18 December 2008
First, I am ok.
Second, the roads are more slippery that I thought. I was driving home from work on the highway going a tad too fast. By that I mean I was going the speed limit. I was elated that today was my last day of work for three weeks. The plant shuts down over Christmas then has the usual two weeks off. Unpaid. I could have signed up for cleaning duty like I did the first year I worked there. That year I got caustic cleaner on my arm (slight chemical burn), dripped on my head (itchy for a bit) and bleachy stuff launched into my eyeball when punching my timecard (alkaline not acid, still got puffy and painful). And I remember the QA guy telling me it was easier to actually clean the ceiling if I put my mop to it. I was just standing there staring at the ceiling and holding the mop at the time. I traded jobs with someone. I don't do ceilings.
Anyway, I was excited to be on my way home and thinking I was a bit late getting the cake to J. He was waiting at the school for me to drop it off for his lunch with his friends. And ok, I was on a bit of an Up after having a good time making cake sample boxes for three hours. It was mundane and boring work - the kind that makes you punchy after a bit. And we referred to one cake as 'poopy cake' because of one of the garnishes on it. It got to the point that the bosses were calling it poopy cake too. I was thinking the roads were fine, if a bit snowy. That is, until my car started fishtailing.
Now here's the thing, I know I'm not supposed to hit the brakes. I know I'm supposed to steer into the skid. But did you know cars pick up speed when they are sliding around on ice? Oh yeah, they do. So my slight fishtail turned into an outright Loss Of Control very quickly. Thinking that I needed to slow down, I touched the brakes a tiny bit. That caused my car to increase it's delightful sideways trip down the lane. When my car swung back the opposite way (I was still trying to control the car by steering) I hit the snowbank/median to my right. This was a median that separates the on-ramp from the highway. My car bounced off the median, tried to go straight, gave up, and the back end swung out to the right onto the median again. This where I travelled a good 25 feet at a 45 degree angle plowing snow over the roof of my car via the passsenger side. I eventually stopped. My only thoughts were 'please don't kill me today' and 'please don't roll over'. I got my wishes. And a warning from the Universe/Karma Gods to slow down in the winter.
Once I was stopped I put my car in Park, put my four-ways on and got out to see the damage. I'd slid off the median before stopping and was resting in an almost-lane. It was a wide spot in the road slightly before the on-ramp merge. I walked around my car to see if there was anything obviously wrong - there wasn't. Just then a truck travelling on the on-ramp stopped, drove up on the median, parked and out came three fit-looking guys asking if I needed a push. I told them I needed to stop shaking first. They checked my tires (apparently fine) and looked for leaks (none). Both of which I'd already checked, but ok. One guy got in my car to check if it drove straight - it did. Another car had stopped behind me to see if I was ok but left reasonably fast. She was on the phone and probably saw the guys helping out. I managed to drive the rest of the way to J's school without any problem.
Just to be safe, I did take my car to the mechanic's. I wanted to make sure that everything was ok instead of finding out when some car part falls off. My car will now be spending the night tucked away in a warm garage instead of it's usual place out in the cold, windy driveway. Tomorrow the mechanic will have time to check the alignment (I already know that's fine, I tested it, but I did ask him to be thourough) and check on the odd whoompa-whoompa noise coming from somewhere under the car. The noise was there before, I was just ignoring it and hoping it would go away. Now it seems like a good idea to have it checked out. My mechanic's wife, the receptionist, was kind enough to lend me a car to pick up T after the school dance (I'd already picked up J before I took the car to the mechanic's), then give me a ride home. I couldn't keep the loaner as it was already promised to someone else. She said she'd pick me up tomorrow when the car is ready as well. Normally I'd refuse the ride, but right now it's -21C out but feels colder with the wind. I doubt it'll be warmer tomorrow.
Maybe I'll look into the cost of winter tires. The main reason I don't have any, aside from cost, is because I absolutely refuse to store tires in my basement. When my ex lived here he stored car parts in the house and I hated it. Gassy, oily, filthy, stinky car parts. And I don't have a garage. My mechanic said he'd store them for me if I bought them through him, so maybe I'll ask him tomorrow how much they would be. That is, if I don't have to pay some huge amount to fix the whoompa.