So, we got the van mostly packed Friday night after the ward Christmas party. We got up Saturday morning, packed the last few things, and hit the road just before 9:30. Before 10am, this is where we were:
Didn't even make it to Deer Lodge. We hit a patch of ice, started to skid sideways, and then started to spin. We spun in a complete circle twice, then slammed into the side rail, which threw us the other direction. I think. It was all so adrenaline-soaked that my memory is already getting really hazy.
The kids were all screaming like crazy and were pretty rattled (spinning in circles on the interstate at 70 mph is pretty scary), but as we were spinning I was actually pretty calm, and just kept thinking, "Please no one hit us. If no one hits us, we'll be fine), and as the impact with the side started, I just thought, "Please stop." As in, don't flip or roll. Fortunately, no one did hit us and we didn't flip or roll. The kids were completely terrified for a few minutes, and a couple of them did bonk heads or arms on seats or things, but everyone was buckled and even Ginger, just sitting in between the kids, was just fine. Thank goodness.
Later in the day, I had to run to the store, and at first Keira said, "No! Mommy, don't go in the car! It will get ice!" When I explained that most of the roads in town were pretty dry, I'd be going slow and it was perfectly safe, she seemed satisfied and wanted to come with me. But every 30 seconds she would scold, "Don't go fast like Daddy!" (When we came to a stop, he kept saying, "I shouldn't have been going so fast" and that apparently stuck with her). Anytime I got above 15mph, she started to whimper. Kylie was having a hard time with it, too, and the rest of the day if she thought/talked about it, she'd get teary-eyed again. We didn't seem to have any nightmares last night, and everybody seems to be fine today.
Initially, I was just tremendously grateful that it wasn't worse and that everyone was OK. Growing up here, I've seen my share of wrecks that started out similarly, but ended much, much worse. Being raised by two EMTs has, if nothing else, made me a generally cautious driver, especially when the roads are wet, icy or snowy. I'm a great big wimp about all three. We said a prayer for safety before leaving home, and the Lord delivered. We're fine. And I am well-aware just how fortunate we are.
I'm trying really hard to focus on that. Because now that the adrenaline and the overwhelming relief have worn off, the true costs are starting to hit me. When we first go married, we were college students--poor, and in fact accumulating a fair amount of student loan debt. Doug got the job in Lindsay, and we moved there. In the first year, we bought a new house, several major appliances, took in another family for a while, had an unexpected week-long stay in the hospital away from home, had several out-of-state weddings to attend, and then over the course of the next few years, had a couple more babies and several more unexpected expenses. When we had finally gotten to a point where we felt like we had started to get ahead of the financial challenges those circumstances had created, Doug got laid off. And, though there were odd jobs and consulting gigs here and there, there was no steady work, no job, for nearly 16 months. We were finally feeling like we were sort of back on top of things after a year and a half of steady employment, our credit rating inching back up, pretty much all debt but student loans gone, and bam! car wreck. Figures. At the very least, it will cost us a little over $300 now and then whatever our insurance decides to bump up to for our monthly rate (with no tickets or wrecks on either of our records, we've had pretty great insurance). At most, it will total out our van, and we will get the somewhere near the trade-in value of our van, a pittance when you're talking buying-a-famiy-vehicle money. We haven't had a car payment in over 3 years. I'm not really anxious to add one now.
To be honest, I think as much as anything else, I'm just annoyed at the fact that its seriously messing up our holiday travel plans.