Thursday, June 21, 2012

our British accident

June 21st.  Longest day of the Year.

And in fact, it has seemed like the longest day of the year...which is saying a lot, we’ve had some pretty long days here.

I woke up early and studied the scriptures until Emmeline came in to get me. I was so proud of myself for starting off the day right (this is something I’m horrible at and am trying to get better).  It was certainly the best part of my day. 


We breakfasted and got ready and despite that perfect start to the day we did the last 5 min frantic scramble to get out the door.  Jeff went out first to start loading kids in and found our driveway empty.  No car where it should be.  While Jeff and I started to panic, Hazel started searching on the street to see if somehow it had rolled out there and Emmeline was quite delighted as she kept trying to reassure us that it was in fact a magic car.  It had disappeared. 


Yes, it had disappeared by a magic trick called grand theft auto.


As this became more clear, Jeff walked the kids to school while i shook uncontrollably for a few minutes and then called the police in a cold sweat to report the car stolen. 


It has been a long day full of calls to the insurance, walking kids to and from places, lots of puzzling and shock, meeting with the police and trying to juggle everything else I had packed into this crazy day  before I knew how crazy it was going to get. 

With the help of a some good friends, a movie for the kids and Papa Johns we made it through the day.  I pulled off the Relief Society activity I was in charge of and held things together just enough to send the kids to bed happy. 

We’re hoping the insurance will give us a decent amount of money for the car, but knowing our luck, they’ll find some loop hole and we won’t get a dime.


We’ve had bad luck here.  There’s no way around it.  I texted my mom when I found out.  She got the text at 2am, read it and then couldn’t sleep because she was laughing so hard. 

I don’t blame here.  What we have been through in this country with car issues alone is quite a comedy of errors.  As Jeff was putting Emmeline to bed the other night she asked him (in her best British intonation – she’s totally getting that down) if he also had a British accident.  I’m pretty sure she was referring to the way he talks, but I’m also sure that we have had quite a British Accident. 

In fact, we’ve had one British accident after another.  It has been a wild ride.  And this is quite a poetic ending.

Just for accurate family history records here are our stats here so far (I say so far, because we still have 11 days to go):

  • · 500 hours looking through used car ads
  • · 2 purchased cars
  • · 2 bad alternators
  • · 2 bad batteries
  • · 1.5 bad transmissions
  • · 1 faulty key
  • · 1 faulty air conditioner
  • · 1 low and leaky tire
  • · 300 joy ride miles put on the car by the “mechanic”
  • · 5 calls to roadside rescue (we reached the maximum allowed by insurance after the last one so we paid for it ourselves)
  • · 2 rides in tow trucks
  • · 3 loaner cars all received on empty (actually all the same one, but its been with us three times)
  • · 3 breakdowns on the M25 beltway (one in the loaner car!!!)
  • · 3 thwarted trips after kids were all packed up in the car and ready to go.
  • · 1 parking ticket
  • · 7 hours spent waiting for roadside assistance with hungry, thirsty and stinky kids
  • · 2400 second guesses
  • · 4 day trips ruined because our car wouldn’t start
  • · One mysterious (or magical according to Emmeline) locking of keys in the car just after opening it – it somehow locked itself while I was trying to load the kids in the car….luckily I hadn’t gotten too far and no one was inside (except for my bag with the keys in it)
  • · Lots of money paid to the locksmith to get the keys out of the car
  • · One car stolen from our driveway in the night
  • and all this for only 6000 pounds and 436 nerve endings (excluding insurance and warranty and
    gas costs)
  • 11 days left. 

    We’re renting a car and heading to Scotland (we booked a non refundable cottage yesterday).  Really, with our track record we shouldn’t press our luck with another big road trip but one of these moments the target is going to slip off our backs, no?

    Days like today are horrible.  You seem to float through the motions in an emotional wreck of cold sweat, trying to juggle everything while holding your  insides together with weak threads.  But somehow because of the ugliness of what you’re living, the little beautiful things stand out, stunning.  Peter looks right into my eyes and gives me a long cuddle as if he understands how hard this is for me.  Emmeline says cute things, like our car is magical.  Hazel reminds me that it’s all part of the adventure.  Charlie gives me a tighter than normal hug.  Their eyelashes are more beautiful resting on their sleeping cheeks.  The sound of Jeff’s voice on the phone is more reassuring than ever. 

    All day I’ve been reminding myself that this is NO BIG DEAL in the grand picture. My children are happy and healthy and alive. My husband works hard at a good job and he is kind and gentle and dedicated to us and we love each other. And we have such good friends and such a supportive family network.  And a bazillion other big and little blessings and miracles.

    There are much worse things than our British accident. 


    1. Oh, Saydi! British Accident indeed! I know that someday you'll laugh though about Emmeline explaining that the car was so magical that it disappeared. (I'm giggling as I write it, it's so cute of her.) xo and happy Scottish travels! I loved it up there.

    2. Saydi, dear Saydi... oh. my. goodness. Your list of car woes is unbelievable. I'm SO sorry that grand theft auto had to trump your list right at the end. Your attitude, however, amazes me. And the paragraph following this? "somehow because of the ugliness of what you’re living, the little beautiful things stand out, stunning." brought me to tears. I feel for you and hope your last jaunt to Scotland is rich, wonderful and flawless. You are grace under fire and I'm always inspired by you. Love you.

    3. Wonderfully written and entertaining blog, but, oh my, what troubles you've had with your British car adventures.
      Wishing you a relaxing, beautiful trip to Scotland, with very little "adventure".

    4. After all the car trouble you've had with that beast... don't you think (even a little bit) that whoever stole it kinda deserves what they get? (Your mom's reaction made me laugh.) Wishing you a safe, uneventful return trip home.

    5. Oh Saydi! I'm so glad you can already find the positive in all this and that your perspective is right on the mark. Yes,there are so many worse things than a stolen car. But even when things happen that really aren't the worst thing, it can still feel really really bad. This will be a fabulous story to share all your life. I'm just sorry it's been such an expensive story to obtain (money-wise and stress-wise). You're in our prayers! And I do think that target on your back has got to be slipping off by now...

    6. Saydi,

      I agree with the last five -- it's a terrible setback and wonderfully written (you'll be so glad for that list someday) and I am mostly glad that you're all safe and that you're still going to Scotland!
      Here's a quote that has been helping me lately:
      "If you're going to laugh about it later, why not go ahead and laugh about it now," Marie Osmond.
      You are fabulous! We love you!

    7. Just for the record I was mortified when I got that message at 2 a.m. and for the first half hour I was so worried about you becoming a Looney tune over this crazy string of unbelievable events. What about insurance, what about the car seats and the stroller that were inevitably there in the car. Then I got really angry wondering who would be heartless enough to steal a car with three car seats and a stroller???

      But by three a.m. I started recounting all that craziness and remembering our night in the tow truck and I just couldn't help but laugh. Actually the bed was shaking and I was hoping not to wake up Dad. It's just too ridiculous to believe and too incredible to even put into words....but you did it so beautifully! I believe I have mentioned previously that you should be a writer. Actually you are a writer but you know what I mean. Perfectly "magically" expressed.

      If you get some good insurance money and realize how much time this saved you trying to sell your car, it might be funny by the time you get here!

      On the other hand....maybe next year!

    8. All I can say is, "Are you kidding me???"

    9. Oh man, Saydi. We had this kind of luck in Costa Rica. We loved it there but felt the target on our back too. You wrote about it so beautifully, marveling at the absurdity of it all. Geoff and I got a good chuckle reading through your list of car mishaps. That list will be treasured...

      I have loved reading about your time in England. Thanks for sharing.

    10. I love that you wrote down that list...I know it sounds so horrible now but man alive you sure are learning! Love you!

    11. Oh man, Saydi, that is so crazy!!! You are amazing to be soldiering on despite all your British Accidents. I totally agree with Lisa that I hope that car broke down somewhere along the highway for those thieves.



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