Sliding Doors Moments and Ricochet Deer

So last night was book club night for one of my groups and I was super looking forward to it. We read a Cather book that I haven’t read since grad school and I couldn’t wait to be together with the greats (friends, food, and fiction). We were set to meet at a member’s house who lives in a development just south of Hastings, so I picked up one my favorite reader friends and away we went, snacks and books ready to go.

And go we did, until Mother Nature decided to GO at us instead.

For those of you unfamiliar with the area, Hwy 6 runs south of town and as you drive west out of Hastings, you quickly run into farmland, which as you may know, is in the midst of harvest. Add in the fact that it is later-October and it was dusk as we were driving out, what happened is not all that shocking, except that when a huge doe (and no, not just saying that because she hit me, but because she was BIG) came out of the ditch from the field/treeline that is RIGHTTHERE by the highway and then bounced off the front of my car, “shocking” is pretty much the only word that applies.

My first response? To keep going to book club.

No joke.

Because the doe kept heading north, I assumed I had just clipped her back end and that my 2000 Chrysler LHS (literally the size of a whale, my friends; the B-52s knew their stuff) was fine. I mean, I knew I was fine, because the airbags had not gone off and because there was no time to react (i.e. brake), just hit, the seat belt didn’t pull on me or the baby at all, so why not just keep driving, right?

Well, enter my more reasonable passenger who wisely told me to pull off at the next available drive a 1/4 mile down the road, because once we did, we realized the car was steaming (burst radiator) and her door could no longer open. So out we scrambled, book club snacks in hand, to assess the smashed, hissing damage.

It wasn’t pretty (photos are super dark because we didn’t get them taken until after all the phone calls/texts had been made to the authorities and husbands and, yes, book club):

I won’t chronicle every single moment (or swear word) that happened after that, but I can tell you that I definitely burst into tears when I realized that the car was done-for. We’ve had it for eight years and it brought home one of my babies from the hospital, so I think  I was having a bit of an emotional attachment reaction, but also a realistic Oh, Shit moment of realizing that we were indeed going to need to find a new around-town car.

The amount of damage WAY outweighs the value of the car and we only had liability insurance on it (for obvious reasons), so last night really was the last night for The White Car (we are are super creative on vehicle names, folks), which just sucks. But here’s the thing. As stressed out as this whole thing made my supposed-to-be-pure-fun Sunday evening and now this week, I’ve got a list of Sliding Doors/Gratitude moments going through my brain (if you have not seen this movie, please watch it, but in the mean time, it refers to a story line that splits in two, following the different lives a woman would have lead depending on catching/missing a train):

  1. There was an optional road I could have taken a half mile prior that would have kept me away from that doe. Same thing could be said for if we had left 30 seconds earlier or later, or made/missed a stop light on the way. That’s just how tight the timing/space was on the whole thing. But apparently that just was not meant to be, and so, here we are.
  2. I was going to drive the van last night. It’s easier for me to get in/out of these days (truth), but then I got behind and the white car was already out, so it was what I drove instead. Thank goodness because we would be in a world of hurt without our family vehicle and to replace the “school car” is obviously easier than one that can carry all soon-to-be-seven of us.
  3. There was a big-ass pickup on my ass while driving on Hwy 6 (pardon the language; it’s still a step up from my descriptors used last night), and I honestly believe that my not hitting the brakes in the split second between seeing/colliding with the deer was a godsend. One, it kept the belt from straining against my belly. Two, it kept the deer from sliding up the hood into the windshield. And most of all, Three, it kept that big #$&*&@* truck from ending up in my rear end (yes, it was that close to me, and no, it did not stop to see if we were OK when we pulled over). Although what happened sucked, it was very easy to see even in the immediate aftermath that it could have been so much worse.
  4. After we got everything squared away for the time being, my friend’s husband (who had come out to help us while Ben was at the house making phone calls to insurance and checking with our awesome neighbors about borrowing a vehicle to get to school today) still took us to book club. I can’t tell you how much I needed to see those faces and laugh as much as that group tends to do. Best medicine for a shaken spirit, for sure. I mean, you guys, they renamed the night O, PioDEERS! for us. That’s amazing.

And so, today is a new day. We’ll make phone calls and figure out how to officially say goodbye to TWC as we begin trying to find its replacement. Not at all what we thought we would be doing a month prior to Baby’s arrival, but since the accident thankfully didn’t send me into labor, we’ve got the time to get this stuff done and be, once again, set and ready to go when s/he decides to join us. I am just beyond thankful that once again, in this pregnancy of strange circumstances (food poisoning, altitude sickness, and now deer attack), Baby is totally fine, totally content in my tummy.

P.S. If anyone local knows of a good school car for sale or has a recommendation of where you have purchased (and were happy with) a car, please message me!



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