Friday, December 09, 2011


Well, when I left Idaho I knew I was looking for somewhere with more adventure.  I just didn't think it would involve natural disasters and gun rampages.  I was thinking more along the lines of Smithsonian Museums and the Atlantic Ocean.

A week after we arrive on August 23 at 1:51 pm we felt the 5.8 quake whose epicenter was about 4 hours away just north of Richmond.  Darik and I were in our offices at Tech.  The controller's office is in a warehouse-like building (ag dept used to pack meat there) with a sea of cubicles placed below huge AC/ventilation systems and lighting hanging from a ceiling 20 feet up.  We'd gotten used to loud noises and shaking to our building, it was under renovation and getting a new roof.  So when we felt the floor shake a bit we weren't surprised.  Until it kept shaking for several seconds.  My office chair felt like it was rolling on a little wave.  I looked up and saw the lights swaying reaally bad and thought, "if it keeps up for another second I'm diving under my desk.  I don't want the duct/electrical work to come crashing on my head."  Being one of the lone westerners, I was one of two I knew in the office who actually did earthquake drills growing up.

A week later Hurricane Irene hit the North Carolina and Virginia Coasts.  Luckily all we got was a lot of rain and some funky clouds.  Aunt LeeAnn and Uncle Lonnie decided to ride out the Category 3 (which turned into category 1 when it struck land) at home in Norfolk.

And here we thought we had survived the natural disasters and were home free.

Yesterday, December 7, I came back from lunch at work with friends and sat down at my desk when Jackie and Britney asked if I'd heard about the shooting at Tech.  At 12:40 I texted Darik to ask if he was okay.  All I knew is that it was rumored a cop had been shot.  Darik told me it happened in Cassel Coliseum parking lot.  The athletic department had a lunch meeting yesterday and Darik left Cassel at 1230, walked into the parking lot and got in his car, he drove a block down the street to the stadium.  By the time he got indoors a security guy told him he couldn't go out, they were on lockdown because of a shooting.  Darik did not hear a gun shot, so he must have walked outside just seconds after it happened.  He does know he was in the lot before responding police officers arrived around 1240.  The shooter took off down the east-west street of the intersection (washington).  Darik's office was a a block down the north-west street.  All it would have taken was for the shooter to decide to run the other way.  Anyways, it was a stressful day.  Even though the shooter was found dead in a parking lot less than a hour later - they couldn't be sure it wasn't a second victim that the suspect had car jacked until formal forensics were complete.  Since a shooter may still be on the loose SWAT teams continued responding to all suspicions and tips on campus and the police decided to lockdown area schools until they were sure a shooter wasn't still at large.  The only thing the teachers told Ellie is that the busses were late.  She got home around 5 pm.  The lifted the lockdown at D's work at 430 and he arrived home on time.  It was a long crazy day.  Just grateful to all be home and safe.

We've definitely had adventures since we came - although quite a different kind we thought we would have.

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