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The Chronicles of the Weezie and the inflatable turtle
Weezie's random ramblings!!! Wahaaa!!
6.5 on the Richter scale...
It was my intention that the next time I updated this journal, it would be to tell you more about my USA trip back in March.

But it seems other events are occurring right now which I feel like talking about more.

On Friday I was at work. I had an early start, opening the store at 8.30. Claire who normally opens the store on weekdays wasn't coming in, so as a keyholder, I'd been rostered on to do the opening shift instead.

About half an hour later things were in full swing. Our Optometrist David was testing a patient, and me, George and Amy were out front organising reception jobs and the box of patients' glasses that had arrived first thing in the morning.

Suddenly, there was a loud bang sound from outside. I spun my head around to look and realised the counter, that I was holding onto, was shaking. The floor was shaking too. My first thought was that something had crashed into the building, or that maybe there had been an extremely strong gust of wind. I do work in Cuba Street, after all, so extremely strong gusts of wind capable of making a building shake are not so uncommon.

But the counter kept on shaking. George and Amy seemed unfazed and continued working as usual, but I stayed perfectly still, holding onto the counter until the shaking stopped about 30 seconds later.

That can't have been the wind, I thought. It must have been an earthquake.

I calmly walked across to one of the desks and sat down. Grabbed the company iPad and googled 'earthquake today'. Found a website, GeoNet, that lists earthquakes throughout New Zealand as soon as they happen. Sure enough, there had been an earthquake, 5.5 magnitude, centred very close to Wellington.

I felt a little shaky for the next few minutes afterwards, but not too concerned. There had been no damage, and it had been over pretty quickly, so even though when I texted Taina he didn't reply right away, I wasn't too worried. I knew everyone was fine.

Apart from talking about it to a couple of customers throughout the day, I more or less forgot about the earthquake after that. And when I talked to Taina later on, I found out it hadn't been that strong in the Hutt anyway, and although he felt the earthquake, he had thought at first it was just his vertigo playing up again, making him dizzy.

Saturday was fine, just another day at work. I had a headache all day which was irritating, but not severe enough to particularly disrupt my day at all.

Sunday was the first day of my weekend. Taina had work. He doesn't normally work on Sundays, but he had been asked to cover an early morning shift, and I usually encourage him to take extra shifts when he can because we need the money, and he only works part time mostly.

My plan for the day was to get up fairly early, around 7.00, maybe 7.30ish so that I could do some studying for the Dispensing Optician course I'm doing for work. I slept a little after Taina left for work, and then my alarm went off at 7.15. I leaned over and turned it off. A second later, the house began creaking a lot. And then I felt my bed shaking. I sat up, put my feet on the floor. The floor was shaking. Another earthquake.

I got up quickly, and walked across to the door, and stood in the doorway of our bedroom for a little while. It shook for a while this time, a little longer than the Friday one had.

But then it stopped. I grabbed my laptop. My head seemed to be aching a lot worse than it had on Saturday, but I felt determined. I needed to get on with studying.

I sat in bed with my laptop. Tried to study. Couldn't concentrate, my head hurt too much. Went on GeoNet again, looked up the new earthquake. 5.7, centred in the Cook Strait not too far from Wellington. Hmmm, what was with these earthquakes?

Kept trying to study. No joy. Realised I was super hungry, so I tried to eat some breakfast, but my head was hurting so much that even eating was a challenge. Went to take some Panadol. Realised we had none.

Tried to study again. Eventually gave up, and decided to take a nap.

When I woke up, it was almost midday. Me and Taina had planned to go to Taina's brother Dallas' place for the afternoon, as he and his family had just moved into a new house. But when I woke up at midday and felt no better, I knew I couldn't manage.

I texted Taina, told him I was too sick. He was okay with it, said he was finishing work at 1.30 and would be home as soon as he could.

Managed to force down some lunch, cheese on toast. Then, accepting that studying just wasn't going to happen today, I decided to distract myself from my headache by watching episodes of Full House online. Full House the 80s/90s US sitcom I mean, not the Korean TV show Victoria at work likes watching.

Full House made my headache abate somewhat, and when Taina got home at about 3.00 I was feeling a bit better. I continued watching Full House, and he turned the PS3 on and started playing some game, I didn't notice what it was.

Then, at about quarter past five, everything suddenly started shaking. Me and Taina both just kinda froze. I guess we were waiting for a second, just to see how strong an earthquake this one was going to be. After a few seconds it got a lot more intense.

I could hear the house creaking again, and I could feel the floor and the couch I was sitting on shaking. But I knew this was a strong earthquake when I could actually see everything shake. The room moved from side to side in my vision, like I was watching a TV while it was being pulled back and forth.

At this point I looked at Taina and said, "We need to go." We both stood up and I took hold of his arm, and we walked cautiously to the front door (which was only a few steps away) and walked outside. I stood on our driveway beside my car, holding onto the wooden frame of our front porch. Taina stood a little further away, on the grass of our lawn in front of my car.

We both just stood there for a few minutes, kind of in surfing stances trying to balance, and then after a couple of minutes Taina said he thought it was stopped.

My initial thought was wondering if the neighbours were okay. I heard one of my neighbours knock on the door of the elderly guy across from us who lives alone to check if he was okay, and he was. I was glad they did that. I would have been worried about him too.

In hindsight I don't know why we decided to go outside. I mean, we were both standing so close to the house that if the earthquake had been really strong and if windows had shattered or bricks crumbled, we wouldn't have necessarily been standing in a safe place. I guess we both just felt it was better than being inside where things could fall.

The problem with our place is that there's nothing to crawl underneath to stay safe. The coffee table, the chairs, the beds...they're all too low to get underneath of. There's the computer table, but it's awkward to get to because the couch is kind of in the way.

I guess really the safest thing for us would be either to stand in a doorway, or to go further outside and stand right at the back of the lawn so we're further from the house.

Anyway, despite the severity of the shake, which turned out to be 6.5 on the Richter scale, we had no damage here, or really anyway in the Hutt.

In the Wellington CBD there was a bit of damage, and so our work was closed today, waiting for people to inspect all the buildings in town before they let people back into them. I wasn't scheduled to work today anyway, so all the constant texts I got from workmates throughout the day updating on whether we could open today or not were kind of redundant.

Just before my boss David texted us all to say our store, the Cuba Street store can open as usual tomorrow, but our other store on Lambton Quay hasn't been fully inspected yet. It works out okay for me. My headache still hasn't fully recovered, and seeing as yesterday was the intended study day that didn't happen, I figured I might call in sick tomorrow and have another day to study and catch up on stuff I should've done yesterday.

David was fine when I asked to do this, because after all, he has plenty of Lambton Quay staff free to cover me tomorrow seeing as they can't work as normal.

I'd prefer to be at home, also, as if there are further earthquakes, which may happen, I would much rather be home in Upper Hutt than in the CBD, which has lots of old buildings and is partially built on reclaimed land- land that used to be part of the shoreline before a gigantic earthquake moved the shoreline back a couple of hundred years ago- meaning that land is still partially sand underneath. Lambton Quay is built on reclaimed land. So glad I don't normally work at that store.

Taina is at work right now, in Lower Hutt. He didn't really want to go in, as he didn't feel comfortable that the mall would be the safest place to be in a large earthquake. I don't particularly like being apart from him at times like these, either, even for just a few hours. After what happened in the earthquakes in Christchurch a couple of years ago, I feel much more nervous about earthquakes than I used to.

But never mind. He finishes soon. And now I'm going to go to the gym for a bit. Let's hope the gym is reasonably safe.

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