Archive for September 21st, 2009



A Nice Quiet Weekend (Almost)

Following a pretty hectic week of adjusting to new schedules for my kids and lots of running around in “Dad’s Taxi”, I was really looking forward to a nice, quiet, uneventful weekend.

My last “official” SAHD duty for the week was Friday night at six o’clock, when I dropped off my youngest son for a weekend Boy Scout camping trip.  My oldest boy was suppose to go too, but he recently began a new job and was unable to get someone to cover his shift on Saturday.  He was scheduled to work from seven in the morning until three in the afternoon and then he said he would go to the scout campout, which was about an hour and twenty minute drive from our house.  “Sounds good,” I told him, “I’ll be happy to drive you when you get home from work!”

You guessed it…

“But, Dad, I’m a good driver AND I can drive myself!”

My son is sixteen and he has had his license since December.  By all accounts he is a good driver, no accidents, no speeding tickets and he knows the consequences of using a cell phone when he his driving.  He drives to and from school, to and from his job and also runs various errands in the area.  He has some experience driving on freeways and interstates.

I am comfortable riding with him when he is driving.

But…

This wasn’t exactly a short trip, he would be by himself and it required interstate driving.  It also required driving about forty miles on one of the busiest and most accident prone stretches of interstate in Minnesota!  We had the usual back and forth about the wisdom of me letting him make the trip by himself, when I was more than willing to give up watching a little college football to ensure he arrived at camp safely.

It came down to my thirty one-plus years of driving experience versus his nine months.

Game, set and match, I’m making the drive!

We began our journey shortly before four o’clock, traffic was pretty heavy, as it usually is on this stretch of highway.  We passed an outlet mall where a few months ago, a driver of a car missed the exit for the mall and then decided it would be smarter to make an illegal “u-turn” rather than go to the next exit, about a mile down the road.  The driver made the illegal “u-turn”, but didn’t see an on-coming tanker truck, who tried to avoid hitting the car, flippped over and crashed.  Thankfully, no one was killed, but the interstate was closed in both directions for nine hours!  We also talked about how often we hear about accidents on this road on our local news.  It’s just a busy, dangerous, stretch of pavement!

We got to the camp a little after five, my son unloaded his gear, I chatted a few minutes with some of the adults, who were on the trip and then I left for home.  Well, guess what happened on the ride home…

I’m in the middle lane, going close to the speed limit, pretty heavy traffic, approaching the outskirts of the Twin Cities, and no, in case you were wondering, I didn’t stop at the outlet mall, when all of a sudden some big, black, “mat-looking” thing came flying at me from the left lane!  I had no time to react or any chance to avoid hitting it as there were cars on both sides of me.  Breaking wasn’t an option either, since it happened so fast and there were vehicles behind me.

So, BAM, I hit it!

It made a really loud noise when it hit the front of my car.  I then ran over it and could see the SUV behind me hit it.  I could see the SUV pull over and other cars trying avoid hitting it.  I thought about pulling over, but decided, any damage could wait until I got home to inspect and it appeared it hadn’t caused an accident.

After I got home, I immediately checked the car.  On the front bumper there were black tar marks from the rubber and a large crack all the way through it.   It was going to need to be repaired, something I wasn’t looking forward to adding to my “to do” list this week!

I’m still not sure what I hit, but my best guess is a liner from a pick-up truck that came lose and flew out.  It’s kind of a pain, but I am grateful it wasn’t something more dangerous that hit me or that it didn’t cause a big chain-reaction accident.

I am also very grateful I didn’t let my son make the trip by himself this weekend. If this would have happened to him, I’m not sure what his reaction would have been.  I know he will encounter similiar experiences when he his driving, but hopefully, it’s after he gains some more experience behind the wheel!