Sat 21 Jan 06

You know what’s great? Not working, that’s what. Really nothing puts me in a better mood than having a day off. And today I had a day off. Normally I spend my Saturday’s with the unpleasant feeling that I have to go to work later and not sleep later and knowing that I’m going to feel miserable on Sunday. But this week I swapped out my Saturday overnight with a coworker. Hoping to make that a permanent switcheroo.

Yesterday the Great Lakes graced us with about six inches of snow. The snow, in turn, graced my trusty 323 with the inability to brake or steer while zipping home on the Beltline after work last night. With this new found inability my 323 rocketed me up over a curb, through a metal road sign (yes through, I ripped the hell out of that sign), and plowed four inches deep into the median sod.

I probably was going a little fast for the conditions (about 35 mph) and I remember thinking right before I lost control of the car that if I were smart I probably should learn something from the last mishap in poor conditions. Of course about half a second after this thought I started sliding. Lots of time to digest this accident before impact though. Tried braking, pumping the brakes, turning both directions, had time to think that well at least this is a good excuse to buy a new car, and finally just pointed my tires directly at the curb I was heading for in attempt to limit wheel damage. Hit the curb with a solid thud, bounced up and over then smashed through a two-legged metal highway sign, ripping the right leg in half, and came to a stop just past the sign.

Kind of strange. The whole experience never really bothered me. It was more of an “oh well, I guess my trip home is going to take a little longer” kind of feeling. I hopped out of my car, checked for any major damge and when I didn’t find any, proceeded to try to accelerate and reverse myself out of the pit I had gouged. No dice. Dropped the car into nuetral and tried pushing myself in both directions. Again no dice. At this point a couple of college-aged guys came running over and helped push me out (which was much easier once I noticed the underbody of my car was hung up on the remaining stump of metal sign post), which I am eternally grateful for. They waited until I was safely back on the Beltline before taking off. People are good.

I noticed two other people buried in the median on the way home and would have happily stopped the help them if I had thought for a second the my now-shaky car would be able to make it safely back onto the road if I pulled over. About halfway home I realized that I had a flat back tire and on closer inspection found a quarter-sized gash in said tire. Screw it. Drove home on my lumpy tire. Went out at about one am and changed the tire in the snow. Very peaceful. Almost made me wish I could change tires in the snow at one in the morning every night.

This morning I took my car in to Discount Tire who have a magnificent lifetime warrenty that I’ve now used to replace at least four tires for no more than seven bucks a piece and picked up a new tire. After lunch I dropped my car off at the repair shop for an estimate on the other damage (my steering was badly out of whack). Ended up just needed a wheel alignment, which while not exactly cheap, certainly beat having some vital car organ severed. All told the damage amounted to one flat tire, steering alignment corruption, and a whole bunch of paint scraped off of my car. Guess I’ll have to hold off a little longer on a new sweet ride.

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