Yesterday, as my last day off before heading south for a much-anticipated vacation, I had a rather long list of things that I needed to get done unless I wanted to find myself disorganized and discombobulated at the last minute - something that we Virgos try to avoid at all costs but which I've found myself doing more often than not these days. In an effort to avoid that again, I had my day quite well planned out.
First up on my agenda was breakfast with my dear friend of many years, Rhonda. We've been doing these monthly get-togethers for quite a few years now as it's a good way to make sure that no matter how busy our lives get with other things, we stay in touch. This month we had planned to meet at one of the few places in Norwich that still serves breakfast - Taft Station on Route 12 in Taftville - at 9:30 and from there I figured I'd start ticking other things off of the list.
Going into breakfast I was feeling a little 'meh' as I hadn't slept too well the night before due to way too many things on my mind and not being able to sleep very well so I decided to skip the usual morning coffee and opt for tea instead. Turns out that Rhonda was ordering tea also as her stomach was giving her some minor issues, too. Ah, the joys of growing old! Still, over tea, toast, and eggs we spent a very pleasant hour and a half together catching up and sharing. Well, pleasant except for that minor part where she handed me a card marking the eighth anniversary of the death of my father that got me a little teared up as she wrote such lovely things like she always does.
As we were going over calendars and deciding on a date for our meeting in March where I'd be able to tell her about warm Caribbean breezes and the joys of cruise ships, our waiter (who was one of the nicest kids I'd met in a long time) came over and asked if I either of us owned a red Dodge. Uhm ... yea ... why? My first thought was that I had forgotten to put the parking brake on, left the thing in neutral, and that it had rolled into the field behind the parking lot but that was definitely not the case.
Turns out that a large tractor trailer had pulled into the parking lot and misjudged how far away he was from the parked cars in the lot catching Rhonda's car and pulling it into the side of mine. Justin, the polite and helpful young waiter, said that he and his father had already called the police and that they were on the way as Rhonda and I quickly threw on our coats to head out to the parking lot to see what sort of damage had been done.
Nope, I definitely don't remember parking that close to Rhonda when I pulled in and I'm pretty sure there wasn't a tractor trailer sitting on top of her car either ...
Bud, the driver of the rig - an older gentleman from Rye, New Hampshire - was extremely apologetic and as a result of the accident his stomach was apparently in the same knots that Rhonda and mine had been in earlier! He said that he had the sun in his eyes (which made perfect sense) and had misjudged how far over he was. Driving a big truck with a large flatbed probably makes it darned difficult to realize that you've hooked the back end of a small Toyota and are now dragging it across the parking lot until it runs into another immovable force - a red Dodge. Fortunately at that point he must have realized what had happened and stopped before my car ended up being pulled along also.
Ah well, I guess if I'm going to somehow be involved in an accident then Norwich is the best place possible as I still know quite a few of the police officers here from back in my old police dispatching days. That was the case here as I knew the officer who was responding and when Officer Tony Gomes pulled up to take the accident report he greeted me with a friendly smile and a "hey, how are you doing?" to which I replied I'd definitely had better days! Tony gathered up all of our registration and insurance cards and sat in his cruiser to write out the report while Bud, Rhonda, and I stood in the cold and commiserated over what a mess we were looking at but that it was simply an accident and nothing else and that's why they call them that. I think that Bud was rather relieved that he wasn't dealing with a couple of hysterical females crying and screaming at him that he should have been more careful as we chatted about where he was from in New Hampshire and that he had recently taken author Dan Brown (think The DaVinci Code) out for a horse-drawn sleigh ride as he raises big draft horses at home when he's not out on the road attempting to make deliveries.
Once the report was written, Tony told Bud to go ahead and pull his rig forward so that we could see if Rhonda's car would come unstuck and then whether or not a wrecker was going to be needed or if it was drivable. With part of the trailer still on top of her car, the tire was rubbing against the wheel-well so the question was whether or not that was going to pop back up. Fortunately, with a few loud scrapes and bangs it did come back up and Rhonda was able to pull her car away from where it was kissing mine and we could better assess the damage. All things considered, mine wasn't too bad ...
but poor Bessie, Rhonda's car, had most definitely seen better days when she still had a bumper attached and taillights that weren't in laid in pieces on the ground ...
Oh dear ... at that point Justin, our helpful waiter, came out with a broom and dustpan and started cleaning up the debris and said that he'd move Rhonda's bumper over towards the back of the restaurant so that she and her husband George could come back and pick it up later as there was no way she was putting the thing in her car for her drive back to Canterbury. He really was a super nice kid!
Tony finished writing the accident report and then handed copies around to all of us so that we could notify our respective insurance companies. Bud assured us that his company would absolutely positively take care of any and all of the damages as it was obviously his fault; he didn't get a ticket on top of everything else as Norwich Police don't write citations on public property accidents (this I knew from my days dispatching there) and both Rhonda and I were more than fine with that. We weren't looking to point fingers, we were just thankful that both our cars were still operable and that no one had been hurt.
Tony shook Bud's hand and then Rhonda's and after shaking mine he gave me a big hug (from which the smell of his aftershave very pleasantly lingered with me all day!) following which Bud hugged Rhonda and hugged me before he left after once again offering his sincerest apologies. I'm pretty sure that was the biggest hug-fest I have ever heard of at an accident scene and it made me feel good to know that in spite of what had happened, we were all leaving on good terms. Matter of fact, I gave Rhonda a big hug myself before we parted company as it sure seemed like the situation warranted it! Heck, if you're going to be involved in an accident, that certainly seems like the way to do it!
I just have to remember that if I'm ever in a situation like that again I need to do a better job of updating my Facebook status as what I posted when it happened was a bit sketchy and I think I alarmed a few folks - including my daughters. Oops. My bad. It was nice to see that so many people were concerned, though and I thank you all for the good thoughts and best wishes.
As for that long list of things I needed to get done ... yea, I still need to do a bunch of them but I decided that with the day I'd already had, Jamie and I both deserved a little pampering so off we went for pedicures - a first for both of us but I'm thinking probably not the last! The rest of the stuff is just going to have to get done at the last minute before I leave early Friday morning ... somehow!