KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Car Totaled, Husband Not ... Yet

Dead Toyota, driver's side, frontMy husband, Ed, killed our ancient (1992) Toyota Tercel—and our budget—tonight. (Well, technically, it's already tomorrow, as it's after midnight.)

Ed's fine, as are the other people involved in the three-car pileup he caused. I'm glad he's okay. But I sure am angry, because we don't have funds to replace the Toyota, which means there will likely be days that I'm stuck here at home without a car. And it's likely that our vehicle insurance rates will go up.

Destroyed front end and grillHe was driving home early this evening from a quick check of a molar by the periodontist (long story) and would've been home in time for us to head up to the elementary school for our kindergartner's parent–teacher conference, when we'd have gotten Jared's first-ever report card. While driving 45 to 55 mph down the local four-lane highway, he took his eyes off to road to look at the dashboard while he changed radio stations. The cars ahead of him had been moving along quickly enough when he was driving, but they slowed down while he wasn't looking. He rear-ended a taxicab, which rear-ended a Beemer ($$$). The cab looked barely touched; that's not surprising, because those old Fords are tanks. The Beemer had minor damage to its rear bumper.

Passenger side, frontWe now have no car, because our minivan's in the shop. It's already been there a couple of days; the mechanics can't yet figure out what's up with the brakes—some stupid sensor thing that Dodge Caravans have. Ed will have to drive one of his parents' cars the long schlep from our home to work in Southampton. I will have to hope my in-laws aren't away from home long in their second car, because if either of our sons needs to be picked up from school because of illness, I, as the self-employed spouse, get pickup duty.

Ed scraped up one finger. His chest also hit the steering wheel, which was bent all the way up to the dashboard. There weren't any airbags in the car because it's too old to have had them. He said the seat belts (one lap belt and one across-the-shoulder belt) didn't seem to stop him. I wanted him to go to the hospital to get his chest and back checked out; he didn't.

That might be because surviving the ride home from the accident site was exhausting enough without having to wait all night in a hospital emergency department. I sent his dad, A, to pick him up, knowing that the Toyota was no longer drivable and that Ed really didn't need me yelling at him. A, now 71, has lost a good part of his hearing but won't admit it. He drives slower than a inchworm climbs a tree. As A drove his car excruciatingly slowly out of the parking lot where everyone had been interviewed by a police officer, he nearly cut off a large box truck that he probably didn't see. Ed saw the truck driver have to swerve around A's car and into the road shoulder to avoid hitting the car. Wanting to get home in one piece, Ed asked A to pull the car over, without telling A why, and Ed drove them home. A's driving judgment and hearing have been getting worse and worse in the last few years. I don't relish the thought of starting a family feud by saying that I no longer want A driving my sons anywhere, but I'd rather have a feud than dead sons.

(Apologies for the poor quality of the photos. Ed took them with his cell phone, which is no substitute for a digital camera with accommodation for nighttime shots.)

Ed's damn lucky he's cute. It's hard to yell at somebody when they look all sweet and huggable. But if he wakes up ugly tomorrow morning, he'd better watch out!

Updated 11:10 a.m., 12/12/06: Ed did wake up still cute, so he managed to get out the door to work this morning without my yelling at him. I'm so glad he's okay. ... And I'm not perfect either, but that's just between you and me, okay?


Cris said...

Oh EM! So sorry to hear of the accident. I'm glad hubby's not hurt though.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Yes. I just wish he'd stayed home today. He said at lunchtime that he felt a little shaky today at work.

Unknown said...

I'm glad he's okay!
My ex-husband and I are in agreement that our children will not ride in a car driven by their increasingly forgetful grandfather, particularly since ex's sister was in the car with him when he ran not one, but two, red lights, seemingly because he did not notice them. It's worth it to set those kinds of limits, no matter the agitation or the inconvenience. I no longer use him as an emergency contact for schools, either.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

I'm so glad to hear that someone else has had to deal with the issue of elderly drivers in the family, Songbird. Here is some history on the possibility of family feuds that I mentioned.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad Ed is okay. And you're right to keep your kids out of a car with an impaired driver. You wouldn't let them go with someone who's drunk either. That doesn't make it easy, though. It has to be hard for elderly people to accept infirmity.

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