The Day My House Crapped Itself

I was going to have everything under control. Nothing would be left to chance. Every plastic Easter egg stuffed with chocolates and the occasional dollar bill would be found in a timely manner. I would not have to go running around the yard in my pajamas hours later, reaching into spider-ridden bushes, rooting around for an egg with 1 blasted M&M or a penny in it. Not THIS YEAR!

Every morsel of food would be done to perfection, placed on the serving platter in an artsy fashion, and of course it would all taste magnificent.

I wouldn’t stress out about the arrival of my German mother (see previous posts for a short character sketch) because there would be nothing she could pick at. Not the appearance of my home, children, food, or even myself. This holiday would be fine.

I sent my eldest child to pick mom up. It gave me time to continue whipping up the feast and, of course, to pre-medicate myself with a beer. When she arrived, I was just setting the table. She’d brought me roses, and seemed delighted to be there. The meal itself passed in a pleasant enough fashion. Mom has a way of saying the most inappropriate and politically incorrect things, which are hilarious and make my children laugh into their napkins. I find it best if I shoot them a look, or change the topic. Even the clean-up from this meal was a breeze. I was done within minutes.

On to the Easter egg coloring. I had spent an hour the day before, as I do every year, drilling holes in eggs and blowing the innards out into the sink. It’s great fun. If you’ve never had the joy of giving a blow-job to an egg, let me be the first to recommend it. There’s nothing quite like hanging over the kitchen sink, blowing as hard as you can into a pin-prick sized hole, until you feel like you’re suffering an aneurysm. Really. I had to stop several times because I was having so much fun I wanted to prolong it, and, also, I felt like my brain would come shooting out the other end along with the runny yolk. As I said, great fun. Anyhow, there they were, my mom and my kids, coloring eggs. They had a great time and dyed fingers when they were done.

Did I mention today’s mom’s birthday? In order to celebrate properly, we had a cake on Sunday. She was tickled pink. She loved her gifts. It was all going smoothly. Even my plan of having someone-who-wasn’t-me drop mom back off at her house was great. My family understood the importance. It wouldn’t/couldn’t be me. It was baseball’s opening day. I had to watch the Yankees. Yes, HAD TO. If you followed me on Twitter last baseball season and you’re not a Yankees fan, God love you for your patience.

Speaking of God, there I was, wiping down the table when my husband shouted, “Did you feel that?” I felt nothing. By this point I’d had two beers. As everyone prattled on about what they felt, I continued to wipe down the dining room table, which, strangely, seemed to be moving while I was doing so. I looked up to a general panic. The dog was standing ridiculously close, shaking as if she was having some sort of seizure. Mom began babbling in her quasi-English. That’s never a good sign. When her accent gets thick, there’s a problem. And there was. Our dining room suddenly looked like a fun house. The walls sagging in on themselves. The whole room swaying. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to puke, or pass out. Only when my husband shouted to get outside did it dawn on me. Earthquake. A big one. A bloody long one, too.

Living in Southern California we’re used to earthquakes. This one was different. This one wouldn’t stop. I had seen my husband, eldest child, and mother run outside. I stood in the dining room, watching the 30-gallon fish tank slosh water over the sides, swaying back and forth, giving my two neurotic goldfish the ride of their lives. Sponge in hand, it struck me I hadn’t seen my youngest child. As the swaying continued and strengthened, I ran down the hall screaming for him. Sponge still firmly gripped, I don’t know why. The hallway was bending in an eerie fashion. Once I’d gotten hold of him, and the dog’s collar, I ran. Waffles, our cat, decided then would be the perfect time to attempt my assassination. She ran between my legs and tripped me. I dropped the sponge.

Once outside I saw our neighbors, all similarly standing in their driveways, watching the trees across the street ripple. The roofs of our homes, swaying in a creepy manner. You don’t hear a rumble in an earthquake. That’s a misconception. The rumble you hear is the building you’re in, shifting, settling, and shitting its pants. This was a quiet earthquake, and it was still going on. The only sounds were my mother’s excited jabbering (she may have reverted entirely to German at this point, I’m not sure), and me rounding on my husband to say, “What happened to women and children first? Our son was still in the house!” Ah, good times.

When it was over we discovered it had been the largest earthquake in our region for over 100 years. A 7.2. I went on Twitter, replying to @chizeck and many others who were kind enough to ask after us. I may have opened another beer, and proclaimed there better not be another earthquake during the game because I was not going to miss any of it.

Mom’s apartment suffered slight damage. Things broken. Our house had things crack, move about, fall, but we’re all good.

Today’s Tuesday. The aftershocks keep coming. My sleep is disturbed. Shelves in the garage have collapsed, dumping various items on my car. Last night I spent the whole night with something hard poking me in my backside. Only at 3 AM, when another 4.6 aftershock hit and woke me, did I realize the hard thing was my hand weights left on the bed from an earlier work out. I think this is called sleep deprivation.

So, yeah, Easter was great. I pulled off an enjoyable day for all. God just threw an extra bit of excitement into the mix.


23 responses to “The Day My House Crapped Itself”

  1. OMG!!! I have mascara running down my face, that was sooooooo funny. I totally felt I was there…GENIUS!
    I’ve signed up for alerts, love, love, love your blog!! One complaint I have is….I need daily updates. Please write more. I know your kids- they are old enough to do their own laundry, cook for themselves, go grocery shopping, clean the house, feed the animals etc etc etc…
    Stop reading this …and go write more, I’m passing this on to my friends……LOVES IT!!


  2. Nothing like a little shake, rattle and roll thrown into Easter. Sounds like it WAS going off without a hitch though, better luck next y ear.


  3. Wow, I miss a couple of days on Twitter and the whole world falls apart. Glad to hear you are all safe. You did get to watch the game, right?


  4. I still remember being in the 1989 San Francisco earthquake like it was yesterday. Glad you came out of it all relatively unscathed.

    And on a lighter note, while you were giving the eggs a hummer, did you get any insight into the age old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg ?


  5. new to your site – and glad i found it. hilarious! nothing like a little extra challenge when you’re trying to enjoy a holiday! i was so busy on easter i honestly don’t think i would have noticed if my entire house fell down around me. i’d have kept peeling carrots and boiling the potatoes!

    ps, love the title of this post. SO funny!


  6. Too many LOL moments…Your mother jabbering in her thick German accent…Waffles tackling you at your weakest moment…Your son’s brief “Home Alone” experience. At least out here we only have tornadoes.


  7. 1. I’ve been in exactly one earthquake. Kent, Ohio, 1986. Surreal and utterly terrifying.

    2. You had me at “giving a blow-job to an egg.”

    3. I hope you used protection.


  8. Brilliant Denise111….OMG excitement, you captured my attentition with every shake, rattle and roll. I feel as though I have just stepped off a magnificently terrifying rollercoaster. Wow!
    Love, me


  9. OMFG!! Denise: Grand Slam.
    I am laughing right now – so no witty retorts, but that was frakking hilarious and scary at the same time. I want this blog to be a book – with chapters and chapters of your perfect comic writing… as I said grand slam. I’ll bring the rye bread and the mustard (Mariners’ reference) :o)


  10. I was really afraid for you cuz I felt the earthquake and first aftershock here in Phoenix! Only second time I’ve felt one in the 35 years I’ve lived here. Now that we know you’re safe ~ LMFAO! OMG, your best post yet, Denise. Unless you write like this on Facebook, THIS is the reason for you to have a blog, darlin’. You are an absolutely delightful writer! *hugs*

    Oh, re: who came first, the chicken or the egg? A tweet I favorited on Easter:

    @5tevenw: Chicken & egg are lying in bed. Chicken smoking a cigarette, satisfied smile on its face. Egg rolls over and says … Now we know!!


  11. Great post! My favorite line

    “Last night I spent the whole night with something hard poking me in my backside. ”

    I was waiting to read this was your husband feeling frisky after surviving an earthquake.


  12. What an incredible read. Loved the gotta get it perfect opening. God does have a sense of humore, doesn’t she? Still. I’ll take New York (long long overdue for a quake along our fault line ๐Ÿ™‚ ).


  13. What a way to start the baseball season ~ earthquake followed by defeat to Bosox ~ at least they won game 2 ~ my only earthquake experience was in 1984, very very minor quake in North Wales, just enough to rattle cabinets in the place we were staying on holiday ~ me? I slept through it and missed the whole thing…Take care, keep safe and keep writing ๐Ÿ™‚


  14. I’m glad your Yankees game was not interrupted! As a non Yankees fan follower, I can’t imagine you missing a game for something as minor as your house caving in. Glad you and fam are good. Sorry for the late reading…you know me ๐Ÿ˜‰ xx


  15. Ah, the best laid plans, no? I was stirring all sorts of things on the stove in preparation for Easter dinner — and the earthquake scared me – I thought everything was going to catch on fire!


  16. I’m finally catching up on this week’s blogs. A great read. I was so glad to hear you were okay… Twitter is wonderful in situations like that… it’s so nice to know that you (and others) were safe.


  17. Glad to hear you are all okay. Sounds horrible!

    I suppose living at the northern end of a very, very damp island does have its compensations. Everything here is too wet for earthquakes.

    There is the odd saturated landslide, flooding or people falling asleep in their garden and drowning though.


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