Believe it or not, Diane and I are back in town for a few weeks.

We recently took our annual trip to New Jersey. We flew this time, and I must report that conditions have improved greatly at the Newark airport. The TSA agents were quite friendly and very helpful.

That was a big change from the grumpy attitudes they have shown in the past.

We went to watch the four grandkids while their parents took a four-day vacation to Washington, D.C. There was some excitement when we first got there.

A tornado alert was issued for an area of north and central New Jersey, including the town of West Orange. That’s quite an unusual occurrence. Just to be safe, we all went down in the basement and waited it out. A tornado did touch down in Sussex County that night, doing some roof damage to a high school.

We had several more nights of thunderstorms during our 12-day visit.

But we’ve had some excitement in Las Vegas lately. I can now say I have experienced an earthquake.

The Las Vegas valley experienced a series of shakers around the July 4th holiday. The first, a 6.4 magnitude quake was centered in Ridgecrest, Calif., a town of some 28,000 people located approximately 100 miles from Las Vegas.

It is the strongest quake to hit southern California in 20 years.

I didn’t feel the shake from that first one but our grandson, Hunter, did feel it. He was sitting on his couch in the living room.

He has moved back in with us. He said he was lifting himself up and stretching. His arms were fully extended when he felt his arms begin shaking. The 20-year-old at first thought, “Boy, am I getting out of shape.”

I had the news on and they said, “Breaking news, a 6.4 earthquake has hit the Ridgecrest area and viewers were calling in to the Las Vegas station reporting they had felt the shakes at their Las Vegas homes at the time which was at 10:33 a.m. on July 4th.

“I guess it was the earthquake I felt,” Hunter said.

Neither Diane nor I felt anything.

The next one was a 5.4 aftershock at 5:20 a.m. on Friday morning. We were all asleep and naturally we did not feel it.

The big one, a 7.1, hit at 8:15 p.m. on Friday night, July 5.

I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, when suddenly, I felt a strange sensation beneath my feet. The floor was undulating going up and down. I looked over at the tub and it was like looking through a camera lens being shaken from side to side. I went out into the living room and said, “Did you feel that? I can now say I have experienced an earthquake.”

I don’t think it lasted for more than 10 seconds. But that was enough for me.

Hunter said he felt a strong jolt.

And Diane? She said she didn’t feel a thing.

Then I looked at our hanging light fixture in the dining room. It was swinging around in circles.

“There’s your proof that we just had a strong aftershock,” I said, pointing at the swinging light.

Our daughter, Toni, and her husband, Jason, were on the ground floor of the parking garage at the Venetian Hotel on The Strip when the 7.1 hit.

“It was scary hearing the alarms going off, the hanging signs swinging and the creaking of the metal in the building,” she said. “I ran for the elevator, which they later said on TV is one of the worst places you could be in an earthquake. I didn’t know. I just wanted to get out of that basement level in case the whole building came down.”

In closing this week, I too, am going to miss Walt Dunne, the retired superintendent of the Fountain Hills School District who passed away on June 25.

We served together on many committees during the town’s formative years. He always brought good input and his smiling personality to each meeting. It was always a pleasure to work with him.