Follow @EllenGrabe Grabe's Gatherings: The Wall of No Return

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Wall of No Return

I had one of those knuckle whitening experiences this afternoon. I have led a pretty sheltered lifestyle and often refer to myself as "underpriviledged" when it comes to experiencing things. Well today I had an experience that as a driver of 10, almost 11 years, have never had.

Bryce's post-surgery appointment was today downtown Des Moines. I had it all set that we would go as a family and afterwards shop for a portable DVD player to get us out to Illinois this coming weekend. Well, in attempt to not interrupt Cailyn's nap, I ended up going with just Bryce. Like any responsible driver and mother, I turned on the radio to check the weather and road conditions (haha). The weather was as such: "chance of showers this afternoon but nothing that will amount to much". With a sigh of relief for an easy commute, I smiled and headed for the interstate.

I should have known from the on-ramp that is was not going to be an effortless commute. I turn to get on the interstate and I am following a semi. So of course on a ramp where you are suppose to pick up speed in order to merge in with the traffic, I'm going 40. I can deal though. I finally get on the interstate only to see a house, yes a house, cruising down the interstate. And not one of those half houses. This was a WHOLE house. And it took up more than 1 lane. So here I am, trying to merge into 70 mile per hour traffic going 40 miles per hour while attempting to pass a house. All it all, it turned out and 5 miles later I was pass the house and the semi trucks and it was smooth sailing. Or so I thought.

As I kept driving closer to Des Moines, I saw this wall of dark clouds. I kept thinking, that looks a bit frightening, but the weather said just a chance of SHOWERS. No worries! I crept closer and closer to the wall and 2 miles from the I235 exit is when I hit that wall of no return.

The rain started coming down. To call what was happening "rain" is an understatement. I had entered a monsoon. If you are familiar with the ramp from I80 onto I235, you know that you do not want to attempt it in a monsoon. However, with the development of MORE construction on it, I had no choice. I couldn't pull over, I couldn't stop, I had to enter the death trap. I could not see past my windshield wipers, which were going full force. My speed decreased dramatically, even slower than the 40 miles per hour I was going trying to get on the interstate. I kept thinking to myself, "I need to pull over, I need to pull over" but there was no place to pull over. There was a 1/2 lane with no shoulder, therefore no pulling over. I kept going into the unknown hoping to find I235 soon. I kept thinking back to my childhood when we would pull over on the highway during bad weather and pray the Our Father as a family until the weather cleared up. I looked up at my Saint Christopher medal on my sun visor and knew that he would protect my baby and I. My hands clenched the steering wheel until my knuckles were white. I patted myself on the back for being a carseat nerd and felt at ease that I had checked the carseat for proper installation and tightened the straps before I left my garage. I hydroplaned the rest of the way UP the ramp and I finally reached I235. The torrential rain continued. I again thought about pulling over, but in the distance I could see some clearing of the dark wall that surround me and my neighbors on the road. Shortly, the rain let up and I was able to slow down the wiper blades and read the signs to find my exit.

As I pulled into the parking lot of the ENT office and quickly thanked God for watching over us and for the new wiper blades that had been put on the car last week. I thought how I wished Eric would have been with us so he could have drove through the great flood, yet I was happy to have had the experience. It's not everyday that you come so close to meeting death......or a house on the interstate.

No comments: