I realize that I fly airplanes for a living. This involves no small amount of button-pushing, jet-sound-making, and lots of looking out the window with a huge grin on my face. Flying airplanes is very technical and requires a keen ability for hand-eye coordination and perfect situational awareness at all times. I pride myself on having these qualities and then some. I do, after all, fly airplanes for a living.
All this taken into account, you would think I could back a small car out of the garage without hitting a tree, wouldn't you?
It happened last Thursday. I was backin' it up to head to the gym...a morning ritual that I happily undertake when I am in town and not out working. As I reached up to push the button for the garage door to close (what will they think of next?!), I heard a little crunch as the Corolla came to an abrupt stop. I put Corolla in "Park" and then walked around to the back, dreading what I would find. There, in the grass and still partially-attached to the car, was a shattered taillight. The tree made out unscathed, as did the rest of the Corolla.
Why on earth am I driving Hubby's Corolla, anyway? The reason makes the whole light-crunching ordeal that much harder to bare. Last year, when we discovered that my car needed new struts all the way around, we decided it was time to stop pumping money into a car that was ten years old and had over 230,000 miles to its name. We would continue to perform routine maintenance and oil changes and simply drive it until it dies. This was an easy thing to do, since I rarely get reminded that the struts could use some attention. So when the Taurus' air conditioner died about a month ago, and an estimated $1,200 was necessary to fix it, we decided to exchange cars any time I was in town rather than shell out money to have it fixed. Consequently, Hubby drives my beloved Taurus to work each morning at 6:20 AM, and then he drives it the short mile-and-a-half route home at 3:00 PM in the blistering heat each afternoon. I, on the other hand, get to enjoy air conditioning as well as a radio that displays who-is-singing-what as I "sing" along at the top of my lungs. I felt awful about the car exchange until I tried a few days without the AC going full-blast. Isn't Hubby awesome for wanting me to be cool?
To thank him, I backed his car into our tree. Look at the pictures. This was some impressive feat, considering the tree is located approximately three feet off the driveway. It takes skills to chase down and hit a tree that far off the beaten path. Unfortunately, I managed to display such skills.
Hubby took it well. He was calm and loving and simply reminded me that the brake light needed replacement anyway. I was tempted to just have the taillight fixed without telling him what I had done. How could my pride survive such a story to my husband? He took it like a champ and has only made fun of me a few times. Every hour.
Something not to be made fun of? The cost to replace a taillight in a Toyota Corolla. Even with a 20% sale on parts, I ended up shelling out $150 for my misjudgement of a tree in our front yard. I guess one could say the lesson was learned. I am now so careful each time I bring Corolla out of the garage. We wouldn't want taillight replacements to become commonplace, would we?
Please just ignore the fact that Hubby is the one doing all the manual labor to replace the taillight. This is in no way a reflection of how I felt about such a dire situation. In fact, I still feel pretty silly, even though everything is all fixed and shiny and new.
I'm probably lucky that the only damage done was to the taillight and not to the rest of Hubby's baby. He loves that Corolla like I love pancakes. Of course, we must factor in the damage done to my self-esteem in the driving arena! You'd be safer pulling to the side of the road next time you see me coming!