Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Accident...Some Attitude...and A Reversal of Fault

Last month I had a fender bender as I was pulling out of Reid's school. Luke was in the car with me and we were backing out of the school driveway which is very near a corner of a fast moving street. Of course I looked to make sure no one was behind me or coming around the corner as I backed out...and everything looked clear in my rear view camera. However as I backed out a gentleman came quickly around the corner and hit my car which was already out in the street and *turned* as I was about to go north up the street, the same direction he was going in...which is why he hit the left side of my car rather than the right since I had already assumed my position in the street (a point I had to keep making to the insurance co. over and over again!). A bummer for sure...but the story is actually one of perseverance when it comes to the insurance company and pressing to make sure your side of the story is heard...and if giving some attitude is necessary, so be it...because as I found judgements can be "overturned"! 

The morning the incident happened I called our insurance co. to report what happened and since we both have the same insurance there was to be no out of pocket deductible, we both would have our cars fixed and I believed her to say it was equal fault. I was fine with that actually because I knew that would not affect my premium and was giving him the benefit of the doubt. No big deal I thought...until I opened a letter stating they found me 100% at fault and my premium would be going up. I was livid. It turns out there was a 3rd party who had made this judgement based on his side of the story. THEY NEVER EVEN TALKED TO ME but based their decision on the grounds that I was backing out, so it was my fault, period. Ummhhh yeah, let's just say this did not go over well with me. I was also told that his car was classified "totaled" and they paid him a check for $3000. Are you kidding me?? Do you see the minimal damage on my car...? I was basically stationary in the street and his car, going fast, hit the side of my car causing damage to his right side (doesn't that constitute evidence that he was speeding?). Apparently the body damage cost as much to fix as the car was worth so they totaled it out and paid him a nice fat check and he can still drive his car.  

I asked to speak to this "third party girl's" supervisor who was quite perturbed when he found out she had never spoken with me before making the judgement and further ticked when I told him I had an eye witness... and explained that this man was coming around a corner not going straight down the street as he indicated...and that it was my left side of the car that was damaged which could only have occurred had I already been far into the street. He was frustrated that all the facts were not layed out and apologized but said it was still my fault. Every time I told him something he said, "well that's not what the other guy said"...ummm, are you not representing both of us?? Since when does this man's false account override mine...especially when you never got my side in the first place? I asked for the case to be reopened and for someone to go to the site to see just how close the driveway is to the corner and to see the flow of traffic. This was never done...they looked at the street view via satellite and considered it "looked at"...not good enough for me! They finally spoke with the eye witness but concluded that it was still my fault...though she gave them the same account I did. I was livid...totally livid. I told the man that had this truly been my fault I would not be fighting, I am not like that...I would take the lump and move on but it wasn't my fault and I had grounds to fight so fight on I did....and I knew they just needed me to go away because they blew this case from the beginning and they knew it, they never should of paid this guy so quickly. But, fight on I did and I told the man I would cancel my insurance because of the way they handled the situation and because they did not honor my previous written request to have someone go to the scene (I have been with this insurance since I was 16). He agreed to go to the scene and would "try" to have an open mind but he didn't see how he would gain any other information to change his mind. How is that for confidence that he will "try to have an open mind"? So, at this point I was just ticked and wanted him to come to the scene just to purely inconvenience him because at this point I had come to understand that they stood to get in trouble if they changed things now since they had already paid him (it had something to do with the type of insurance he has and needing to make a claim against mine). But....I got him to come, and as fate would have it my eye witness was there when he arrived and was able to again give her account....and I made him take pictures of my car out in the street as it was that day and made him aware of my rear view camera and the beeping sounds it makes if I get too close to anyone which never went off that day because the incident happened too fast...because the other driver came around the corner too fast. And you know what.....??? After 40 minutes of going over more time...he looked at me and said, "I tried to come out here with an open mind and as I see this now, this is not your fault". Excuse me...this is what I have been telling you all along! Aghhh, good news...good, good news! Remember that roll of the eyes and smirk I told you about in the last post that Toby so often has to give me? it again but this time with a "way to go Tiger". LOL....sometimes it pays to be a tiger! 
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Luke Turned 8

Our Luke is now another year older... yesterday July 26th our oldest turned 8. What a fun age! Toby will tell you that 8 years ago I woke up and literally willed it to be our first child's birth day. My due date was actually July 25th but I had told Toby that if I could make it to my due date I'd like to go one day longer because the 26th sounded like a "cute" date. Like he has had to do with me so many times through the years...he just rolled his eyes and walked away with a smirk. Sooo, 5:00 AM I awoke on the 26th with back pain and contractions....and walllahh, we had our first baby on the 26th... a cute date indeed for a cute little boy. Actually I have to add this little side note...during labor we watched both part 1 and part 2 of Father of the Bride (my favorite movies)....this was all part of the "birth plan" you know :)... along with Andrea Bocceli playing in the background. Anyway, as we were watching part 2 we came to the part where Diane Keaton announces to Steve Martin about Anne's due date..."I am so glad Annie is due July 26th, that is a nice even number". I had never remembered that part but it stopped Toby in his tracks and he had to rewind to hear it again....and again, that familiar roll of the eyes and smirk...and a "you sooo willed this!!!" :)

Well, more rolling of the eyes and smirks were had by both of us yesterday as we tried our hand at parenting six 7 and 8 year olds. We decided to do a good old fashioned party, like the ones we grew up with. Luke invited just a few friends from school and we took the boys frisbee golfing, then on to the tennis courts, then back to our house for swimming and a BBQ with some Wii and lego creating thrown in the mix. It was lots of fun, but we had to laugh at one point when we were looking at 6 sweaty and red faced kiddos running like the wind after their frisbees, wondering when they would catch on that really all they were doing was playing chase. Then during tennis I thought we were in for it when I realized none of the kids could volley the ball back and forth more than once... and I could see the anciness and frustration settling in on their faces when Toby came to the rescue and his coaching genes went into full gear as he rounded everyone up and started doing drills with them. One of the drills included hitting the ball over the net and if they hit me...a moving target, they got extra cake...let's just say "fast footed mom" did not need to relinquish any extra cake....or gargantuan cupcakes as it was.

Here are some photos from our day of good old fashioned fun! :)

Toby laying the ground rules... :)
Mom had to try her hand at frisbee golf too.
The kids decorated their own "king sized" cupcakes.
No party is complete until someone looses a tooth!! :)
How cute are they?
Of course little Mr. Reid had to show off some dance moves during the party.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Physical Therapy...And The Wii

Wii fit Pictures, Images and Photos
Last Friday we had our final appointment with Reid's physical therapist...what a milestone! Truly...what a milestone, when I think back to my sweet newborn baby who was so floppy and had very little muscle tone. He hated tummy time, didn't sit until close to 10 months old or attempt scooting on his tummy until just before his first birthday, didn't stand until he was 19 months old or attempt steps until 21 months...but my baby is steadily walking (in a very determined way I might ad with both his little arms just a swinging fiercely), running, climbing stairs upright (without using his hands or rails!!!), kicks a ball with both feet (one at a time of course :) )...and is attempting to jump (he tries so hard but still only gets one foot up at a time, but it sure gets points for cuteness...and many giggles from Luke!!) 

We could not be more excited for Reid's gross motor growth...or more grateful for all the support we received from Donna, his physical therapist. Donna started with him just before his first birthday when he was only beginning to combat crawl. She was so fantastic with him and pointed out things that we did not even see or know to look for. She pointed out that he was weaker on his left side and therefore only wanted to put weight on the right side. He threw with his left hand and tended to grab toys with his left... we thought that that had meant he was just showing a dominance for his left side (his dad is a lefty) but Donna pointed out that actually it was more a muscular issue in that when he reached or threw with his left all the weight bearing was actually on the right, so we worked on balancing that out and helped him to utilize both sides of his body. Donna helped Reid move from combat crawling to crawling on his knees, to standing up on his own in the middle of the room, then on to walking...he actually took his first steps for Donna...and I wasn't even there for it, Daddy was there in place for that appointment (sigh). In the last few months we actually added Wii Fit into our therapy equation. We started out first just using the step board to help him start working on going up and down a small step...but then we graduated him on to all the activities.  He was and is so motivated by the Wii Fit, he runs in place, he bends his knees and shifts his weight from right to left, he moves his hips back and forth for the hula hoop game, and he even bends down and holds his arms up in the air for the ski jump and tries to jump on cue (he is not actually completing the activities as Luke would but Reid is content with just seeing the activity on the screen and moves appropriately for each new activity). I have to say I recommend the Wii Fit for anyone but it is especially great for helping our little ones gain strength and use all their muscles.

Donna...thank you for all you did to help our Reid! We are so thrilled that he is the first child you have worked with to be released so early who has Down syndrome...not because of budget cuts, but because he has met his goals, we attribute that to you! We will miss you but know that you will now have time to help another little one walk, run, and ultimately soar!

Monday, July 6, 2009

10 Years Ago...

This week Toby and I will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary! It is hard to believe in many ways. Such a sweet time in ones life when you embark on marriage and begin a journey...and begin a new family, not knowing what is ahead of you on the road but so glad to be walking it together. I clearly remember an older gentleman whom we met one day on our honeymoon ask us how long we've been married. When I replied with , "2 days", he shouted out to his wife who was a few feet from us..."Sylvia! Sylvia!... they've only been married 2 days!"...and she came over and hugged both of us. I crack up thinking about it...they must have been married at least 40 plus years so to hear 2 days must have made her impulsively reach out and grab us as if to say..."hold on dearies, it's a wild ride!!". It has been a wild ride...sometimes, but so worth it.

Toby and I were married in the church in the pictures, on July 10th, 1999. We took the boys there a few months ago to show them where our story, their story, started. The summer before we were married I had spent some time in England, Paris, and Ireland. The church we were married in reminded me of the many beautiful churches I saw on that trip... so once I saw it I knew that was where I wanted to be married.

So much has happened in the last 10 years and when I look to the next 10, so much life will be experienced for our boys. Luke will be graduating high school and Reid will be starting junior high. I can't imagine that, yet at the same time know that if the next 10 years go as quickly as the first I want to hold on tight and enjoy every season, every peak, every valley, and every moment with my little family that I love so dearly! Happy Anniversary Toby!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The World Needs More Trigs...Not Fewer

I just listened to Sarah Palin explain her reasoning for stepping down from Governor of Alaska. I am confident there are many reasons she has made this decision...but was saddened to hear her explain how her older children have had a hard time dealing with how her littlest son Trig, who has Down syndrome, has been "mocked and ridiculed by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently". Why are people like this?...Just so just cuts at my heart that people can be so insensitive and ignorant? She then emotionally stated that the world actually needs more Trigs...not fewer. I Whole Heartedly Agree! Are the ones who have a child or family member with Down syndrome the only ones to see this? I guarantee that the ones who are saying the cruel things have never taken the opportunity to sit with or gotten to know someone with an extra chromosome. If they had they would know what we know. My little Reid has helped me view the world differently and given me eyes to see beauty where I did not necessarily recognize it before. He has expanded my heart and made me a better person, truly he has. Reid's pure spirit brings so much joy, he is so happy, and just so darn funny. In fact, right before we watched Sarah's press release Reid was showing off by dancing around the house with a twinkle in his eye because he knew he was being funny... and was thoroughly enjoying making us laugh with his little moves (what a little charmer we have on our hands). Sarah, I agree with you....though not everyone can comprehend least not yet, we do need more Trigs.