Friday, June 17, 2011

Not How to Start The Weekend

This evening, as I drove home from work, I was thinking to myself, this looks like it could be a great weekend. I'd figured out that the reason why two weeks of my life had been spent troubleshooting a poorly performing system at work was because the standard Linux build didn't include PAE support. Thus, the 16GB-requiring application running on a 32GB system was thrashing the hell out of the host. I'd been able to get the requisite RPMs and shove them through our security process and get the boxes fixed before leaving for the day. All in all, not a bad way to end the week and start the weekend.

I drove home, with the top down, enjoying the beautiful, sunny weather (at least, that's what it was like at 17:00). First indications that my Friday - and possibly the remainder of the weekend - was about to go sideways was that, when I got home, the top to my car wouldn't go back up. So, I popped the rear seat cushion out and used the little allen-wrench thing to reset the top's safety lock. I hit the button and the top returned to the full, upright and closed position. So, no real problem, just a hassle.

Donna had come out to see why I was taking so long to come in. She suggested we pack up the pups and go down to the nearby dog-park. I was a touch leary, since Lady's only been to dog parks two times previous, and both of those with our dog-trainer present. She did pretty well, until a surly scotty dog decided to fuck with her. She didn't go nuts, or anything, but Lady definitely has an unnerving "back the fuck off" snarly-bark. No furball ensued, but, I decided discretion was the better part of valor and we left after a little less than half an hour at the park. One of the downsides of bully-ownership is that, no matter which dog starts it, the bully is seen to be at fault. C`est la vie.

Since we needed more milk and miscellaneous provisions, and it was nearby, we stopped in at Whole Foods. I stayed in the car with the steam engine-sounding, panting dogs while Donna ran in to shop. As I was sitting in the SUV, the thunder clouds started rolling in and the wind was kicking up. By the time Donna came back, the rain was beggining to come down.

We made our way home ...Duke Street to Telegraph Road, then onto Farmington. As usual, car after car was speeding through our neighborhood, using it as the shortcut between Telegraph Road and North Kings Highway. I turned onto Edgehill, on the home stretch to our house. Per usual, the oncoming cars were turning right off of Fort Drive and swinging wide into the oncoming lane - the one we were in. I was well on my side of the center-line of the street. As we were approaching the intersection, I saw a white Chevy utility-van roll the stop-sign and pull wide into our lane. I slowed to a near stop to try to allow him additional buffer to get himself back into our lane. He made no effort to cross back onto his side of the center-line. I sat there helplessly, a matter of seconds stretching into what felt like hours, as he smacked into my left front wheel and scraped the whole way down the side of my SUV. As he scraped by, I watched the mirro fold in and saw pieces of plastic popping off the SUV. I still don't know how the mirror did't get ripped off, given that he hit us hard enough to bend the wheel at the axel-mount and render the SUV undrivable. At least the airbags didn't deploy and the pups stayed well-fastend in their doggy seatbelts (yes, they actually make those - thankfully).

Now, this is the second time, in just about as many weeks, that the SUV has been hit by white utility-vans operated by careless drivers. The first time was two Saturday's ago at the 7Eleven near our house. The fuckwit driving it, a worker for Rick's Carpet & Flooring, had backed into us just as I was reaching for the drivers' door-handle. We'd stopped in on the way to the Saturday farmer's market in Falls Church (they carry Mtn. Dew Throw-back, so, it's a must to stop there). For some reason, he was unable to back out of his parking space without hitting us. It was mostly cosmetic damage, so, when his insurance company failed to return my call after I filed the initial claim, it hadn't been a huge priority to find out where the fuck their adjuster was.

Today's incident was a bit more severe. After waiting nearly an hour and a half for a Fairfax County Police officer to show up, we were able to start the requisite paperwork. In fairness, a hellish storm had just torn through and caused all sorts of havoc on Richmond Highway between the Mt. Vernon police-station and our house - it was just such a departure from the norm where it's usually less than 10 minutes from the time you start your call with the dispatcher till the time they're at your door to find out what's up. The guy was contrite and admitted full fault (and, even if he hadn't, the guy living three houses down from the accident had been working in his front yard and stated he was willing to sign as a witness to the accident). The cop gave him two citations: one for the accident and one for driving an unsafe vehicle (it's citeable, in VA, to drive a vehicle with tires so bald you can see the chording). Unfortunately, while the guy claims he has insurance through Liberty Mutual, he wasn't able to provide proof of such insurance at the scene. In VA, unlike DC, it's not a citeable offense to not be able to provide proof of insurance at the scene of an accident. The officer instructed him to contact me with his insurance info so I could file a claim. The guy claimed he would do so as soon as he got home. Unfortunately, we're now four hours post-accident and two-hours post-citing, and there's been no such phone call. Given that the guy was "self-employed", didn't have the insurance paperwork and was driving a citably unsafe work vehicle, I've the sinking suspicion that this is going to have to be run against my insurance. Thank god I've got USAA.

For now, we're kinda boned. It's not even Saturday and we're kind of limited in what we can do. No dog parks, this weekend. Won't be able to run errands and pick anything up. And, I've got the prospect of dealing with insurance companies and trying to sort out a suitable rental vehicle come Monday. What's more, if the guy does fail to provide insurance or whatever, I'll probably be having to go to court in July when Fairfax brings their case against him. Fmeh.

On the plus side, no one was hurt and we do have good insurance. It's just annyoingly inconvenient.

And, in case you ever are involved in a vehicular incident with Donna's not a pleasant experience. Even with her sole level of involvement being as a passenger - in both cases - she goes completely fucking bonkers on the other drivers. I really worry that if she doesn't start to keep her shit under control, it's going to lead to an unfortunate incident that I really don't want to have to deal with. Talk about need for "anger management" classes... Oy.

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