“Everyone’s okay.” Funny how that phrase freezes my blood!Michelle and Aly hiked out yesterday morning to go to town. Michelle had a doctor appointment, and Aly was headed for the local museum, where she volunteers. I had decided not to go along; I had work to do at home, and nothing to do in town.
We have a standing rule: “Don’t break up the team.” By this we mean that, whenever possible, we should stay together. It started because we found that splitting up in public places inevitably led to missed connections and aggravation. That has since grown into a general reluctance to separate.
So, my day had been going fine up until I got a phone call from Michelle, which started out with those dreaded words.
Michelle hit a patch of black ice going up the hill out of Letnikof on the road to town. She lost control, crossed the oncoming lane, and hit the guard rail. Neither she nor Aly got hurt, and apparently the damage to the car is more cosmetic than mechanical.
Immediately I began to curse myself for not going along. Then I remembered that Michelle’s driving record is better than mine! This is her first accident, ever—it doesn’t make much sense for me to assume that everything would have been all right if I’d been driving.
They went on into town, and Michelle asked friends for the name of a local mechanic. She also called the insurance company, which, predictably, led her down a rabbit hole. We could file a claim, and receive coverage above our $500 deductible. If we chose to do that, an additional charge would be added to our insurance bill for several years. In other words, we pay them a good deal of money, year after year, because the law requires us to carry collision insurance. If we file a claim, it’s a loan, that we repay with heavy interest! Doesn’t it just make you feel warm and fuzzy?
Michelle never saw the mechanic. They kept missing each other around town. Finally, she gave up and came home. He called her before she reached Mud Bay. Looks like he can fix it, maybe it’ll even cost us less than it normally would.
This is exactly the sort of thing that we fear, living on a small income. Hopefully it won’t cost too much to set things right. We’ll probably have to limit the repairs to ensuring that the car’s safe, drivable, and well sealed, so it doesn’t rust.
But at least everyone’s okay!