Run! Run for your lives!


Rich is away for work and last night I was sitting peacefully in the sunroom, knitting quietly while the cats gave themselves an evening lick-up. When the explosion came we all three shot straight up into the air and the cats simply vaporized while I ran for the front door. I opened it, looked out and saw nothing and decided that the 100 year old oak must have fallen on the back side of the house. I raced to the back of the house and up the stairs to Rich’s office above the garage where I could get a better look at the roof. Nothing. I was stunned by the sheer house shaking volume of the noise and while I tried hard to organize my thoughts I decided to run back into the house and lock all the doors. This is an indication of how much the noise startled me: I rarely lock the doors and I have no idea what good I thought that would do anyway. Then I snatched up the phone to call my neighbors to see what they might know. At this point less than two minutes had elapsed. As I dialed their number I glanced at the television that I’d left on and I saw- live coverage of the space shuttle landing over at Kennedy Space Center 130 miles away.

My neighbor was laughing at me even as I sputtered into the phone, “what was that? was that…? REALLY???” This confirms my status as a snowbird and a Florida newbie.

I tried to read a bit about the shuttle’s landing. At this NASA site you can find out enough to fly your own space shuttle from start to finish; I didn’t understand any of it. This Google Answers link was a bit more user friendly and it’s really pretty interesting. At a little over a hundred miles away from the space center, we aren’t able to see the shuttle’s trail because it is so fragmented but we get the full effect of the sonic boom. Apparently, when the shuttle passed over us it was moving at a speed of about 1800 mph and it was still at an altitude of 90,000 feet. This is snail’s pace compared to the 17,000 mph it flies to break out of the earth’s orbit. And, I think if I understood this correctly, we heard the sound about 60 seconds after it happened, which helps explain how it was busy landing a minute, give or take, after I heard that incredible explosion. What? Now I’m confused again (still). Anyway, as far as Sophie and McCloud were concerned, 90,000 feet was entirely too close: they didn’t creep cautiously out of the closet for almost an hour.


(Home, safe and sound, last night.)


17 responses to “Run! Run for your lives!

  1. wow – I never imagined all that for the shuttle landing – how scary! Funnier, too, that no-one mentions it locally!

    we used to have similar experiences when Concorde came into land at Heathrow when I lived in West London

  2. Tht must have been quite a shock. I remember the one and only time I heard military jets in San Diego reaching speeds twice the speed of sound. The sonic booms were absolutely shocking. I can’t even imagine what a shuttle might sound like, although your description does a good job of it!

  3. Why be all upset? That doesn’t look anything like a 100-year-old tree. But maybe it was the bear….

  4. I am glad that you are still getting a bang out of being in Florida. You didn’t comment on the robot in the picture. I LOVE mine, both of them. Absolutely love them.

  5. I was surprised today at work how many people did not know about the shuttle’s sonic boom and were caught off guard by it. We were all standing in the yard just hoping that we might catch a glimpse of it and so heard the boom loud and clear. You have got to catch the liftoff if it occurs while you are in Florida sometime. If the visibility is good, we can see it from our front porch.

  6. Oh, man… the peep photo is perfect.

  7. Wow. I never knew you could hear it from that far away.

  8. I was sitting playing a game on my computer when I heard the “explosion.” I thought surely someone’s house had blown up. When I walked out the front door, my neighbors from across the street were also out. We figured out that it was the shuttle.

    I had never heard it before. It must have come in from a different direction.

    You are so amazing with your descriptions…about all I say is that the shuttle landed, and there was a sonic boom as it made its reentry.

  9. Well, I would have no clue either, and I don’t handle big booms very well. However, we have Fort Lewis right in our backyard; they do some explosive stuff there. And it startles me every time, even after decades of living here!

  10. wow. You are close to the nasa site!!!

    btw, i was laughing so hard when I saw the peeps and the roomba. They don’t even have a chance!

  11. I watched the landing on television with the space freak I’m married to. It was a magnificent landing.

  12. Those poor peeps!!!

  13. Don’t worry, if it weren’t the space shuttle, it would be something else. 🙂

    What is it with peeps, anyway? They have no sense of self preservation at all.

  14. Peeps are easy … does the Roombanator also devour Poops?

  15. tell me more about the Robot – they’ve just been introduced over here (Scotland) and I don’t know anyone that has one … are they really as good as they say? How do they cope with hardwood floors and rugs – do they climb over the edges?

  16. How I hate sudden noises especially if I can’t identify them. Frightening. Poor pussies.

  17. Hmmm, wonder if we scared the neighbors when we got home safe and sound tonight? Our motorhome has a big, noisy engine but I’m pretty sure it’s not space shuttle loud. As an earthquake country woman, I see nothing wrong with ducking and covering upon hearing very, very loud noises.

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