night duty

last night we had a tsunami. i’m sure by now you’ve heard that a massive earthquake struck about 250 miles off the coast of japan. one of the drawbacks about living smack-dab in the middle of the pacific ocean is being subject to the variabilities of nature. last year, on my birthday in fact, we had another tsunami due to an earthquake off of chile. so, yes, the apls ohana definitely lives in paradise, but paradise does come with a cost. thankfully, we were not subject to overly large waves or water damage. but, when it comes to mama nature, we never can truly and accurately predict what is going to happen and when.

so, as the mama of the house, i spent all night prepping in case something did actually happen. you see, panda’s off island for a work trip so it’s just me an shortstack holding down the fort. the little man crashed out before the chatter about a possible tsunami started. i first heard about the earthquake in japan when i was doing dishes and closing up the house; then i started seeing insane footage of unbelievable waves forcing their way through coastal areas in japan. truth be told – at first i thought the footage was from past seismic events … i couldn’t wrap my head around the thought that japan was experiencing a tsunami as i was watching. when it started sinking in, i started to get a bit worried about our situation. now, we don’t live anywhere near coastal evacuation areas so it wasn’t worry about the immediate danger of tsunami waves that i was worried about … it’s the chaos that follows. if the electricity infrastructure goes down, cell service gets interrupted, commercial transactions become impossible without cash on hand … the basic social means of life go bonkers. as it was, stores were being inundated, gas stations had lines around the corner, ATMs were out of cash (and unfortunately for us, we have limited water reserves in the house, no cash and my gas tank is close to empty – thankfully, it is all a moot point!). as the researchers were talking about the possible impacts of tsunami’s on our islands, it isn’t the initial impact that causes such major concern – after all, there should be limited loss of life and limb with the advanced warning systems that we have in place – its the after-effect chaos that should cause the worry. all of our local power plants/infrastructure and gas refineries are in coastal areas, as are the airports. all of the mechanical infrastructure for hotels (remember, HI relies on a vibrant tourist economy) are in the basements of hotels. these insights should definitely give us pause to consider what we will do when we are finally struck by a massive tsunami. wow – that was a rant, wasn’t it …
a little closer to home … as shortstack slept like a rock through 5 of the 6 alert sirens, i bottled water, filled the bathtub with water just in case, got out the flashlights and candles, recharged batteries and searched for the can opener. spent the night messaging with panda trying to keep her up-t0-date (she was scheduled to be on an AM flight back home but the airports were closing because of the tsunami warnings), facebooking (yep, it’s become a verb) to keep everyone up-to-date and assured that we were doing fine, texting with friends (some had family in the most affected areas in japan, and prayers were being sent up for safety).
when the ETA of the first waves approached, i curled up next to shortstack in our over-pillowed bed (had them all stacked up around us so that we [i] felt cozy) and watched as the water levels and patterns changed. as i watched mama nature express her moods through water, the realization that we have – again – escaped the wrath of nature. thank our angels! and so, the tv went off and i passed out. only to be woken up by shortstack with his daily request for cartoons. so, all is well with our world. panda’s on a plane headed home, HI has sustained limited water damage due to unusual wave activity, our home is stocked with water, the flashlights (and foot pump for soccer balls) have been located and put in visible areas, and the batteries are charging. mama’s had little sleep so we’re vegging out in bed watching “how to train a dragon” (so much for the no cartoon rule).
thank you to everyone who sent up prayers and thoughts on our behalf. thank you to the scientists and civil servants who made sure to err on the side of public safety and cautioned us to prepare for the worst-case-scenario. thank you to our angels who watched over us and kept mama calm on very little sleep.
and so we begin another day in our little piece of paradise …
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