The end of January was an exciting time for us. First, we threw caution to the wind and adopted a black cat! Around the same time, the Sun erupted with several solar flares aimed at Earth. A few days after that, a nuclear power plant in northern Illinois lost power, causing one reactor to shut down, and releasing steam with traces of radiation. And later that same day, there was an earthquake centered almost directly underneath our house!
First, our new cat:
He's a very handsome black cat with green eyes, and is 6 years old. His name is Gordon. That was his name at the shelter and we decided to keep it. This way I can pretend it's a subtle Batman reference to Commissioner Gordon -- an ally of Batman who "shares the hero's deep commitment to ridding the dark and corrupt city of crime".
The shelter still has a YouTube video of Gordon online. If you'd like to see him in action (or rather in inaction), check it out while it's still available here.
He spent most of his life at the shelter, getting overlooked by adopters because he's a black cat (they're adopted half as often as other cats), and also because he's shy. We discovered, though, that he is a purring machine. Almost as soon as we started petting him he began purring and rolled over so we could rub his belly. We took that as a positive sign, and as several people have said, you don't choose the cat, the cat chooses you.
It's taken a few weeks for Gordon to adjust to our house, but he's been getting more comfortable and becoming more active. Last night, for example, he chased a red laser pointer through the entire house. He still gets freaked out and runs away when Wendy or I are walking around, but he is also quite happy to be petted when he's lying in his favorite spot -- one of our dining room chairs.
Finally, the earthquake:
I was sitting upstairs one night when I heard a loud THUMP! My first thought was a tree limb had fallen on our roof. Wendy was in the basement but didn't hear anything, so I went outside to look around. Nothing looked amiss, so I went back in and forgot about it.
The next day Wendy sent me a link to a story in the paper: it had been an earthquake! It was a magnitude 2.4 quake, occurred 6 miles below the surface, and the epicenter was only half a mile from our house! People all over the area heard the same thump sound, with some reporting a few seconds of rattling afterwards. Fortunately, there was no damage.