Sunday, September 27, 2009

And *I'm* the one who needs driving school?

How about the Frenchies who think the road belongs to them?!

It's a good thing we didn't pay too much for the "new" car, because we've only had it for a month or two and have already had to pay a 90 € deductible to replace the windshield that cracked in the heatwave, and now we're going to have to replace 2 tires...

Thursday was the first day I had to take Benjamin to school, since Frederic had been on vacation all of September, but went back on Wednesday (and Benjamin doesn't have school on Wednesdays).

Getting him there in the morning was fine. But when it came time to go pick him up...

Noah and I left the house at 11:45 to pick Benjamin up at noon. The school is only about 3 km away, so it doesn't take more than about 5 minutes to get there.

Our village roads are VERY narrow. They are not wide enough for 2 cars, but they are 2-way streets. I'm not sure how old the houses along the road are, but the church is 12th century... the village was definitely around centuries before cars were invented.

Not even 1/2 mile from our house, this big white delivery-type truck came barreling at me. He saw me coming but did not budge a single millimeter to his side of the road, so I had to pull as far to the right as I could. I slowed down, but didn't stop -- and this is where the story goes wrong, because I did not see but did hit a huge square stone (there are several on the side of the road, sort of like a makeshift curb, or something. They are spaced about 2-3 feet apart). The car literally LEFT the ground, and fell back down. The speed limit in the village is is 40 kmh (25 mph) and I was not even going that fast - it was a big rock. I continued on for a few more feet, but the car was shaking so I knew the tire was totally flat. I pulled off the road and got out to check, and not only was the tire flat, the whole wheel was dented in.

Just before I got out of the car, I saw the neighbor drive by on her way to school to pick up her daughter - but as I was still in the car, I wasn't able to flag her down.

So I took Noah out, skedaddled back to the house with him in my arms, and tried to call Frederic. He didn't answer. I tried again, but he still didn't answer. I called his friend who is always with him at work, but it turned out his friend was on vacation so of course had no idea where Frederic was. During this time, I was looking up the school's phone number (need to program that one into the phone!). I called the school, and the teacher said they could just put Benjamin on the bus.

But by now it was at least 12:05, and the bus only takes about 5 minutes to get to our village, and it takes 10 walking fast to get to the only bus stop which is in the center of the village. So I grabbed Noah and ran out the door again. At least this time I had the presence of mind to stop at the car where I had left it on the side of the road to check for Noah's stroller, which to my ENORMOUS relief was indeed in my car and not in Frederic's.

I walked as fast as I could down to the village (in my sandals, not bright, the side of my foot is rubbed raw now). As I arrived at the bus stop, the bus was pulling away and the other kids were leaving with their parents, and Benjamin was the last one left with the teacher's aide & bus monitor. He started pointing at me and saying, "That's my mommy!" (in English) -- but he didn't seem bothered in the slightest by having had to take the bus.



Jordan said...


Need to put a ram on the front of your car, maybe. Dented wheels are no fun, we had to replace one from the car sliding into the curb one icy winter.

We're glad everyone's ok.

kacey said...

correction to jordan's comment: we replaced the wheel from me hitting a chink of missing road. we had to replace the axle when i slid into the curb from the ice. glad to here benjamin didn't mind the bus.