Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Not So Mini Tale

Thanksgiving was supposed to be a nice, quiet day.  It started out that way.  I walked with Audra in the morning, worked on Christmas cards for my fizzy friend,

watched a little tv with Kendall & then headed over to my niece Becky's house for Thanksgiving lunch.  Don had to work so Kendall & I hopped in the Mini Cooper & went to hang out.  Becky just moved & I'd only been to her new house a few times so Kendall & I had to use "Joan" (Don's navigation in his phone) to find it.  Many confusing twists & turns later, we arrived.  We walked into Becky's house to see about 40 people we had no idea who they were.  For a minute or two we thought that maybe we had walked into the wrong house...and then thank heavens, Ben ran through the house!  We played with the kids a bit on the trampoline (really, I watched them play on it...trampolines are not my thing).
(That's Ben)
We were in the midst of having a lovely Thanksgiving lunch when there was a knock at the door.  It seems that a young lady was backing out of the driveway across the street & hit the gas instead of the brake & hit my Mini Cooper.  
I was surprisingly calm, cool & collected.  The girl, a 20 year old college student, was dog sitting for her cousin & driving her boyfriends big Dodge pick up.  She was so upset she couldn't speak.  The boyfriend called his dad & we all just hung out in the freezing cold while we waited for the police to take the report.  Totally calm & cool.  That is, until I tried to drive my car home.

It sounded like I was dragging a shopping cart underneath the car.  It was screeching & the interior of the car smelled like gas.  Everything I said as I explained it to Don, Kendall disagreed.  And I just lost my cool.  Turns out the fender was cutting a deep groove in my tire & we were only able to go a few miles.  Don had to pick us up in a patrol car & take us home.  And I was seething mad.  Not at the girl, not at all.  At the situation.  At my husband for telling me my car was safe to drive home.  At Kendall for choosing that very time to be right & tell me I was wrong.  I came home, had a glass of wine & began to relax & be cool with it all again.  She had insurance.  I have insurance.  They'll make my car right.  It'll be ok.  

When Don got off we headed over to my brothers in-laws house for my side of the family Thanksgiving dinner.  We had a great time just hanging out & eating good food.  Even took a few photos:
(Ray & Me)

I love this photo of Kendall & I with Bob-o peeking up from behind!
(AJ & Me)

The day after Thanksgiving I went shopping with Audra & my dad, while Don called our insurance (Progressive, if you must know).  They told us to file a claim with them & they would handle everything, get us a rental car & get reimbursed from the other insurance (Geico).  Other than Enterprise not having any cars for a day & a half, it all went pretty smoothly.  Don got our car towed to McCoy Motors Body Shop (yeah, I didn't know they had one either, but our insurance said we needed to use them).  They looked over the car & told us that it had a lot of damage & they'd need to replace the quarter panel.  Silly me, I believed them.

Don just happen to stop by the body shop Monday or Tuesday to talk to them about our tires.  Insurance was only going to pay a small portion of the damage to the tire & we knew we'd have to get at least one more new tire & wanted to know how to go about that.  Don talked to the mechanic who was working on our car who told him that the insurance company decided to repair, not replace our quarter panel.  The mechanic was pretty adamant that it needed to be replaced, but hey, the insurance wouldn't cover it.  I am embarrassed to say, I flipped out.

Please understand that I know it is just a car.  I'd been telling myself that for days.  But it is just a car that I love.  One that is paid off.  In pretty damn good condition.  And now we're being told they're going to beat the dents out & put it back together.  Don told them he was not ok with them using Bondo & they assured us that, while time consuming, they would be able to reshape the metal without Bondo.  At this point, we were both pissed.  Don called our insurance agent, who called the adjuster (who, by the way, never once called anyone back for a whole week--the adjuster).  We were told we just had to do the repair as it was written.  My agent looked into it & said that the body shop had written "repair" on the claim & the adjuster went with what the body shop said.  So basically, she blamed the body shop.  A full week of back & forth banter with our agent accomplished nothing.  Really, nothing could be done til we talked to the adjuster.

On Friday Don went back to the body shop to check on the car.  A different Progressive adjuster was there & sensing that my husband was pissed offered to look into it.  She said that our car was authorized for a repair only, not a replacement.  And tried to tell him why this was ok.  He wasn't convinced, but it didn't change anything.  They told him to come back at 5:30 & our car would be ready.

So we got there at 5:20 & they were washing our car (it should be noted that there was a blizzard outside, but they were washing our car).  30 minutes later, they proudly showed us our car & bragged about how the dent was complicated & they had to use quite a bit of Bondo.  I could bite my tongue no longer.  I told them about the fiasco about repair vs. replacement.  About Don telling them Bondo was not acceptable.  About the mechanic telling him it needed to be replaced.  About our agent blaming the body shop.  (The body shop claims that it was the adjuster just trying to save Progressive some money.)  Everyone just stood around blaming everyone else.  They told us replacing the quarter panel would actually affect the integrity of our car adversely.  Basically, they tried everything they could to make what they had done acceptable.  I left livid...beyond livid. 

Now I have my car back.  It looks fine.  The gas cover is looser than it was.  You can't tell it was hit.  We have new tires on it as of this morning (4 of them...merry Christmas to us! pooh.)  My car has Bondo on it.  It's supposedly under lifetime warranty, but only if the Bondo cracks & falls off, which is bullshit.)  I have lingering doubts about the legitimacy of repair vs. replacing the quarter panel.  I wonder if you ran a car facts on my car if it would show that it was damaged, lowering it's value.  I am not happy with my insurance for cutting corners.  I am not happy with the body shop for not telling us from the start what was happening.  I wonder why the person who got hit has to deal with all this crap while the one who did it just had to tell her parents.  And now I wonder if I will enjoy my car like I did before.  I know that sounds stupid & melodramatic but this whole experience has just rubbed me the wrong way.  It may become Don's car & I'll drive our old Pathfinder.  Right now my favorite not.  And I realize that in the big scheme of life, this does not matter at all.  Really, I do. 

So there you have it:  my mini tale.  And I don't ever want to talk about it again.  I've wasted enough energy on this.  Time to focus on something else.  Something happy (like our family photo shoot tomorrow!).

(Before you think I've completely gone off the deep end & need medication, you need to know that the car was just one of many things that have gone wrong in the past couple of months:  the dog almost died, our main breaker on the house flipped & had to be replaced...with much drama from the City, our mac computer went in for repairs that took three trips to Phoenix to accomplish, I'm having carpal tunnel pain from all the typing I do at work, and then the car.  Just one thing after another.)


  1. I am glad you got this off your chest. Now onto putting happy thoughts into the universe. I can't wait to see your family pics. Tell Melissa hi for me and HAVE FUN!

  2. You weren't kidding about having a lot to say! (((HUGS))) and no bakes coming your way! XOXO