Family Reunions, Thunderstorms, and Power Outages in Michigan

After tearing apart our new house to renovate the kitchen, the family chose to relocate for an extended period. Our relocation would begin in Michigan, which meant that, once again, we would have to face the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Traveling through Pennsylvania, we found that there were three basic zones on the turnpike:

  • Fraudulent construction zones: Apparently established to trick people from out-of-state into slowing down, these zones have exactly the same signage as authentic construction zones but lack any actual construction. Here you will see a number of construction vehicles that seem to have been abandoned as if the Vehicle operators had suddenly fled a zombie apocalypse.
  • Actual construction zones: Although these are as rare as a white stag, they do, in fact, exist. Just when I would think, “screw it, there’s no construction here, I’m not slowing down,” I’d spot an operating earth mover and almost swerve into oncoming traffic out of amazement.
  • Non-Construction zones: These extend roughly 28-34 feet between construction zones.
On the plus side, miraculously, there was no construction in Toledo, Ohio for roughly first time since humans discovered how to make metal tools.
Once we got to the Detroit area, McKenna got to see her cousins, Julia, Miles and Drew, for the first time since last summer.

Not pictured: Laura’s dad, John, who was mourning the death of peace and quiet in his home.

Having reduced John and Diane’s house to roughly the same condition as our house’s semi-renovated kitchen, it was time to depart for the Girard Family Reunion in Caseville. Or almost time. To get supplies for the two to three full days we would be in Caseville, Laura and Margo spent three hours buying groceries. We did make it to Caseville in time for sunset.

You know, there’s something that would make this sunset even more beautiful…


The first full day we were in Caseville was the day of the big reunion at nearby Sleeper State Park. But how would we find the Girards in the park…

My eyes! It’s like staring directly at the sun!

As always, the gathering of generations of Girards was a solemn affair.

A respectful event, where we take time to treasure the next generation.

Taking group pictures with sixty adults and children is never easy, but fortunately this was a cooperative group that accepted direction from others graciously.

Having worked up an appetite taking family pictures, the grills were fired up for lunch. Then, the skies turned dark.

And that meant it was a perfect time for…

Selfies! Not even Yvette’s evident disapproval slowed us down.

In order to protect the selfie stick from the rain, we took cover in the pavilion. The grills and meat were left to the elements.

The acid rain flavored by nearby Detroit made a delicious marinade.

After a while, the rain ended, but the power had been knocked out. The wind from the storm had subsided, negatively impacting Anne’s kite-flying tutorial.

When a second, even stronger storm came through, it was clear that we would be without power for at least the night. We had a light source for at least several hours, though, because it was Rita’s birthday, and the light from all of the candles on her cake illuminated the cabin.

It was like a solar flare.

The next day, we could survey the damage from the storm.

40 mph winds – strong enough to destroy trees, not strong enough to knock down the ladder ball that Tanner and Miles “accidentally” threw into a tree branch.

The power was still out. Since our cabins used well water, and since the well was powered by electricity, there was only one way to use the toilets:

We had to fill the tank with buckets full of lake water like some kind of medieval peasant.

A great debate then arose over how frequently buckets had to be filled so the toilets could be flushed. If what was discharged into the toilet was yellow, should we not just let it mellow? The answer, for everyone other than Anne and Carl, was yes, if it was yellow, a great deal of mellowing would occur between bucket fillings.

Or you could pee directly in the lake, cutting out the bucket middleman.

Even with the mellowing, many, many buckets had to be filled, and some people had to endure slight discomfort, as they chose to hold their bladders rather than make the fifty foot round trip to fill the bucket at the lake. We must never forget this sacrifice.

3 thoughts on “Family Reunions, Thunderstorms, and Power Outages in Michigan

  1. Pingback: From Bonfires in Caseville to Germs in Airplanes | Endless Odyssey

  2. Pingback: Spectrums of Drunkenness and Spectrums of Fun in Caseville, Michigan | Endless Odyssey

  3. Pingback: Lessons about Scheduling and Moderation in Caseville, Michigan | Endless Odyssey

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