Just lucky

9th December 2021

This morning’s dawn was nothing like this.

Glancing at the window that foretold a grey day, I lay back and had extra cuddles with Patches.

Yesterday as I was writing beside an open window, I had to remove my sweater and thought “if this keeps up, we’ll need the air-conditioner.” But soon the sweater was retrieved, the window closed, the heater turned back on.

Much more seasonal today. This time last year we had something like 3 feet of snow on the ground.

Not that I wish for such extremes.

I read the other day that in Colorado they had recorded wind gusts of 107 mph and I wondered if my house would even withstand such a blast.

While I do enjoy a good storm, I do not wish to be terrified. When I think of all the types of natural phenomena that can be terrifying, I realize how very fortunate I have been, over my nearly 74 years to have never actually encountered any of them.

Which isn’t entirely accurate:

In 1985 I was in New York for Hurricane Gloria. At the time I lived in Long Beach and we were told to evacuate. In fact I was going on duty at JFK, so I looked around the apartment, took a couple of pictures off the wall and laid them flat. Then I collected my insurance papers and my passport, took my cat to a “safe” location and went to work for the duration.


The early stages were a bit of a circus, not least because I found myself having to create a weight and balance document for a South African Airways 747 SP which, minus passengers and baggage was seriously out of balance because included in the cargo remaining on board were two baby elephants.

We had been told to send the aircraft to Detroit and the document had to be produced with some speed.

Perhaps it could be said that I got “creative”, but it flew.

The airport wasn’t actually closed until around 10 am, so the early Concorde arrival made it in and I then had to dispatch that aircraft in a hurry to get it clear of the storm. There was a whole lot of mad scrabbling about and then – SILENCE.

There’s nothing stranger than an airport with no aeroplanes. It was eerie. Most of the afternoon shift could not come in and I could not go home, so I remained on duty for some 30 hours.


It was the shift coming in to relieve me that got clobbered with the aftermath, so I was the lucky one.

Back in Long Beach there was a bit of sand in the streets and nothing worse. Much more recently, hurricane Sandy took a direct hit on Long Beach.

But I was 3,000 miles away in 2012.

Having moved those 3,000 miles in June of 2000, I was “in situ” for the Nisqually earthquake in 2001.

Not something I had really though a lot about when making my decision to re-locate, I’d often wondered what it would feel like to be in an earthquake.

You could really say I missed it because I was in my car. Suddenly the car went squirmy and I thought I might have a flat tyre, but then I came to a traffic light that was swaying alarmingly.

People were running out of houses, so I thought:

“Oh. Earth tremor.” Actually, it was a 6.8 quake.

Yeti was with me then and when I got home she was a bit cross and things had fallen down.

At SEATAC there were cracks in some of the walls.

There were cracks in a few nerves, too, but not mine. I had totally missed the whole experience. It was my day off too, so I didn’t even have to deal with distressed passengers.

Some people have all the luck!

4 thoughts on “Just lucky

  1. You’ve been through multiple different types of natural disasters, eh?
    I was actually just across the border from you, in Victoria BC for the nisqually quake. I am someone with a paralyzing fear of earth quakes. I actually remember that day.

  2. Two things made me look twice at your post … 2 baby elephants on a plane and being on duty for 30 hours! You had a really interesting life Carolyn (and probably still in your beautiful house in the rural area surrounded by your cats … oh yes, and Grant of course 😉).
    I never had any scary encounters weather wise – maybe I have chosen to stay at the “right” places – who knows?

Leave a Reply