Friday, April 24

A certain Wednesday

This week Easton’s class met Monday – Thursday in the forest right outside of town. He came home happy, filthy, and tick-free each day. They checked in on the tadpoles in a nearby pond, gathered sticks and made a bench together, got a pony ride, and explored to their heart’s content. They do this for a week each month during nice weather.

My friend Heike and I shared carpooling to the forest and Wednesday was my day. We loaded up the fam to drive Ryan in to work a little after 7:30am so I could have the car for the day. Unfortunately traffic was backed up along his usual 20 minute back roads commute took us a little over an hour and then I hit the same mild “stau” on the way back. I was so anxious that Easton and his friend Mason would miss the field trip but all turned out well in the end. I got to walk the boys into the forest to meet up with their class which McKay loved until he got pricked by a bush.

After dropping them off, I was grateful to have a chance to do some grocery shopping minus one kid so we headed back to base. When we finished, we drove back to Schonaich to pick up the boys in the forest. But we never made it. I approached a blind intersection and
I had come to a stop and then proceeded through the intersection when I struck this vehicle on my right that hadn’t slowed for the intersection and was going about 30mph. In Germany, the law states you yield to traffic on your right. Thankfully, no one was injured. McKay and Morgan screamed after impact, being so abruptly awaken from their naps. We were all pretty well shaken up. McKay had a little skin burn on his neck where the seat belt harness rubbed it on impact since his head was slouched to the side while napping. The only other accident I've ever been in as a driver was back in high school when someone ran a red and hit me as I was making a left hand turn at an intersection. I've been so blessed both times with no injuries.

People of the neighborhood swarmed the scene and I was so grateful to a couple of ladies who came to my rescue. One woman, Susie, stayed the whole time with me, translated for me, comforted me through bursts of tears, brought McKay a pretzel and sippy cup, let me use her phone, and held Morgan the rest of the time. My very own angel! I was so shaken I couldn’t remember any phone numbers – Ryan’s work, Ryan’s cell, my phone number, any of our friends, and almost our address!

I am so impressed that so many Germans speak English! Americans really are at a disadvantage for not incorporating learning languages into our education system. My family’s exchange student is from here in Stuttgart and she had to choose between learning English or French. She chose English and her sister chose French.

Since I had just been to the commissary, I had a trunk full of groceries. Two of the half gallons of milk had exploded and were leaking on to the pavement along with all the other car fluids. I spotted an old man from the neighborhood bending down and finger dipping the liquids and TASTING THEM! The milk really puzzled them all until I opened the trunk and they saw what had happened.The German police came and they called in the tow trucks. I was finally able to remember Ryan’s number and called him. One of the other mothers from the school stopped to see what she could do and was able to notify the teacher and my friend Heike. Nothing like being the dumb American in front of your kids’ friends, teachers, and their families! They were so kind. Easton’s teacher gave him a ride back to the school and even distracted Easton while she drove by the accident so he wouldn’t see it.

Ryan's coworker, Shawn, brought Ryan to the scene and helped us load all our stuff into his car. He drove us to Panzer where the tow truck was taking our car, dropped us off at home and ran Ryan to the car rental place near their work. It's so nice to have great friends here!

McKay kept saying, “Mom, the cars bonked. Now they are broken, huh.” The English speaking Germans around us thought this was adorable. When I later told Easton what had happened he got sad. I told him he didn’t have to be sad because no one got hurt. He said he was sad for our car because he liked that car. He keeps asking where our car went. Ryan donated it’s remains because the cost of repair exceeds it’s current value.

Ryan has been handling the aftermath and I can’t thank him enough for that!!! Turns out that we only had liability insurance and there’s a good chance that we’ll have to pay out of pocket for the damages I made to the other car because I don’t have an international license yet. I really should have done that by now with our 90 day “visitor pass”, but while nursing Morgan I just couldn’t figure out a way to leave her with someone for four hours and preserve the friendship. Boy am I’m kicking myself now! And just last week we had begun planning to look for a minivan this year so we wouldn't be a one car family and have space for visiting family whenever they can come.

My friend had picked Easton up from school for me and so when I went to pick him up, I ended up staying to chat for two hours and cry on her shoulder. This day also marked the initial 24 hour period of no nursing so my pain level was high and emotions out of whack on top of the accident. For those who are long overdue to nurse their babies, imagine the pain when I had to pick up and sooth McKay and Morgan right after the accident ! Agony! But snuggle we did and still do regardless because we need it, it's vital!

The silver lining of this ordeal came later in the form of Ryan’s chocolate chip cookies and . . .

Morgan letting Easton feed her! Man I love my family and am so blessed!!!

I resisted the urge to have a lazy pity party yesterday and spent the day cleaning and cooking one of Ryan’s favorite dinners so my jarred body wouldn’t get stiff. I felt it was only fair because I knew Ryan was enduring the headache of information gathering and haggling with insurance and financers. I treated myself to some homemade chicken salad on a croissant, using my favorite Randy Bibe recipe, complete with cashews and swiss cheese. Nothing says spring to me like perfect sunny cool weather, tulips, daffodils, strawberries, and Randy's chicken salad!

Within the first two weeks after arriving in Germany, my mom endured me whining about being stuck in the hotel with the kids. She simply said, “When you’re feeling low, it always feels better to serve someone else.” So I called our new friends who just moved into town with their brand new baby and asked if they wanted enchiladas too. Great advice, Mom! With the chicken salad and strawberries, it made my day to get to know them and chat a bit!