A Dubash moment

So… We were at the chiropractors and we came down, I put Mom in the car and went to put the wheelchair in the trunk. I put it in, closed the lid. I went to get my keys and discovered that they were most probably in the trunk. My spares were at home… To get in the house, I needed the house key which was in the trunk… You can’t get into the trunk by flipping the seat down. The only option was to call CAA, get a tow to my mechanic and hope he can get it unlocked. When I called him he told me it would be expensive and require a day to do. The option was to get it towed home, get a house locksmith in to pick the front door lock and get my spare… So I called CAA and changed the tow to my house. It would be 45 minutes for the tow truck.

So then, I decided to kill time by posting my dilemma on FB … I got as far as “This is the first time in ages that the car trunk has opened easily with the key… without… having… to … lift… the… floor… latch…”

Yep… I completely forgot the floor latch… D’oh..

Car accident (not mine for a change)

My niece Jessica was in an accident on the weekend.

The van she was riding in rolled and flipped. She was thrown out the window, even though she was wearing her seatbelt. She was taken to Fort Frances Hospital, near Thunder Bay. She was released but both she and her partner were concerned that she was more seriously injured than the FF hospital and my sister drove them to Thunder Bay Health Services. Her step-father is a former nurse and has worked in the other hospital in town for years and felt that my niece was showing signs of brain trauma.

After expressing his concerns, she was sent for CAT scans and they found that she had three small bleeders in her brain, as well as a spine and knee injuries… her third in as many serious car accidents. They admitted her immediately. The bleeds are healing it seems and they want to ensure that she doesn’t have stroke or other side effects from the trauma.

As for how the accident happened…

The driver was driving 140km in a 100km zone…. while texting. My niece’s partner was also in the car and was okay.

“As we flipped something in my head told me to undo my seat belt and roll with the impact. A moment later when the roof hit the ground the ceiling went through where I was sitting to the floor. If I hadn’t of rolled with it, I would have fit in a small box. We then bounced 40 meters while flipping in the air and landed again on the roof and slid to a stop due to snow build up inside and along the sliding edge. Literally, my martial arts training saved my life.

 I wasn’t knocked out or anything and was conscious the whole tim,e. After it stopped I checked on Jessica, then T [the driver] and then ran for help.
If Jessica hand’t been outside the window and buckled up, she would have been crushed by the roof in the second impact. After stopping if the van had fallen she would have been decapitated. I was really scared for her.
Somehow, despite riding the interior of the van, I came out with only a few scrapes and a bruised collar bone. I was pretty lucky.”

The driver is in critical condition in the Fort Frances hospital.

The car

Yesterday, I decided to take my Mom for a drive down to Kemptville as a treat. When I tried to start the car, all I got was a clickety-clickety-clickety-click sound. The radio was working but the window wipers were really slow. I figured it was the battery… again. I just had it replaced after it died about a month ago! I called CAA and he gave me a boost. We chatted for a couple of minutes and when I said that I had just replaced the battery he suddenly said “Open your trunk!” He closed it after putting the back seat down and looked into the trunk from the inside of the back seat. “Check it out! That’s why your battery is dying so often!” The interior trunk light was staying on when the trunk lid was closed. He removed it and I shouldn’t have any trouble with it.

Loaner: Chevy Cruze

My poor little Toyota Corolla was dead in the driveway on Tuesday morning and since I had a LOT of running around to do on both Tuesday and Wednesday (pick up Ange and Ryan at respective workplaces and IKEA on Tuesday; and run out to Kemptville to get Mom’s OHIP card renewed on Wednesday) I was going to need a car ASAP. The only rental company I could find that had a vehicle on short notice was Hertz. And while I had promised NEVER to rent from Hertz again after the fiasco when moving back from New York (paid in cash to the penny in US$ and was charged as well on my credit card and told I had to deal with the New York City branch… Visa simply refunded my money when I faxed my receipts but STILL!), I had no choice.

They had a brand new Chevy Cruze  for me. Dark blue, 25km on the clock and the brand new car smell.

I set the alarm off in the parking lot of Hertz and took AGES to find the seat adjust handle (there are three… seat tip, seat height, and back adjust which I didn’t find until after I got out of the car later in the day.

A very comfy ride but the pick up was spotty, sometimes having to floor it in a tight spot and then feeling the gas come and go. Good braking. No complaints there. However, as with any American car I have used, it is a gas guzzler. I used half a tank just going back and forth across town and then another half driving down to Kemptville. In my Corolla (2003), while not getting the mileage I did when I first bought it, if I fill up in Ottawa, we can spend the day running down to Kemptville and all over the countryside before filling up in Kemptville (where gas is cheaper than in town) after only using less than 1/2 tank.

Nice car… nice ride… but until the American car-makers get around to building cars that are gas efficient, I won’t be buying on.

Ouch!

 

This afternoon, on the way back from our chiropractor’s appointments, we were rear-ended in our car.

We had just gone through the intersection and were stopped in a line of cars. The line started moving but someone forced themselves into the left-hand land from the merge lane, I think, and the traffic came to an abrupt halt. The guy in front of me stopped and I had just started moving after having been stopped about 3/4 of a car length from him. I stopped about 2/3 of a car length behind him and looked in my rear-view mirror (like a good graduate of Young Driver’s of Canada) and could see that the woman behind us was coming up fast behind me. I took my foot off the brake and moved up as quickly and as close to the guy in front (there were cars in the merge lane to my right). However, the woman behind just wasn’t able to stop. She slammed into me and I hit the guy in front of me.

There was hardly any damage to the guy in front, a little bumper disarray. My car suffered a little minor damage to the front and rear bumpers but nothing I am bothering to report to my insurance company. It isn’t even worth doing anything about the bumpers. The woman who hit me had some moderate damage to her bumper and hood. It was a Hundai Tucson SUV so it was larger, heavier and had more exposed metal to get damaged.

More to the point, there was no damage to my Mom who was in the passenger seat. Had I swerved into the right lane, she would probably have been injured. I, however, and sore all over. My back, neck, left arm and shoulders, hip, right knee and right ankle, ribs…. are all pretty sore. I even have a welt on my scalp that I just discovered. I was checked over by the paramedics on the scene, just in case but I decided not to go to the hospital. They said I would probably get increasingly sore over the next few hours. So far, it’s nothing that a few painkillers and some bed rest won’t cure.

 

My thoughts on Volvos and their drivers

As I have said before, Volvos are very safe vehicles. Apparently, they have a much lower rate of accidents. That is, in my opinion based on thousands of hours on the road, because their drivers never drive them fast enough to get IN an accident. Frequently, the oblivious behaviour of Volvo drivers causes accidents which drives up the accident rates of other model cars.

I have known only one Volvo driver who EVER drove at or above the speed limit and have very rarely encountered a Volvo driver who has not driven at well below the speed limit, gone through an intersection at anything but a crawl, and not been at the head of a line of traffic going well below the speed limit.

Is it the car or the driver?

This afternoon, on the way out to collect a U-Haul van, I was behind a silver Volvo station wagon (99% of Volvos on the road seem to be station wagons — more often silver).

In a 60 km zone, he was driving 40, except through the intersections where he slowed to 20. Sorry… he “sped up to” 20 after crawling out of a stop at every intersection because by the time we got to the intersections, the light was red. I finally was able to slip past him when the road widened to two lanes. Whereupon, he sped (in the right lane) up to pass all the traffic in the fast lane and skim into the lane when the right lane merged. So I KNOW that his vehicle could drive over 60.

As soon as he merged into the lane, he slowed to 40 again along the single lane with no passing allowed, and again crawled through every intersection.

Why Volvo is spending millions on automatic collision detection system is beyond me… Even if it did work, Volvo drivers would never get within 18 feet of another car in front of them to have this system kick in.

I’m glad I’m not the only person who hates Volvos and the drivers that own them.

“So why do I hate Volvo owners? Because they know damn well that if they if they ram you in your proper car, they’ll live and you’ll die. How would you act at work if you nicked a carload of office supplies, seduced the boss’s teenaged daughter and committed nine counts of aggravated fiduciary misconduct and someone else got fired for it? Now imagine how Volvo owners drive.”

I have actually heard Volvo drivers defend their driving 20 km and more below the limit by saying “I drive at that speed to be safe”. In that case, you are an idiot. Driving at 20 km below the limit doesn’t make you “safer” than other drivers. Not driving within the safe speed limit and causes other drivers to get fed up and do stupid things to get around you. That is why in Quebec and other jurisdictions, there are minimum speed limits which are usually about 10 km less than the maximum. Driving 20 km under the limit under normal road conditions is just as dangerous as driving over it.

Get over yourself and get over the mentality that the car you drive makes you a better person and therefore, a better and safer driver.

Now… don’t get me started on Subaru drivers….

People that burn my butt….

Today, while driving home in rush-hour traffic, I notice that the guy in front of me is driving slightly erratically. He isn’t “all over the road” but he is sort of wandering in the lane. I notice that he has his hand on the side mirror. Then I think… “Gee… he has a really odd shaped hand!”

A second or so later, I see why his “hand” looks odd. It isn’t his hand at all. It is his foot!

This brainiac is driving with his left foot extended out the driver’s side window and is resting his ankle on the side mirror. Meanwhile, his left arm joins his left leg in dangling out the car window and he drives with one hand, longing nearly horizontal with his seat tipped back. Not only is he weaving ever so slightly, he enters into the hectic traffic on Baseline Road cutting into the left lane of traffic with inches to spare.

And! It wasn’t like this was some teenager, either. I would say he was in his mid-late 30s!

Not that this is the first time I have seen someone do this.

About 2 years ago, when my ex and I were driving down to Brantford and were on the 403, we saw someone else practicing this singularly idiotic, brainless, and highly unsafe driving “technique”.

In that case, we were in the centre lane and this moron overtook us, cut us off and proceeded across the next lane of traffic, again cutting cars off, drove straight into the off-ramp lane, again cutting cars off and drove at twice the speed-limit up the ramp… all with his left leg, in a cast, pointing straight out the window. He had friends with him. I guess his friends were equally stupid to not just not stop him from doing this but willing to be passengers in his car.

Of course, if they were in an accident, their insurance would be null and void, and if they killed someone, they would be in for some extra penalties.

Meanwhile, I guess they, like the people shown in the following examples gleaned from the internet proudly displaying their disregard for human life, they think they are just the coolest thing since sliced bread. Unfortunately, the police seemed to have better things to do when I called about this moron.

“Yeah bored again so I decided to drive with my leg out the window.” Read: “I am a fucking moron”

"I am an accident waiting to happen"

"I am an accident waiting to happen"

"Stupid is as Stupid does!"

"Stupid is as Stupid does!"

A little “Je ne sais quoi” de chat…

On Saturday, I took my nephew’s cat, Ace, into the vet.

Ace is not yet fixed. Neither is his brother, Onyx. The reason that neither Ace or Onyx are fixed is directly because of Ace not being fixed…. I explain…

My nephew has set up repeated appointments to have both cats fixed. Every single time, the night before, Ace has escaped and stays out for two or three days. Each time either another appointment has been set up and he escapes again, or he has come back all torn up from a fight with another cat, had to be repaired at great cost or gotten an infection which has prevented the vet from fixing him… OR… it has cost so much to repair him that they have to save up in order to be able to afforfdthe neutering…. Then, they make another appointment and Ace does a Houdini and is gone for another three days…. and the cycle continues.

This time, having JUST been repaired after having his leg bitten, he escaped again and came back with an infected eye.

So…. off to the vet.

My nephew lives in Pickering and the vet is in Etobicoke which are something like 45 minutes apart. My nephew said we didn’t need a carrier and that the last time being in the carrier “freaked him out”. Wisely… and fortunately, I decided to take the chance on him being “freaked out” in the carrier and we bought a carrier for him.

So… of we headed to the vet. We were almost at the vet’s when we got slightly lost and just as we got on track, again, my niece said… “Do you smell something?”. Indeed, I did.

Quite quickly, the car filled with the most horrendous stench of cat pee I have ever encountered.

Ace had had an “accident”. Not just had be had “an accident” he had had a 25-car pile-up of an accident in the carrier. Poor fellow. I guess because of the infection, he had a case of the runs.

The entire inside of the cage was swimming in pee and poo and Ace was saturated…. and it STANK! Even with the windows open, we were gagging.

We arrived at the vets to find a huge line up so I was forced to stand outside with the carrier. But it was so cold that I was worried about him catching cold. Eventually, I went inside…. to the obvious “delight” of the other people waiting. Thankfully, the vet’s assistant took him in the back and more or less washed him up. He still smelled horrendous.

After the vet saw him, I got a garbage bag and lined the back seat with it. Even so, that night, despite having sprayed the car down with Fabreeze and leaving th4e windows open, it still smelled as bad as it had originally. Imagine, if you will, 35 cats have been spraying in your car. That will give you some idea of how bad my car smells.

Unfortunately, my nephew had just the day before paid one of his employees to clean the car, shampoo the upholstery and rugs, and wash the outside of it. Aside from the rusty areas, the car looked almost brand new. It smelled really nice.

Ace

Ace

Things do not always go according to plan….

cartoon-cara

In my previous posting, I mentioned that we (my mother and I) were on our way out for a much deserved jaunt after finally having gotten one of the the wheel bearings fixed in our car.

We headed out and wandered about, vaguely headed East to Lancaster, Ontario where we hoped to see if the Snow Geese were stopped on their annual migration North for the Summer. We hit Highway 2 (The King’s Higway, once the main route from Montreal Lower Canada to Toronto in Upper Canada), which follows the St. Lawrence and headed past Cardinal and Iroquois and the historic Chrysler Farm, where a battle during the War of 1812 took place. We passed Upper Canada Village, as well.

Then I spotted the large sign for the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary and turned down the dirt road headed for it. I had opened my window in order to take a photo of a historic marker along that road (see below) an as we pulled into the parking area, I noticed a rather unnerving rumbling sound from beneath my car…. It sounded as though my muffler was suddenly not as quiet as it had been just a few minutes earlier. Since I had just had it at the shop yesterday, I thought perhaps someone hadn’t tightened something and it was rumbling.

Introduction of Holstein Friesian cattle into Ontario - 1881

Introduction of Holstein Friesian cattle into Ontario - 1881

I thought “I will just have to take it in to Terry (my mechanic) on Monday, just in case…”. We visited the sanctuary and, while there weren’t any major flocks of migratory birds to see just yet, there were some lovely little chickadees and I was able to get the photos that I didn’t get during the late winter walk I posted about two weeks ago. The docent at the visitor centre gave me a little bag of seeds to feed to them and I had them eating out of my hand in no time.

img_0060a

img_0084

Mom’s back was hurting so we decided to head back to the main road and go on to Lancaster.

The dirt road, it should be said, was in rather a bad state after the winter. There was a great deal of corduroy-ing over the whole road and pot-holes the full length and I suspect this may have exacerbated the initial problem with the exhaust system. I decided to head immediately in to Cornwall and find a Canadian Tire with a service bay and see if they could have a look at it. I really didn’t want to have it repaired today. If my mechanic does the work, I can pay it off weekly. If I had it done at Canadian Tire, I would have to pay the full shot today… something I can’t afford.

It was already about 20 minutes to 5:00 and the CT service bay closes at 5:00 but one of the great guys there kindly came out and took me for a little test-drive and said he would hoist it and see if he could make it road-worthy, at least.

He did and discovered that the exhaust pipe had rusted apart from the muffler. They didn’t have the parts on hand, so, after splicing in a piece of pipe and two clamps and welding the pieces together, got me (quietly) back on the road again by 5:00 on the dot. I parted gratefully with $62 and change and we headed home, again. They could easily have said “Sorry, you are too late…” and sent me on my way. Instead, they took the time to diagnose the problem and give me at least a temporary remedy. I am forever grateful!

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