About Mom’s Wreck

Sorry it's taken so long for me to tell you about Mom's wreck, but it was two weeks of stress after which I needed to get my own life back and schedule and recuperate. Quite frankly, I haven't much felt like talking about cars or car wrecks.

One Monday afternoon, Mom called. Her dog was acting funny, and she didn't know what to do. I suggested, since it was late in the day, she call the vet to tell them she was coming and not to close and then head over there. I then waited to hear back from her about her dog. I waited. I waited some more. It seemed to be taking a long time.

Finally, Mom called back. She sounded really upset, so I thought the worst about her dog. When she calmed down enough to make sense, she told me she'd had a wreck. It took ages to get the details of what had happened out of her, because she was understandably very upset.

She'd been driving down the street she lives on and a handful of blocks from the house when some guy in a truck ran a stop sign, bashed into her rear wheel well and wheel, spinning her around. He then drove her and her dog home in her car with a screwed up axle and gave her his insurance. Yup, no cops were called. Insurance companies weren't called on the spot. No photos of the scene taken. Mom, who has a cell phone paid for by us specifically for use during a crisis, didn't even call me from the scene. If she had, the cops and insurance would have been called, and no one would have gone anywhere until a report was filed. Naturally, the guy who was going home from visiting his dad, driving on a street he's driven probably a thousand times before, who ran a stop sign that has been there forever going fast enough to spin a Camry around and destroy the axle, well he promised to make everything better and get the car fixed.

As I'm getting the story of what happened, the vet came to pick up the dog.

Since it's really late in the day, Mom is tired and freaked out about both her dog and her car, I tell her to eat something and try to rest, and then told her to call his insurance company first thing in the morning. Hers too, just so they know … just in case. I hang up and begin panicking. So glad Mom wasn't injured at all, but this sounded like a mess in the making. I mean, the guy that hit her wasn't some teenager who doesn't know how wrecks work. He's a college educated full-on adult who shuffled my mom on home and away from the scene of the CRIME while telling her he'd fix it all and laying on the hard luck stories about his kids and rent and whatnot, in order to save himself a ticket. I fully expected his insurance to be invalid.

Mom called both insurance companies bright and early the next morning. They'd already both been informed. Yeah, his insurance was good. Not that it really made anything too much better, because after seeing photos of the car, I knew the outcome was most likely to be it being declared totaled, and the insurance settlement was never going to be enough to replace the car with an equally good car. I tried to ease Mom into the idea that her car was toast.

Meanwhile, the vet brings the dog back with a supply of painkillers. They can't find anything specifically wrong. Pixie is just old. Really old for a small dog.

Then began days of back and forth with the insurance adjuster. I won't impugn the reputation of all insurance adjusters, because I'm sure some of them are nice people, but this guy was a jackass. I mean, he popped out of the gate being a jackass and only got worse. I let Mom handle him at first, because she needs to keep doing things for herself and is capable, but eventually I took over communications. She's just not capable of being a hard nosed bitch when necessary, and she has a tendency to defer to men as the authority on all matters even when it isn't to her benefit.

The adjuster came back with their offer fairly quickly, and I was surprised it was almost five thousand dollars. I was not surprised her 1994 Camry was declared a dead car. We had her mechanic come out and look at it just to be sure, and he agreed. Her car was now a lump of useless metal. Mom was very sad, because she loved her car very much, and even though it was old, it was an awesome car in awesome shape. Five thousand dollars wasn't going to get another low mileage, garage kept, impeccably maintained car of any vintage. We are all in full panic mode at this point.

I began looking for cars, but Mom didn't want a car from Austin. I don't know why. I guess all us godless liberal heathens over here have cooties or ruin our cars merely by living in Austin. She insisted it had to come from her small town, so I narrowed my search to just there. Whatever makes Mom happy. She's the one who has to pay for it, and at least if it's bought there and there's a problem, she can drive her own self over there to complain about it. Well, in such a small pool of car lots, there's not a lot of cars to choose from. I do managed to find three potential candidates.

Now I need the check from the insurance company. Like now. Well, the adjuster continues to be a jackass. I make one final call to him, and I inform him in no uncertain terms that unless there is a check in my Mom's hands on Monday, lawyers will be involved and we will not take their offer which was more generous than expected but not as much as I was certain I could aquire with legal help. Our family lawyer agreed with my assessment on this matter, so I wasn't talking out of my ass. But going to lawyer route is a long path, and there are no guarantees. Mom couldn't be without a car that long, I couldn't drive back and forth every week to take her places, and in the end we might not have ended up with all that much more, so even though I knew we were getting screwed, getting screwed quickly so we could move on to the car buying was tenbest course of action. Me doing all that driving for six months to a year while a lawsuit sorted itself would have cost a LOT too. So I really dig into him, and finally he agreed to have the check there on Monday.

Monday comes and I head to Mom's and arrive just in time for lunch. Shortly thereafter, the adjuster arrives. I finally get to see what this guy looks like. Well, he's a walking talking caricature of a Texan. Western Texas flag shirt with white pearl buttons, spit shined pointy toed boots with gold toe and heel caps, leather tooled belt with a giant gold scrollwork buckle, and perfectly aqua gelled hair. His outfit matched his thick Dallas accent. I had to stifle a laugh. But who cares what he looks like, he had the check. We sat at the dining table, and oddly, the only paper Mom needed to sign was the title transfer power of attorney. No lengthy pile of legal documents informing us we couldn't sue and this was the end of their business with us. I'm not sure what that was about, but it did leave an interesting opening. Anyway, he was amazed at how fast we were moving on getting a new car. Well, duh. Mom doesn't have a car, and I don't live there. She needs a car. Like right now. Immediately.

We shuffled him out the door, and then we went car shopping. First stop had two of the contenders. A brand new Spark and a not terribly old Impala. Mom immediately poo pooed the economy car as being too small, as I knew she would, but I had to try. LOL! She did like the Impala, so we took it out for a test drive. It drove nice and the engine sounded nice and it was in good physical shape. By the time we got back to the lot, Mom wanted it. Only problem was the check engine light was on, and no, I'm not buying a car that's already displaying a problem. The dealership said they'd look it over and figure out the problem. We went grocery shopping and agreed to come back in an hour to finish the deal (maybe).

When we got back, they were still fussing with the car. Mom was super tired (so was I), so we told them we'd be back first thing in the morning. It was dark when we got back to the house, so we ate dinner and went to bed. Well Mom went to bed. I stayed up to see what I could find out about the car in question and to line up some other possible contenders for Mom's next car in case this one fell through. At some point I passed out with my iPad in my lap.

Bright and early the next morning, we headed back to the lot. I wasn't at all sure we would be getting that car, and I went in adversarial. Sorry, but I don't trust car salesmen, even if I sort of know them personally. It's a commission job, and even a good person will fail to share important information when they want a paycheck. There had already been a couple of questions not answered completely honestly and one not answered at all. I was wary (and weary), so I engaged my hard nosed bitch mode again. After a little back and forth with the salesman, my questions were answered, the car had been fixed, promises were made, and we agreed to buy the car. I even managed to talk them down a bit more on the price.

Then we moved on to talking with the financial officer. Ugh. By this point, I was full on cranky. When she came out with monthly payment well beyond what we were told to expect, I just said NO. Turns out she'd added an extended warranty thing to it without asking. Didn't want to take it off until I said the deal was off if she didn't. Just noooooo to the extended warranty bullshit. It's always a scam, and in this case it was $50 a month. Finally got that all squared away, the papers were signed, and the salesman took Mom out to the car to show her where all the buttons and doodads are and how to use them.

Mom and I went to lunch afterward, and then I took her out to the park to drive around a while. She was freaking out about driving. I get it. She'd just had a serious wreck, her favorite car was destroyed, and now she's got this really new, rather fancy newer car with all kinds of gadgets in it. She got comfortable enough with it that she wanted to drive home, but she only made it as far as the gas station. We filled it up and I drove the rest of the way. Then we sat around her house for a couple of hours trying to relax. I headed home later than I would have liked and had a hell drive home.

Meanwhile, through all this, the dog was on painkillers and basically just lying on the couch oblivious.

So Mom has had the car long enough to figure out how to get it into the garage and she's started going to stores and stuff again. She's still not sure she likes the car, and she keeps expecting it to break down at any moment. While I'm not pleased with the fact some dumbass destroyed her prior car and now she's out some many thousands of dollars and her favorite car, I like the new car well enough and trust it. It's bigger and nicer than her prior car, and to be honest, we got a good deal on it. It's just going to take a while for her to get used to the differences. I don't recall, but I'm sure we went through this when she bought the Camry too.

We still don't know what's wrong with the dog. She's doing a little better though and is being weaned off the painkillers to see what happens. She's just an old dog, and I suspect she's not long for the world. I'm just glad we didn't have to go through that grief and sadness in the middle of the car crisis. It really would have been too much. Once Mom has settled back into normal daily and driving life, I suspect she'll follow through on her decision to let the dog go. Yes, it's sad, but the choices are having a dog that has to be drugged into near unconsciousness on a daily basis or a dog in pain. There's really only one good choice.

Anyway, in closing … Photos of Mom's 2013 Chevy Impala and Mom.

It was a really long two weeks. I don't think I've fully recovered yet, mostly because through it all, I was dealing with a case of bronchitis. Yuck. I'm just glad we got that all done so fast. And now a bonus photo of poor, poor Pixie.


Mom’s Car

Mom was t-boned yesterday by a dude who ran a stop sign. This was the result.

She was on her way to the vet's office with her really sick dog at the time too, just for added fun. I'll post a full telling of the tale at a later time when we aren't still in the “you better make this crap right” stage of things. Mom seems okay. Dog is home from the vet. Wanted to upload these to show someone and thought I'd go ahead and show everyone.

Mini Manifesto

So how is everyone's new year going? Mine appears to be going about as well as last year. I'd hoped it would be better. Well, there are still eleven more months for it to improve. The tiny eternal optimist that lives in a dark corner of my heart hopes it does.

I started writing a manifesto of sorts way back in December, that I planned to post just after midnight on New Years Day. It got long and unwieldy and more than a little angry. I tried to edit it down to something reasonable and interesting. I failed to do so, and in the end, I decided I couldn't post it. At one point, I joked on Facebook that I should just post the short version, and you know what? I think I'll do just that. Here it is…

I am done putting up with other people's bullshit. I will not be tolerating other people's bullshit. At all. The category called “bullshit” shall include but not be limited to … lies, hypocrisy, flakiness, racism/sexism/fanaticism/whateverism, feigned stupidity, willful stupidity, and all other forms of human stupidity. No longer will I just roll my eyes and ignore it, and I don't care who the bullshit is coming from. Family, friends, strangers … be warned that if you expose me to your bullshit, I will slap some education on you about the bullshitty-ness of your bullshit. If this doesn't stop the flow of bullshit from you to me, I will be forced to excise you from my existence.

That's how done I am putting up with other people's bullshit.

With that said … I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that the new year brings you only the best of everything. I'm going to go slink off to the kitchen now and be quietly cranky while making my second cup of morning coffee.

So Bad Ass

Lin took a break from Dragon Age to let me log in and do my daily giant robot soldier killing and pick up my bonuses in Defiance, and I got lucky that I found the damn reindeer right away and the daily special event arkfall I needed popped up a minute later. So I'm all “Woo hoo, I'm gonna show the husband my skillz!”

Yeah, right. From the get go, I could tell I was surrounded by total noobs. How? I was killing the giant robots too easily. Or rather, I personally was killing giant robots all by myself. With one clip of my (admittedly off the hook) pistol. This does not happen unless the threat level is very low, indicating rank noobies in the area. I'm not so far away from noobishness that I have forgotten the sheer terror of these arkfalls while noobish. Bless their hearts, they have no idea what they are doing.

So me and this pack of noobs make our way to the huge final battle. It's been going great. I've been killing everything. I'm on a ROLL and confidence is high. But … at the final battle, there were a whole bunch of rank noobs, one or two people my size (halfway to max level), and a handful of top level guys, so the threat level popped up to ten. Yeah. That's hell unless the people there all have a vague idea of how these things go. This group didn't.

What followed was not me showing my husband how bad ass I am. No, it was a lot of running, rolling, running, go invisible, freak out and run in circles, shoot a clip into whatever's nearby, and repeat. In short … panicking. And the countdown timer kept counting down. And my controls kept glitching. And the MADNESS OF IT ALL. There was also cursing. Loud cursing. I didn't think we'd make it to a successful end, but we did, with a mere 28 seconds to spare.

At one point near the end, I was doing little more than running in a giant circle around the outside perimeter of the battle area with almost all the giant robots chasing and gunning for me. I tell myself, on the rare ocassions this happens, that I am helping. Look at me help! All the giant robots are so intent on running after me and killing me, that they aren't shooting at you, so drop damage boost spikes and set up shop in the middle and KILL THEM. I am helpfully being repeatedly blasted to bits to afford you the opportunity to KILL THEM. I assume that's what happens, because eventually, I'm only being blown up by a couple of them and I turn and finish them off. Well, I hope people appreciate my sacrifice. LOL!

When the scorecard popped up, the first clue I had that I hadn't actually sucked was the prizes I got. A legendary level bolt action sniper rifle and a lot of rare currency. I flipped to the leaderboard, and lo and behold, I came in 5th. I haven't even placed at all on the leaderboard on any of these special event battles before! So see, even when I am running around shouting and waving my hands in the air freaking out, I am a total bad ass. True fact. LOL!

Then I logged off and let Lin get back to his battles and empire building. That was just about enought stress and aggravation for one night.

The Busy Season

The holiday season is fully upon me and wow, it's shaping up to be an insane one. The older I get, the less I enjoy this holiday madness. LOL!

Last week we had the husband's company Xmas party and the ballet (Nutcracker, of course). I'm too tired and cranky to go in at length, so I'll some the week up thusly …

The party was fun. We bowled. We haven't bowled in a decade or more. We bowled a LOT. My left leg is only now starting to speak to me again.

The ballet was awesome! We've seen the Nutcracker many times, but this year it seemed better than ever. Truly enjoyed it anew. Would have enjoyed it even more had there not been so much walking and so many stairs. Ow, my poor left leg.

In the midst of all this, it was decided the Family Xmas Gathering would be held at my mom's house for the first time in twenty years. Guess whose head all that responsibity will fall on? If you guessed ME, give yourself a gold star!

But I sort of took today off and rested, my leg is feeling better, and my mental state is stable, so I'm feeling confident I can get through Xmas. Not that it ends there! It's looking very much like Lin and I will be redoing the living room the first week of the year. I'm looking forward to it and not looking forward to it at the same time. You know what I mean? It'll be great … when it's over and I can sit down and watch TV comfortably in a beautiful room!

In closing, let me just share a few recent photos. Nothing fancy or artsy. Just some snapshots of my currently crazy existence.

Hope you are all enjoying the holiday season!

Today Sucked

My day, in as few words as possible:

I upgraded my phone to iOS 8. I'm only semi-happy about that.

A cat puked on some important papers.

Another cat figured out how to get onto one of my few cat-free shelves.

I was reminded I have a party to go to tomorrow.

The kitchen sink clogged.

I was reminded I have a ballet to go to Saturday.

The weather has been crappy and is getting crappier.

I had the family Xmas gathering tossed in my lap.

I have three weeks to find a different insurance plan.

My phone has rung all day long.

My allergies are kicking my ass.

I hate Time Warner.

All of the above have made me extremely cranky.

Freaking Brrrr!

I slept through my alarm this morning. More like I hit the snooze over and over again until it gave up trying. No biggie. I busted my butt yesterday on four hours of sleep (and no naps at all), so getting some extra sleep was a good thing. I was pretty tired.

But when my “You really should get up now, you lazy bum” secondary alarm went off, I was all snuggly warm in bed and all the cats were laying on me. There's nothing at all unusual about all the cats being on the bed when I'm snoozing, but it is unusual for all three of them to be lounging on top of me. They don't really like each other well enough to be in such close proximity unless there's a very good reason. It felt nice and cozy though, so I hit the snooze a couple of times just to continue enjoying it.

Finally, I sat up, cats and covers pushed aside, and that was when I noticed the room was cold enough to store meat in. What the hell? It's cold outside, but not so cold yet that the furnace doesn't do a reasonable job of keeping it somewhat comfy inside the house! I put on the closest clothing and my warmest slippers and went to check the thermostat. Hello, it was set the way it always is for a winter night, but it wasn't on and the thermostat said it was under 50°F in the hall.

Now the hall lacks vents, so it's always the coldest and hottest room depending on the season. This is actually great, because it means the heat and AC always come on before the rest of the house has gotten too cold or too hot, since the thermostat is in the hall. But it was pretty obvious to me that the furnace hadn't been on in a while. A long while. I stood there and had a panic attack for a minute, because the furnace has been iffy for a couple years.

I tapped the thermostat. It's one of the ancient ones with a spring, magnet, and mercury switch in it. Maybe it got stuck? Nope. No response. I then slid the setting switch all the way down, noting it clicked at 45°, then slid it back to it's usual winter setting, noting it click again on its way back up. Then I stood there holding my breath waiting for the heat jets to spring to life. It seemed to take forever, but YES, THE FURNACE WAS PRODUCING FIRE! Then there was the equally long wait for the blower to kick in, and thankfully it also decided to work. The furnace was once again alive! Phew!

I don't know why the thermostat decided at some point last night that it didn't need to inform the furnace it was getting frosty in the house. Oh, I imagine it's because that thermostat is about as old as I am, but it hasn't been quite that cranky before. I guess replacing the thermostat just got moved up on the priority list of things we need to fix around here. Like into the top spot.

The cats and I are now huddled in front of the emergency space heater in the living room surrounded by a nice bubble of warmth. It's not a big bubble though, because it's not just the air inside that is cold. Everything in the house feels like it was sitting on the porch all night. Brrrrr. It's going to take hours to get this place warm again!

I'm going to spend some of that time looking at thermostats on the Home Depot website, because that needs to be fixed pronto. Like maybe it can't even wait for the weekend. I may have to learn to do it myself. I never want to wake up in a 45°F house again! And considering one of the ways the thermostat is usually cranky is in misreading the interior temperature, it's possible it was even older than that in here. No matter exactly how cold it was, it was too damn cold for humans and cats while inside a house!