An Earthquake, a Vacation, and a Bushfire Later

I promised myself with the start of the year that I wasn’t going to allow my blog to go unattended for so long. And looking back on my last post, March 14, I have allowed over a month and a half to pass and I wondered where it went!

In the time lapse from March 14 to now: I have celebrated Persian New Year (YAY!), my husband’s 31st birthday (YAY!), St. Patrick’s Day (WOO!), had a 5.2 earthquake in our new house (EEK!), went on vacation to New Orleans (AWESOME), came back to work as a trainer (OKAY), and now as I type this, there is a bushfire near my parent’s house  (WHOA) I am tracking to make sure they are doing OKAY.


It has been pretty busy. And I will try and recap as much of this elapsed time as I can. I will promise you this, my trip to New Orleans is going to be covered in its own separate post, because it really deserves a lengthy evaluation of the wonderful sights we experienced.

Instead of categorizing every event, because I am sure you really don’t care too much about my husband’s birthday or our New Year’s celebration, I am going to start by talking about our earthquake experience.

My cousin has deemed the earthquake “The Big Quake of 3/28.” She did this as a joke, since she feels Jacob and I might have slightly over-reacted to it. In our defense, it was a very frightening thing to happen and it is the first earthquake we experienced in our new home and as a married couple.

The Quake

Jacob and I were both home on Friday night, enjoying the start of our vacation! We would be leaving on Sunday to go to New Orleans for a week. Because it was Lent, we had to figure out a meatless meal. We both decided since we are on vacation we would go grab a cheese and jalapeno pizza from a place across the street from our home. We called in the order and were about to leave our house when we had our first earthquake. At that time, we only expected to have one. It was pretty minor, a 3.2, strong enough to feel it but not anything that we were worried about.

We grabbed Stella’s leash and took her with us to pick up the pizza. As we walked down the block, both Jacob and I joked about earthquakes. Having both grown up in California, we are no strangers to the earth moving every once in a while. I poked fun at Jacob saying that I grew up in Rancho Cucamonga where we had more fault lines and I was therefore more used to them. We also speculated, like most Californians, about “the big one.” Wondering when we thought it would happen, etc. It was all just chatter.

Jacob and I went to the pizza place, picked up our dinner and started our walk back. The weather had been pretty the last few days, warm during the day and cool at night. Stella enjoyed her venture outside of our condominium complex. We got back home and put Frozen in the DVD player (don’t judge us and our occasional kids movie), and grabbed a few slices of pizza each.

As we watched the movie and chowed down, we talked a little bit about our impending trip and just relaxed. Then around 9:45 we heard a loud BANG! Jacob and I bolted upright on the couch. The sound was as if a semi-truck had hit our house. Then a second later our house began to shake. All of what I am about to say transpired in the span of 45 seconds or less.

Jacob jumped up from our couch, and ran to our sliding glass door (it is 4 feet from the couch). He struggled to open our vertical blinds and frantically shoved them open. As Jacob attempted to open the sliding glass door, it got caught. It has this spot on the track where is always catches. Mind you all, during this entire time our house is shaking.

I am behind Jacob and Stella has no idea what is going on. She is just looking at us like we are crazy. Jacob had gotten the sliding glass door open, but could not get the screen door. It was at this point that Jacob shoved, pummeled, tore down the screen. He raced across the patio, and literally LEAPED over our back fence. He LEFT me and Stella on the patio, while he hurtled himself away from the house!  I grabbed Stella’s collar and walked her through the gate.

door(This is what my husband did to the screen door)

The ground stopped shaking and some of our neighbors came out from their homes. It was at this point that Stella decides she wants to bark. I am not sure if she finally understood what was going on, whether she was happy to be out of the house again, or what her deal was.

Every time we have told someone the story of “The Big Quake of 3/28” we both can’t help but laugh. Laugh at the fact that Jacob incredible Hulked his way out of our house, jumped a fence, left me and the dog, and how much our little house was rattling.

The thing that frightened me the most was the rattling and shaking of our windows. Our house has the original windows on it so they aren’t as secured and they are very thin.

brokenM2 crackedplates display
dresser egg3 shotglasscase medicinecabinent

Just to give everyone some visuals of what it looked like in terms “damage” to our house. We were pretty lucky and we didn’t lose anything that was “valuable” or sentimental. I was very sad to see my cake stand break. And a lot of my fancy decorative Easter eggs are cracked. In the long run, we didn’t have damage that was detrimental to the structure of our home.

The Aftershocks

The worst part about all of this, was the aftershocks. We experienced the largest number of aftershocks we have ever had. They were constant. Every time my body started to relax and allow itself to go to sleep, we would have one. By the time Sunday arrived, I was sleep deprived and ready to leave California for a little while.

I can also say I became a little obsessed with earthquakes. I downloaded an earthquake app to track when we had an earthquake. How large of a magnitude it was. Where it was centered. Everything. Even when we were on vacation, I kept a log of what was going on back home. Jacob wasn’t too happy about that.


We are finally getting back into a routine around our house. There aren’t nearly as many aftershocks. We may have one a week and they aren’t very large. Some barely able to register if there is no notification. The only thing that is hard about vacations and change, is the reality of the everyday. After a month back, we finally have laundry done, spent time with family, and gotten back to working with as little resentment to not being on vacation. I can say this, I am already counting down my days to our anniversary trip to Europe! WOOOOOOO!

M. Saenz

Pocket Owl Press

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