Sleeping Through Another Shaker

By , January 6, 2013

When we awoke Saturday morning, Michelle found the slight layer of dust on the kitchen faucet mildly confusing. More so Aly’s phone message asking us if we’d felt the earthquake. Shortly after that, we heard (on NPR of all places) that Southeast Alaska had been hit by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake!

Like most of the earthquakes I’ve experienced growing up and living most of my life in Alaska, this one passed me unawares. When it hit west of Craig (pronounced like your friend, Craig’s name, not “Crag,” as the newscaster did) around midnight, we were asleep. We found out from Aly that she and the friend she’s staying with as she passes through Juneau on her way back to college had just turned in. She said she felt dizzy to the point of falling down, had she not been lying down already.

I realized that we wouldn’t have stood a chance if the tsunami the earthquake generated had been of dangerous magnitude. We had inadvertently disabled our Earthquake Alarm before going to bed that evening.

combination glass rack and earthquake alarm

Our wine glass rack/Earthquake Alarm. Perhaps it’s time to post a warning against tampering with, or disabling the alarm? (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

When we returned home to the cabin in the late afternoon after delivering Aly to the ferry, I decided that after dinner, we needed a treat. I produced the bottle of port we’d purchased last October and squirreled away. Lacking proper port glasses, I pulled down our smallest wine glasses, and poured us each a splash.

These glasses, an excellent garage sale find, are about 10 oz. crystal goblets. We love how elegantly they ring when we toast. This same quality makes them an asset to our Earthquake Alarm, which is our wine glass rack. The glasses that hang in it clink together if shaken enough. This sound is often our only indication that an earthquake is occurring.

I checked the glasses remaining in the rack. One set, placed close together, made no noise. The others made a mellow ring that might have awakened Michelle, but perhaps not. The other goblets would have gotten our attention—if shaken hard enough. Craig is well south of us, and so far we’ve heard no reports of damage anywhere. Likely we wouldn’t have felt it here.

Even so, it encouraged us to finally switch one of our weather radios to “alert.” It should now pop on anytime an emergency broadcast triggers it. We’ve always meant to do this, but never have until now.


4 Responses to “Sleeping Through Another Shaker”

  1. Linn Hartman says:

    Glad to know you folks weren’t effected by the quake. Read about it on Yahoo and wondered how you were doing. Was that anywhere near where David spends his winter season? Spent a couple of years in the Tokyo area and got to watch things dance across the floor on occasion. Again, glad all is well.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Yep, we were oblivious, as usual.

    Dave and Anke are located much closer to the epicenter than we are. I imagine they felt it pretty severely there, as they’re closer than Juneau, and friends there got thumped around pretty well.

  3. Joanna says:

    I’m glad you are all well. I don’t listen to the news much (and it often feels like they don’t report news from around the country very well in NYC since they’re so focused on NYC…) so I didn’t hear about the earthquake at all.

    I actually wanted to recommend something to the Zeiger clan (or at least to you and Michelle, while Aly is away at school). I listened to an episode of This American Life about Christmas and I thought of you guys. I don’t really celebrate Christmas though my in-laws do and I’ve been enjoying hearing about your rituals…which is what the radio episode is about. You could stream it online for free if you didn’t want to buy it…this is the link:

    I love the show and wondered if you guys might, too.

    Best wishes,

    Your friend in Brooklyn

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Joanna,

    We love This American Life! We hear it at 8:00 p.m. Sunday nights. We heard the episode you linked, and were fascinated. The family’s stories of “alternative” Santas was a little bit creepy on several levels, but very thought-provoking. The last segment, the short fiction, was very familiar to us. We have that story clipped from a magazine, and have carried it around for years. Michelle says she saw it within the last 6 months.

    NPR is so East Coast centered, it grates sometimes. Not only their Washington DC focus, but their NY focus as well. Their rhapsodic profiles of little corner sandwich shops and the like leave us cold, because we could take the reporter to a thousand places like that in towns they’ve never heard of. Where’s Charles Kuralt when we need him?

    Thank you for your continued patronage (matronage?) of the blog. It means so much to us that a native Brooklynite can find something worthwhile in it!


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