Thursday, March 3, 2011

the new normal

Back home, reunited with our pets. It's been a long day, leaving before dawn to travel 2.5hours home, then facing the mess that has been sitting here for almost two weeks. The house was gross, and smelly. I did the best I could but simple tasks like doing dishes, wiping benches and disinfecting floors are not so easy when there is no water. I have enormous respect for those families that stayed, and have been coping without water (and in some cases without water AND power) since the 22nd of February.

The kids are pretty upset. The house holds memories of fear, and there have been lots of tired, stressed tears tonight. We haven't had any aftershocks since being home again, so I can only guess how traumatic those will be. I am trying to be brave but I don't know how long I can keep it together. Although we are all OK, with enough drinking water to see us through until the services are fixed, a car with fuel and supermarkets full of food and water, the emotional weight of everything is huge.

I worry about another big one, I worry about the kids getting sick from sewerage contaminated water, I worry about what lasting impact this will have on them. I spent a good portion of the day fighting back my own tears. I'm tired, grouchy and after a really hot day working hard getting things back to order quite smelly - but there wont be a hot shower tonight or a relaxing bath.

I keep thinking I'm going to wake up and this nightmare will be over. Except these images of a city in ruins will haunt me forever. This post has a selection I stole from google. I've been to all the buildings you see. I could have been driving down that road, been on that bus. This isn't some far away place. This is happening here. I still find it hard to comprehend.

We drove through the northern suburbs today which look untouched, a little bit of silt in some places but life looks like it is carrying on as normal. Then closer to the city, you begin to see the destruction. The central city is a wasteland. My mind can't stop imagining those bodies still lying in the rubble. Army soldiers guard the cordon - it looks like something out of a war zone, something I would see on the news happening in a third world country . Not here, not to us. Around our house there are lots of roads where driving is not pleasant, the ashphalt buckled and muddy. Evidence of liquefaction is everywhere. On our street there is a portaloo on the corner. It looks so wrong.

This is the new normal. Hand sanitizer, piles of dirty dishes and laundry, baby wipes to clean the table, duct tape on the taps so the kids dont accidentally play/drink in dangerous water. Going down the road to a communal portaloo to do your basic bodily functions (which is a little disconcerting when you can hear a car driving past right behind you!!!).

It's not pleasant but we'll be fine. Plenty of friends have water we can go to for washing and showers. The supermarkets have bottled water. Hopefully soon water will go on everywhere, schools will go back, old routines will be re-established. Until then we just wait and make do. Check in with friends and neighbours. Try and find some semblance of normality.

Thank you to everyone who has sent messages, emails, PMs and comments. I have had many offers of yarn, parcels of love, help in whatever form I need (even had a friend offer to come down and hook up our guttering to a tank so we can collect rainwater if we need it). I have vented and cried to internet friends I have never met in real life and been overwhelmed with all the virtual hugs and support from all over the world. It has been wonderful for the soul. Thank you.

My stash is unscathed! I have tons of yarn - if you offered to send me some yarn love, thank you, but really I am fine and we are all good for everything. If you would like to do something please consider donating to the RED CROSS - there are people here living in welfare centres, families who have lost everything, homes destroyed, or who have lost jobs/businesses. These are the people who need the extra help now so if you can please give to them.

There is a disaster relief group on Ravelry who are running a "yard sale" to raise funds - have a look, some awesome things, all proceeds to quake relief. Also multiple facebook and trademe auctions and other fundraising activities.

On facebook I found a knitting for christchurch group which might be another avenue for knitters who want to help.

Tomorrow is another day forward.

Kia kaha Otautahi


  1. So glad you and your family are OK.

  2. *hugs* sending you many positive thoughts, my dear. You know where to find me if you should need to vent. Stay safe, and keep in touch.

  3. I hope things are going ok, both with cleaning up and surviving without water, and with the kids too, such a tough thing to have to make sense of for them (not to mention for everyone affected). Hugs from across the ocean.

  4. Just releived you are ok. These things never really seem "real" but actually "knowing" someone who is living through it (even if the knowing is only in the virtual world), just brings it all into sharp reality.
    My thoughts are with you, your family and all your neighbours who are suffering in so many ways right now.