When I got over the sinking/regret feeling that I had just put a tangible price tag on my youth by selling the Storm, I settled into the used Honda Accord that we bought soon after.
It was a nice solid car. Not flashy, but sensible and reliable (much like Orthopedic shoes or Bending Easy pants), and heavy--did much better in the snow.
I gave birth to Jayden, took my six weeks maternity leave, and made plans to go back to work. My boss called me on my last week to see what I had decided. I wanted to stay home. I was so in love with that little eight pound boy, I couldn't bear the thought of leaving him. My boss sweetened the deal, and told me he would be fine with me bringing the baby with me to work. What? So I totally went back. With one of those Pack and Play crib thingies. For the first few weeks, it was an awesome deal! My co-workers were in love with baby Jayden. He was such a good baby. Still slept a lot. Most of the day, really.
Then he got older, and more active. And a little fussier. My boss didn't say anything, but I knew I wasn't as productive at work, trying to take care of Jayden too. I knew I needed to quit working, but now we had a car payment on the Accord. It would be really tight with just Sam's income alone.
So we put the car up for sale, thinking I could quit working if we didn't have that extra payment. My mom started tending Jayden for us, while we anxiously waited for the ad we placed in the paper for the car to work its magic.
We got a call the first day the paper came out. They came and test-drove it, and then didn't call back. Again it happened. And a third time. And it went on for a couple of weeks like that. And finally, the last person to call and test drive the Accord called back the next day to me at work.
"Hi. This is Mr. Anal-Retentive Test-Driver Guy."
"Yeah, about the car...I just wanted to let you know:
*The passenger side door weather stripping is loose.
*I think there is a small leak in the trunk.
*The brakes will need to have new pads soon.
*There is a small chip in the windshield that doesn't look like it has been fixed.
*The floor mats really need to be replaced.
*I noticed a slight hum when you reach highway speeds.
Blah blah blah BLAH...he went ON AND ON, meanwhile I am at WORK, and clients are waiting, and this crack head was monopolizing my time, listing every stinking flaw with a USED CAR.
Finally I cut him off.
"Look, are you INTERESTED in buying the car, or not?"
"Well, no...(and he started re-listing the crap)"
At which point I hung up on him.
I was so frustrated. I don't like dropping everything I have going on to accommodate test drives. I don't like selling stuff. And I did not like being away from my baby because I had to make a payment on a used car that apparently now had a TRUNK LEAK. I wondered if we would ever sell the car.
The next morning, I strapped Jayden into his car seat, and started in to work. I had a ton of stuff to do that day. We had back to back closings, there were things to fax, and checks to cut, and documents to overnight for additional signatures, and Jayden was teething and fussy, and I was just not happy about life in general.
I got off the freeway and headed up the road to work...when WHAM! We got broadsided by a car in the middle of an intersection. I saw the car coming, turning into us, but it was like one of those movies, where everything is in slow-motion. There was nothing I could have done.
We were hit so hard, it pushed our car over to the side of the road.
I remember seeing my bumper in the middle of the intersection, and wondering if I needed to go get it...or leave it...
I sat in the car. Jayden was screaming. I just sat there. Finally a really nice lady came to the door and asked if we were okay. She was on her cell phone to 911.
I told her I didn't want to undo my seatbelt cause I wanted the police officer to know that I was wearing it. HA! I think I was in shock...
She said "Oh honey, he's definitely going to know you were wearing your seat belt."
I told her I was too afraid to pick up the baby in case he had back injury. HA! (shock again)
She said "He is just scared. His car seat did the trick, he is fine."
Then she picked him up, and wrapped him in a blanket, and he fell asleep on her shoulder. She was such a nice lady. I never even got her name.
I called Sam, and he came out to get us. I called work and told them. The police came out, and wrote up all the reports. The other driver was so upset and very apologetic. It was weird day.
Funny how things that seem so important thirty minutes ago are so trivial when you realize how quickly life can change.
We were not hurt. We were safe. So blessed.
A couple of days later, I got the call at work from the insurance company. The Accord would cost more than it was worth to fix it. They wrote it up as a total loss. They were sending us a check for more money than we even owed on old Leaky Trunk. A blessing in disguise.
I went straight away into my Boss' office and gave my two week notice.
We were debt free! And I was car-less. But I didn't care.
For a while.