So, there's this festival that takes place a couple of counties south of me, and I used to go all the time with my mom and aunts. We haven't been in years, but for some reason, I decided I'd like to go this year. My mom didn't think she was up for it. My cousin decided he wanted to go, but his mom already planned to go with someone else, so he and I decided we would go together.
The festival lasts three days and takes place every Labor Day weekend. Artists come from all over the country to sell their wares. There's tons of not-so-good for you food that the media would have you believe you can only get at the Iowa State Fair during an election year (fried Oreos, anyone?) and there's live entertainment, ranging from bluegrass bands to a birds of prey show. There are lots of activities for kids, the 4-H club with their livestock and historical stuff. It's really a good time.
Or, at least, it's a really good time when Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Weather Event Lee isn't flying through the state.
But let me back up. My family cooked out to celebrate the holiday weekend yesterday and either my mom and aunt are trying to poison me or I ate way too much crap. I went to bed pretty late last night, but I figured I could swing three hours of sleep before my cousin and I left for the festival. About an hour after I'd gone to sleep, I woke up with the most horrible stomach pain I'd felt in a long time. I just knew I was going to see all of the food from the cookout reemerge from the hole in which it entered my body (sorry), so I ran to the bathroom. I sat on side the tub and played the new Battleship app I downloaded for my iPhone (just call me Rear Admiral Sarah).
I was in there over half an hour, but nothing ever happened, so I returned to my bed and proceeded to lay in bed and moan and groan for another hour. In the end, I think I got about one and a half hours of sleep, and when I woke up this morning, I felt like hell. I should have called the whole thing off right then and there, but I still really wanted to go. If for no other reason, the book I'm working on centers around a similar type of festival, and I thought it would be good motivation for writing.
My cousin came over and I dragged my barely awake self to the car, and we sat out for the festival. According to Google, it's about 55 minutes from my house, but throw in the fact that it's pouring rain, and it took a little bit longer than that. We knew there was a chance of rain today, but I'm not afraid of a little water. Let's just say I'm glad I didn't wear any makeup or the white tanktop I'd originally planned.
We got there and the big field where you park is usually packed. Seriously, most days you may walk half a mile to get to the front gate. What we saw was this:
The good thing is that we were able to park really close to the gate, and due to the rain, they were offering a "Lee" discount on tickets. Once we got inside, we were amazed at how few people were there. I can't tell you how crowded this place usually is. Not only that, but many of the artists and vendors had already packed up for the day, too. There were maybe 20 - 30 left out of like 150 - 200. That sucked, but at least we had what was left of the festival to ourselves.
We walked around and did a little shopping and watched part of a birds of prey show. We were two of the ten or so people in the audience.
I bought the following (and these are all cuter in person, it's dark in my living room where I'm taking these pictures):
This little pottery dish to put on my kitchen sink to keep sponges and stuff in (my old one broke).
Then I went back and bought this little clay doggie Christmas ornament.
I also bought this little ceramic bulldog:
And these awesome smelling candles (sage citrus and plumeria):
None of that is what I intended to buy, but like I said, most vendors had packed up for the weekend due to the rain, and I had to buy something!
One of the last vendors we stopped at sold jellies and jams in all these really unique flavors, and while some of them looked tasty, my stomach issue from the night before was quickly returning. As I listened to the ladies who made them tell my little cousin what all he could eat with them, I thought I was going to die right there. After he sampled and bought a few of them, we decided to head home. He was broke and I could barely stand up straight, so we just decided to leave. So much for fried Oreos.
I should have taken this new found nausea as a sign not to leave the house again today.
We drove back to my house in even more rain, then my mom called shortly after to let us know there was a tornado warning right where we'd been driving home. My dogs were staying with my parents (I didn't know how long I'd be gone), and I decided to head up and go get them. All I wanted to do was get them, get home and go to bed. I watched my cousin back out of my driveway and then I started to back out of my driveway, and before I know it, I'm slipping and sliding all over the place. I freaked out a little bit, threw the car into drive and suddenly, I hear this loud crunching noise.
Again, let me back up. A few weeks ago, one of my water pipes sprung a leak. The pipe was about five feet under my driveway so there's a huge gaping hole in my driveway, but my landlord filled in with dirt and told me it was OK to drive over it. So, that's what I've been doing.
Unfortunately, doing it in the rain was a bad idea. My front tire sank down into the hole, the front bumper caught on the cement, and I was not going anywhere:
Now it's not enough that I feel like someone kicked me in the stomach and my car is stuck in a huge, gaping hole, but I open my car door to inspect the damage and the tornado sirens are going off. I just stood there in the rain for a while. Given the bad luck I've had with things over the last few months, especially my car, I just couldn't seem to grasp the situation. My mom called to see what was taking so long. My phone was so wet, I couldn't even get the touchscreen to slide open so I could answer it.
I went inside, called her back and told her what happened and she told me there was a tornado spotted at the elementary school near my house. That's about the time when I started carrying on about how I would die alone, not even the dogs would be with me. The next half hour or so was filled with nonstop tornado sirens, crazy winds (I felt like Dorothy watching stuff fly by my window) and lots of flooding.
When things started to die down, my dad (who has the flu) came to get me. He inspected my car, and told me I was going to have to call a wrecker. I went to their house, made some calls (seriously, I had to try four places before I found someone who'd come out on Labor Day), and my dad brought the dogs and me back to my house. I waited another hour for the guy to come pull my car out of the hole and charge me $55 for doing so. I was so happy that I tipped him, but if I'd know what was gonna come next, I would have held on to that money.
At this point, I'm freezing cold and soaking wet, so I changed into my warm snuggly robe and went to bed. I slept for a couple of hours and when I woke up, I guess my stomach ailment was gone because I was starving. The rain had died down, so I decided I'd make a quick run to McDonald's. For some reason, when I'm sick, I crave McDonald's. On the way there, my car started acting funny if I'd go over 30 mph. Like the steering wheel would start jerking and I'd nearly run off the road. I can't wait to see how much that's going to cost! I just had $3500 worth of work done on said car after a tree fell on it.
In an effort to wrap this up, I won't complain about how long the extremely immature staff at McD's made me sit and wait for overcooked chicken, cold fries and a watered down Diet Coke, but, well, this is what happened to that meal:
It was the the perfect end to a perfect day. I ended up eating leftover homemade ice cream from the cookout for supper. Great for my stomach issues, but the only thing I had in the house that didn't make me want to gag.
Oh, well. At least the dozens of tornadoes that flew over my town never swept me away. Well, they say it was only three tornadoes, but dozens makes for a better story and that's how many times the sirens went off.