Pothole Saga Complete

Those of you who have been playing along at home know that February and March really kind of sucked.

In the middle of dealing with the gutter that was torn off the roof by an ice dam, buying a new refrigerator, and having the appliance delivery guys hit our house with their truck — in the middle of all that, I hit a pothole on the highway on my way to work.

I was actually on the on-ramp from one highway to another, and was preparing to merge, so I didn’t expect to need to be on pothole recon at the same time. I didn’t even see it coming. Right before the yield sign, right when I was turned around checking traffic over my shoulder.

It was one of those impacts where my eyes immediately darted to the tire pressure idiot light — did I spring a leak? No? Whew, OK. Carry on.

By the time I got home that evening, the idiot light was on. Or was it the next morning? Either way, it wasn’t until lunch hour the following day that I really, really had to put air in the tire. It was obvious. I found a gas station on my way to the chiropractor, and fed the air compressor all four quarters we had stashed in our center console. (I could have used my credit card, but it would have cost me an extra 25 cents.) The front driver’s side tire had gotten all the way down to 17 PSI. Yikes.

Because I’m the slightly paranoid car owner that I am, I went online that same afternoon and made an appointment to take the car to the dealer to get this slow leak looked at. (With the proprietary tire pressure sensors, it’s just easier to take it directly to the dealer.) I filled the tire on Friday; my appointment was on Monday. The tire was just fine all weekend, with our standard restaurant trips and grocery trips.

That Monday was a double-whammy: Aaron had to get up early to meet the gutter people, and I had a late afternoon appointment at the dealership because it was the first one they had open. He planned to take the night off of work, since he’d be way underslept after dealing with the gutter repair guys, so I figured it would be OK if my appointment went past five — I could ask Aaron to get Connor from preschool if need be. As long as the gutter guys were done by then.

As it turned out, I was glad I had that option.

The service consultant came into the waiting room and sat down beside me like a doctor with bad news. I wasn’t going to be able to drive the car home. The wheel needed replaced — the rim was bent and unfixable, and they’d have to order another one that wouldn’t come in for two days. And it was going to cost $500. But the guy had to go order it right now, so what did I want to do? And did I have someone to come “rescue” me, or did I want a rental — at a discount price, of course?

Did I have a choice? Order the new wheel. Call in a rental for me.

He called Rent-A-Car, and they picked me up (as advertised), but not before I texted Aaron with the bad news, and told him that he’d have to go get Connor. The service guy kindly retrieved the car seat out of our car and plunked it down on the floor next to me — I’d told him I’d need at least that if they were going to keep my car for two days — but I also needed my key card to get into the parking garage at work. He had to have the shop guys lower my car back down off the lift so I could get my key card out. Felt like I was forgetting something, though… Oh, well. I was feeling rushed, so I just grabbed my key card and let the guys get on with their work.

Not long after, the driver from the car rental place arrived. He schlepped me and my stuff the half-mile down the road and got me into a rental car for the next couple of days. Slightly cramped for someone of my stature, but could have been worse.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized what I’d forgotten in the other car: the garage door opener. Dang it. I texted Aaron from the driveway so I wouldn’t have to get out and unlock the back door, then walk in and open the garage door.

The completely unrelated plus side of the car rental was made known to me when I went to install Connor’s car seat in the hatchback. After a particularly successful installation of the lower anchors, I popped the hatch to get the top tether attached to the back of the seat — and saw that the floor mat in the hatch was askew. Picking up said floor mat revealed a plastic grocery bag. Inside the grocery bag? Three boxes of Girl Scout cookies left behind by a former renter.

Finders keepers, losers weepers.

The garage door opener snafu wasn’t actually that big of a deal. Aaron decided to drive our second, older car to work instead of the rental, so we just swapped the opener in that car between us for the couple of days we had the rental.

Two days later, I dropped off the rental and they drove me (and the car seat) over to the dealership, where I paid for the repairs with part of our tax return.

During the span of those two days, my co-worker brought up the fact that ODOT should cover my repairs, since the damage happened on a highway.

Wait, that’s a thing?

I found the form online and filled it out with all the pertinent details. I heard back from them a few days later: since the area was in a construction zone, the contractor would be responsible for any damages, so ODOT forwarded my claim info on to them.

A few days after finally talking with the contractor’s representative over the phone, I got a letter in the mail. Of course, the letter said that since they are granted a “reasonable amount of time” in which to patch holes, they “respectfully decline” my request for compensation.

Ah, well. Never hurts to try.

And so concludes the latest vehicular saga. (But there are still plenty of other sagas to follow…)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *