Thursday, July 16, 2015

There's No Place Like Home, But Good Luck Getting There

This summer, the section of I-35 between central Iowa and southern Kansas has seen plenty of activity by our family, both immediate and extended.  My mom and Mark's most recent foray north included golf and a trip to see the movie Inside Out, which Mom and I decided must have been written by experts in child development or mental health or something, because it was the kind of movie where the kids get a kick out of it but the more boisterous laughter is really issuing from the adults.  It was sharp and smart and so entertaining.  I can't wait to see it again.

The day after the movie found the kids and I in Kansas, trying to make our way from the site of the funeral to my mom's house.  I don't have a smart phone or any kind GPS when traveling, so I broke out the handy dandy Kansas map out of the glove compartment- as in, a real, paper map.  The kind that doesn't talk to you and is impossible to properly re-fold.  It was delightful.

After consulting said delight, (and, ahem, missing a turn or two) I decided that if I just kept turning onto highways headed south interspersed with a turn on a westerly highway every so often, I would eventually get to mom's house.  I knew vaguely where I was, at least in terms of our relation to state borders, so I wasn't too fussed about knowing our exact arrival time or perhaps accidentally taking a slightly more scenic route.

At one point, Mom called, trying to find out where I was.  I told her my sort-of plan, she sighed "Kristy!" in exasperation, which I gotta say, really took me back, and we hung up.  Then I laughed because I haven't heard my name said in quite that way in some time, and I proceeded to entertain the children with impressions of my mom saying my name.  They were in stitches.

As it turns out, however, there was a reason for her frustration:  She called again shortly thereafter and told me I needed to get it in gear, as there was a huge storm headed for my hometown.  Derek had warned me that the radar showed a wide storm system sweeping across Kansas, but come on!  Trying to kill its citizens with rain and hail and lightning and twisters is what this state does in the summer.  And spring.  Aaaand sometimes the fall.  This particular storm was severe enough to have my mom worried; she and Mark were monitoring the weather from the lobby of a Kansas City hotel lobby, having been herded from their rooms by hotel staff because of tornadoes in the area.

I pinpointed our location on the (paper, manual, figure-it-out-yourself, man-I-love-those-things) map, and sped up the teeniest bit.  It helped that no one was out, although that also contributed to the eerie sensation, especially as a giant wall cloud began to creep over the landscape.  The tiny towns we did briefly slow down for sported people standing on their front porches, staring at the sky- NEVER a good sign in Kansas.  When you see Kansans in this stance, you'd best keep a wary eye out for funnel clouds.  

We drove about half an hour through spooky premature darkness before the wind suddenly picked up and the sky tried to drown us.  Long, long story short, we finally made it to the house, but not before the kids freaked out and I told them that there were NO MORE QUESTIONS UNTIL WE GOT TO GRANDMA'S LORRI'S, because if you ask me, "Are we about to die?" one more time, I'm going to tell you the truth, Adelaide, and you're not going to like it.  All that child-silence gave me plenty of time to reflect on how you forget what severe weather actually looks like if you've lived away from it for long enough- don't get me wrong, we get storms here, but Iowa severe weather : Kansas severe weather :  : any Scooby-Doo villain : any villain played by this guy:

A million bucks says his mom took one look at him at birth and shuddered.  Thanks for the nightmares, Cillian Murphy.


  1. Land Sakes, you get into some dangerous situations out there on the prairie! I'm glad you got home safely and didn't encounter any munchkins (I guess you've got your own) or wicked witches or trees that throw apples at you.

  2. You were out in that storm? Whoa.


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