We are all in Dunedin today. This was not supposed to happen; we are supposed to be in Auckland.
I woke up on Sunday morning very excited about our impending trip to Auckland early Monday morning. We spent the day packing and took the dogs to the kennel late in the afternoon. As the day progressed I began to worry our flight would be cancelled due to volcanic ash from the Chilean volcano. Jetstar was cancelling domesticNZ and trans-Tasman flights and unfortunately our ticket for Monday morning was with Jetstar. At about 11pm Sunday night, I received a text from them saying the flight was cancelled. Boo hoo.
On Monday morning we went and collected the dogs from the kennel. To dampen the blues, we went to Pegasus and walked around the lake and generally had a nice relaxing time. When we were driving back to Christchurch, the first large aftershock struck. It was a 5.5M. Ben was driving and I thought he was swerving the steering wheel left and right really quickly. He wasn’t but we were still unsure what was happening so pulled over to check our tyres, thinking one may be flat. We eventually came to the conclusion it was an earthquake and as we continued onwards our theory was confirmed by the sight of masses of people standing in car parks outside shops and shopping centres.
We got back home and I really did not want to be inside so we ate lunch in the backyard. Elizabeth was in her pushchair being pushed around by Ben with the hope she’d fall asleep and Daniel was sitting on the back deck reading a story. I ducked inside to get something and was in the lounge when the 6.0M struck. This is the first of the larger earthquakes that I’ve experienced without a baby in my arms and it was much easier to remain steady and to have two hands with which to grab onto something. I ducked under our dining table which was rocking and rolling and wasn’t sure whether I was holding it steady or it holding me. It’s a round table on wheels with one thick central leg in the middle. Zeki was terrified and cowered with me. Freud sat in the middle of the room looking unperturbed but confused.
As always during an earthquake my thoughts were with the children. This time I was reassured knowing they were both outside with Ben so it was easier for me. I also wasn’t injured which is an improvement on the last two 6+ quakes.
As soon as it was over I dashed outside. Elizabeth was still in her push chair and looking unconcerned. She probably thought it was one of us rocking her to sleep, albeit a little more violently than usual. Daniel was hugging Ben and crying. He and I sat on the trampoline just as we had done immediately following the February quake. I told him the trampoline bounces anyway and we won’t even notice the earthquakes. He was crying and spitting. The spitting seems to be some sort of anxious response and I didn’t stop him from doing it.
I did not enter the house again that day even choosing to piss in the back garden when I had to go. The thought of being caught with pants down mid-stream by a neighbour was preferable to being caught inside during another earthquake. Plus the usual chain of events following these earthquakes is no flushing until civil defence say so.
Fortunately we were already all packed because of our planned trip to Auckland so I didn’t have to go inside to pack. Ben ferried things out to the car while I loaded it and then we set off for Dunedin once again. Deja vu.