So last Wednesday around 2:00 PM, I was minding my own business and driving back to Paramus on the NYS Thruway. Sun shining, music playing on my car radio and I consider rolling down the window for some fresh air BUT, just after moving into the right lane, just before moving off the Thruway and onto the Garden State Parkway, I spot a long yellow wooden strip in front of me and try to slow down, but there was no way to avoid the hit and BAM!!!!
Front tires blow and somehow I am able to drive off the road onto the spacious shoulder. I feel fine but in shock. I don’t want to call Tuvia right away and soon I realize that I’m alone. A car in front of the me and there’s one behind. Both suffering from the same block of wood. A young girl from the car behind walks over to me with tears streaming down her face. She was on her phone and shaking. I can’t really help because I am wondering what I should do first.
Instantly, a Thruway crew arrives and removes the block of…. metal, not wood the guys report to each of us. A block of metal, painted yellow, dropped off a truck. They seem casual about it, like it’s a regular occurrence. Of course they were pleased to see that we were all okay, and they had already called the police.
I feel free now to report this to my insurance company, envisioning a mess underneath the car but when the police finally arrive and the tow truck appears to help us, their experienced eyes, assure us that our cars will probably just need new tires and I start breathing freely again and I’m ready now to call Tuvia.
Hey, just get me to a tire place and I’m home free right? NO!
SEARs is closest. Sears, of course. Reliable right?
The tow truck guy remembers me from my teaching days at Pearl River. His sister loved my class and he takes extra care to make sure I understand all the details and makes sure there’s someone to take care of me. Sweet, but everything moves very slowly.
It took forever for the cop to arrive, for the “guys” to discuss the situation, the tow trucker to change tires for the teary young girl and to get our cars on his truck.
But now I am home free… Eugene is my Sears guy. I explain the accident to him and he recommends tires. I am sure this will be a walk in the park and not enough cost to even involve GEICO. Two tires and a tow.. nothing right?
Tuvia was now calling every 10 minutes for updates and I had nothing to share. He wants to come and be with me. I discourage him. I could be back on the road in an hour or so… and it’s cold and it could be a challenge for him to find me. But it’s getting later in the day, I am growing more and more impatient and tired and it was taking longer to get started. An initial look at my tires and Eugene brings back news. I need to replace a third tire and hey, when you need three new tires it makes sense to go for 4. Now we are getting closer to $1000.00. But my deductible is $500. So still makes sense to pay this out of pocket.
The operation should take 1 1/2 hours. Just across the street is the Nanuet Mall, filled with stores and restaurants and once my car was on its way to repair I’m out and Tuvia is already on the road headed to me.
As much as I discouraged him from coming I can’t say I wasn’t thrilled to see him SUV turn into the mall entrance and as I flag him down and hop up into the warm car, the invitation of a glass of wine at the mall’s Bone Fish makes the long crazy day fade just a bit.
We park, fight the winds to Bone Fish and finally, sitting with drinks and appetizers I am almost happy, until I notice a missed call on my phone.
Trouble ahead! Two rims and their sensors need to be replaced! need to be replacedwere bent beyond recognition and rims need sensors. We finished enjoying Bone Fish and returned to reality. I had an estimate now for $2500 and the number of my insurance agent, Tom and plans to get a rental car from Enterprise the next morning. Tom is great. Even though Sears is totally uncooperative, he is able to see my car in their parking lot and approve the work.
Fast Forward to Saturday morning: Rims and sensors are waiting for me at my Mazda dealer. Yes, I’m picking them up to bring them to the Sears just to move the process along. I have a rental car I want to get rid of asap. Tuvia is ready to come and along and this time I assure him this will be a piece of cake.
Everything is moving smoothly. I begin at the gym with my trainer, prepping for my Climb up 66 floors for the next morning for MS, I pick up the rims and head to Sears. I drop off the car to Eugene and while I’m ready to return the rental I get a sign from Eugene to wait on the return. What? Maybe there could be something we haven’t planned for. WHAT????
Okay. I head over to Starbucks at the mall with my Kindle to read more of The Swimmer.
Time passes. Tuvia calls a few times for updates. I have nothing. Finally 3 hours later Eugene has news. Another rim is cracked. WHAT???
I return to Sears and I am livid and without any trace of control. I unleash in the garage and I want out. I take the rental back, they put the spare on as the 4th tire and my back seat is covered with old rims and a new tire and I head for home in my sad car,crying to be well.
Fast Forward. It’s Monday morning and there is an end near. Mazda will take care of the rest of the work, my adjustor Tom will meet up with me when the work is done and write me a check for this last chapter.
So here’s my thoughts: It was not a slam dunk to replace a few tires. Sears, a powerhouse company once, is in decline. I love GEICO. Patience lasts just so long and soon, I hope I will have my car humming again.
I think she deserves a good wash and shine, don’t you?