Saturday, July 01, 2006

Yesterday Was A Strange Day

Yesterday morning was like an out-of-body experience. Quite strange feeling.

First. I'm on some new medication for something and when that happens I usually feel like you do when you have a fever; like nothing is real. Everything has that bright, hazy focus, dreamy kind of quality. If I move my head too fast, it feels as if my brain sloshes around in there.

Second. I got up plenty early but ended up running behind anyway. The stress of this adds to the dreamy-ness sensation.

Then when I'm on my way to work, going north on I-95, I'm in the slow lane and although I'm doing 75, I'm being passed as if I was driving in reverse. I-95 is NOT for the faint of heart.

I'm just getting across to the other side of the small overpass bridge over US192, which is also known as New Haven in Melbourne, Florida, when a pickup truck about 50 yards ahead of me in the fast lane has his right rear tire on his trailer he's pulling shred.

The tire shreds, tire chunks flying in all directions. A big chunk knocks the aluminum fender off the trailer where it kind of 'catches' in the air and floats a bit.

The fender of course is now in my lane.

Now here's where the mind and body are amazing things. Literally within a split second, I realize I can't move left, there are vehicles there. I can't slam on brakes to avoid the fender, there's a pickup truck close behind me, ready to drive right up my tail pipe. Instinct has me start to swerve right to miss the fender by using the shoulder, but I'm at the end of this bridge, there's still a guard rail. So, I just center the car directly at the bouncing fender and try to avoid it with my tires.

I go right over it, or so I thought, but a quick look in the rear view mirror and I don't see it either come out from under the car or go off the side of the road. I turn off the cd player and A/C and don't hear it dragging under the car.

Where the heck is this thing?

So, as quickly as I can pull over safely, I get on the shoulder of the interstate.

Now this has all taken place in a matter of seconds.

I get out of the car. Oh yeah, I drive a white 2002 Ford Taurus. Walk around to the front of the car, and the fender, now twisted into almost a corkscrew shape, is sticking straight out of the front of the car like Paul Bunyan stabbed it with a knife.

I hear hissing and see a few drops of green liquid. Great. Probably skewered the radiator.

I pull out the fender, put it in the trunk, get back in the car and call Lovely Wife, who had gone to work early. Let her know what's up so she'll be able to come get me if the car won't make it home.

To make a long story longer, I make it home ok. The temperature gauge doesn't rise one bit. But I have no A/C.

The car is already at the shop and hopefully it just poked something easy to fix so I can have my A/C.

Ok, I'm not THAT big of a wimp. I can live without A/C in a car, and have done so for years at a time, but this is the family car we go places in together. It's roomy and runs great and who wants to sweat when you're going out to eat, shop, or whatever?

I've never had anything quite like that happen to me. I'm blessed not to be hurt. An aluminum fender would definitely go through the windshield at that speed had it been a bit higher and that would have been scary and possibly painful, if not fatal.

Lovely Wife came home and got me, we took the car to the shop and she took me on to work.

Here's a photo of the culprit:


We have been trying to test a circuit card to confirm it runs well with the new firmware updates. The problem is that the test procedure is a mess. Almost indecipherable. We've been working on it for days. That is pretty stressful too.

After the I-95 episode, I'm not looking forward to banging my head against the wall all day.

But yesterday, things fall magically into place. We finish testing, and now I've been given boss's blessing to take three days off next week.

We have Tuesday off for The Fourth Of July, and then we have next Friday off as our every-other-Friday-off, so next week I can burn a mere three vacation days yet get to be off for nine days straight. What a deal.

Plus the success at work yesterday leaves me with a nice feeling that everything is ok, and I can just be free for a week with no mental attachments to work.

So, as of the end of the workday yesterday, I'm on vacation until Monday, July 10th.

Maybe I'll go try to watch the shuttle launch today. Actually I just have to walk out into my front yard to see it from afar, but I mean drive northward, closer to the space center.

We'll see. I'll post about it if I (or we) do.

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