M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, December 15, 2003  

Over the Shoulder and Through the Weeds

Christmas is not a day in our family. It’s not even a week. It’s a month. And sometimes it seems even longer.

This past weekend, Trash and I drove down to celebrate Christmas with the Iowa relatives. All of Trash’s family on her mother’s side is down there now, except for her sister, and Trash’s mom was hosting her first Christmas in her new home in Lacona, which is like Grover’s Corners without the 24-hour-a-day cosmopolitan bustle. On Saturday afternoon, Trash and I were on our way there in our car, following her brother in their uncle’s pickup. The last stretch of road was a little scary; as far as I could tell, ten miles of two-lane blacktop had not been plowed, salted, or sanded since the last snowfall. The posted speed limit was 55, but we kept to around forty miles an hour. Soon we arrived safely and the only thing we had to worry about was that there was no spinach dip for the Hawaiian bread.

Trash’s sister was about a half-hour to forty-five minutes behind us, the only one in her vehicle. On the last curve of the icy road, not two miles from my mother-in-law’s house, her 2003 Saturn VUE began to skid at forty miles per hour. My sister-in-law fought for control, but at the inside of the curve her car slid off the right-hand edge of the pavement, went onto the shoulder, and kept going. It was already listing to the right on the uneven ground when one of the passenger-side tires went into a rut. That was enough to stop the tire’s sideways skid, but not enough to arrest the vehicle’s lateral momentum, and it started rolling. It rolled one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half revolutions before coming to a stop on its roof at the bottom of the ditch, not three feet from a fencepost. The airbag never deployed; she didn’t hit anything in front of her hard enough.

My shaken, inverted sister-in-law scrambled out of her seatbelt and kicked out the shotgun window. She walked uphill to the road, where a couple of people had stopped. She was still there when Deneice and Deniece’s mom pulled up a few minutes later.

The calls that came into my mother-in-law’s house a few moments later were rather confused. Cell phone coverage is not great there—the "can you hear me now" guy would have himself a richly deserved apoplexy—so while SIL was on her cell phone to MIL’s land line, other SIL was on her cell phone to BIL’s cell phone. At first we thought Denieces’s mom was in the ditch with Deniece, and then somehow the actual situation was conveyed to us. Trash’s brother, her stepfather, and I piled into our respective vehicles and headed out to the scene. We arrived only a few minutes before a Warren County deputy sheriff, and he arrived only a few minutes before the wrecker came. The deputy took a bunch of pictures for the police report. The snow tracks made it fairly easy to analyze the scene, which is why there’s no CSI: Anchorage. Then tow truck driver attached long cables to the exposed undercarriage and slowly pulled the vehicle upright amidst much crunching. That was about all SIL could take before I drove her on to her mother’s house.

One thing I’ll say for Saturn SUV’s: even if they’re easier to roll over, they hold up remarkably well throughout the process. I looked inside and apart from an expectedly spectacular degree of organizational disarray, it was pretty intact in there. I was also oddly surprised to see that when a vehicle is upside down, the steering wheel isn’t on the left side any more. That was a little strange to see. Most of the contents survived, aside from part of a set of bar glasses. Even the tubs of laundry detergent only sprung pressure leaks. Basically the car is a tank clad in plastic. BIL and SFIL salvaged almost everything and brought it along to my mother-in-law’s house. Dinner and gift opening were a bit delayed, what with the paramedics stopping by shortly thereafter to make sure SIL was all right, but she got through the rest of the day.

SIL is pretty much okay now, considering. She was both laughing and crying on the side of the road, getting over her shock, and when her "I’m gonna die"-sized dose of adrenaline wore off she was pretty sore. She later said it felt worse than getting stuffed into a sleeping bag and then being slid headfirst down the basement stairs. And having grown up with my wife, she knows what that feels like. She went to the doctor earlier, and he said she’ll recover. She starts physical therapy tomorrow. When she wants to look to one side she has to turn her whole body. As for the car, Despite a Saturn VUE’s internal fortitude, the plastic shell turns out to only be good for one roll, so the vehicle is probably totaled.

SIL says about how she felt beforehand something was going to happen to her this weekend. Rolling down the hill she figured she was done for. She remembered her cousin, who died in a car accident in Iowa a year and a half ago. And we talked about how we were all so glad that it hadn’t been worse, that she hadn’t been seriously injured or killed. We’re also glad Deneice didn’t see the actual accident; she saw SIL walking around, and then she saw her car. Yesterday she was saying "auntie's otay" and "tires in the sky. 'Member?" She’s just old enough to have a partial grasp on what happened

There’s a lesson in all this, of course, during a time of year when it’s easy to get caught up in all the gift-exchanging and traveling and cooking and all of the attendant stress, and the rushing around and trying to remember everything and getting everything done on time and getting to where you’re supposed to be on schedule. That lesson is this: don’t give glass barware for Christmas, because it’ll never survive a rollover. Also, bring your own spinach dip, because if your sister-in-law winds up in a ditch upside-down nobody’s going to care about that shit.

Today’s best search phrase: "north face outlet, last years cheap stuff to satisfy dianne." If Dianne’s so hard to satisfy, I’m not positive that last year’s cheap stuff is going to do it. I’m just saying.

posted by M. Giant 6:39 PM 0 comments


Post a Comment

Listed on BlogShares www.blogwise.com
buy my books!
professional representation
Follow me on Twitter
other stuff i