My Poor Baby

My poor baby.  And by baby I mean my Neon.  She’s sure had the worst luck in these cold Calgary winters over the last several years.  Last year in -40 with windchill I got a flat tire on the 22X. (And some dude stopped right across from where I was pulled over on the busy highway during rush hour, got out of his van and started taking pictures of the beautiful icy scenery and didn’t even bother to check whether or not I was okay before hopping back into his van and driving away.)

Today she wound up deep in a snowy ditch way out in Blackie.  Where’s Blackie? Exactly.  Way out in the middle of nowhere, and chances are you’ve never heard of it.  Today was the last day before Christmas break and I was guest teaching for my absolute most favourite first grade class of all time out there.  I say last day before Christmas, but it was my last day guest teaching as well, because I start teaching kindergarten on a full-time contract after the break. *squeal* What?! Yes, I’ll get to that in a minute.

So I had probably only gotten around 5 minutes from school when I took a corner wrong and my back-end swung around and went butt-first into a very deep ditch to the side of the road.  My camera phone pictures from within the warmth of the tow truck doesn’t quite do this situation justice — you should’ve seen it from the other side. (I was too cold to get out and go back around it from the driver’s side door.)  My first thought was that I wasn’t hurt at all; I was driving slower than a grandma and was trying to be really careful at that corner already.  My second thought was absolute panic because I was literally out in the middle of nowhere in -40 (with windchill) on an angle so steep in the ditch that my gas tank went from being half full to empty, prompting the gas light and bell to go off.  I called Lucas who works in the middle of downtown Calgary, around 60km away, in tears and as he was calming me down (he is SO good at keeping a level head when things go wrong) the grandmother of one of the students from my first grade class that day drove up in her big truck to make sure I was okay.  She offered to drive me to the next little town 5 minutes away in High River.  High River is a town you might’ve actually heard of. High River actually has services, unlike Blackie which doesn’t even have a gas station, lol. Anyway, as she’s driving me to High River (thank goodness for her truck’s heated seats, what a godsend.) Lucas arranged a towing service available in High River.   I was dropped off somewhere warm to wait for the tow truck and all went well — I managed to get a crochet project in my bag done while I waited, and the Neon, once pulled out, appeared to be in excellent shape considering the situation.  I think she’ll be back to 100% once we get an alignment; I could definitely tell it was way off trying to get home afterwards.

This Neon has seen and done it all, from driving what felt like halfway across the world from Indiana to Calgary nearly three years ago, to taking the most gorgeous scenic routes to British Columbia through the Canadian Rockies.  It was broken into by would-be car thieves and survived, and it’s regularly abused by massive amounts of dog hair from our family trips and has endured having a block heater installed to keep it toasty in the coldest parts of a Calgarian winter.  She sure takes a beating… and continues to be my baby.  For those of you that have known me well since junior high, you know how obsessive I am about my Neon.

Want to hear the funniest part of the ditch situation?  As the tow truck driver and I were sitting in the cab of the truck filling out paperwork and processing the payment, a man in a red pickup pulled up alongside and motioned for the driver to roll down his window.  He leaned out and looked at me and said, “Did you just have your car towed out of that ditch?” I nodded and he patted the side of his truck saying, “See this truck?  I’m on my way home from picking it up at the body shop — I had to take it in after I hit that very same ditch last week.”  … so apparently I am not alone.

Anyway, on to positive news — I got a teaching contract! Last week I was hired by a private school in downtown Calgary who had an open kindergarten teacher position.  I start on January 5th after the holiday break.  I am so excited!  I’m going in over break to set up my classroom and have been busy with preparations and lessons.  I’ll have a morning and afternoon kindergarten class, the morning class having 11 kids and the afternoon session having 12.  The contract is for the rest of the school year and then will roll over into next school year, so I am set!  The schedule aligns well with Lucas’ schedule since he already works downtown, so that means we can carpool together/train down and back together.  It’s about time, eh? :)