Smugler-Nemeth 1, Bambi 0

November 6, 2012, U.S. Election Day, and the day we’ve decided to head out for Florida, having visited family in Carnarvon, Stouffville, and now Toronto. We’re both still recovering from colds but we figure we’re on the mend and roadworthy.

So we rise before dawn, pack about half our worldly belongings back into the car, have a bite of breakfast, make a coffee for the road, and by 6:00a.m. we’re well on our way down the Gardiner Expressway. It’s a beautiful morning, traffic is light, we watch the sun rise as we drive over the Burlington Skyway and past Hamilton, St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and finally Niagara Falls and on through the Peace Bridge border crossing. The border guard asks a couple of odd questions — what’s in the car (um, everything?), are we bringing any new stuff with us, like appliances, electronics, microwaves, etc. (??) — and then hands us back our passports and wishes us a nice day.

After our first stop — and our second breakfast — we’re happily noodling along a fine road on a fine sunny day, when suddenly Bambi jumps in front of our car. I have my head down for a nanosecond, looking for something, and suddenly Jack slams on the brakes and exclaims, “Holy shit it’s a deer!” or words to that effect. Then there’s a solid thunk, a glimpse of something white moving fast over the top left corner of the windshield, the car sputters to a halt, then silence. We look at each other. What the …???

There’s steam pouring out from under the hood, but Jack starts the car up again to move if off the road a bit more. Starts right up like a charm … smells funny, but she’s running. Good old girl.

We’re checking ourselves out for damage, and we’ve figured out we’re both fine when a state trooper pulls up behind us, lights flashing, just moments after the accident. He takes one look at the damage to the hood and doesn’t even ask us what happened. He’s compassionate and helpful — makes sure nobody’s hurt, and then goes back to the patrol car to call a tow truck and fill out his accident report. The next couple of hours are taken up with making arrangements with the insurance company, AAA, CAA, car rental, and getting towed back to Canada, then shifting our worldly belongings into the rental car.

Now, understand that Jack has packed the trunk so full we’d planned not to open it before getting to Florida, for fear of not being able to close it again. Moving things from one car to the other is no mean feat, but we manage it in probably less than half an hour, get the plates off it in case we don’t see it again (so sad), and soon we’re on our way back to Toronto to Sherry & Morrey’s house — surprii-iiise! we’re ba-a-a-ack! Sorry to see us go? Careful what you wish for! — where we unload the stuff from the back seat, again, and pour ourselves a nice bracing shot of Scotch. It’s warming and soothing, and we both just sit there for a few minutes collecting ourselves.

We reflect on how calm we’re both feeling, and how we’re navigating through this with no meltdowns and no arguing. We’re both just putting one foot in front of the other and dealing with whatever is there. And I can’t help but reflect on how this has happened right after finally leaving our home of 14 years and starting our new adventure of wintering in Florida. We’ve purged and packed up the house and stored most of it with friends, and we’ve started our journey with just the stuff that would fit in the car, and no specific plans for the spring or where we will live in the long term. I’ve been feeling that we’re flying without a net, but getting used to being with the uncertainty and I’m finally seeing it as an adventure. I like being rooted, but I’m game. At least we have what we really need with us in the car. And now, no car. So while we wait to hear from the insurance company about whether they’ll fix it or write it off, we’re truly in limbo. Uncertainty magnified. Nothing is clear, no plans can be made till we hear from them.

And so we wait. Hoping we can get through the next steps with patience, humour and grace.

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1 Comment

  1. Helen

     /  November 9, 2012

    What an experience! Keep me in the loop with your blog!


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