Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Frightening Night!

I think the sound of the telephone ringing anytime after midnight tends to send most anyone into a bit of a panic. The worst thoughts possible seem to cross one's mind at that hour when you reach for the receiver to hear who's voice is on the other end.

When the phone rang here last night shortly before 1 a.m., I was downstairs, in my usual spot - at the computer, of course. The phone was upstairs and at first, I thought I was hearing things - like a phone ringing on whatever program was on the tv or something. But within about 2 minutes, when I heard my daughter and son-in-law both coming down the steps, I knew there was something gone awry.

"Who called?" I asked. The answer was "Clayton." And that sent red flags up within me immediately. Clayton is my son and he has been borrowing my car when he gets home from work now since his car is parked in front of my house, broke down, in need of some parts and time to work on it to get it running again. Both things he doesn't have at the moment seeing as he is working usually 6 days a week now, driving tractor-trailer all over the country.

I asked for more information and was told he had hit the fence that is actually a gated fence that leads back to one of the finest homes probably in the entire township where we live. The fact he was able to call and ask Mandy and Bill to come get him, give him a hand, at least led me to believe he was not hurt - so that was a relief. About the only relief that I could drum up inside myself until they got him, the car, got back to the house.

He was, as he tried to explain it to me, driving down this side road that intersects with the road where he lives and as he came to the intersection and stepped on the brake to make the right-hand turn to his road, the highway was wet - could possibly have been a slight formation of black ice as I don't know how low the temperatures dropped last night, but since it had rained here most of the day, the highway was wet and apparently when he hit the brake, it caused the car to hydroplane across the intersection there (it's a T intersection) and he hit the fence near the gate to this family's access road back to their home and then, the car ended up in a ditch alongside of the fence.

The kids pulled the bumper off the car there to clear it from possibly rubbing the front tire or anything and though the headlights were damaged, he was able to drive the car from the scene down to my house, by following Mandy's husband for what little extra light that gave him.

To say I was upset, would be a definite understatement. All kinds of thoughts raced through my mind. Uppermost was the feeling of relief that he was uninjured but still, the scare sits there, wearing a hole - or so it seems - right into the pit of your stomach.

We sat up most of the night and talked, trying to make sense of the whole situation.

This morning, I called the insurance company and filed the report with them. Since there were no injuries, the car was driven from the scene and all that, at least there is no need for a police report which would just be about all my nerves would need about now to send me pretty well over the edge of that fine line between sanity and the other option available! I tend to run close to that fine line most of the time anyway it seems so after calling the insurance company, I reached for my friendly little bottle of zanax to take my allotment for this morning of that substance in hopes it will do some good and calm my frazzled nerves down a bit now.

Ask any parent with a child who is old enough to drive and is using the parent's car how well the nerves hold up anyway when you know your kid might be on the highway driving your vehicle and odds are, the nerves - even under the most ideal circumstances - might be a trifle on edge until you know the kid is back home, safe and sound.

This is not a young kid - not chronologically speaking anyway. He's 33 years old! Old enough and experienced enough at driving to think more about safety issues. But, I suppose even adults, under certain forms of duress can lose their good train of thought when faced with a car that isn't obeying the brake commands, veering in the wrong direction and all kinds of things like that. I've never had an accident like that - although I have had deer run into my car on two separate occasions which scared the living daylights out of me and had me shaking like a leaf. I can only try to imagine how he felt when this was all done!

Then, to make matters worse, the fact it was Mom's car, not his - well, it adds to his stress level over the whole mess then too.

After talking to the rep at the insurance office this morning, and at least hearing a friendly and sympathetic - as well as very informative and helpful voice on the other end of that call, I did begin to calm down somewhat.

Arrangements were made then to have the car picked up by someone from a Repair shop in Philipsburg and who, as it turns out, Mandy knows the owners quite well. So, with the insurance authorization, she called, spoke to the shop owner, told him what happened and they will send someone down later this morning to carry off my poor baby car! It's not a new car - six years old - but to me, it still had a new car feel to it because it was the first car I'd ever owned that after six years of use, still looked very decent! Plus, it was the first car I had owned that many years that didn't have close to 150,000 miles on it either! It looks so sick and bedraggled right now, parked out front in full view of the picture window crumpled up like that.

After talking to the insurance company, Mandy called the family whose fence was struck in the accident. Fortunately we know the people so it didn't require a lengthy discussion of trying to explain who was calling. The "why" of the call though - well that's always a bit difficult regardless if you know the property owners or not I suppose. They are however a very nice couple who I have known him and his entire family since his parents brought him home from the hospital As a matter of fact, when I was a teenager, I frequently babysat him and his two brothers and two sisters at that time. There was another brother added to the family after I had graduated from high school and was working away from home. But the fact is, that their property was damaged like this and that we know them, then added a feeling of guilt to the mix of the mess too I guess you could say.

It didn't make our Christmas celebration end on a good note, at any rate.

What scares me even more about this is that after sitting up all night - or the bulk of the night - talking with my son and his sister about this and other things that concerned us and him, I worry that much more about my boy. Yes, I know he is no longer a "boy" - he's an adult, a young man - but to me, he's always going to be my boy, my favorite son. Okay, he's my only son and that's a family joke that we use when talking about him but the fact remains there that yes, he is indeed my very favorite son and had he been seriously injured or worse yet, killed, I really don't know how I would survive something like that. Not that I wouldn't feel equally sick and terrible if something happened to either of my daughters or others in the family, but he is just so special to all of us - my daughters and to me!

He's a good looking guy - tall, very slim and has a wonderful sense of humor and personality. But, the past 3-4 years have not been kind to him with respect to employment nor with his relationships with his lady friends. And, I know he's had a lot of painful thoughts racing and chasing through his mind for a long time now.

He lives alone in a big old house he bought a little over two years ago, just completed truck driver training and had a job offer - a very lucrative one at that - given to him a week prior to completing the course. He's been working three weeks now and finds the work to be challenging but something he actually enjoys. The fact he has been able to earn very good wages with this endeavor had given him a much better outlook for a change too. But, still there was the emptiness in his life with the past two serious relationships he had which had both soured.

The first one, was with a young lady he met while stationed with the Army at Ft. Lewis, Washington and they lived together for seven years. She went with him from Washington to Nevada after his discharge when he decided he wanted to go there as an effort to try to "get to know my dad" as he put it. That's where the kids' father lives now and for much of my son's life, he dealt with a lot of pain and confusion about issues concerning his dad. A recovering alcoholic for the past 13 years, the 13 years of Clate's life prior to his dad's choice for sobriety were difficult, very difficult, very painful for any boy to cope with but especially so for him as he is avery soft-hearted person and many of the things his dad did over those 13 years while he was still drinking were often some very hard pills the boy had to swallow.

But, for four years, he and that girlfriend lived in Nevada for a short time and then, bought a home across the line in Arizona and were making a life for themselves until they decided they wanted to come back east to live. They had moved back here in August of 2000, arriving at the old farmhouse her father owns just outside of Gettysburg on Clate's 27th birthday. I had surprised him by baking a cake and driving down there - in my first real TRIP in my then, brand-new car to be there when they pulled in the drive and greet them, welcome them back this close to home.

Four years later, for whatever reasons they deemed had made their relationship no longer tenable, he left there and moved back up here to central Pennsylvania where his sisters and I live and we were really happy and excited to have him back this close to all of us here then.

When he moved back here, it was with the promise of a construction job where he would have been working with his brother-in-law - good paying job too it was touted to be but somehow, things didn't work out the way they were supposed to and the job never materialized. Furthermore, he was even denied unemployment when he had given notice at a part-time position he had held while waiting to get the call to start working on the construction position. He had followed the correct protocol all along - taking this side job, telling the boss there it was a "fill-in" job until the other one came through and the man who had hired him there fully understood that. He could have just not shown up for work the day he was to start the new job but instead, had tried to be a good employee and gave a week's notice to the other place only to be told the night before he expected he would be starting the new position that it was no longer available after all. And although the company he was to be starting with had no "finger in the pie" so to speak as far as collecting unemployment was concerned, they denied that he had ever been offered a job with them, thus making it appear he had left gainful employment as a lark, not because he expected to start work at this other job. Talk about unfair treatment, I'll never comprehend how that worked out the way it did but he had two really tough months, financially, trying to make his mortgage payment, other utility bills and such while working at a little part-time job that paid $5 an hour, under the table.

HE did finally get a job with a very small concern which wasn't exactly to his liking but the pay -not fantastic - was better than some of the average jobs in this area and he was strugglig along, making due as best he could. Then, his brother-in-law got him on at the outfit where he works and things appeared to be goig relatively well until one Monday morning, virtually out of the blue, the owner of the place fired him because a part costing $13 retail broke on a car he and his brother-in-law were fixing. Now, if this part had cost $1,300 or even $130 I could have understood better the owners consternation but $13 for a part and he was deemed unreliable, a total liability and let go? That one didn't seem to make sense to me at all.

During the unemployment period is when he decided to look into the truck driving training program as it is an industry that does use a lot of people in this area and the pay is above average and he thought it would be a job he could and would enjoy. And as it turned out, he does like the work, finds it very interesting and is especially good in that it keeps him very busy, gives him a good financial reward too at the end of the week for his efforts as well.

But the fact he has been unable to meet some nice young woman who might make for a good life partner has been the stumbling block here for him it seems. His chief complaint has been that the girls he has mt all seem to think partying is the only form of entertainment and what's more, their chief line of conversation according to Clate is to discuss either their last boyfriend or their former husband with a retelling of how controlling that man is/was and how many times that guy beat the living daylights out of her too! I don't follow the logic in staying in a relationship like that, nor does my son which explains his dismay at meeting someone who can talk intelligently, rationally, too about their lives, their goals, their careers, too - if indeed any of them had such an entity to begn with.

And so, that's where things are today. Mom is still on edge, relieved that her baby boy isn't all banged up or worse, dead but she's also not very happy either that her car is pretty sick right now too. But the car is still just a car and as such, eventually can be fixed.

Clate on the other hand, although he's fine fromt he accident, needs a bit more work apparently on getting him "fixed." So, any young ladies interested in meeting a very nice, very empathetic, hard-working, decent and good looking young man who would like to have someone to share his life with, feel free to submit your applications to me - his guardian mother, you know!

Hmmm! Who knows how that might work out - I've never been the matchmaker type before!


Vic Grace said...

What a horrid scare. Every mother's nightmare, telephone calls late at night. I am so glad Clayton is OK, sorry for your car. Hope the New Year is kinder to you.

Mike said...

After all is said and done, the important thing is that he is alright. I hope things turn out better for you in the future.