Apocalypse Now

Er, actually not. It was just that armageddon was forecast pretty much all over the Great Lake State this afternoon. Severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings everywhere. And we were scheduled to drive north. Right smack through it all. I felt unsettled all day, my Celtic sixth sense was just kicking and screaming. Unfortunately, my Celtic sixth sense works best in hindsight, so I usually don’t plan my life around it. But I was full of angst all day. It was hot and sticky this morning and it just felt like it did back on July 2, 1997, when we were heading north and a tornado hit our van. With us in it. At least I *think* it was 1997. [Ahem, we can’t seem to find any Houghton Lake log books earlier than about 2002. Anybody got any idea where they’re stashed?]

<flashback>Anyway, we left The Planet Ann Arbor that July 2 for the Great White North. The plan was to drive up to Houghton Lake on the 2nd and continue on to Fin Family Moominbeach the next morning. It was a day kind of like today and there were all kinds of weather warnings but I didn’t take them seriously because the media in SE Michigan is forever threatening us with monster storms of one sort or another that never materialize. Mouse’s baseball coach called to cancel her practice that day and we were both kind of laughing about how ridiculous it was.

Or not. Just to be on the safe side, the GG looked at the weather map and made a calculated decision that it would be better to take the I75 SUV Speedway up, rather than the Lansing route. It’s the eastern route and I guess we figgered that state-wide severe weather would take a while to come *across* the state. Don’tcha know. We were soooo smart. And indeed, until we got up near Flint, the weather was hot, sunny, and windy, just like it had been all day. Fine and dandy, I thought. We’re home free.

Or not. Because. Then. Suddenly. The sky turned greenish-black. Big bolts of lightning were everywhere. I remember the tornado warning crackling onto the radio at the same time I noticed a fire truck sitting on top of a freeway overpass. Waiting. For casualties. We had the old blue POC. Actually, it was new then. My beautiful new, Island Teal minivan with the automatic locks and windows and the [crappy] CD player. I was driving. The GG was riding shotgun. Mouse was in the middle seat, directly behind me. Lizard Breath was in the third seat on the right.

I was scared out of my wits! Suddenly there was a rest area. I pulled in. I wanted to get out and go hide under a toilet or something. If you know how I feel about public toilets, you know how desperate I was. The GG said, “NO! Drive over there.” “Over there” was the entrance back onto the freeway. There was NO WAY I was gonna get back onto the freeway in that stuff. But, like a robot, I drove s-l-o-w-l-y toward the entrance ramp. When we got there, I protested again. He said, “pull over there.” I parked on the side and when I looked up, a big whirling thing was coming directly toward us! I wanted to get out of the van and into the ditch like they always tell you to do. The GG said, “no!” Stay inside. I looked back. My babies were as terrified as I was! I could reach my hand around to grab Mouse’s hand. There was no way I could get to Lizard Breath. I can still remember her sitting back there with Orange Baby snuggled up to her neck. This was her second tornado. She had been in a tent during her first one. No wonder she lives in California now!

At least one car on the freeway flipped over and others were left in various states of disarray. I watched as the tornado moved the cars parked in front of us toward the ditch. It was our turn. Miraculously, all it did to us was rock us around a bit. It was over. The GG said, “Don’t drive.” I thought (or maybe I screamed), “There is NO WAY I am going to DRIVE anywhere!” But after a few minutes, I took the POC out of park and we started slowly off. My beautiful new minivan was sandblasted and the windshield wipers were a bit cockeyed until the GG straightened them out but other than that we were unscathed.</flashback>

Back to today, for those who are confused. I listened to predictions of armageddon all the way home from work today. I was really jumpy. The traffic was crazy and there were police and ambulance sirens everywhere. I heard that there was a tornado warning for Kalamazoo and I’m sure Mouse thought I was crazy when I texted “tornado warning”. She was apparently in a basement somewhere on campus, working on a project, not hiding from a non-existent tornado. Oblivious to the weather reports.

I wanted to bail out from our trip. The GG wouldn’t have anything to do with that. I don’t think he is afraid of anything. I wanted to go up the I75 SUV Speedway. This time it seemed *clear* that the severe stuff wouldn’t get to the Flint area until later. The Lansing route looked scary but the GG insisted on it and, in truth, there’s so much construction on the I75 SUV Speedway that we may have gotten stuck in traffic long enough to hit the storms that we eventually heard were heading to the Flint area. Anyway, by the time we got to Stockbridge, the Lansing area was already under attack. By the time we got up to Holt Road (hi Sam!), things were looking awful and there were definite tornado warnings for the area we would soon drive through. The GG turned onto Holt Road and by doing so, we skirted around to the south and west of the storm. Gradually I got a little calmer and by the time we got to Lansing, the storm had moved just a bit to the east.

So, we just kept going. And life got almost normal for a drive to Houghton Lake. The water was a little rough up here and the yard is wet but we got everything in and poured a ‘hattan and started futzing around with various electronical beasties and then, I looked up and out and everything was orange. Not Photoshopped.

The GG says he can’t read this. It’s too long. I don’t care. It’s my blahg. G’night.

2 Responses to “Apocalypse Now”

  1. isa Says:

    that is completely and utterly bizarre looking. p.s. we have internet now 🙂 signing off…

  2. Dog Momster Says:

    whoa! Sandy Beach…. and Beached Boats!!! O_o The Earth open up and swallow the lake??