Wednesday, June 11, 2008

what a difference a half an hour makes

I was running late--so typical of me--when I noticed the brooding, darkening of the early evening sky. I'm supposed to get to the pool early to drop off cash/son for teen activities night and stick around to help chaperon this youthful mayhem.

So's I says to myself, "Hmmm ... this looks a little like some nastiness is about to kick loose and I certainly don't think we're wanting to be poolside when nature unfurls her fury!"

Sure enough, as we arrive and to start setting up for the night's events, the wind starts blowing. At first it's rather pleasant--having been 90+ degrees for the past few days--when traveling from the north at a rapid clip are some pretty wicked clouds. And that's when the doo-doo hits the proverbial fan!

Along with the two other chaperoning adults and all the lifeguards, we start running around grabbing chairs and umbrellas that are getting flung in every direction and watch as one of the lifeguard stand umbrellas--still open--gets snatched by the wind and has its 3 i/2 inch pole snap in half! Kids are running around being dramatic, obnoxious and oh, so helpful (not!) while phone calls are being made to have parents turn around and retrieve their storm-watching charges.

I offer to give one of my daughter's friends a ride home--whereas I, without a sensible molecule in my brain, had let my own daughter walk a mile and a half to another friend's house--in order to avoid any damage due to the increasing high winds and the occurrence of some seriously scary lightening strikes.

Can you get electrocuted if you talk on your cell phone, outside, during a thunderstorm?

Well, at that moment I didn't give a crap about that potential consequence because I was on the phone every three minutes trying to find out if my kid made it to her friend's house safe and sound ~ and she did!

So we piled up--my middle son, my daughter's friend and myself--in my van and peeled out of the Swim Club parking lot and made fast tracks home. I dropped the friend off at her house, I even offered to wait oo that she could get changed and then deliver her to the other friend's house.

But I'm ever so glad she declined my offer ... because I was about to experience one of the most hair-raising drives of my life!

With no time to squander, I left town and cautiously made my way home with winds, lightening strikes and rain picking up in the most alarming manner: it was like driving through a hurricane!

And to top things off, one of the more unforseen things about my bucolic daily commute is that my route is absolutely littered with towering, branchy old trees looming over me as I skitter past in quiet terror.

So that's where the real fun began!

While my poor son was whimpering and white-knuckling next to me, I calmly drove around fallen tree branches, tree trunks and all sorts of natural debris. Before it started to pour, I had the windows down and every time there was a lightening strike--and just about every one of them flashed overhead!--we could feel an alarming sharp blast of heat prickle our skin right after each strike. It was more than a little freaky!! When the rain came down, it came down in buckets, in sheets followed by little pelting hail ... my poor windshield wipers were almost useless against the stuff!

As I was slowly and steadily making my way home--all the while soothingly reassuring myself AND my son that everything was going to be all right--several times we would have to slow to a stop in the middle of the road in order to make out the white line on the right side of the road. That white line was the only thing guiding me on along that winding road!

The one and probably only miracle about that scary ride was that I never once had to experience a tree branch falling into the road or onto a car or onto house ... I luckily came upon all the damage after it had occurred.

I received at least two phone calls--one from Pos and the other from my very worried daughter--while attempting to make it home alive; middle son was a very useful message taker during our ordeal.

As we pulled into our neighborhood, the wind and rain was finally dying down and the only thing remained were lightening flashes off in the distance. Three of my neighbors had huge trees come down onto their property and miracles of miracles, not one of their houses got demolished in the process!

My white-knuckle-drive-of-terror took approximately 24 minutes whereas that commute typically takes me 10 minutes.

I'm never going to look at those tree-lined roads the same ever again!


lil sis said...

Okay. Your post and Pos' post about the mushroom cloud are REALLY stressing me out. I need a drink.

Posolxstvo said...

SIL - the mushroom cloud was a dream. The storm she described was real. But hey, we didn't live through Katrina ...

Jeni said...

Meanwhile, a bit northwest of your area, we had nary a drop! Nada! Zilch! Beautiful weather today -all day -hot, yes, but still beautiful! Sure am glad your luck held out though and you came through AFTER the wind had done it's damage and I'm quite sure you are even happier than I am about that!

Posolxstvo said...

Hey, it just occurred to me. What were you doing taking pictures when you should have been driving?


molly gras said...

Jeni -
Alls I can say is that the tree-trimming companies are having a major field day around here (and earning crap loads of cash to boot!!)

Pos -
Geez! That's what the white-knuckling side-kick was for, ya doofus!!