Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet"

Unless you've been living under a rock, which in that case you would still know what's going on as you probably would have felt it, there was a magnitude 5.8 earthquake on the East Coast centered near Richmond, VA at 1:50pm. We're all fine. This should give you an idea of how it went. I was in my office and Jennifer and Fletch were just arriving home from running errands when it struck. I didn't know what it was, but my first thought was not an earthquake. I thought it might have been a freight train that runs close to my office building. Gridlock ensued and cellphone lines were congested, but a co-worker and I managed to make it home around 4pm. No deaths have been reported in the region. There are no reports of major damage to the nation's infrastructure. The worst destruction seems to be to the National Cathedral, which had its central tower and three of its four corner spires damaged, and to the Washington Monument, which cracked in a few places.

The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake in its yellow alert category, meaning there was potential for local damage but relatively little economic damage. It was the largest on the East Coast since one of the same magnitude in New York in 1944. It was the largest in Virginia since a 5.9 quake in 1897. The largest East Coast quake on record is a 7.3 in South Carolina in 1886.

A 5.8 earthquake releases as much energy as eight tons of TNT, about half the size of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. But it released 63,095 times less energy than the March quake in Japan. The USGS said earthquakes like this can happen "anywhere at anytime." There's a lot of unknown faults in the east that are very unlikely to strike, but do strike periodically.

The earthquake didn't stop some Virginian's from voting however. Our friend Chris Wade who was running for Braddock District Supervisor narrowly lost the Democratic primary by only 42 votes! It's too bad because he put his heart and soul into his campaign. I volunteered a few Saturdays by canvassing and making phone calls. It was my first time volunteering for a political campaign. On the bright side, we get our friend back, his family gets him back and he gets his life back.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A-B-C and 1-2-3

Fletch with Jeffrey
Mom is taking a summer posting hiatus so I'll take over the reigns for the next few weeks. Let me start with the sad news first. We lost a family friend, Jeffrey Soderberg, over the weekend. He died in an automobile accident on Saturday night, August 14. Jennifer worked with him at her last job. That turned into a friendship with both of us.We played poker and went to concerts and sporting events with him. He and I shared similar taste in music. We had a memorable trip to Annapolis, MD last year to see our favorite band, Living Colour, where we were able to get the band's autographs. We both attended numerous Redskins football and Nationals baseball games with him. He described himself on Facebook as "...your typical guy with a few quirks - maybe on the lines of a renaissance metrosexual that likes to burp the alphabet and quote movies." He was an avid rugby player and coach. He was a funny guy with a great sense of humor. Guys wanted to be him and girls wanted to be with him. He is survived by his parents, brother and sister. Rest in peace our friend. Only the good die young.

Onto the happy news. Fletch is constantly counting and learning the alphabet. He can count up to 10 and recognizes letters. He's even reading small words! He learned the word "up" from the growth chart in his bedroom.

Potty training is coming along. Fletch is not yet proactively telling us when he has to go, but we put him on the potty after his nap and whenever he mentions it. He's peeing in the potty frequently and has earned some candy and quite a few stickers on his potty chart. He's not as successful in the pooping in the potty department. We've got lucky twice. He earns a big sticker and more candy for that accomplishment.

Fletch has spent a lot of time this summer at indoor soft playgrounds. He likes to climb, slide, stack, go under, go over, throw, kick and climb.

Jennifer celebrated her [age irrelevant] birthday on Saturday. She got a white iPhone as her gift. The counting video above was recorded on her phone. The poor audio wasn't caused by the phone. We suspect Fletch's voice was drowned out by the vacuum cleaner. We planned on going to a winery for a tasting, but our housekeeper got her dates mixed up and showed up on Saturday instead of Sunday. Also a afternoon severe thunderstorm rolled through our area. We went to a Korean BBQ restaurant for dinner.

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