Feb. 25th, 2011

zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Had a more-or-less solid night's sleep, then a brief crying jag, then a shower. Well, coldwater spongebath. Luxury, I'm telling you; even if I put my dirty clothes back on again. (No point putting on clean clothes and then getting them sweaty too in another three-hour hike.) So now my headache's gone, my back's hardly stiff at all anymore, and I have one of my friends' kittens in my lap.

(My friends themselves are out, since a bit after dinner last night, having a baby. They couldn't go to their hospital of choice, alas, and the hospital they've been redirected to will have required them to talk their way through the inner city cordon.)

At this moment my brain feels like a brain but it's been up and down this morning and will likely continue thus.

I'd been waiting around a bit before hiking home, in case my friends came back early (and because there's a pharmacy I want to go by, so I couldn't leave too early). Then I thought I'd lock up for them after all and get going. But on third thought, despite the purely emotional desire for home I think I'll wait out this rain instead. The kindness of strangers is probable, but foolish to rely on, especially when at least one of the roads I'm going by is actually impassable by car.

It amuses me that our civilisation has painstakingly progressed from dirt roads to paved to asphalt; and then we return to paving for aesthetic reasons, and then Mother Nature foists dirt roads on us again after all. (By the way, dirt roads suck. When muddy they're slippery and when dry they're dusty.)

Reading my friendslist reminds me that I never reported on my awesomely productive weekend!

Ten things that happened before the earthquake

  1. On Saturday, I got the tree pruning dude to come and remove the trees / prune the bush between my house and garage. This was to make room for painting but it also means I can actually walk along that space, and there's actual real daylight in my toilet. It also uncovered a profoundly rotten weatherboard.
  2. The EQC assessors came. They were awesome, and were most impressed with the particular way in which my garage has cracked (fun fact -- EQNZ:The Sequel shows no signs of having worsened this), and agreed the floor was structurally sound, and said the chimney just needed some new plastering. (In retrospect this makes me giggle. And walk past it very quickly.) Then they totted up all that, along with all the little cracks in the interior paint and ceiling stippling, and determined that it would all cost more than NZ$10,000 to repair so would go to Fletchers (the government-designated project management company) to manage. I blinked at the total, but not being in any great hurry this was all cool.
  3. I picked almost all the peaches from my peach tree (leaving a few green ones, and the ones on the neighbours' side of the fence) and Mum took them to her place.
  4. I did my weekly grocery shopping and visited the family for dinner.
  5. I worked on a short story with a tight submission deadline. Technically it's a rewrite of a short story I wrote ten years ago, even though only five words remain the same from that version to this and the plot plays out differently. But it's the same really, sort of.
  6. On Sunday, I played in the church orchestra.
  7. I phoned a carpenter guy about the rotten board, and he is so awesome he came around within an hour and sawed it out. (Then he came back Monday morning and put in the replacement wood. I need to contact him at some point re payment.)
  8. I went to the family's house and Mum and I bottled all the peaches. Sixteen big jars of them, in two batches. I learned a new trick of using a teaspoon to scoop out the stone, it's awesome.
  9. In between batches I finished my short story. This was quickly written; but then it's shorter than most shorts I write; and it was sort of a rewrite. Anyway, I submitted it last night, possibly a whole day within the deadline.
  10. On Monday, after work and a visit to a friend, I came home and found the painters had put plastic over all the windows while they paint. The plastic rustled all night in the wind and kept waking me up and startling Boots. I was rather grumpy about it actually. Except now it turns out that this plastic is handy at keeping a certain broken window weatherproof, so there's that.
So you see, [personal profile] green_knight's accusation else-web that my EQC visit was to blame for this quake is quite unfounded! :-) (My parents' EQC visit, on the other hand, may have been more closely related.)

Rain is a bit lighter now I think and I do want to get home sometime today, plus I've identified a colleague whose house I can rest at partway, so I'm now off hiking again. See you all!
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Be it known that from approximately Styx Mill overbridge to approximately Eastgate is approximately 3.5 hours on foot.

(Maybe a bit less; I didn't take the absolute most direct route. I also actually took four hours because I stopped halfway to chat with a friend.)

Greeted lots of people as we crossed paths. Some people can smile and ask directions whether such a bridge or such a shop is open. Some people chat as you walk along together. Some people can't smile. And some people have their head down and the brim of their cap pulled low. There are more of these latter two groups the further south-east one goes (though around Bealey Ave was particularly painful), but the former groups are everywhere.

I didn't take many photos this time, mostly because I couldn't be bothered taking off my backpack to get the camera out. Photos I might have taken otherwise:
  • the cordoned roads south of Bealey Ave. A cordon consists of: a bit of police tape, a couple of traffic cones, a couple of plastic deck chairs, a couple of army folk, and a police person. Some of them even have a police car.
  • The sign on someone's fence offering "Free water, boil for 3 minutes, help yourself" next to a garden hose.
  • The bridge where I wondered if I was allowed/safe to cross it. I approached quite carefully, and the army guys on the other side with the police tape didn't start waving their arms in panic, so I guessed it was okay. I was glad there wasn't a quake while I crossed, though.
  • The sign offering free sand and bricks.
  • The houses with walls missing. Well, actually, no: I appear to have an instinctual policy that I don't take photos of people's houses.
I did however take a photo of Fitzgerald Ave along the river, which is munted. (If you don't know what "munted" means, take a guess and then multiply that by lots. Or just see the photo.)

Anyway I came back to my house and discovered I have my landline again! Also power! And internet! Moreover there's a water tanker about ten minutes' walk away! (but I won't make use of that today; am still going to my parents' for the evening and Mum's driven out to her work near the airport, taking all the family's empty bottles with her).

Bonus material: photo of my peach tree on Saturday in the middle of having its delicious peaches picked.

Oof, enough typing; off now for my final walk of the day.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
I have to count to keep track of days. This morning I did it thusly: Tuesday I slept under the kitchen table; Wednesday on the couch; Thursday at friends; therefore today is Friday. Others are also having trouble. Last night a TV clip showed an interview about the earthquake as being taped on "Sunday". And this morning's Press has an article which referred to some earthquake event as occuring on "Monday". Even on Wednesday a neighbour referred to "last Friday" (but still meaning post-quake).

Dates are harder to keep track of, despite which when I read that university (my workplace) is "unlikely" to re-start before the 14th March I did get the distinct feeling that this was quite some time in the future. We just walked out of the buildings on Tuesday, you know? It was all very calm. I did start noticing in their emails this morning that they were being more careful than last time, and on further thought the lack of reliably clean water and sound sewage facilities pretty much anywhere in Christchurch does imply certain Health and Safety issues even once they have cleared the buildings. And yet. Two more weeks? <emulates a goldfish; subsides with a sigh>

(Yes, I'm getting paid in the meantime. As are the census workers. Oh yeah, by the way, our census got cancelled. Not since the Depression and World War Two.)

I have 270-odd unread posts in Google Reader. Of course 108 of them are from Geonet, noting aftershocks, and 50 of them are from Canterbury Earthquake, noting... all sorts of useful things, but I've already read their website cover to cover.

I'm not overly comfortable with describing what's happened here as like "a warzone". It's not a warzone, it's an earthquake zone. Totally different. On the one side you've got military helicopters overhead, tanks in the streets, the army enforcing cordons and curfews, the adorable idealism of the Student Volunteer Army, and semi-random explosions killing people, ruining roads, bridges and distribution centres, and shattering everyone's nerves; and on the other you've got the horrors of war.

My brain is highly distractible at the moment. I was trying to be serious in that previous paragraph but it kind of got away on me. The thing is, while an aftershock that you hear rumbling towards you is bad enough (...case in point), an aftershock that just bangs because it's approximately 5km directly beneath you is... really quite startling. Also, the Student Volunteer Army is incredible.

It's amazing how much difference a walk of 3-4 hours makes in how many/strongly one feels the quakes. I think I liked it out in Redwood better. :-)

Also, random <poof> and flash from the general direction of the fusebox is most disconcerting. (A brief paternal inspection finds nothing obviously amiss.)

So sleepy. I conceive a solution for this.

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