A Funny Story about Phoebe and the Earthquakes

Phoebe scooping candy out of the candy bowlOne of the best ways of dealing with grief and the passing of someone beloved (whether that be a friend, family member, or pet) is to think about the good times.

There are plenty of funny and amusing stories Noel and I could tell you about our cheeky cat Phoebe, who we sadly had to put to sleep on Monday after a short illness, pictured above in one of her more mischievous moods, but one that keeps sticking out in my mind is an earthquake story we have about her.

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2 Years Ago Today, Our Lives Were Turned Upside Down… Again

Unit 8, Amuri Park, Christchurch, 13 June 2011I woke up in the middle of the night.  It was one of those half-awake, half-asleep moments, where you seem to be somewhere between dreaming and waking.  After the 22 February 2011 quake and subsequent aftershocks, I hadn’t been sleeping very well at night, so waking up several times a night was more normal than not waking up at all.

But at about 2 AM on 13 June 2011, waking up was something different.

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When Life Gives You Lemons…

In the second, larger 13 June 2011 earthquake, two of the large decorative concrete panels came off our work building.  That, in turn, made the engineers unsure how the building would perform in another large earthquake (and since we were on the third quake above 6.0 at the time in a rather rich aftershock sequence, no one was ruling out anything by that point… Mother Nature seemed to turf the rule book out the window).  So, Unit 7 in Amuri Park was red-stickered, and the owners came to see us to tell us that it was cheaper for them to demolish and replace the building than to repair it.

Unit 7 Being Torn Down
Unit 7 being demolished. All the damage to the front of the building was done by the demolition company. The panel on the ground on the left of the building actually came off during the 13 June 2011 6.4 quake.

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Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Yesterday, I spoke about the fragile “interior” me as opposed to that “exterior” me that seems so strong, but I think I left a few things out there.

If you do decide to go “into battle”, to stand up to the bullies or for something you believe in strongly, you need to pick your battles wisely.  There may be compromise.  You may wish to take the higher road, turn the other cheek.  You may go in with all guns blazing.  You may need to defend your honour.  There may be things you have to do that you don’t like doing but the end justifies the means.  Any which way you look at it, there may be winners and losers.  It may be a short, sharp blitzkrieg or a long, drawn-out war.  There might not be a battle at all; maybe they deem you too weak an opponent to consider, or maybe you walk away with your head held high.

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Looking Back on My Life a Year Ago Today

I saw the article in the Christchurch Press about photojournalist Peter Hoffman coming to Christchurch to work on a photojournal about the Canterbury and Christchurch earthquakes and how they affected the people here. Now living in the Chicago region, he’d lived in Christchurch for a little while in 2004, and it beckoned him back, after the quakes.

As a fellow Chicagoan living here, I contacted him via the Press. Noel, Jacqui, Catherine, Suzie, Kerryn and I volunteered to help with the project, which consisted of writing a page of our thoughts in a journal and having our picture taken. Of course, not every image or every story would be shared in such a limited-scope publication as a book.

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Moving Forward with My Life: After the Quakes

This week, with the second anniversary of the devastating 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake yesterday, I’ll be blogging about several issues relevant to our situation here in Christchurch and natural disasters in general.

Yesterday was a mixed-bag of emotions for me.

Work was proving to be a bit difficult to concentrate on, and, while I did do a bit of it, right after the clock hit 12:51 PM, I decided I needed to do a few things for me.

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Lesson from the Quakes: Three Things I Definitely Cannot Live Without

This week, with the second anniversary of the devastating 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake yesterday, I’ll be blogging about several issues relevant to our situation here in Christchurch and natural disasters in general.

The earthquakes our region has been experiencing have damaged, sometimes severely, our water supply.  This includes wells, waste water systems, sewage systems, fresh water pipes, and so on.

You don’t know how much you appreciate indoor plumbing and water supply until you can’t use it.

This has taught me that there are three things I definitely cannot live without:

  • A warm shower or bath
  • A sink to wash my hands at or to drink water from
  • A flushing toilet!