I don’t typically talk too much about my personal life, but this was just one of those days…you know ’em, the ones you never want to relive, but they seem to just keep playing over and over again inside your head.
I live approximately 25 minutes away from my office, in a rural area. So, while I drive into and out of town every day, my wife and kids come in once or so every couple of weeks. Today, a plan was put together for a couple of our kids to tour the city newspaper operation. From editorial to circulation to printing – the whole enchilada. My wife and I thought this would be a great experience, so around 1 PM they started their journey into town. I got a call on my cell phone telling me they were heading in, and that they were excited and all that. Their tour was to start at 2 PM.
At about 1:45 PM, I see one of my three son’s come up to my office door. He walks in and says, “Man Daddy, it was BAD! Whoa! Wait til Momma tells you!” As you can imagine, I’m curious. No, I’m attentive. OK, I’m riveted, because I’m about to hear something that I’m not gonna like. My first thought is, they had a car accident, everyone is OK, but our 2005 KIA Sedona isn’t.
A split second later, my two other son’s come through the door and one of them says to me, “OK Daddy, just let Momma tell you”.
My daughter comes in. She says nothing.
Now I’m a bit more than riveted. I’m anxious, nervous, and ready to be hit with the “story”. Finally my wife walks in. The kids are yelling, “Tell him Momma, tell him!” My wife looks at me and says, “We need to get a new windshield.” I ask, “What happened?” She proceeds to tell me that a rock came out of nowhere and hit the glass. I’m thinking, rock chip – no big deal, been there done that. She says, “it’s big”. At that moment, I got up and said, let’s go see.
We all head out the front door of my office building and head across the street where there is a city parking garage. Making our way over to where our minivan is parked, the knot in my stomach proceeds to grow a little bit more with every step. We finally get to the parking stall, and I take a peek.
My first thought. This is no rock chip. It’s no crack. This thing is more like a hole with the circumference the size of a golf ball. This object came from somewhere…out there…high above. Did they get hit by a meteor? There’s glass inside the van on the dash. It becomes instantly clear to me that this windshield isn’t a windshield anymore. It’s now a ticking time bomb. In the few minutes I stood there with my mouth hanging open, I watched cracks appear around the hole. The window was falling apart.
Great. Just what I need today.
At this point I notice I’m delivering rapid fire instructions to my wife in monotone. Everyone gets in the van and they drive to the auto glass shop. As I’m walking back to the office with my own set of instructions running through my brain as to what to do next, I’m hoping…praying…that the glass stays intact all the way to the shop. Sitting back down at my desk, I get on the phone and arrange for temporary transportation, better known as Enterprise Rental Car. I reserve a minivan for the next 48 hours. Guess my work day is finished. I turn off my computers, grab the coat, turn the lights out and leave.
I drive my Ford F-150 (the tank) out to the airport. Why the airport? Where else do they have rental cars? The traffic is a nightmare, and it takes me almost 25 minutes. During the (slow) ride, I get a call from the wife telling me they made it to the shop (thank you God) and (of course) they don’t have a replacement. It has to be shipped up, and won’t be ready for install until tomorrow. OK, fine, I’m getting a minivan anyway, so we’re covered. While I’m on the phone with her, she’s on the phone with the insurance company and talking with the shop attendant at the same time. Questions, information, time of incident, location of incident, replacement type, deductible, blah blah blah.
I arrive at the airport and park the tank. Parking is free for 30 minutes or less. Heh…right, I’m paying for parking. I head inside and walk over to the rental counter. The rental car guy has his arm in a sling, and he winces at every move he makes. This isn’t going to be quick. I give him my reservation number. Oops, I’m sorry, we don’t have any minivans. Who told you we did?
After 20 minutes watching rental car guy type with one finger, pull a rental agreement from a printer (one handed, of course), and reach for vehicle keys, I finally drive away with a 12 passenger van. Appropriate for an airport I guess. The length of the snow-white van, which feels like it’s 20 feet, makes cornering an interesting trick, if you’re not used to it of course. As I leave the lot, I see travelers look longingly at me, as if I’m the guy who’s going to pick them up and take them to their car or something.
Another 20 minute stop and go drive over to the auto glass shop, where I find my kids hanging out in the parking lot. They have “that look”. You know, the one that says, “WE’VE BEEN WAITING HERE FOR HOURS!”, as if I’ve been taking my time. They pile into the HMS Titanic and we leave our windshield crushed van with the glass guy.
Another 20 minute stop and go ride back out to the airport to pick up the tank.
Parking attendant – “That’ll be five dollars sir. Thanks, have a good day”.
Me – “pppppttttthhhhh”.
Another 25 minute ride, but this time, I’m heading home, following the wife as she’s driving the extendo milk truck. We get home just in time for everyone to get changed and head out to church for Wednesday night activities. I stay behind with the goal of bringing my blood pressure back to a human level. It’s not there yet.
And how was your day today?