This happened on Saturday:
Yep, that’s my family’s van. Nobody was seriously injured, a fact for which I’m still uttering a little silent thanks every hour or so. My husband and kids were about three hours away from home, on the verge of a planned float trip, when they were hit by a bus.
The plan was for them to have a fabulous time on the river (I’m not much of a water person) while I had an entire glorious day to myself. I had my agenda in front of me – a morning of catching up on housework with my own selected music playing at my own selected volume, followed by a visit to my mom, some exercise, a block of writing time, and an evening outing with friends from work. I got some housework done before the phone call.
It was one of those Murphy’s Law days where you have to choose whether to laugh or cry as you wonder what else could possibly happen, and then something does. I choose to laugh, because the things that happened were really small compared to the fact that nobody was seriously injured. My crew even decided to go ahead and do the river float while waiting for me to arrive.
Saturday afternoon I set out in our other vehicle – a 16-year-old Honda Civic with 178,000 miles – to find the middle-of-nowhere place where my family was stranded. The bank time and temperature signs I passed along the way displayed temps anywhere from 95 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the day extra special, my Civic decided to spring a freon leak, so I had to say goodbye to the air conditioning. The white mist pouring out from the vents made for an exciting special effect, however.
I got lost, but that’s not unusual for me. I build getting lost time into my travel plans, because it happens so often. I wasn’t overly lost, only a little bit. I probably added 15 minutes total onto the trip by missing a turn.
I arrived to discover my family had managed to lose the sunscreen, so sunburns all around.
Believe it or not, we managed to get the van back home. We decided to have my husband drive it, while I followed behind with the kids. Two windows in the van were shattered on impact, filling the interior with broken glass (which is the second time we’ve experienced this with a minivan; the first time was the result of an F1 tornado.)
By the time they were all done floating and we left the place, it was nearly 7:00. We stopped along the way for gas and food. Then we drove into…Severe Thunderstorms! So severe, we had to stop and pull off the road twice because it was impossible to see. This was on narrow, two-lane, unlit, rural Missouri highways with no shoulders, only ditches to each side. The first time, we found a private driveway to wait it out. The second, we lucked onto a side road that led to a commuter parking lot. (Commute to where?) And did I mention, the van is missing two windows? It got pretty wet. My poor hubster. Plus, the lack of a working compressor in the other car meant it was nearly impossible to defog the Civic’s windshield without turning up the temp on the blower to hot. The kids and I were *very* warm for a while. Trapped in a hot, little car, with teens who have already been sweating all day is its own kind of special. I have to give them credit, however, for being remarkably unwhiney through the whole ordeal.
The rain finally abated enough we could drive again. And my daughter remembered she had her iPod with her, plus a device to let it play through the car radio. She and her brother decided they’d feel better with music, specifically songs she had from “My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic.” So there was that for 45 minutes.
But we all made it home safe and well. As long as a tree doesn’t fall on our house or something. HAHAHAHAHAHA!