If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Friday, March 1, 2013

My First Earthquake!

It was an oddball lunch time at work the other day.  Of course being a bunch of guys in a shop we got to talking about sex and women.  ( we were already done talking about beer and sports)
One thing led to another and I asked the guys," have I ever told you the story of my first ever earthquake?"  They all shook their heads and so it began..........

The year was 1998.  Or perhaps it was 1999.  I don't quite remember although that song from Prince was super hot at the time.  Also ice cold Rocky mountain Coors Light was dirt cheap and I was single.  (single means 48% of your paycheck is allotted for such commissaries)

I had moved out to the Golden State of California.  Not named Golden because of the great gold rush and those 49ers like Joe Montana and Jerry Rice but because of the rolling golden hills which I had the pleasure of driving through many times. 
I was fresh out of a relationship (engaged) of about 8 years.  Dumbfounded, dispirited, heartbroke and cash broke I headed west into the great unknown.  Well not quite unknown.  You see my brother had settled there.  After 4 years in the Navy and quite tired of being called semen seaman he set roots in a small town named Forest Ranch.  Named for the forests and well......the ranch, I guess.
I believe the population in F.R. was around 200.  Although I only seen 12 of them.  Don't know where the other 188 went to.  Roswell perhaps?

My brothers little home was a cute little A-frame nestled on 10 acres I think it was.  We were situated about 20 minutes "up" the mountain.  Elevation- 2800 feet.  The road was a two lane highway that twisted and turned it's way up into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada's.  It was beautiful.  I miss it to this day.  We all worked down in the valley in a town called Chico.  (Presumably named after a Mexican boy)  Roughly an hour north of Sacramento 

I recall asking my brother on my arrival about earthquakes.  California is known for it's earthquakes and being an astute, drunken twenty something lad I thought it was best to know the what, where's why-fors and wither-tos of the all famous earthquakes.

Sadly he announced that Chico didn't really get earthquakes and Forest Ranch being up in the foothills at such an elevation was most likely to never see one.
I was a bit saddened but my grief was soon overcome by knowing that I didn't have to buy an earthquake helmet and those anti-vibration shoes I had seen on Amazon.

I settled into life in the golden state quite nicely.  Life was pretty mellow.  I loved the great outdoors and when you live in the mountains there is plenty of outdoors.  Anyway I'm getting off topic.
I awoke one weekend morning.  It was early, the sun was just beginning to shine down on our little patch of heaven.  (I had taken to calling it mine because I had been living with my brother and his wife for almost a year)  The horses were nickering in the pasture and I could hear our little clutch of chickens scratching around on the deck outside.  Frick and Frack, our little pygmy goats were engaged in eating the 2x4s that made up their little hut.  I smiled and made a pot of coffee.  I knew the smell would soon have everyone awake and we would begin yet another glorious day amidst our mountain compound.
The coffee was hot and the mug warmed my hands as I carried it to the couch.  I sat down, nestled deep into the overstuffed pillows and gazed out the window.  I did not turn the TV on.  I despise TV in the early mornings.  I like to watch nature wake up.  It is my thinking time.

I was lost in my thoughts when the couch began to vibrate.  The walls shook just ever slightly then a small jingle from the kitchen.  You had to sit very still in order to feel it and hear it.  It was very subtle. 
I couldn't believe it!  My first earthquake.  It lasted only moments and was gone.  My brother was wrong.  You could feel earthquakes up here.  I didn't know what to do.  I wanted to run upstairs and wake everyone but I knew they wouldn't have felt such a slight tremor. 
I waited with great anticipation for the rest of my household to awaken.  I couldn't wait to tell them the good news.

It was only a few minutes later when I heard footsteps coming down the steps.  The quake ( I had taken to calling it a quake, instead of earthquake, now that I wasn't a rookie anymore) must have woke them.

My brother plodded down the last step and took one look at me and asked, "what's up with you?"
"Did you feel it?", I asked.
"Feel what?", he cocked one eyebrow and looked at me kinda funny.
"The earthquake!", I stammered.

It was the then he let out a huge laugh.  He laughed until tears ran down his face.  I stood there waiting impatiently for him to confirm my geologic experience.
After a minute or two he finally catches his breath and says.........................

"We were upstairs having morning sex!  This old A-frame house isn't built that good and the house shakes every time we do it!"

What follows after that is unimportant now. 
I just remember that one brief instant where I had encountered natures fury and survived. 

Sort of!

My only solace is that I can still tease my brother about the shortest earthquake in California history!

Cheers and remember that bed gives off a lot more noise than you think!


  1. I remember my first earthquake. Or rather I don't. I was on an exercise with my Navy unit in Keflavik, Iceland around 2000. We had just gotten off shift and were planning on going out that night to have way too many beers and maybe pick fights with vikings. Anyway, when I woke up, the guys I was going to hang with asked if I had felt the earthquake (4.5). I had to admit that I didn't. I knew I was a heavy sleeper but not so much as to keep sleeping when the earth was shifting around.
    The night out drinking is another story...

  2. I'm glad I stayed around for the ending. It would of been even funnier if you ran upstairs to "wake them up" and tell them about the earthquake.

  3. Like Powdered Toast I'm glad I stayed for the ending...mind you, I always read your posts from start to finish because they intrigue me. But all the same, for anyone that bowed out early they missed a funny ending. I laughed out loud...startled my wee dog, as I was nestled in bed reading this on my phone.

    See what I'll do to keep on top of my reading...your blog in particular. I'm sorry I haven't been commenting as regularly but life (namely caring for mother) is occupying a large part of my day. I'm happy to help her but it does cut into my free time which in turn has caused me to backseat my blog.

    I rear my cute head now and then...to which I want to say thank you for popping over to my blog and partaking in the festivities. I have rewarded you handsomely...go check out my current post.

    With smiles, Jenny


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