How to Talk Yourself Into Buying a New Car

UPDATE:  Apparently someone who loves us read this and assumed the accident happened the day I posted the story.  For clarification purposes, and to avoid any more panicked phone calls, this is the accident we were in back in early November 2013.  I know I’m bad about telling y’all about stuff that happens, but you can be sure that if I end up riding in an ambulance again, you won’t hear about it first through a blog I keep mostly to please myself and write things in a format not dictated by my employer.

Liz and I don’t really care for owing people (or institutions for that matter) money.  When we purchased our van several years ago we almost choked on the loan, so it was a great relief when we paid off it and all the other debt we had a few years ago.  For the first time in our married life, we outright owned two cars that were mechanically sound and were likely to remain that way for several years more.

Attempting to be prudent, and get ahead of the certain future need to replace one of the cars, we went through the budget to figure out how much we could save, and when we would have enough to pay for a new car with cash.  Estimating how much longer our car would last based on our experience with previous clunkers and looking hard at the budget, we figured we could save enough in about 4 years and have a few years to spare in case something unexpected happened.   That was a Friday night.

Saturday we left Sydney at home to watch the boys and went out to eat at a decent place in a small town about an hour outside the city.  Dinner was tasty, the companionship wonderful, and the evening generally pleasant.  Since we normally are at least 15 minutes from any grocery store, we opted to make a short detour to the grocery store a few blocks down the road before heading home.

That delay and detour turned out to have significant implications.   As we were headed back home from the store, and right as we were approaching the restaurant we had eaten at earlier in the day, a black pickup turned across traffic headed for the restaurant parking lot.  He didn’t slow down or look.  I had about half a second to react, just enough time to get some lateral momentum going  before we hit nearly head-on.   The sideways motion probably saved us, because I was doing about 55 when we hit, and rather than completely crushing us, the two cars connected, spun round and slid sideways, bleeding off some of the momentum and softening the impact.

We discovered a few things in all this fun.

1. There were shin-airbags in the van behind plastic panels.  Those panels hurt when they get blown out at your shins.

2. Riding to a hospital 45 minutes away on a backboard sucks.

3. Ambulance companies charge mileage for every passenger, even if they are riding in the same ambulance.

4. There is no dignity in an emergency room trauma unit.

5. Syd is amazingly collected when things get stupid.  I had just enough battery in my cell phone to call friends to pick the kids up and to tell Syd that Mom and I were on our way to the emergency room and someone would come get them.  I was immensely proud of the way she handled things.

6. We are blessed to have amazing friends who we can trust with our kids in an emergency and are willing to drive 30 minutes in the middle of the night/early morning to come get us from the ER.

It turns out (and I knew it before we got there) that all the drama was just precautionary.  Liz got out of it with bruised ribs (from the airbag) and a stiff back, and I only had to deal with a pretty ugly contusion where the seatbelt got me on the shoulder.

On the down-side, the car we had just discussed driving for another 5-7 years was a total loss.  Turns out that hitting a truck at 55 mph isn’t a scenario where the vehicle is likely to be fixable.  Wrecked_van

The truck that hit us didn’t fare any better.  It was less than a year old when the owner decided to use it to wreck my romantic evening and hot date.wrecked_truck

Oh, and that money we had planned to put away for a new car… it just covers the loan on the car we bought to replace the busted-up van.  The Lord has a sense of humor.

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