"I think that was a 3 pointer."
"Oh," says I, "I didn't feel anything. Did you feel something?"
"I think it was a 3 point 2 point 5."
"Oh," I say, again, and watch as Maddee goes back to her play.
There are words and thoughts that have entered our life here in Christchurch, things I never knew about or at least never thought about before. Earthquakes alter more than just the land, it alters the people, even in the simplest of ways.
"Hey mum, look at that, there's a Search and Rescue Man on a bicycle." Isabelle points out as we are driving down the street.
"Ah, probably the easiest way for him to get to work in the city would be bicycle." I answer.
USAR, a word we all now know, Urban Search and Rescue Personnel, now a common sight, often a conversation point. Even my children can identify these people on the streets, passing by, on a bicycle.
"Do you think the inspector will come today?" Maddee asked me.
"Inspector, what inspector?" Excuse me for not being with it, but I was talking to a four year old. Maybe she was talking about Inspector Gadget, or was it some odd thing that came up on Bob the Builder or some other television program?
We were just arriving home, and I pulled the car up, more than ready to turn my attention to getting in and having a cup of tea before starting dinner preparations, which were taking more thought and planning because I hadn't yet had replaced my pots and pans.
"Mum, do you think an inspector will come to look at the house?"
Then I got it. An EQC inspector, or a Structural Engineer inspector. EQC, Earthquake Commission, Engineers, these were things we never thought about, no less spoke of a few months ago. Now we talk about this all the time while we are waiting for someone to inspect Molly's flat to say if she can live in it again. Has the inspector come to your house? Have you heard about when the inspectors will visit you? Have you seen the inspectors in your area yet? It is a common topic around this city now. Poor Maddee was just joining the conversation of life.
On the door entering Maddee's preschool, a new sign as appeared. 'Out of respect for our children, please keep all earthquake related conversations outside these premises and away from little ears." I wonder if I should wear a sign like that? No I don't think I can.
Everywhere I go, people are in huddled up, chatting away about the earthquake, where they were, what has happened to them, what they have lost, if inspectors have seen their property, troubles with insurance. I do it too. It is the first thing we talk about when meeting up with a person. And here I am, blogging about it. There is some compulsive need to use these new thoughts and words in every day life. I think as we speak these words, they become normal. And normal is good.