Thursday, June 07, 2007

Change and shaking

Change comes at you from the most unexpected quarters! There I was, getting ready for the major change of a new baby, and BAM the house next door comes tumbling down. There is one interesting little effect that this event has had on me, one I would never have expected.

Since about six months ago, when I watched a TV documentary on the Kobe earthquake, I've been worried about our house's earthquake safety standard. In the documentary, they commented that a lot of the losses were traditional two-storey wooden houses. The pictures of them toppled over made me uneasy, as our house is quite old. During the last big one, we were in the hospital - but I felt it less than the next one, when I was at home. The difference between the gentle side-to-side movement and relative quiet of the earthquake while in a safe building, and being rattled about like you're in a maraca is quite striking! Like the difference between our old Hunter St house with its concrete foundation and the shacks I lived in at Uni!

Anyway, watching the house next door come down, I was struck by just how HARD it is to demolish a house! They whacked and they banged at it, shaking our house as well until they forced their way through the floors and roof. Interestingly, I saw that the upper floors were steel-reinforced concrete along with the wood-frame. I hadn't realized they do that, so now I am wondering if our house is constructed like that too.

The upshot of all of this is that I have a renewed faith in our little house, just in time for an earthquake last night! Everyone else slept through it, but I woke up for it, and stayed awake for the three aftershocks...then Kanji snoring...then Amy coughing so I got her medicine and checked the TV to see that the quake was local...finally got to sleep about and hour and half later! I think I'll go have a nap.

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