There’s Something Wrong With The Car

There are good days and then there are bad days. Neither of those descriptions fit last Saturday morning.

I woke up to my son running in the door.

Nick: Dad, there’s something wrong with the car. You have to come outside.

me: Where did Kim Kardashian run off to?

Nick: Dad, wake up. Come outside.

me: What time is it?

Nick: 7 o’clock. Come outside. There’s something wrong with the car.

me: (suddenly realizing Kim isn’t coming back, I’m not drunk in a Beverly Hills swimming pool and I’m a happily married parent of twin 16 year olds) What’s wrong with the car?

Nick: Just come outside

Cheryl: Go, Joe

me: (I’m thinking to myself: why don’t you go?) I’m saying out loud: Okay

(18 years! Why do you ask?)

Cheryl (to Nick): What’s wrong with the car, honey.

Nick: I hit a mailbox.

me: Okay. (out of bed, throw on jeans and a tee-shirt, follow Nick outside)

I shouldn’t interrupt the story here, but it’s time for a little op/ed piece.

Who the F$%# decided that mailboxes should go in brick structures? My mailbox looks like this:

Our Mailbox

Awesome dent in the side, huh? I was going to actually change this mailbox until some kids late at night kept driving down our street with a kid out the car window slamming a baseball bat into everyone’s property. Where before, I saw a rotten looking mailbox, now I saw less cost when it’s finally destroyed.

So, back to our story…..

I’m following Nick through the house, expecting to see my mailbox on its side, with maybe a little dent in the car fender. My son has been driving for six weeks. We’ll have a talk about it and he’ll go to his swim meet. We’ll laugh about it when he’s 35 years old.

Heading up the stairs, I realize that many of my neighbor’s mailboxes look like this:

random neighborhood mailbox

Holy brick-house, Batman! The front end of the car might be crumpled around that thing. Now I’m worried. By the time we hit the front door my pace is almost as fast as a cop headed for Dunkin’ Donuts.

me: Whose mailbox did you hit?

Nick: Huh? (he’s 16. I omitted most of the 16-isms for brevity, but had to leave one “huh?” in here.)

me: Whose mailbox?

Nick: Bill’s

me: Oh sh$#.

Bill lives across the street and has a mailbox similar to the one above. The front of our Saturn Aura is probably crushed in. Being a Saturn, it’s a collector’s item (that’s a joke, by the way. Some are apparent, others I’ll point out as we go.).

me: How did it happen?

Nick: I was trying to change a CD.

me: Nick! Don’t try to change a CD while driving. Keep your hands on the wheel. (I think I’m giving good parenting advice here, but I’m not. It turns out that my daughter–remember I said I had two driving? My insurance company remembers….and giggles out loud.–My daughter had a GLEE CD playing LOUD. I know because, when I turned on the car, it was still playing. My poor son. A Glee CD. The Horror.  Forget the mailbox, I would have hit Bill’s house hard enough to end it all.)

Here’s what I see. Remember that as a recovering advisor for 200 families, it’s difficult to amaze me. I’ve pretty much seen it all.

Except this:

Wheelie!

We call it “Wheelie!” or “Full-Sized Car Statue on an attractive brick base.”

My car is on two wheels (the left two if we want to be technical about it), and is TETTERING ON THE TOP OF my neighbor’s brick mailbox).

me: How the hell did you get the car all the way on top of it?

Nick: I don’t know.

Me: What did you tell me inside? Something’s wrong with the car?

Nick: Yeah.

Me: Understated. In social circles, that’s classy.

It took TWO wreckers to get the mailbox out from under the car. One to pick up the front end and another to drag out the mailbox.

Do you know that whole thing about people getting their 15 minutes of fame? The wrecker drivers all took pictures with their cameras “for the record.” I’m sure my car claimed its 15 minutes and more that night. You may have already seen this picture on Facebook.

So, in closing: please read my blog. Click on every advertising link. Next week I’ll have advice on how to deal with your car insurance company, and how to write big $%#!ing checks without shaking (much).

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Author: Average Joe

A 16 year veteran of the financial planning and financial media circus. Lover of hamburgers and ice cream.

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13 Comments

  1. You have scared me right out of having my own children in the future.

    I love how your son said “something’s wrong with the car”. LOL.

    What kind of damage did that impressive stunt do?

    Post a Reply
    • Yeah, this is NOT a poster-child moment for children, although I think he’d make a good public relations “spinner.” Saying “something’s wrong with the car” is like saying “there’s a little issue at Penn State University.”

      The damage report reminds me of the MasterCard commercial:

      2 wrecker crews: $240
      A new mailbox: $400
      Car repairs: $2,800 (my deductible is $500 of that figure)

      …new blog post fodder: PRICELESS (yeah, right….)

      Post a Reply
  2. 16-isms…. heh!

    I’m getting a lot of those, from my Number One Son (15) and Number Two Son (12 going on 16).
    My favorite is “Whut?” Catch-all response to any parental question, from “did you brush your teeth” to “your hair’s on fire”

    With the size of the fix-it bill, I expect that the boy will be an indentured servant to Mom and Dad for a loooong time, yes?

    Post a Reply
  3. You know EXACTLY my pain, dude.

    Nick would tell you himself HOW indentured he is, but he’s so busy raking my yard that he can’t talk.

    …probably for another 5 or 6 years.

    Post a Reply
  4. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than when T drove dads tractor through the back end of the barn – thus forcing dad to put a door on both ends. :)

    Post a Reply
    • That was AWESOME. I’ll take “there’s something wrong with the car” over “there’s something wrong with the BARN” any day.

      Post a Reply
  5. I’m not sure this is the appropriate response (in fact, I’m certain its not) but I literally laughed out loud when I saw the picture of your car teetering on two wheels. That trumps all my teenage fender-benders.

    Post a Reply
    • I walked outside without a coat. My neighbor asked (of course they were all standing around with coffee on a Saturday morning…we provided the entertainment….), “aren’t you cold?” I pointed to the car and said, “nope, this is keeping me plenty warm!”

      Post a Reply
  6. Keep your perspective. There wasn’t a positive pregnancy test or an STD involved. Cars and mailboxes can be repaired.

    (thirty-one years married, two grown children, no STD’s that anyone’s admitted anyway, and still waiting on grandchildren!)

    Post a Reply
  7. I am sorry for laughing out loud except it bought back memories of my sister’s mishaps with her car. The first time was she was reversing up the driveway and went straight into the you guess it brickmail box.

    The second time my mum and I were in the kitchen watching her park the car in the garage when she hit the accelerator instead of the brake. The result was the metal cabinet was crushed into the colourbond garage wall that got pushed out, the car was also balancing on three wheels as the enterance into the kitchen was 3 steps down so the drivers wheel was hanging over the steps.

    Luckily we all have a good sense of humnour and once we got over the intial shock we had a good laugh and never let her forget it :).

    Post a Reply
    • Those are hilarious (and scary) at the same time. We’re laughing about it now AND my son has been an excellent driver for the last few weeks. Double bonus!

      Post a Reply

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