Friday, December 31, 2010

"Don't let your wife drive your truck."

That is what my dad said when I called to tell him about our accident. Depending on what you desire this post can either be very long or very short. Scott and I were in an accident on Tuesday while driving home from Utah. I'll do the short version, have some pictures and then put the full length version from my journal. Read what you wish.

Short Version:
We left Utah on Tuesday evening and it started to snow in Nevada. Half way between Wells and Elko we lost control after probably hitting black ice. Scott coached me through regaining control and we didn't hit anything but stopped perpendicular in the middle of the road. I backed up with the intention of continuing on when I saw 2 trucks coming at us: a huge truck with a tow bed in the lane we were blocking and a semi in the other. They were next to each other and the tow truck swerved at the last second and hit the front of our truck and front wheel of the semi. The hood flipped over and our front was destroyed but we weren't injured. I'll never forget looking in Scott's eyes and seeing 4 headlights in the background. We braced for impact but weren't injured. It was a miracle. The tow truck's grill probably got a scratch
and a mud flap had to be removed but he was otherwise fine. The semi had a flat tire and the wheel well will need some work but they were other wise fine. Our truck is no longer but we're fine. We spent Wednesday in shock and figuring things out so we could take Amtrak the rest of the way home on Thursday. We're grateful to be alive.

If you look closely you can see the hood on the driver's side and the side of the overpass. We spun 90 degrees.
The hood does not usually open like this.
Scott very sad in front of his truck.
This is where the grill hit us and saved our lives. Scott should have been killed on impact and I should have died then or soon after.
Can you see the damage to the driver's door? We were hit so hard on the passenger side that the car kind of folded and it was difficult to get out on that side.

Long Version:
We left West Jordan at 6:30 and were on the road. There was just snow on the sides until Wendover and then it started to snow lightly. It was pretty bad coming over a pass before Wells but I was driving and had a car I was happily following. I felt like my speed was alright and since I had a car in front and behind me I was comfortable in case we got stuck that someone would find us. I had to pee at Wells but liked my spot so I decided to keep driving to Elko and then trade. Half way there at about mile 328 I was starting to drive over a small bridge/overpass when the truck lost control. With Scott's directions I was able to regain control without hitting the barriers. I was really proud of myself. Since I had stopped perpendicular to traffic, with Scott's side facing oncoming traffic, I backed up as much as I could and looked to pull out safely. When I looked I saw 4 headlights coming at me; a semi in the right lane and tractor/trailer in the left (although we didn't know that until later). I looked back to see if I could back up anymore and couldn't. Scott later said he saw the cars coming but since there was nothing we could do he didn't say anything. Scott and I looked at each other and he braced for impact and within seconds we were hit. It spun us 90 degrees so we were facing the correct way and the hood was tore off and only connected still on the drivers side. We were both in complete shock. I was trembling and trying to convince myself we were OK. I tried to start the car to get it off the bridge but it wouldn't start. I called AAA for a tow and we grabbed our coats, personal info, etc and ditched the truck with the key in the ignition. We were really worried about being hit again. Even though I had the emergency lights on the conditions were so bad that it was hard to see things very far ahead. Both other cars had stopped ahead of us on the right so we ran up there for warmth and help. The semi driver seemed more concerned about being hit than our lives but the tractor/trailer driver was glad to see us. He was afraid to come back and find dead bodies. He let us sit in his truck and wait for the highway patrol. He seemed nice but wasn't thrilled about the semi driver. I guess he felt like the semi guy was just trying to accuse the tractor/trailer driver of unsafe driving and didn't show concern for us. The tractor/trailer guy has everything on video though so I guess insurance will love that. Since we were stopped perpendicular we think our headlights were drown out by the semi and our truck was dark green so the other driver didn't see us until he saw the whites of our eyes. Holy smokes. We were both in mild shock of everything that had happened. When the cop came he had us move to his car while all the reports were written. Oh yeah, as we were walking to the cars Melissa (my sister) called so I told her the brief story and because of that I could look back at the time and see the accident took place at about 9pm. The cop was nice but we had to wait until everything was taken care of before we left. I guess a snow plow sat behind our truck until the tow truck came. It sounds like everyone tried to start the truck to move it but all found out that wasn't going to work. The tractor/trailer was still drivable so he left first. He was passing the semi and hit our truck with his grill and the semi with the back right side of his trailer bed. He said nothing was damaged but a mud flap. Perhaps his grill got a scratch. We're really thankful that he had the presence of mind to swerve and hit both cars instead of killing us. I think Scott would have been dead on impact and I would have died in the hospital later. So frightening. Anyway, the cop busied himself filling out forms while we waited for a tire truck came to replace the semi's tire. That was all OK but I just wanted to pee and sit by Scott. He was in the front seat and I was in the back. It was hard to be apart after such a traumatic experience. At about 11:15 I asked the cop about a bathroom in the hopes we'd get a move on it; Elko was still 30 minutes away. We finally left at about 11:30 and he stopped at a port-a-potty. I couldn't have cared less about the facility, I was beyond waiting. He recommended a hotel for us and Jake (my brother-in-law) reserved a room so we had that all set up by the time we got to town. In the hotel we hugged for a while, said fervent prayers of gratitude, and tried to sleep. It was difficult because I kept seeing the headlights behind Scott's head and then the sudden impact. Shock was still omni-present. The next day, Wednesday, was a bit rough with trying to figure out what to do and also coping with the impact of what happened. I was awake plenty early and finally got up at 6:45am to start making calls. I called State Farm to file a claim and get that started. They said we could get a discount on a car rental and needed to clean out the truck and release it to State Farm so they could take it to a less expensive yard. We called our parents and spent a few minutes trying to figure out what to do. The storm was supposed to start to clear Thursday but we were still afraid of driving. We had the rental company pick us up at 8:45 and then cleaned out the truck, stopped by the police station to see if we could get the other driver's info and then to the grocery store for food. We were still being inundated with calls from family and insurance so everything took longer. We were heading back to the hotel at 10:45 for breakfast when I called work. They told me to do what I could and they'd work it out. Back at the hotel we looked up every way to get back by morning. There are only 8 flights in and out of Elko a day and all go to Salt Lake. With stormy weather the flights were questionable and it'd be really expensive to get me there. Also, it would probably leave Scott still in Nevada with our stuff and I wasn't OK with that. We could rent a car but with the accident and a continuing storm we were too scared. Amtrak wouldn't get us there until Thursday evening. The Greyhound would get us there but left in a few hours and we'd have to settle the hotel, rental car, and all our extra baggage before leaving. Also, it would have gotten us to Sacramento at 1am and then Mom would have driven us the rest of the way. Scott wasn't comfortable with that so we hit a slight impasse for a bit. We both felt overwhelmed with emotions of fear, stress, and everything else that comes with this situation. I finally called work at 1pm and said it was impossible to make it. That helped us immensely. We thought for a bit that we'd hang out in Elko for a few days and drive some stuff to Wendover so family could store it for us. Then we'd go back to Elko and take Amtrack home. Driving one way was going to be $300 and we were a bit frightened of the roads. Melissa's friend has a sister in Elko that drives regularly to SLC so it turned out that she just picked up some stuff for us and will take it to Melissa next week. We bought some duffel bags at WalMart and could fit most everything. We sent back food and some things for the truck that we wouldn't be needing for a while. We returned the rental car and went back to the hotel to wait for the train. We bought enough food this morning for dinner, took a warm shower, and were in bed by 8. I had a raging headache most of the day because of stress and tears. We woke up around 1:30am to call the train for delays and pack up. The taxi was punctual but the train was not. We waited in the small shelter for 45 minutes before a nice couple let us sit in their car for the remaining 15 minutes. We were almost frozen by then. The taxi man said it was 11F when he picked us up. The train was an hour late but we finally got on and fell asleep. Dad picked us up in Emryville at 5:45pm and we're finally back from our nightmare. It's going to be a long time before I drive through snowy Nevada again and even longer before I forget the look in Scott's eyes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Arizona Style Thanksgiving

We had a total blast this Thanksgiving. We went down past Tucson, AZ to visit my brother's family. All of my siblings came and it was super fun. We'll let the pictures tell of our adventures:

We can't seem to get together without taking pictures. We went to an old Mission nearby and took some cute ones. This is the unedited version, in the final version we'll have all the kids looking and smiling.
Eric & Jenny: Parker, Caleb, Maren & Macey
Scott & Cecilie
Mom & Dad
Jake & Melissa: Rushton & Baby #2
The happy grandparents! The grandkids are:
Rushton (22mos), Caleb (5), Macey (16mos), Maren (3), Parker (6)
Our family photo. Scott was in his element, I was in dismay.
Rushton jamming pretzels into Scott's head; both were throughly entertained.
And as Melissa pointed out in the comments, my Dad's bandaged hand is in the background. He feel while hiking the day before and ended up fracturing a bone. Considering his 'injury' last year we think he escaped Thanksgiving basically unharmed.
Thanksgiving morning my mom got out supplies to make candy turkeys. Parker worked really hard to get his just right.
Maren perhaps enjoyed the marshmallows better than the activity.
Caleb helped Scott make a clock tower for the turkeys.
Maren was quite the little cook. She helped Laura make some tasty lemon meringue pies.
The Thanksgiving party.
Cute little Macey Mae.
Can you see which activity was the favorite? Jake brought a rocket launcher and the boys LOVED it. (And I do mean ALL the boys, regardless of age.)
The easiest way to keep track of all the kids.
Parker & Caleb.

Arizona was a blast and it was hard to drive away. However, driving some new wheels made it a lot easier... Tune in later to find out what we got!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"It just completes the theory that I'm a jock."

Today we were driving and Scott started to tell me about how much he loves his truck. (Details about the acquisition of that truck will be in a following blog post.) When I asked why this was his explanation.

Remember, this is coming from the man who told me that my initials are the chemical symbol for chloride.

"Maybe that could be in the third movie."

While this post will probably make you laugh it may not be entirely appropriate for all ages. I'm just saying...

So Scott and I went to Redbox last night and a 20ish year old guy walked up just after us and started looking at the movie ads. He was initially making comments to himself but then asked what we were going to watch. Halfway into our answer he started turning away while itching his business and apologizing for scratching his 'schnoz'.
When that was done he started asking Scott about what movies he had seen. Scott told him we have not seen Sex and the City 2 but asked if he had. The response: 'Yes. I mean no. I mean yes. No. Yes. I mean no. HAHAHA.' This conversation was then repeated a few minutes later.
As we were making our final selection the man proceeded to point to an actress from Sex in the City 2 and tell us that he wanted to go to bed with her. After a quick pause he told us he wanted to do the same with the other women, all together.
Scott's parting comment: 'Maybe that could be in the third movie.'

Seriously, I'm still laughing. It was so funny.