Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Joke of the Day

Did you hear the one about a crazy woman and a deaf woman driving on perpendicular streets? The crazy woman tries to turn left in front of the deaf woman, and WHAM! Totals her car.
Where's the punchline???

Sadly, there isn't one. Yesterday morning I was taking Baby R to my in-laws and S to preschool before I stopped to vote on my way to work. I decided to take a shortcut. Unfortunately, the main road it led to was a parking lot as traffic had been diverted from the highway because of an accident. I was trying to turn left, the car directly across from me was trying to turn left, and the car to my left was trying to turn left. All of us had to weave our way through the solid line of cars on the eastbound side of the road. I looked left and there were no cars coming, so I eased out and tried to figure out how I could make my way around the other left-turners since the hole the line of cars made wasn't flush with the intersection. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a car coming right at us. I had just enough time to suck in my breath and tense up before the crash. My car spun 90 degrees and the air bags blew.


My car. :(

All I could think about were my babies.  I was gripping the steering wheel and saw the powder from the air bag squirt out. Briefly I thought that I should move because I knew it could cause chemical burns. Then Baby R started crying, and I asked S if she was ok. She said yes, but said, "Mommy, your car's broken. Your car's broken!" She was starting to get hysterical. I was shaking but knew I had to pull it together for the girls. "It's ok, baby," I said. "As long as you're not hurt, I'm not worried about the car."

I sat there unsure what to do. I'm not wholly unfamiliar with car accidents, though I'd like to say I was. But I'd never been in anything more than a fender bender. I was always able to drive away. There was no driving my car yesterday. How had I not seen that car coming? I had looked. I remembered exactly what the street looked like and there was no car there. It literally came out of nowhere. After a minute or so a woman approached my car. She was a kind bystander offering her help. I tried to open the door, but it was stuck. I finally was able to push it open far enough to squeeze out. The woman from the other car had gotten out, too, and seemed unharmed. I did exactly what you're NOT supposed to do. "I'm so sorry," I gushed. "It was completely my fault."

"I'm deaf," she mouthed to me.

Holy crap. What kind of evil person crashes into a deaf woman? "I'm so sorry," I said, again looking directly at her so she could see my lips. "Are you ok?"

She nodded her head yes, and asked if I needed help with the girls. The other woman was trying to get Baby R out. Suddenly I had a moment of clarity which resulted in embarrassment as they looked at S who was wrapped up in her quilt. "Oh, uh, hang on. I need to get her dressed still." So there in the middle of a busy road during rush hour with all eyes on us as a scene of an accident, I frantically tried to get my 3-year-old dressed in 45 degree weather. Never mind that they don't know that she refuses to wear clothes until the very last second so ends up thrown in the car in her underwear most days. I just look like an irresponsible mother on top of being evil for crashing into a deaf woman. Fantastic!

The other woman was trying to bounce Baby R in her infant car seat to soothe her. I looked over and realized she's covered in snot. She's had a cold for 3 1/2 weeks. I took her back to the doctor Monday because the neighbor's son was diagnosed with croup, and I felt like her phlegmy cough was getting tighter. Nope, ears were clear, lungs sounded fine;  just wait it out. Sure, easy for them to say. They don't have an accident with her in the car the next day coated in mucous for everyone to see. I'm sure this woman was thinking, "Ever heard of Kleenex, lady?"

I called 911 and the dispatcher said someone had already called it in and an officer was on his way. She asked if we could move our cars and I told her no, so she said she'd send a tow truck, too. I called my dad and asked him to come get the girls. I called my father-in-law to tell him I wasn't bringing them over right then. I called work to tell them that I was going to be late. I called preschool to say that S may or may not be in later. I started gathering the things I needed to get out of the car right then. (Upside to wrecking my car - I finally cleaned it out later that afternoon at the tow lot.) Another good Samaritan had seen I had a baby in the car and offered to bring us a blanket. I already had one, but told her thank you for stopping.

The policeman arrived at the same time as my dad. I got the girls passed to him and started to dig out my driver's license and insurance and registration. At this point, I realized that my right hand was really hurting. There was a red mark from my thumb knuckle across the back of my hand to my wrist where the air bag powder had landed. The officer asked if anyone was hurt and I told him no, I just had a burn from the air bags. The other woman had a sore knee where she'd bumped it, but that was it. He asked if the girls had been in their carseats. I told him yes. Everyone was in agreement that that was the important thing, the girls were ok. I nodded and bit my lip, but I couldn't hold back my tears anymore. I buried my face in my purse pretending to look for my ID until I could get it together again.

It's kind of hard to see, but this is the burn on my hand from the air bag.
I found my insurance card. It expired last week. $#!@. I knew we must have gotten new cards in the mail, and we just hadn't put them in our wallets yet.  So I got a ticket for that which will be thrown out when I take my updated card to the courthouse, but what a pain. The policeman asked me what happened, and I told him. He asked me if any environmental factors contributed to the accident like the sunlight. This will totally sound like I used it as an out, but it made perfect sense. I swear I looked and there were no cars coming. But the car that hit me was black and coming from the east, and the sun was just above the roof of the houses so it was blindingly bright, and below it was dark shadows. It made me feel better to realize that's probably why I didn't see it.

The tow truck guy came and asked us where we wanted the cars towed. Uhhhhh....he suggested their lot and the insurance adjusters could come look at the damage there, and then we could decide where to take our vehicles for repairs. (Though he thought mine was probably totaled due to the air bags having deployed and the state of the axle/frame as seen in the photo below. Awesome.) Sure, fine. I called my dad to tell him he could come back for me. He still hadn't made it to their house yet, traffic was so bad. He'd heard there were a dozen or so accidents that morning. What the...? No problem. I called my father-in-law. He was kind enough to come get me.

At least the tire doesn't look damaged....

The officer had us move to the other side of the street from where I'd started out. The other woman's daughter arrived to pick her up. I heard someone call my name. A guy I used to work with had seen me. Grreeeaaat. I LOVE running into people I know when I do stupid stuff. Thankfully, he's a really cool guy. He came over to see how I was, and we chatted for a bit, and he offered to give me a ride, but I told him my FIL was on his way. Then the officer came to give me my $90 ticket for failing to yield. Perfect.

My father-in-law arrived then and asked me where I was having my car towed. I told him just the tow lot. He asked me how much they charged since he'd heard of people getting scammed for $100/day. Yikes! I didn't know, so I asked the guy and he said $20/day. Whew. That's more reasonable, I guess, though charging people anything for this kind of thing seems like highway robbery! It's like weddings, they can charge more because you NEED them. Pfft.

We got to my parents' house, and we decided the girls would just stay there that day since my FIL didn't have car seats. My hand was killing me by this point, so I got on-line and looked up what I was supposed to do to treat it. Rinse it immediately in cold water for 20 minutes. Hmmmm. It had been about an hour since the accident, but I rinsed it anyway. Don't use ice, but a cool, damp cloth and take acetaminophen. So I wrapped it in a washcloth, and Dad and I took S to preschool, and I called the insurance company. By the time we were back at my parents' house, they had set up a rental car for me.

My hand was hurting even more, so I decided to call the Ask-A-Nurse hotline. They didn't know what chemicals were used in the air bags, so they couldn't dispense accurate advice. They suggested calling poison control. The woman there (also named Jennifer, shocker) told me to try zinc oxide ointment. Ok, sounded like a plan. I decided to stop at the pharmacy after I got my car before I headed to the office. My dad took me to Enterprise, but that location didn't have any cars available. It was going to be later in the afternoon before they had any. So Dad took me to Walgreens to get some zinc oxide ointment. I walked back to the pharmacy and asked if someone could help me find any. "Oh, sure it's in the baby aisle." Oh? "Yeah, Desitin." SERIOUSLY? I have an 11-mo-old teething infant. We have 3 tubes of this stuff at home. Sigh. I just left the store and decided to apply some when I got home.

We headed to preschool to pick up S and I couldn't delay it any longer. I called my DH. I had had plenty going on so had a legitimate reason not to call yet, but I was avoiding it, too, because I knew that 1) I would start crying when I heard his voice, and 2) he was NOT going to be happy to hear I had wrecked the better of our two cars. Got that over with and picked up S. She and Dad dropped me off at work since an Enterprise employee could pick me up later to get my rental. The rest of the day was much less interesting.

Oh, I never did end up voting. First time in years I missed it. I decided I will never again take that shortcut. Oh wait - there's the punchline - the street on the shortcut is Twilight. Jinxed by the damn vampires since I was finally convinced to read the stupid books!


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your experience, but the teeny tiny consolation? You're an excellent writer and had me reading the whole thing.

But glad the kids are ok and hope the rest of the fallout w/ the accident (insurance and all that) works out ok.

Miss. Candy said...

Glad you are all Ok! I am firefighter/emt and a lot of people have the same reaction from the airbag. You should be proud that your kids were secured correctly and becuase you are a good mama they were safe! You wouldn't believe how many people don't!

Jenn said...

Glad you're okay! That's scary stuff!

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thanks everybody. Pop, so glad you said that, because as I was writing it, I thought to myself, DANG this is long. :)

L. Eleana Johnson said...

Jennifer, I'm so sorry to hear you and the girls were in a car accident. I know I've had my fair share, but none with the girls in the car. I'd be hysterical too, so of course you didn't vote. Here in GA, I've been pulled over and can't remember the last time I've shown an insurance card. Usually the officers can just pull the info up in their database, thank God.

The most important thing is that you and kids are okay.

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thanks, Eleana! Yes, it seems silly in this day and age that we still need the paper trail, but at least they will throw it out when I take the new one in.

Cori said...

My first thought seems wrong to "like" this post for the StumbleUpon group! But not to worry I di!!

How scary, I'm happy to hear that your girls, you and the other lady were all fine. Cars and possetions can be replaced, people can't!!

Hope your hand feels better soon!!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Oh hon... I Am SO glad everyone is ok (minus your burn). It could have been SO much worse...

Take care and remember they're called accidents for a REASON. It's not your fault.

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thanks for "liking" it, Cori, LOL. Tracey - so true. That's what my dad said - it's not like I had an "on-purpose". Thanks!

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