10 April 2014

Honda to Hyundai

My shiny new ride and the reason I bought it. 

I haven't blogged about the way that my year started off. With a bang. My Honda was interrupted in its west to east journey by a red light running north to south taxi and the double impact spun me around and banged me up a little bit. But oh so luckily, not too bad. It could have been so much worse. I had put the car in neutral at the red light and and so that split second of needing to put it back into 1st when the light turned green meant that the initial impact to the driver's side hit the front nose instead of my driver's side door. I was thrown ahead and spun so that the taxi continuing its journey now also hit the back of the car on the driver's side. When I came to a stop - I was facing south down the cross road and the taxi was facing north in the opposite lane. Also luckily, despite a number of people out on the street (at the bus stop or walking), there were no cars in either of the lanes we were thrown into. So no one else became involved.

I was dazed and still after the crash. I could see people running to both our vehicles, a man opened my door and asked how I was. I don't think I even answered. He told me to stay in the car and said he was calling 911. I heard as he made the report. "She's about 40".  I smiled - he knocked off a decade. Then a woman came by, offering comfort. "Would you like some water, some chocolate?" She had run into the corner store and bought a couple of bottle and chocolate bars. I gratefully accepted the water but turned down the chocolate. After all, chocolate is for when you see a Dementor and I was only in a car accident. No Harry Potter soul-sucking fiends had been involved. I didn't say any of that out loud thank goodness or I may have been taken away from a brain injury but it was exactly my thought process at the time. I can't believe I turned down chocolate! I don't even remember looking at either of these people but I remember their kindness.

Next was the police, telling me the ambulance was just arriving and to remain in the car.  Then the EMTs. Did I have any pain? Did I think anything was broken? Could I move my ... the questions continued and I mumbled answers but was certain I was just in shock and not seriously injured. I called Mom and my nephew Sam. I was taken to a police car and my car was pushed off the road and into a parking lot. I called my insurance and AMA. I watched as the police took photos of the vehicle. The police asked me to fill in a report and I was barely able to hold the pen. They reassured me that witnesses confirmed my account of what happened. I think I asked about that multiple times.  My hands were numb and so were my feet. When Sam arrived, he put me in his car and cranked up the heat. Then he walked around, listening as the taxi driver told his boss he didn't know what had happened. Sam made the arrangements with AMA to tow the car to my place and took me back to his place so I wasn't alone. He wrapped me in blankets and gave me his slippers and offered me a hot beverage (As Sheldon would say "it is the social convention"). He took such good care of me!

Thus began my new year - having to shop for a car in the worst winter weather (roads practically undrivable with all the ruts so test drives were a challenge), dragging my poor nephew and brother-in-law out in the cold to salvage snow tires off the car before it was hauled away,  having my rental car also damaged the night before I returned it, multiple visits to the doctor for x-rays and now in week 15 of physio.

I had been thinking for the last 6 months or so that I needed to plan ahead for a new vehicle. Mine had very low mileage and so I knew the potential for it to last was there, but I needed to make the decision whether I wanted to sell it on while there was some life in it or whether I was going to embark on the inevitable repairs and work needed to keep it road-worthy.  I had an estimate of over $800 worth of work that was needed soon - and I had planned to do that right after Christmas so I was glad I hadn't put that money into the vehicle just before the accident. I also knew that the body damage, rust and some damage to the interior from a robbery a few years back would make getting my money out of the car very difficult. It wasn't much to look at.  It was certainly unique though with the stitch job my Dad had done to repair a broken up back end of the car (from backing into what wasn't a drift of snow but a big metal pole). (Read about it in an earlier post here). The car had its nickname "Frank" (from Frankencar) and was fondly thought of by the Young Women I had transported in it. It was easily identified in a crowded parking lot of other grey sedans and made me smile every time I saw it. It was also a feature of the car that the inspecting police took great interest in as well as photographs. ( I thought as they snapped away -"Well, that CLEARLY didn't just happen today -why are you documenting it?")

So I was relieved of having to make the hard decision of when to part with my car and having to negotiate to get something back for the value. I was able to go and buy the car I had been considering for sometime and upgraded from a cassette deck to Bluetooth, satellite radio and a usb port! Such a technological leap! I also have electric windows. Cranking those old windows was so hard, I had resorted to just opening the door and leaning out to scan my pass for the parkade or pull a ticket from a machine.  And I'm in a hatchback again, with a moon roof - I missed those aspects of my stolen Camry most of all. (Yep, that is how I ended up in the Honda fourteen years ago- my Camry was stolen and totalled by joy-riders or, more accurately, young felons).

My shiny new Titanium Metal Hyundai Elantra GT (I went Korean) is now my ride (only paint colour with the features I wanted and the boxing week sale price - I know - boring). I also gave up on manual and opted for automatic transmission with all the stop start city driving that I do. That means I can share the driving on a road trip (Jo - this means you!) so another plus. It just needs a good Korean name. Any suggestions?

It wasn't such an auspicious start to the new year, but it will make 2014 a memorable one.

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