So, grab a pillow, a comfort and snuggle up. I have a story to tell. It's small town living at it's finest - great and bad.
This past holiday season we had Emily home from college and, of course, Steven and Evelyn were home from their respective job and school. It was a nice, quiet time. We did a little visiting, a little cooking, but nothing extravagant like in previous years. Momma is tired most days, but it was fun to just not do much of anything for two weeks. Even getting out of our pajamas was optional.
New Year's Day rolled around and we were all hanging out, watching football. At one point Emily looked at her Dad and said "You know, wouldn't a glass of wine taste good right now?" We don't keep wine in the house, but the kid had a point, because along with football are snacks - good snacks - and I suppose wine would taste good with that. Dad said "Sure. Let's go over to the store and grab a bottle and a little beer." Steven is a beer drinker, the wine was for Emily.
Evelyn, our 16 year, heard the exchange and piped in "Can I drive? Ozcarz, please?" Of course, looking straight at me. And of course I said yes.
Off they drove to our local convenience mart - where you find the BEST wines I am so sure. ::eyeroll:: Evelyn was driving with her provisional/learner's permit, Dad was in the passenger front seat and Emily was sitting directly behind her sister.
Here begins the part about small town living. We live IN town, right off a certified, offical "Main Street" - no kidding, we are actually certified by - okay I don't know who - but there are signs in town that say just that- "Certified American Main Street Community". We're small and thus the speed limit in town limits is 25 miles or below. So many people walk because everything is so convenient.
Remember 25 mph.
Okay...I stayed home while my family traipsed off to purchase their beverages. The store is less than 5 minutes/2 miles away. Since Evelyn is a new driver she is cautious and it takes a bit longer, but I didn't think anything of it when they weren't home in 15 minutes. I just thought they had taken a tool around the country side.
Oh, no. . .nope. The phone rang about 20 minutes into their foray and I saw on caller ID that it was Steven. I answered the phone with a cheery "So where did your daughter manage to sucker you into driving this time Dad?" He paused and calmly said, "No, Janine. Listen, okay? Everyone is fine, but Ozcarz has been hit."
Bwah? My family is IN that car and who in the hell hit him? A blind man on a donkey? Who in the freak misses MY car? To refresh everyone's memory THIS is Ozcarz:
But? Everyone in town knows this car - he GLOWS in the dark for gawd's sake. It's the only shiny, green Chevy Spark for THREE counties.
I asked "How bad?" My poor husband had to tell me "He looks damn near totaled Janine. We were rearended."
My family. Were fine right? He said so. I kept calm - surprising for me, because these are the most important people in the world and I don't tend to be so-o-o-o calm if they are hurt, tho' I have learned to shut up and go into fix -it Mom mode. You all probably refer to it as "Being a Grown Up" but it took me a few years to get here.
I immediately asked Steven "Emily was in the back, right? Is she okay? Is she standing? What? How about Evelyn? Is she freaking out? [she had only had this license for a few months and she is driving that car] Did she hit her head? What about you? Are you okay?"
He responded "Everyone is fine. I promise. Shaken up of course. The police are here, but the girls are outside the car and standing, no cuts...."
I sighed and asked "Where exactly are you?" Turns out Evelyn was turning onto our street and had stopped to wait for an oncoming car. Our turn is half way down a hill. To describe it - you crest the hill back from where she was sitting approximately 100- 150 yards before you have to stop to turn onto our street. Remember the speed limit is 25 mph, so to maintain that speed and not exceed it, you have to put on your brakes. Even if you aren't turning onto our street, you will still pick up speed going downhill that many yards before you reach Red Hill Road.
Apparently Jethro, the idiot driver, never even hit his brakes. He simply plowed right into Evelyn, Emily and Steven - with Ozcarz stopping his forward movement.
He was driving one of the larger SUVs - it was more of a truck size than just a standard SUV. Here is his vehicle:
Where his bumper is indented? That hit the middle of the back of Ozcarz, that is how high the truck is.
Our turn is back behind him in the pic'. Ozcarz, who you can't see, is about 15- 20 feet past the turn, where this truck pushed him. All the glass on that truck's hood? My car's back window.
Here's the small town living - Steven told me later that when the cop showed up he approached the truck driver first, shook his hand and said " Hey Jethro, had a little accident?" Jethro responded in the affirmative, I suppose, and greeted the cop BY FIRST NAME too. Sigh. Meanwhile Skippyfamily is still getting out of our wrecked car. The cop, nice fellow, but. . .comes over and asks is everyone all right, and explains the other guy had been talking to his son in the back seat and hadn't seen Evelyn stopped. Yeah, right. How long a conversation can you carry on with a toddler with your head turned completely away from the road for over 300 feet?
::BUZZEER:: Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars. Liar.
He wasn't even BEHIND Evie when she started down the hill on Main Street. He had over 100 yards to LOOK THE HECK UP and see a shiny green car stopped IN FRONT OF HIM.
The jerk was texting. He knew it, the cop knew it and we knew it. And he thought the road was clear? Who knows [okay I do, and just explained it]. . .but my car.:? The car we paid a little over $13,000 for, brand new, 2 years ago? Sustained $12,412.00 worth of damage, not including the 60 days of rental car at $3,000. He hit the kids and Steven so hard that it crushed in the entire back of the car. The only saving grace is the Chevrolet Spark is the highest safety rated sub-sub compact car on the market. In fact, it is the only model in the class of little cars [Minis etc] to be rated 4 out of 5 stars. So Chevy did this one right. Because? The backseat compartment, where Emily was sitting, held firm, while the back and sides caved in around her. They were hit so hard, that even with seatbelts on all of them, Steven and Emily both hit their heads on the roof of the car. Evelyn actually saw the truck not stopping, knew they were going to be hit, yelled "Oh My God" and braced.
I am very, very, very blessed that my family is fine. I know this, of course, but to say I wasn't a bit peeved at the guy and the cop, well....understatement!
The ticket Jethro got for hitting our car? "Following too Close". Don't you actually have to be tailgating someone to get that ticket? He wasn't even behind her when she stopped at our street. She was waiting to turn. He crested the hill after she stopped. ARGH. It is a minimal fine.
Apparently, knowing the cops in this town is quite a pay off. sigh.
On a happier note, besides a safe family, is that I met one of our neighbors. She is very sweet - and gave me a ride to the end of our street to where the accident was. I had run* out of the house in pajamas, snow boots and my full length, formal wool coat, with the lovely addition of a baseball cap and one of my stunning blue masks I have to wear. I looked ridiculous, but I also must have looked sort of in a hurry because she stopped and asked me where I was going. I told her and she said to hop in and took me there. YAY for sweet neighbors, who actually care.We are now friends.
And that Tadpoles? Is a "best part" of small town living.
Have a great Monday. It's nice to see so many of you back. I can't believe how much I've missed you all. ::skippyhappydance:: We'll see ya' on the flipside.
*Okay, okay. I walked really fast.