Hat on Top, Coat Below


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Not Quite the Trip I Hoped For

May 30, 2016

I ended my last entry (in mid-April, yes, I know it’s been too long) with the hope that my positive outlook would stay with me. It did, for a couple weeks. Then I got sad for a while, despite being surrounded by the beauty of mountains and trees (which are extra pretty with the tamaracks wearing their green spring/summer outfits). The mood shift seemed to be mostly caused by planning a visit to Illinois and Michigan; the ease with which I filled my social calendar there with friends and family was in stark contrast to what I’d be able to do here. In Michigan, I have more friends than I had time to see this visit. In Idaho, I haven’t really made any friends yet. I suppose that’s mostly through lack of trying, but trying here seems harder than it was in Michigan. The chances of finding people I click with in this small pond seem slimmer than in the big lake of metro Detroit.

Packing for the three-week trip and anticipating seeing my friends distracted me from my blues, so by the time Mr. Karen and I rolled out in our two-vehicle convoy, I was feeling pretty chipper again. Why two vehicles? Because Mr. Karen’s plans and mine didn’t overlap geographically for much of the time we’d be gone, and we’d decided to go with the lower out of pocket cost of taking my car instead of renting one for the weeks I’d need it while he was off having his own adventures in his truck. (If this were a movie, you’d hear an ominous musical phrase at this point to indicate foreshadowing.)

Saying goodbye to the lake for a few weeks

We said goodbye to our Idaho home and spent the next three days driving through Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, landing in Illinois for a brief stopover at mom Joan’s before parting ways in Indiana, with me heading to Michigan and Mr. Karen heading to kayak in West Virginia and Maryland and such.


Once in Michigan, I saw as many friends as I could without exhausting myself and getting cranky, ate Middle Eastern food multiple times as it’s in short supply in northern Idaho, shopped at stores we don’t have in my new stomping grounds, like Five Below and Meijer, and caught a District 97 show, at which I dropped my phone in the toilet. Immediately after I snatched it out of the clean water (it fell out of my back pocket as I was sitting down; I don’t usually carry it there but I didn’t want to bring my purse into the bar and my pants had stupid shallow girl pockets in front) and dried it off, I thought it was going to be okay, but I failed to shake all the water out and soon it was dying. I couldn’t Google what to do, of course, but remembered rice, so bought some at Meijer and stuck the phone in there. At the hotel that night (which I had to choose based on reading signs along the highway, not looking at reviews online), I booted up my laptop and got depressed about my chances of even getting data off of the phone based on comparing what I’d done and what it was doing to similar stories people had posted in various places.

This is the face of a woman with a dead phone but a fun tee

The next morning, feeling mad at myself for not being more careful in the first place and not thinking to find the nearest wifi hotspot to look up what to do immediately, and sad about losing all the photos I hadn’t backed up (I turned off cloud backup because I kept filling up the free space), I donned my new flowery Star Wars tee to cheer myself up and went to the nearest Verizon store. There I was informed that Mr. Karen had gotten the insurance (yay!) and arranged for a replacement to be sent to my Mom’s house in Illinois, since that’s where I was headed (the insurance covers a refurbished phone, not a new one, so I couldn’t get a replacement in store). I then went to another Meijer and got some Damp Rid and put the phone in there just in case that might help. (Days later, when I took the phone out again, I found it did not, not in my situation.)

Mom and Simon

I had to call my mom on a hotel landline (I did try Google Voice but my laptop mike wasn’t cooperating) to let her know I was still coming, didn’t have a phone, and was having the new phone sent to her house. When I got to her house, I found the driveway blocked by construction and Mom surprised that I was surprised by it, as she’d called and left me a message about it. On my phone. Which was not working. Ah well. I had a nice visit with her and my nephew and a fun dinner with her and Joan. My new phone was delivered as promised, and I was able to get it setup and restore most of my contacts pretty easily, so that was all good. Some app data came back, too, but not all of it. I lost all my extras on Candy Crush, for instance, and my whole Catbook on Neko Atsume. My photos, of course, were gone. I was still annoyed with myself for dunking the phone and not backing things up better but was much happier now that I had the whole world in my hand again (or my purse, but you know what I mean).

When I left Mom’s, I was heading to have dinner with a friend I’d met online and his wife in Kalamazoo. I’d never been to their house before, though I’d met him in person at an event. Concentrating on finding the correct driveway, I failed to double check that traffic was still clear when I turned left into it. I looked up just in time to see the car speeding toward my passenger side, realized I was going to get hit hard a split second before it happened. I didn’t have time to think or do anything other than hang on until the cars came to a stop. I saw the other driver get out of her car and start yelling. My car’s horn was blaring at intervals, like when the alarm gets set off. The SYNC voice came on and asked if I’d like to call 911; I touched Yes on the screen before I realized that wouldn’t work since I hadn’t paired my new phone with it yet. No matter, plenty of people were around to call, and the fire and ambulance crews were there what seemed like very quickly. I don’t know how we eventually got the horn on my car to stop but thank goodness it did, as that noise was not helping the situation at all. I was shaken and even now, almost two weeks later, can’t recall what happened in order. My friend’s wife got me some ice for my wrist, which was swelling, and the police came and gave me a ticket and took my license, and her car got towed away, and my friend got my car into his driveway, and an EMT evaluated me, and I signed a paper saying I didn’t want to go to the hospital, and my friend told me he’d seen it from the window and the other driver was going too fast and on her cellphone, and I called the insurance company which was a bit more difficult since the policy information was in the glovebox which was jammed shut due to the passenger door being pushed so far into the car. Eventually, we had dinner and I calmed down.

Point of impact

I did a lot of looking on the bright side, possibly to distract myself from feeling so stupid that I had caused the accident. It was good no one was in the passenger seat. It was good it happened where I had a friend to crowbar the glovebox open and ferry me to the courthouse to pay the ticket and to the rental car agency to get a vehicle to drive for a few days until Mr. Karen could get back to Michigan (he offered to cut his trip short and come help right away, but I didn’t think that was necessary), and he even stored my car until the adjuster could come look at it. (It was, no surprise, totalled.) It was good in that it made drowning my phone, something I’d been so upset about a few days before, seem like a non event. It was good I didn’t break anything. Sure I had some fantastic bruises and bumps and sore muscles, but all my parts worked.

Wrist bruise progress

I had plans with friends on the day after the crash and the day after that. I thought about canceling and just holing up in a hotel, and I did use some hotel points to get a room with a big tub I could soak in because I figured I needed that level of self-care, but with a lot of understanding on my friends’ part that I was not going to be the best company, I was able to see them and get some commiseration, which I think was better than being alone.

When Mr. Karen got to town, we reconnected over a late lunch at a favorite spot near our old house. Over the next day or so, we put everything that had been in my car into the truck with all the kayak and camping gear he’d been carrying, then stuffed every remaining bit of empty space with boxes from our storage unit. On our way out of Michigan, we stopped in Kalamazoo to see my car, which was scheduled to be towed to the scrap yard the next day, and thank my friend and his wife for all their help. We also turned in the rental car; hours later I realized I’d left my phone car charger and ipod/audio cables in it, adding to the list of things I’d left behind in hotels along the way (almost new jar of face cream, half a bottle of wine and other snacks; for a while I also thought I’d lost my camera batter charger, but I’d just put it in a different place than usual). Our next stop was Illinois to have lunch with my mom and dinner with Mr. Karen’s mom before availing ourselves of her guest room. Then it was driving, driving, and more driving, reversing our route from the trip out. We did take a few hours off the road to explore a state park in Minnesota. Even those pretty gentle trails took a toll on me but I’m glad we did it anyway to see somewhere new and break up the drive.

Blue Mounds State Park

We made it back home without further incident, which was a relief. This trip turned out to be way more expensive than planned. Silly me, thinking the phone deductible was the worst of it when that happened. We haven’t decided what to do about replacing the car yet, but we’ve got time to figure that out. Most of the time, we don’t need a second car, but when we do, it’s not possible to get a ZipCar or similar around here.

The whole picture set from the trip is here.

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One Comment
  1. Denise Says:

    Oh, Karen, I’m so sorry about your car. And phone. Email me your new address in Idaho so I can send you happy mail. Is there a quilt guild you could join there, or knit night?

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