Tales From the Tundra: Can’t Get There From Here



You may or may not have picked up on the fact that the six months I spent in Michigan with my ex-husband were not exactly the happiest chunk of my life.  Allow me to put it this way: one year for a human is seven years for a dog.  Similarly, one month in Michigan was an eternity for me.  So as far as I’m concerned, I spent six eternities in that craphole.

There were, of course, a few good things that came from my midwestern experience.  One was Ollie, the ginormous-headed Wheaten terrier we got from a breeder at the cutely named Raisin Tree Farms. Two was the availability of chipatis (pictured above) from Pizza House (conveniently located in both Ann Arbor and East Lansing).  Chipatis are really just shredded salad ingredients in giant pitas, but the accompanying condiment — a mysterious elixir of what I suspect to be salsa and ranch dressing — is dee-licious.  Three was the scrawny and kindly college student at Bed, Bath & Beyond on Washtenaw who suggested I watch a new show called “Family Guy.” But honestly, that’s about all I can say without cursing.

My geographic frustration began right away. I arrived in Michigan from New York at the end of July, and it was already cold.  I felt like a member of the Donner party, realizing too late I wasn’t going to make it — the elements, circumstance and a series of poor decisions would triumph over my will.  On the second day of my creepy new life, I took the Jeep — which, by the way, isn’t the easiest car to drive when you’re five feet, no inches — and decided to seek solace in the extra-wide aisles of the local Meijer (pronounced like “Myer”) superstore. 

I had no idea where anything was, of course, so very logically, I called Meijer to ask for directions.  The conversation went like this.

Hi, I’m coming from the depressing apartment complex on Eisenhower Boulevard.  Can you tell me how to get to your store?

Five-second pause.

WHOO! WHOOOOO BOY. I sher doon’t think I cane. I am so say-ree hon.  I just doon’t noo what to tale you.

Five-second pause on my end due to horrible realization that I now live in Michigan.

Oh. Okay. Well, how did you get to work today? Maybe that will help.

Five-second pause.

WHOO.  Ache-tually, may husbay-nd draped me off on his way to work.

Five-second pause as I see if there’s anything in the car I can use to hang myself at the next light.

Maybe there’s someone else there I could ask for directions?

Five-second pause, then significant volume increase.

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK! HANK! HANK! Theers a young lady on the phoon who needs day-rections. Cane you peak up?

Audible clip-clopping.

OOHkay hon. Thay-ts Hank, may husbay-nd. Hay-ng on.


Five-second pause as I process the fact that “Hank” didn’t merely deposit his wife at Meijer and continue on in his American car to another place of employment, but actually works there as well.


Whoo boy! I sher hope Hank cane tell me where the fuck May-er is, or I’m giving up and going to Tear-get.

Tales From the Tundra: Can’t Get There From Here

5 thoughts on “Tales From the Tundra: Can’t Get There From Here

  1. Allison — It is SO funny you mention wooly worms!!! We had weird little worms in our ground-floor apartment and it traumatized me beyond belief. I shudder to think of you suffering like that as an innocent young camper. EW! See –Michigan is a bad, bad place. Except maybe for the Neiman Marcus at the mall in Troy …

  2. I’ve watched enough Diego episodes to know that it would not be good to be married to a Sloth. Glad to hear that you escaped the slothful life in MI.

    I went to a church camp in Michigan when I was 12…it was near Lake Ann (wherever that is.) I recall a plethora of wooly worms…and stepping into a very large anthill. Ick.

  3. MichelleW says:

    Chipatis! We had them in Chicago, but sold under the name Pockets — a local chain. It was a copy, or a licensed outpost from Pizza House, I’m not sure which. All I know is that my Ann Arbor friends told me that it was basically the same thing. I think the sauce is a combination of ketchup, ranch, and some hot sauce. I tried to recreate the sauce at a salad bar at work, but it was an utter failure. Plus, the bread was the best. Ah… now I’m hungry.

  4. Heino says:

    Go ahead and curse, dear. You’ll feel butter. Ohmygosh, I mean, better. Didya hear that? I said butter when I meant better. Isn’t that the darndest thing? I bet they’d get a hoot outta that one down at the dairy farm. Oh, wait. I live on the dairy farm. Well, whaddya think about that? I wonder if that has something to do with it? Could it all be connected somehow? Hmmmmmmm. Okay, now, what was I saying . . . .?

    Heino, you sound familiar. You’re not related, by any chance, to the famed Michigan dairy farmer from Zurich and Little Rock?

  5. Michigan is one of the five (of the 48) states that I have yet to visit, and thanks to your description, I’m ok with that. I’m sorry to hear of your torturous stay.

    I can’t watch an episode of Family Guy without thinking “I can’t believe this is on TV”. There’s not another show out there that has that effect on me.

    Five foot tall chicks are hot, but don’t tell my 5′-3″ wife I said that. 😛

    If your wife is 5’3″, she can kick my ass! Trust me. You do not need to see Michigan. I like the Cracker Barrel Factory Outlet as much as the next guy … but there’s really nothing going on in that state. I mean no disrespect to the natives!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s