At approximately 1:50 this afternoon I experienced the first significant earthquake of my life.

Back in 2002 or so, my little house was rocked by a very minor, very brief quake. It lasted just a few seconds, and I had to do some research online to prove that it had officially been an earthquake.

But what I experienced today left no room for skepticism. It was, without a doubt, a freakin’ mother of an earthquake.

I was standing in my kitchen mixing up some chicken salad when I heard what sounded like my washing machine spinning out of whack. You know that noise it makes when the clothes all slosh to one side? Except I wasn’t doing any laundry.

As I grabbed the counter, one cat ran down the hall while the other hunkered down on the floor visibly frightened. It only took my brain a few seconds to realize that what I was feeling was an earthquake. But unlike my previous incident this one kept going, and going, and going, and going.

The front of my house is glass. I kept waiting for the panes to crack or break. Glasses I have hanging in a rack began to clang together. And still my house kept shaking and booming and groaning and creaking. When was this ever going to end? I finally ran down the hall and stood in a doorway – I had read that was good to do somewhere.

The rumbling subsided slowly – kind of like how thunder will roll slowly away. It’s almost like you could hear the quake moving on up the coast – like a giant’s footsteps as he stomps past your house to wreak havoc somewhere else.

I immediately called my husband screaming that we had an earthquake, and he answered “is that what that was?” There was no mistaking what it was from where I stood! Within seconds Facebook was flooded with folks relaying their experiences and I was really surprised to see friends as far as New York had also felt the tremors.

I got in my car and went to pick up my girls at school. I was worried about them and wanted them with me in case there was an aftershock or two, and there was. While we were at the high school waiting for my oldest to come to the office and aftershock lasting about 6 seconds rumbled through. During the ride home we all relayed our individual stories of the quake, and listened to the news on the radio.

The epicenter of the quake was only about 12 miles from my house. Folks had cabinet doors open and all sorts of things fall to the floor. Our house must be of sound construction because our only “damage” was a few happy meal toys that fell off a shelf and one thing fell off the wall. I’m thankful for that.

This is big news here. BIG news. The local news crews will be reporting on this for a few days at least. Oh, and hurricane Irene is on her way here too.

Should make for an interesting weekend.