the rest of the story… busted car style

That time I posted about Darren’s car accident and said things were going smoothly? I spoke too soon. We only had liability coverage on the ol’ Impreza, so our insurance co. was like “sorry, we’re actually not dealing with this for you,” so Darren had to handle it himself. It involved many phone calls to a claims adjuster with the other driver’s insurance company. And because he works nights, it was a lot of exchanging voicemails, because she would call around 8 am while he was sleeping.

The accident happened on December 18. We borrowed my brother’s truck for just over a week before they – okay, I’m just going to tell you, It was Farmers – hooked us up with a rental car. We picked that up on the 28th. Eventually they sent someone out to look at the car, and on Friday January 8 they made us a settlement offer that totally sucked, which we were expecting. They also told us that they would only continue paying for the rental through January 11. I immediately went to our credit union and met with a loan officer. We did a fair bit of online car browsing over the weekend, and then I called in to work on the 11th so we could go do some test driving.

Farmers called Darren halfway through the day after they got his message that their offer wasn’t going to work for us. The adjuster they sent out didn’t take into account any of the work we’d had done in the car. This guy was local; the primary person Darren had been dealing with is in an office in Oklahoma. She agreed to extend the rental a few more days, and Darren forwarded her the repair receipts.

We found a new car that day, and completed the purchase the next day. Hooray!

On January 15, Farmers made us an offer we could live with. It at least covered the cost of the very expensive part we had replaced two days before the accident, so that was something. We sent them our title, and on January 27 they towed away the Impreza. We finally received our check yesterday – February 5. Seven weeks to the day after the accident occurred.

Whew. We are both very glad to be done with all that nonsense. We also love the new car – new to us, it’s a 2010 – so at least we seem to have gotten something good out of the ordeal.

things that made my year – 2015

Happy 2016!

I’m starting the year with a list, because lists are my favorite. Okay, really I just enjoyed doing this last year, so here’s my “Things That Made My Year” for 2015. Sticking with fifty:

  1. Nephew Johnston
  2. Disneyland
  3. playing in the ocean at Laguna Beach
  4. being in California in March while it was blizzarding here
  5. The Great British Bake Off
  6. finding a great YouTube channel for yoga
  7. playing WoW with Darren
  8. seeing a lot of touring Broadway with Rebekah
  9. Hotline Bling parodies
  10. cinnamon & clove coffee
  11. cinnamon & clove everything (ok, really just coffee and applesauce)
  12. Jon & Anna’s moment of fame
  13. when I saw that kid snuggling with his cow at the State Fair
  14. quote from Darren that made me cry laughing: “I don’t wear underwear, just a baby sock.”
  15. our 5th wedding anniversary <3
  16. Pluto!
  17. marriage equality
  18. Grace & Frankie
  19. my super fun awesome 30th birthday
  20. Darren’s new job
  21. new ornaments full of symbolism for our tiny Christmas tree
  22. Boots Botanics products
  23. my brother keeping me from losing my mind on more than one occasion
  24. and letting us borrow his truck for a couple weeks. Who knew I’d enjoy driving it so much?
  25. homemade sweet potato soup
  26. drinking on the stoop with the good neighbors when our power went out
  27. quinoa lasagna
  28. Tyler & Kim’s wedding/mini HS reunion
  29. that picture of a bald raccoon
  30. spacetaco
  31. the Caroll Spinney (Big Bird) reddit AMA
  32. I started playing World of Warcraft early in the year and I am surprisingly into it (see #7)
  33. binge watching all of Master of None in one night… two Fridays in a row.
  34. so much more on Netflix: Tig, two John Mulaney specials, Aziz… it was the year of comedy.
  35. re-reading some favorite memoirs
  36. end of the year Star Wars marathon
  37. Penguin the Magpie
  38. donations to Planned Parenthood
  39. being able to make monetary donations occasionally without totally freaking out about our budget
  40. tumblr
  41. guided meditation, even if I’m not very good at it
  42. Sufjan Stevens’ newest album, Carrie & Lowell
  43. If Stanley Tucci Were Your Boyfriend
  44. The Small, Happy Life
  45. not being sick during my Christmas break for once
  46. Gaelic Storm at the State Fair
  47. making Darren a penis cake for his 30th birthday, because he asked me to
  48. dog snuggles, aka snuggz.
  49. Tim’s “Made My Year” list
  50.  A Brief for the Defense, which I found on Tim’s list. I’m not generally into poetry, but this one is unreal.

the long story of our busted car

The heat in our car died last weekend. Darren called the shop on Monday and I dropped it off early Tuesday morning. It was all fixed in time for Darren to get to work Wednesday afternoon. The cost was several hundreds of dollars. It is basically a sad tradition for us to have costly vehicle repairs at Christmastime- this was the case with our last vehicle as well.

Last night I had just arrived at a Christmas party with a bunch of my favorite friends, when I got two texts from Darren. He was at work. The texts said “Call me now” and “NOW” and I told Kate that if something else on the car had broken I was going to flip my shit. What actually happened was Darren was out on a delivery and had parked. He was still in the car when a moving van backed into him.


The police (as well as Darren’s employer) were called and Darren made his delivery. Might as well get the job done while you wait, eh? The guy who hit him invited him inside to keep warm. Apparently it was a little awkward (lol, no shit), but the guy was decent and thankful that Darren was being so chill about the whole situation. Even though this guy at first was all “do we really need to call the cops though?” YES. YES YOU DO. Anyway, St. Anthony police showed up first and couldn’t do anything because the accident actually occurred in St. Paul. Eventually the correct department arrived and a report was filed. It was determined that the other driver was completely at fault, so score one for us. Darren didn’t want to wait another hour+ for a tow truck to arrive so he managed to hobble the car home. His manager sent another driver to pick him up and bring him to the shop. He made sure Darren got dinner, and they filled out an incident report. The bartender gave him a drink on the house because clearly everyone there is SO NICE YOU GUYS. His manager offered to set Darren up with a ride home, but his friend was on the way.

He’re another thing. Whenever either of us have had to call our insurance company for anything, they are always just incredibly awesome. The woman he spoke with last night was so great Darren told her supervisor to give her a raise. She called back and said she was going to be the adjuster on our claim. Hooray!

While all this was happening, I was at this party contemplating what the hell we were going to do. Darren needs a car for work and as you may know they are also super handy for life in general. Plus it’s Christmas time, so. Eventually I remembered that Kyle has two vehicles and I shot him a hopeful text. My brother, my hero. He’s going to let us borrow one of ’em. I owe him so many burritos!

At the end of the day, this is all a huge pain in the ass that magically could not be going more smoothly– so far, at least. Who knows what happens from here. Plus if the car is totaled then we’re pretty pissed about the brand new blower motor we just had put in. But nobody was hurt and we’re going to be able to live our lives in the meantime. That’s somethin’.


Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I think I forgot to make resolutions. I’m fine with that.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

A coworker, a coworker’s wife, many FB friends, but most importantly Jenna birthed Nephew Johnston!

Did anyone close to you die?

Grandma. <3

What countries did you visit?

Just this one, but at least we made it all the way to the coast.

What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

More money, as per usual. Ooh, also 100% healthy and cavity-free teeth plz.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

No babies in 2015! Finally went on a proper vacation. Paid off some debt too, so that rules.

What was your biggest failure?

I dunno, probably not paying off even more debt. Also, getting our rental car towed. I am still embarrassed about that.

What was the best thing you bought?

A new TV stand. Thanks IKEA! Our living room looks so much better.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

All the badasses at Planned Parenthood, fighting the good fight.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I CANNOT EVEN WITH SO MUCH BULLSHIT COMING FROM SO MANY DIRECTIONS with the Trump and the guns and PP doesn’t “sell baby parts” omg

Where did most of your money go?

It’s a toss-up between my dentist and the car.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?


What song will always remind you of 2015?

Hmm. Something by TSwift, probably. Maybe Shake it Off, even though it was released last year.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or Sadder?

I mean right this second my face totally hurts so I’m probably sadder, but over all… same?

Thinner or fatter?

Maybe thinner? Maybe the same.

Richer or poorer?

Probably about the same.

What do you wish you’d done more of?


What do you wish you’d done less of?


How will you be spending Christmas?

Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas Day with Darren’s. Hopefully D doesn’t have to work Christmas Eve.

Did you fall in love in 2015?

Yes, with California.

How many one-night stands?

I have one night stand. It holds many things.

What was your favorite TV program?

Law & Order: SVU. I caught up on several seasons and regret nothing.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


What was the best book you read?

The Doctor is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Sufjan Stevens’ newest album. So good. So sad.

What did you want and get?

Maybe I should answer this after Christmas. Kyle got my name in the drawing and I know he’s getting me something off my list!

What did you want and not get?

A million dollars.

What were your favorite films of this year?

I seriously cannot remember the last time I went to a movie. Maybe we’ll go see Star Wars.

What did you do on your birthday?

I threw myself a party at home and it was the beeeessssst!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

Neutrals 4 lyfe.

What kept you sane?

Yoga. I confess I haven’t been to the studio in months though. Thanks, Lesley Fightmaster!

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

ADA Rafael Barba. In the non-SVU world you may know him as Raul Esparza.

What political issue stirred you the most?


Who did you miss?

The fam.

Who was the best new person you met?

Nephew Johnston! Literally a new person, and also the best.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:

Listen to your dentist.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

I can sleep in ’til noon anytime I want
Though there’s not many days that I do

curse the darkness

I was minding my own business Thursday night when I heard a loud crash, which was followed by darkness. A tree branch/half of an entire tree fell and ripped the power lines off our building.

20150918_070606 So that was exciting. Xcel came out right away to cut off the power to the downed lines so nothing would catch fire, but told us it might be a few days before power was restored to the building due to the extensive damage.

We ended up sitting out on the stoop with our neighbors from across the hall, sharing the contents of our liquor cabinets. Sleep was rough without the sweet white noise of a fan, but I managed a few hours. Our landlords ended up getting the power going again about 18 hours after it went out, so there were lights and such when I got home from work on Friday. I’ve heard it may be a temporary fix because some repairs may have to be done before the permanent lines get replaced, but I’ll take it. No TV or internet though, because of course Comcast’s setup is in the same spot where the tree fell. So much for my weekend of Netflix. Comcast did come out yesterday morning though, so all was not lost. The food in our freezer even survived, but I did have to toss some stuff from the fridge. Not the end of the world.

Now maintenance just needs to remove the tree and fix the gutter. Then we’ll be all set.

meet the gardners

My brother Tyler got married last weekend. Well, he and Kim were married in a small legal ceremony in May, but they had a larger ceremony and reception Saturday. So now all four of us are old marrieds. Nice.

The whole shindig was held at Tyler and Cody’s mom and stepdad’s house, just outside of Pequot. They have a large property and huge paved area that is perfect for a party. On the way up I told Darren “I wonder if they’ll do a taco bar,” and I was totally right. Taco bars are perfect for weddings, guys. Especially when it’s all DIY. So easy, so affordable!

Tyler and Kim have four kids between them, so congrats to the whole family! Here are some pictures.

ceremony 04

Kim’s sons walked her down the aisle.

Kim's daughter was her Maid of Honor.

Kim’s daughter was her Maid of Honor.

ceremony 25

Heading into the "Honeymoon Suite" immediately following the ceremony.

Heading into the “Honeymoon Suite” immediately following the ceremony.

cake 2