We decided that the boys could bunk in with Nikki for the night (who was also actually pretty glad of the company too). I am so thankful there were no more big shakes in the night as our nerves were already pretty on edge.

Saturday passed by uneventfully until there was a decent 5.5 aftershock on Saturday night as Mark and I were watching telly which sent us for the doorway (me dragging a long thread from the ball of wool from my crochet like a tail behind me as I went) and then another smaller one in the middle of the night which woke us.

I'm feeling a bit helpless that this seems to have affected Noah particularly. He has seemed very subdued all weekend, and asked me during church if the ground was shaking - I said it was just the vibrations from the music. He also then asked after church if we'd been jumping around in creche as he said he'd felt the ground move next door - which we had - I'd had the kids all doingg froggy hyper hops around the room. He also didn't want to stay at church long after the service and even though he wouldn't really talk about it, I just know it's because of the quakes. It hurts seeing him full of fear - and I can still remember back to when he suffered anxiety for several months last year after accidentally getting locked in a toilet at a theatre during the school holiday programme. I really pray this is the last of the shaking so life can get back to normal and my wee guy can feel safe in his world again. I know even I have found myself imagining things moving when they are not, and feeling on edge at any vibrations, so I can only imagine how much more unsettling it is for the little ones.

Having Nikki with us for most of the weekend was a very pleasant distraction from all the goings on. She was subjected to playing just about every game we have in the house, and then had to put up with my kack-handedness, lack of skill and millions of dumb questions as she very patiently taught me the art of crochet which I've been wanting to learn for ages but haven't had the dedicated time to spend with a patient teacher to do so. It wasn't all a one-way street as I did help her get her Instagram feed working on her blog though!

A non-plussed helper helping Nikki unravel some crochet

Caught hooking in public @ Noah's swimming lesson

 Nikki being inducted into the joys of the Wii U with the boys


My first crochet project taking shape - a hat


I even managed my first granny square - though I think it's pretty obvious which one belongs to the teacher and which one belongs to the student!

So, all in all a funny kind of weekend. One where simply being with friends, keeping routines and learning new skills seemed the best way to pass the time and prevent us from completely freaking ourselves out with 'what-if' thoughts.

And we are very much hoping and praying for a smoother less shaky week ahead.

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