I was sitting in my office eating lunch when the floor seemed to vibrate beneath my feet, as if a machine in the basement was thrumming.
When I got up and felt the whole floor shaking, I knew something was up.
Shortly afterwards, I learned it had been an earthquake--measuring 5.8 on the Richter Scale, with its epicenter about 80 miles south of here.
I then spent a lovely hour working with staff to evacuate the building and then in waiting outside for word on what to do. No cell phone service, but my much adored new Droid 2 phone gave me Internet service. So even though our home phone was out, I was able to get word that SC and JR were fine and to tell them I was okay too--via, of all things, Facebook. So the next time you hear someone sneering about it as a frivolity....
After our General Services guy came and told us there was no gas leak, and after we'd cleaned up the dozens of books that fell from displays on the second floor, we let people back in the building. Downstairs in children's, things were fine. A staff member and I agreed there was far less of a mess than,say, after a morning of children's programs.
We'd only been open for about 15 minutes when word came from the city that all non-essential services were being shut for the rest of the day, and after shooing all the patrons out again, we were able to go home. The girls were fine, but it took another hour before our landline came back and cell phone service wasn't restored until around 5 o'clock, when I was able to reassure my mother that all was well here.
I have already seen crap on Facebook from the "well, what a bunch of wusses--I've been in much worse earthquakes" set. But we don't GET earthquakes round here. The last one of this size was, I believe, in 1897.
And it's my sincere hope that we don't get another one for another 114 years.
So now it's back to monitoring Hurricane Irene. And praying that it doesn't mess up our Chincoteague vacation, as it looks likely to do.....