Attention: This the second part of a series. To read the first part of the story, please click here.
The day after my car had the unfortunate pleasure of running into a deer, I began the arduous task of dealing with the insurance company and making plans to get back to Tennessee.
I called the insurance company, filed a claim, ordered a rental, called the body shop for an estimate, and waited for the inevitable pronouncement of “your car is totaled” from the insurance company.
It all seems so easy, except it wouldn’t be a good story if things went easily.
Rising Action: further complication add to the main character’s struggle
Our policy only covers $20 a day for a rental car. The agent happily informed me that would cover a Kia Rio, and for $6 a day (out of pocket) I could rent a Nissan Versa. Apparently, they didn’t know that I have was supposed to bring home a 5 foot long picture that my sister bought for me a month ago. It won’t fit in a Rio, nor could we and all our luggage.
For $6 extra, I actually got a sweet little Chrysler 200s that had keyless entry, pushbutton start, and a knob for a gearshift (I nicknamed it Sweet Little Thing). But there was one stipulation: the car was not a one-way rental. It had to be returned to the Nebraska location. This complected matters. If my car was deemed fixable, then I could drive Sweet Little Thing home and then return once my car is fixed. If my car turned out to be a total loss, then I was stuck driving Sweet Little Thing back to Tennessee, only to drive it back to Nebraska once I bought a new car in Tennessee.
The claims agent sent the rental request to Enterprise in Memphis instead of the Norfolk, NE. No wonder no one called me within the hour.
Our insurance carrier doesn’t have an adjuster in Northeast Nebraska, so I was given the task of getting an estimate from a body shop I trusted. Good thing I was in the town I spent the first 40 years of my life in, or that would be a difficult task.
Both Z and I got head colds. Snotty, coughy, droopy headcolds. Yay!
Saturday afternoon we attended my niece’s wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony in a beautiful church on a beautiful summer day. My kids I visited with grown ups and other kids we hadn’t seen for a few years. My sister who I was co-cake cutting with had been smart enough to call and reserve a room a few weeks before I had, and took the kids to The Lodge’s pool to go swimming. Two of my other sister’s and their grandkids joined them later in the evening and had a swimming party until midnight.
Everyone slept in Sunday morning and then met for an early lunch. It was relaxing and enjoyable 3-hour lunch with lots of sister chatting and smatterings of children interrupting. We left each other after giving hugs, sending our love, and speaking safe travels to each other.
When the kids and I headed back to Uncle Ed’s and Aunt B’s to transfer our belongings from the Scion to the rental. In the middle of doing just that, I sent Effy to the kitchen to get a plastic sack. She came back looking very forlorn and apprehensive.
After a few moments of her insisting that I was going to be mad and me insisting that if she doesn’t just tell me what was wrong or I was most certainly going to be mad, she finally told me what was wrong. Actually, she had to show me. She took me to the Chrysler’s driver’s side windshield, and I looked to where she pointed. A softball-size spider web of cracks stared back at me. It was smack dab in the middle of the driver’s side with one long crackly leg reaching midway across the windshield.
“What. Did. You. Do?” came out of me in a deep, serious tone. My kids know that the slower (my attempt at self control) and deeper (my overcompensation when trying not to scream) I speak the angrier I am.
Apparently, my ADHD baby saw a bug on the Chrysler’s windshield and decided at that moment it must be erradicated from the earth by slamming it between the windshield and the heel of her hand. Really hard. Twice.
I didn’t know I was the mother of Hulk-tress, but it looks as though I am. Good gracious.
Amidst her insisting I was mad, I continuously repeated, “No I’m not. I’m frustrated. It’s fine” until I got into the house where I burst into tears and cried to my sister, “What else can go wrong?!”
Don’t ever say that. From me to you, you’re just inviting more trouble.
That evening, to give Effy and myself something positive to think about, the three of us went to Jurassic World with Aunt B and Uncle Ed. Nothing like watching an island being ripped apart by wild, angry dinosaurs after having your car torn apart by wild and (assuming) angry monstro-deer, or maybe it was a pterodac-deer – after hitting us, it just flew away. It would explain why it seemed to just disappear.
About 10 a.m. Monday morning, I returned Pretty Little Thing to Enterprise, explained what happened, and exchanged it for another car. I was held responsible for the damage done to Pretty Little Thing. It cost me $185 to replace the windshield, but the good news is the replacement car is a one-way rental. At this point, I just wanted to be home, so I didn’t argue the fact that the windshield must have been faulty if my 11-year-old daughter could break it – with her hand – and fained a smile and said “great” to being able to drop the car in Memphis if need be. I just didn’t care. They gave me a Ford Focus (which was a wordless scolding equivalent to “you can’t take care of nice things, you won’t be given nice things”), and off I went.
I then called Bob, the body shop owner, to arrange for my car to sit on his lot until the insurance determined it was fixable or totaled. He informed me of the estimated amount it would take to fix the damage, and I really thought it would be totaled. So did Bob. If it was fixable (which both of us highly doubted), I would return to Tennessee until the repairs were made at which time I would return drive back to Nebraska to collect my Scion. If it was totaled (which both of us thought it was), i would arrange for the insurance company to pick it up there.
With smoke rolling off the engine, I hobbled the Scion to Bob’s and then walked back to my sisters to begin packing the Ford Focus. Halfway through loading the car, I realized that I had left all of our belongings from the Scion in the trunk of Pretty Little Thing which was now tucked away somewhere in the Enterprise parking lot.
Crapolio, I thought. I just want to go home.
Around 1 p.m. on Monday, we finished loading the car and getting our snacks and all the odds and ends into the car and set off to retrieve our belongs from Enterprise. We stuff the extra cargo into the trunk of the Focus, grab a bite to eat at Runza, and head East on Hwy 275. The kids’ conversation quickly turns to debating the pros and cons of driving back to Nebraska to pick up the Scion.
“Only if it’s fixable,” I quickly add. “The insurance company hasn’t called back, so I don’t know what’s going to happen.” I was starting to hope that they would just total the car. That would be the easiest thing to do
The insurance company didn’t call back for another 4 hours. We were just outside of Kansas City, MO (sounds like the beginning of a Western) and had gotten back into our traveling groove – me listening to my Audible book, and the kids playing games and watching shows on their Kindles – when the claims adjuster called. I got this hopeful smile on my face when I heard it was the adjuster with his determination. “After examining the estimate and running the numbers,” my smile got bigger in anticipation to his ending the sentence. “Our preliminary decision is that it is financially feasible to fix your car.” The smile left my face, quickly.
“You’re going to fix it?” This was a question mixed with astonishment, so “fix it” came out about two octaves higher than the first part of the sentence. “Yes, ma’am,” he said. “Your car is fixable.”
“Okaaaaay. Fixable. Hmmmmm,” was my next response. My mind was having a tough time making sense of the decision. The claims adjuster added that my case would go to a review board, and they would make the final decision. I wanted to say, “So when you say ‘You’re in good hands…” you really do mean a lot of hands,” but I refrained. The adjuster added that it would take a couple of days.
“Great,” I said with the same fake smile I gave the rental-car lady.
After disconnecting with the claims adjuster, I told the kids we were driving as far as St. Louis and spending the night. Mom was tired of thinking about that stupid car and needed some sleep.
To be continued…