February 13, 2008

Christmas (cont.)

Let's see...where did I leave off?? Oh yeah.

KT's meds worked like a charm and she was happy and healthy before all Christmas gatherings were to take place, thankfully.

C's extended family got together the weekend before Christmas. KT loved the attention and the commotion. C and I loved the time she got to spend with family and especially that she got to meet so many people for the first time.

We spent an uneventful Christmas Eve day with C's Mom, Dad and Grandma all whilst trying to pack everything back into the car and head out to visit my family. Although we left most of our presents with them to ship to Idaho for us, we struggled to get everything jammed back into our vehicle.

Our families live on different sides of the state -- mine on the very Eastern side of Michigan (in the "Thumb") and his down by the Michigan/Ohio/Indiana border. It's about 225 miles from point A to point B and takes about 4 hours to drive it. The worst of the drive is that my parents live about an hour from the interstate so we lose time on the last leg. We usually split the drive up, C drives from his parents to the Lansing area and then I drive from Lansing on. It makes sense as we are both quite familiar with the respective sections of the drive after going back and forth while at MSU.

We decided to hit the road a little earlier than planned in an attempt to get to my Mom's by KT's dinnertime. For the most part the roads were clear, in terms of both snow and other vehicles. We stopped when we got off the interstate for a quick diaper change and coffee for C and I. The last section of the drive is the most strenuous psychologically. It's all through farm country (i.e. open fields and small towns) on 2-lane country highways. I know where the deer are typically the worst and am on constant watch for the 4-legged little buggers. By the time that hour is over and the vehicle is parked in my Mom's driveway, I'm exhausted.

So on we go. Busting ass on Christmas Eve through farm country and trying to avoid Christmas music on the XM radio (I hate holiday music. Hate it.) We've gone more than halfways when out of the corner of my eye I see a deer ON the yellow line and before I know it, it's too late. In a conversation held at a later time, both C and I comment on how this little monster came out of nowhere. Neither one of us saw it come onto the road. It just appeared. I hit the brakes but couldn't avoid hitting it.

I'm on the shoulder of the road as fast as I can be and both of us jump out of the vehicle. C's first thought was of the new radiator we had put in just before the trip. Me, well, I was just incredibly pissed that I had hit the deer. I've been driving legally for almost 14 years and it's the first one I've hit. And I'm mad that we're 1800 miles from home when I hit it. And even more mad that we were 20 miles from my folks.

Thankfully, the damage initially appeared to be minimal (it later turned out to be $2500 in repairs). There were 3 things that all factored in to give us as good of an outcome as possible: the deer was a yearling and couldn't have weighed more than 100 pounds; it was coming diagonally across the road so I caught it with the front corner; I drive a '95 4runner that sits up higher than a sedan and was built with metal not fiberglass. The air dam was busted off on the front corner, the blinker was annihilated and the bumper appeared to be pushed up/in slightly. All in all it could have been much, much worse.

Since it was Christmas Eve, the vehicle was drivable and the deer was dead, an officer wasn't dispatched to the scene. They took some basic information and asked that I come into the station after the holiday to file a report. This at first upset me that I'd have to make a special trip to do so but it was better than sitting there for 30 minutes waiting for a cop. As I'm on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, I see Cris about 50 yards behind the vehicle walking back and forth across the highway. Actually all I can see is the beam of his flashlight dancing across the asphalt but I remember wondering to myself what the hell he was doing. All the sudden he pops back into the passenger seat, grinning broadly and displaying the license plate that had come off! We'd just put new tags on the plates (in Idaho we're required to have both a front and rear license plate) and he didn't want to spend the money to re-register. Silly boy,but it's totally the way he thinks.

The last 20 miles was the most nerve wracking that I've ever driven. I figured that it would be our luck to have another one jump in the road. Thankfully that didn't happen.


marci said...

Ouch! I'm sorry to hear about the vehicle... Amazing how just a "little" bump can cause so much damage.

I'm terrified that I'll hit a deer sooner or later. Mark and i were going to dinner one night, it was foggy and as we came around a curve there were 5-6 deer just standing in the middle or the road. I've been nervous driving down that road every since.

My Mom hit at deer on I-75 in Cincinnati. Yes, in Cincinnati - 6 lanes of traffic. He came out of nowhere, bounced off her hood, over the roof (with her sunroof open), and bounced off the trunk before scampering off to the other side of the interstate. I think it was close to $3K worth of damage -- and that was close to 15 years ago.

Kristin, Rod, and Victoria said...

OMG! I didn't realize that the damage ended up being so expensive! Yuck.

Jen hit a deer the other day in Lex. Heights and just about totalled her car. Ayden was with her, and said "bye, deer!" after it rolled off the windshield!!! Made me think about how KT and the dogs didn't have much of a reaction.