Slightly less tortured.

My wonderful Explorer is gone forever and I’ve come to terms with that. Why should it matter that I no longer have a certain car? After all, I’ve gone through more than a few cars in my lifetime. When I still lived with my parents I drove a red Ford Bronco that was a lot of fun. My Dad still has it, or did a few months ago. My first car that was mine, belonging to me and no one else was an adorable red Pontiac Sunbird with a sunroof. It was given to me by my father after a small motor scooter accident left me without a vehicle and no funds to buy a new one. The next car was a blue Pontiac Sunbird that wasn’t anywhere near as cute, but was functional and had 4 doors that I quickly learned to appreciate. There were a couple of others throughout the years and they are also gone. I don’t really miss them.  Cars are necessary evils and often seem to be a lot of trouble. But see, I love to drive. Love, love, love, love to drive. I love the sound of the wind whipping through the windows. I love the feel of the movement. I love the sound and the feel of the engine humming (or roaring) around my body. Being able to get into a car and go anywhere I please has always given me this exhilarating sense of freedom. I felt I had control over my life if I weren’t stuck at home dependent on someone else to get me places. I can get these things with any car that I own, so why was the Explorer special? What makes it so much more special than my Mustang convertible that as I car I love far more than I did the Explorer? Seriously, it’s just a hunk of metal with wheels and bits of fabric attached.

The Explorer was the first car that I shopped or and paid for by myself. It wasn’t given to me or loaned to me by a parent and it wasn’t purchased in conjunction with or by a husband. I obtained it by myself. Even though I was still married, I was supporting myself, by myself. It was one of my great leaps of independence.  I didn’t give it up and move on to something more suitable. It was perfect for my family’s needs and was a perfect car for my teenagers to drive. It was reliable, safe and since getting a new engine put in, I kept it well maintained. It was taken from me in what looked like an innocuous accident. Someone wasn’t paying attention and I lost my car.

The body shop (hello Martin’s Collision in Orem, UT – I’m looking at you) pulled what I think is a sneaky move and a fast one and wouldn’t tell me the one thing I needed to know. Was it drivable?  Could I just get the worst bits of the rear part fixed and have a drivable but ugly car? They gave me and the insurance company a long detailed list of the body damage but wouldn’t tell me if the car was drivable. Did it have wheel or axel damage? Did it only need a simple alignment? I kept asking but I kept getting hemmed at and hawed at and mumbled excuses about what the the insurance company would or wouldn’t approve. They called the insurance company for everything else but not on this one thing. I was too upset and freaked out at the time to insist or stand my ground.  Now that it’s all over I know what I should have done and should have insisted on so that I could make an informed decision. But back then? I just wasn’t able to. The mechanic offered to buy the car from me for a little more than what the salvage company offered me and now probably  is going to make a lot of money on my misfortune. Yes, the mechanic that works for the body shop that wouldn’t give me the information that I wanted. At least I was able to get a salvage title on the car with relatively little hassle. The mechanic wanted it to have a clean title because then he could get more money for the car, but guess what buddy? That’s illegal. If a car it totaled by the insurance company you have to get a salvage title for it before selling it and the car has to be inspected before it can get a ‘rebuilt vehicle’ title.  At the end I was finally able to tell the people at Martin’s Collision that I wasn’t happy with how things went down while the strategically placed cute girls at the counter smiled and nodded and spouted their excuses. No, I won’t be going back there if ever, God forbid, I should have to take a car in for body work. Btw, if any of you should find yourselves in a similar position – remember to ask the body shop how much the storage fee is for the car while it’s sitting there waiting for  the insurance company to approve the work. Yes, there was a storage fee for each day the car had to sit there. Oh don’t worry, I was told, we charge that to the insurance company. Um yeah, but guys? You do know that the insurance companies pass that savings on to us, right?

Thankfully, all that is over and we are moving on. What is going to happen next? I have no idea. I’ve given up control over that and it was a really hard thing to do. I’ve learned many things and really hope I don’t ever have to apply that knowledge.

Danica and Betsey in the Explorer. This was Danica’s first time learning to drive. Chynna also started learning to drive in this car and I had every expectation that Joshua would do the same in just over a year.