Thursday, February 23, 2012

Still mourning the one that died

SIGH. I miss my Honda Civic. On top of that I feel bad about writing that because I have a white Chevy Malibu that gets me to where I need to go and keeps me warm during the cold winter and mostly cool during the summer, though I think there is a problem with the AC. The Honda never had that problem. The Malibu also just recently failed it's emissions test. Now I have to repair it and get it retested before June 6th. Again never happened with the Honda. The gas mileage on the Malibu is terrible. I can usually only go about 260 miles before I have to fill up again. Not the Honda. 300 and in some cases up to 330 as well. The Honda had a CD player that allowed me to repeat a song I loved on one of my CDs. Not the Malibu. I could also fast-forward or rewind inside a track on the Honda's CD player. Not with the Malibu. You get the idea. And I do feel bad about my feelings towards the Malibu because it actually helped us and still does help us when we needed it.

The Malibu belonged to my wife's Grandmother who only drove it to get her hair done and maybe to church once in awhile. Most of the time friends or family would take her other places. When we found out we were pregnant with Noah we needed to get a new car since Dawn could not really keep driving our 3 year old (at the time) and a newborn in her Jeep since Dawn is the one who takes them to Daycare. So we also knew we could not at the time, especially with a new baby, afford a car payment, nor did we have the time to look as we prepped for our new arrival. Grandma rides in on a White Malibu and offers to give us the car with no strings attached. It was paid off and only had 30,000 miles on it. Almost new. It was much bigger and was more easily able to fit two kids into it. So we took it. The Jeep went into hibernation (see my previous blog about the Jeep) and Dawn drove the Malibu. Since I could easily fit two kids into the Honda also.

Dawn drove the Malibu for 2 years, and whenever we all went on a trip we would take the Honda since I usually do the driving. The Honda was starting to get up in age and I needed to make some repairs to make it run better. But first let's take a step back.

I got the Honda in September 1999, Green 2000 Honda Civic, it was gorgeous, it was reliable, it was fast, it was gas efficient. It was my first car ever. At the ripe old age of 26 I got my first car. And two months later I had my first car accident. 3500 dollars worth of a damage to the front end. My bumper was tore off, my AC unit got dinged, and I needed new headlights and tires. It took a month to fix. The insurance company said it was my fault, and I guess I can see why. I was turning left (legally) across three lanes of traffic, two stopped and to my eyes the third was clear when a minivan plows into me. The insurance people were saying I should have been more mindful of the third lane. And the ironic thing was, the person who hit me was a teenager who was driving his parent's minivan because his car had been in an accident a few weeks before.  However I got it fixed and did not have a bad accident again until the end. 11 years later.

Before the end there was a rebirth. I finally was able to free up some money to take the Honda in to get a thorough check up and the mechanic had the car for about two days. 2800 dollars later in January 2011 my car was practically brand new. it had 120,000 miles on it and the mechanic said the repairs he made could make it last another 120,000 miles. So things were looking up.

Then came March 3, 2011. My wife's birthday. She had gone into work early as she usually did on a Thursday for a meeting. So I was taking my daughter to daycare and Noah was being watched by Grandma which was a normal thing for a year and a half. Anyway I get about 2 miles from the house, I am on a two lane road (one going either way) with sidestreets that feed into it. The road is packed as is usually the case at this time on a Thursday. So I am going about 10, 15 mph. The truck in front of me stops to let a car join the line on the road. I slow down to a stop then I feel it. WHAM!! I am pushed forward and I hit the truck in front of me.  I check on my daughter who is a little freaked out by what just happened and I see I have been hit by a woman in a minivan with her teenage daughter. We are able to pull off to one of the side roads and I check on Noelle again. I then tell her I have to go see the woman behind me and also assess the damage. My whole rear is tore off and a little bent. From the first look it looks repairable. The woman who hit me is freaking out and making sure I am ok and that Noelle is ok. The guy in the truck has pulled into someone's driveway. He walks over to us and sees how we are doing. I ask how he is and apologize. He tells me the only problem is his hitch is bent. He bent it back and it is fine. He also told me that he witnessed the woman behind me speed up and hit me and also that she was not paying attention, in case I needed a witness for a trial if it came to that. But it is not needed. The woman is absolutly in shock apologizing getting all of our information, calling the police. The police arrive and take our statements. I check on Noelle periodically. She is still in shock but is ok. I take her out of the car and hold her for a while. She is a big brave girl, scared but ok. I call Dawn tell her the news, call my work, call Noelle's daycare, and call my mom (Grandma who is watching Noah). The policeman gets all the infomation down and leaves. Everyone else leaves as well. The woman who hit me is saying she will call her insurance company as soon as she gets to work. I get back in the car with Noelle and we are able to drive back to my house. Noelle goes and hangs out with Noah and Grandma while I make some phonecalls. I need a body shop, I need to let my insurance know even though it is not my fault, I have got to figure out a rental car. Bear in mind also that what really irks me about this whole set up is I just spent 2800 dollars to fix my car, it was brand new again and now 2 months later it's all gone.

I get a call from the woman's insurance agency. They say they are covering everything and will pay for a rental car for as long as I need one. They give me the names of some Body Shops and car rental places near me and they inform them i am coming. I drive my beaten up car to the body shop. The guy who owns it is the one who comes out and looks at my car. He turns to me and tells me. I hate to tell you this your car is totalled. I tell him that it does not look too bad. He tells me the frame is bent and broken and cannot be repaired. I am still in shock. He asks if I want to take it to someone else for a second opinion, but I say no since I just want everything solved that day so things can go back to normal. I keep my car there so that the insurance agency can make their own call and they take me to get my rental car.

I get to the rental car place and they get some info from me. I give them my insurance so that if I get into an accident in the rental car I will be covered. The renter calls to verify the insurance and tells me that they are getting ready to cancel my insurance at midnight. WTF??? I get on the phone with them and they explain that we have not paid our insurance up yet. WTF?? It usually is taken direct out of our account, and even then my wife takes care of the bills. So I call her and I can't reach her. I call back one more time to the insurance company and tell them I will pay the bill now over the phone. So they get to our account and lo and behold we are paid up!!! A payment was made that very morning by my wife. So after being in an accident, being told it was totaled, I have to go through this??? Well everything gets worked out and I drive off in a 2011 Ford Focus VERY NICE!! I love the car. So I get home and let my mom go and wait for Dawn to come home. We talk about things and I have some stuff to follow up on, but we are ok for now. Then we get the phone call. Dawn's Grandmother has died. (Not the same one who gave us the Malibu). So probably one of the crappiest days of all time.

So the body shop and Insurance Company both say that the car is totaled, they have a nice settlement for me, but not enough for a new car. So Dawn and I are able to convince then to let me keep the rental car til St. Patrick's Day (March 17th 2 weeks after the accident and a Friday) We discuss our options and decide for the time being that the Jeep will come out of retirement and I will get the Malibu seeing as how I don't know how to drive stick. We then come up with a plan where we ask her parents for some help. They are willing to give us 10 grand. Which is awesome. So we take our time and check all the used cars, we figure we could pay off the used car with her folks money and my settlement so we would only have to pay insurance. Now we had decided we were going to get a Minivan for our growing family sometime in the fall of 2011, but we decided to push it up to now. So our used car search is looking for Minivan's and we finally find one that is affordable and has all the amenities we need. June 1st we buy our minivan and the jeep goes back to retirement. So now Dawn drives the Minivan since she takes the kids to Daycare and I have the Malibu. I drive the minivan when we go on family trips or to our folk's houses.

And in the end I think that is what makes me not be too enamoured of the Malibu. It was not my car, it became my car by default. And the minivan, though I paid a portion of the cost, Dawn's folks paid for the majority of it and again this is not my car. I went from having a car that was all mine to mostly belonging to my wife. And that is fine, we need two cars, they both run very well. But neither truly belong to me. And probably in the future no car will ever truly belong to me since if we get a new car it will be a joint payment because I sure as hell cannot pay for a car all by myself. Unless I win the lottery.

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