13 March, 2011

Tsunami Scare

Thursday night/Friday morning was probably the most scared I've ever been. Considering I've been through numerous thunderstorms, tornado warnings and near-tornado experiences, I think that's saying something.

Here I was just chillin' out...trying to find something decent on TV since Grey's was a rerun and BAM there it was. I had flipped to a local station and saw the report on the earthquake in Japan. As I watched, I saw at the bottom of the screen that they'd issued a Tsunami Watch. That kind of freaked me out, but it was "just a watch." In Oklahoma, you don't really worry about the tornado possibility if there's a "watch" out. It's when it gets to warning that you really worry. Same thing with the tsunami, but obviously it's a little bit different. 30 minutes later, they upgraded it to "warning" and were projecting that it would hit at 0259.

During that time, I was texting Mrs. C because she lives pretty close to the beach on the other side of the island. Between texts, I was running around the house getting ready for the possibility of a tsunami. Cleaning, getting water saved up, running dishes and laundry....everything that needed water or electricity. In the middle of that I got a text from the FRG leader stating that we needed to start calling people on the island. I had completely forgotten about that!! I quickly found my share of the list and started trying to call people while I was being a busy-body. It took forever for the call to connect, but it finally did. Fortunately, this particular spouse had been home and watching the news. On to contact #2. Call failed. I tried twice more and moved on to #3. Call failed. Call failed. Call failed. Tried to send a text to Mrs. C - failed. I tried and tried and tried, but nothing sent!


That is when I went into full panic mode. It's one thing to have a crisis, but it's another when your phone doesn't work!! Seriously, how on earth would I let someone know what was going on and that I was ok?! Our FRG secretary had the same problem (we're both with AT&T so no surprise there) and ended up sending out an email to everyone. Luckily, I still had internet access so I could at least do something... All I could do was email and FB my family and closest friends. Of course, I tweeted about the whole thing too. None of my family is on Twitter (which I am TOTALLY ok with) and I think I have 2 friends from home who follow me. =P 


First, I emailed Joe. According to all of the unit FB pages, the guys were notified about the tsunami but we were told they might not be able to call/get in contact with us. Go figure. My phone wouldn't even work! Anyway. In the middle of emailing Joe and starting to panic and cry, Melissa got on Skype. Lately, when she gets up to feed baby Jorja she'll get online and we'll chat. {Sadly this is probably going to end soon since the stinker has started to sleep through the night! :P} I seriously think I would have been a basket case if I hadn't been able to talk to her. Yeah, I was talking to my island friends on FB and Twitter, but...the bestie knows me better. Therefore, she knows how to make me chill out. Once she went back to bed, I finished my email to Joe in a much better state of mind. I also emailed my mom and my in-laws just to make sure everyone was covered. Then, I sent FB messages and updated the status. Informing people is very hard work when your phone is on the fritz! 


After the dishes were done and laundry moved through, I decided to move the "tsunami watch party" to the bedroom. Since it was about midnight at this point, Jasper voluntarily got in his crate. I don't know if he was tired of dealing with me or just plain tired, but that never happens. Since he was taken care of, I decided to hop in the shower to make myself relax a little more...right as the tsunami sirens were blaring again.


I think I got in bed and went to sleep right before 0100. I must have passed out because I didn't hear a thing until my phone rang (!!!) at about 0220. It could only be my mom. She was quite obviously in panic/my-daughter-could-die mode. In my half-sleep state, I assured her that I was safe even if the tsunami hit. {I guess the Army is kind of strategic in placing its posts because ours is a tsunami evacuation area.} We didn't talk long, but I figured since I was up I should turn on the news. The time of impact was only about an hour away so I figured I'd watch. A little bit later, Melissa was online again! We chatted [via AIM on my phone] while I watched the news.

I watched as the tsunami came in, but the channel I was watching only had crews near Waikiki. There were several complete idiots  - to put it accurately - who came out on the beach to watch, but eventually went away. It was very...surreal to watch even though nothing truly devastating happened. The water crept away from the shore and then slowly came back. At Diamond Head, you could see the reef as plain as day. In a "normal" tsunami, the water would have come back to shore in a wall and swallowed everything. This time, the water rose and I heard that some boats were damaged... I also heard that the water came up over the beach and onto a parking lot in Haleiwa (a popular town at North Shore where I go often). Here on Oahu, we were very lucky. Maui and the Big Island had a lot more flooding, but nothing as serious as Japan.

Around 0400 I went back to bed. My mom called again at 0600 to make sure everything was fine and I fell asleep again. I finally got to talk to Joe at about 0745. He had called around 0100 but my phone never rang, so he left a very worried voicemail. I am still extremely surprised that my mom was able to call. Even though he didn't call this time around, I could tell how relieved he was to know that nothing had happened and that I was ok. I'm sure my "I'm seriously terrified" email didn't help his nerves at all. =P

Honestly, I'm surprised that nothing happened here. Well, nothing terrible anyway. The way they were talking, they really expected it to be catastrophic. I'm glad that they evacuated and were prepared, but it was seriously terrifying to someone who has never lived in a place where earthquakes and tsunamis are something people prepare for. I know that it was all God and that there were a ton of people praying for me and all the other people in Hawaii. I got so many FB messages of people asking how I was and telling me they were praying for me. It's nice to know that people were worried about me. That sounds odd, but sometimes I feel very...secluded/left out/alone, etc. The fact that people were worried made me feel...loved and appreciated, I guess. Clearly, they were praying because Hawaii received a miracle! =)


If the only thing that bothered me yesterday was the lack of sleep, I think I came out ok!! I ended up going to bed at 2200 (seriously, that is a big deal for me) because I was so tired. I wound up taking some melatonin, though, because I was still sort of worried. I don't know how to explain it, but sometimes after big storms I have a hard time...recovering. It's like my mind still expects to be afraid/worried that something is going to happen again. I worry that the sirens are going to go off again and what I'm going to have to do, etc. I shouldn't worry but I do. 


Since Thursday, I've been watching a lot of the news coverage of Japan. I can't believe what has happened - and is still happening - there. Not only did they have a mega earthquake, they endured a catastrophic tsunami and are dealing with aftershock after aftershock. I don't know if this is accurate, but I heard that there have been around 300 since the earthquake. I can't even imagine. They've been through so much already and they're still dealing with so much more. I hope all of you will keep Japan in your prayers, as well as all of the people traveling there to give relief. 


And to those of you who prayed for me on Thursday/Friday, thank you!!! You have no idea how much that meant to me. =)


Hope y'all are having a great weekend!

8 comments:

Michelle A'etonu said...

praying for you guys and am glad you are safe. we have tons of family over there so we were worried.

Jes said...

so glad you are ok!

hmb said...

Glad you are safe!

Kayla said...

I was praying for you.

You were one of the first people I thought of, and I have never even met you.

I am so glad it didn't hit hawaii as bad but so saddened for Japan.

Lou said...

Im with Kayla,
I immediatley freaked, cause I thought of you Immediatley. I am so glad your okay, and your story is just insane. Im really glad your okay.
Keeping Japan in my prayers.

Kate said...

I can't imagine how scared you were. My best friend lives on Oahu as well and she was freaked out too. So glad that it wasn't any worse than it was. We are definitely praying for the people of Japan!

Melissa said...

Been waitin' to hear that you are alright! :) glad you're doing okay.

Mr. Superman & Mrs. S. said...

I'm so glad you're okay and my heart is still just hurting for Japan.