The phone rang less than 30 minutes after he left. He doesn't usually call me from the airport when he leaves so early, I thought. It was shortly after 6am when I answered the phone.
"Remember when you told me to 'stay safe' this morning?", he asked.
"Yes", I replied, wondering where he was headed with that inquiry.
"Well...", he started. "We were going in reverse at 50mph. ...The brakes failed. ...The cabbie panicked. ...I was waiting for us to flip over. ...There was a small grass fire...." What?! Was I waking up from some surreal nightmare? No, this was real. My husband was involved in his first serious cab accident. He's ridden in many cabs and always has some kind of story to tell when he returns home. This time, the story came shortly after he left home.
I listened to my husband recall the events of the early morning. How he could stay so calm and talk the inexperienced cabbie through the incident is beyond my comprehension. His regular cabbie, Francis, was out of town but had arranged a replacement. This replacement cabbie remained frozen in fear as the cops proceeded to find out what led up to the accident. The cops, on the other hand, were calm and collected with a real "Southern attitude", as my husband later recalled. Perhaps they've seen it far too many times. Why, I'm sure they wondered, would he put his cab in reverse at 50mph?
Panic and fear caused the cabbie to mistake reverse for neutral as my husband talked him through the steps necessary to get out of the stalled engine. How did my husband know what to do? He had a similar incident with his Mercedes back in college in Germany. The gas pedal got stuck and he managed to turn off the ignition before he would have crashed into oncoming traffic.
The reason was unclear as to what caused this morning's accident...driving across all of the lanes of the highway and ending up in a grassy ditch. "Turn off the engine!", my husband kept instructing him. The cabbie was still frozen in fear. By him not turning off the engine immediately, he caused the small grass fire on the side of the highway. My husband shrugged off the EMTs' requests of taking him to the hospital. He needed to be on the plane to Toronto. Needed to take care of the customer. That's my husband. Calm and collected in a state of crisis. Quite the opposite from me.
That is how my day started this morning and continued with distractions of Sandy, the great storm, and how it affected his travel and everyone in the storm's path. Would my husband be able to return home on Friday's flight?
The highlight of the day was spending the morning with Cinnamon at her Fall Party. She had fun making a pumpkin hat...
...painting a pumpkin...
...playing bingo, and rolling out playdoh.
Sagey wanted to stay home with me and sleep some more. We were running late this morning and I was running on four hours of sleep.
In the afternoon, panic set in as I noticed that my older daughter had not arrived home. The bus stop is a mere five houses from our house. If I walk outside our door, I can see it. Last week, the bus driver had asked me if I approved my daughter being walked home by an older neighbor girl. I said I was fine with that. Today I assumed the girl would be in school. She wasn't. The driver did not let my daughter off the bus. Immediately I called up the school looking for my daughter. They got a hold of the bus driver who was finishing his route of dropping off the rest of the children. After a few minutes, he returned to our stop with my daughter all safe and sound. I learned that first graders are not allowed to walk off the bus alone. I had thought that applied only to kindergartners, but apparently not.
Food was not as interesting today. Cinnamon had five madeleines left over from her party. Not for long though. For dinner, the girls weren't too hungry and did not want the leftover lentil soup I was having. They preferred tortillas and naan bread. Sagey slept through dinner, after having played outdoors for a couple of hours. He later awoke and I read a few pages of Paddington Bear to the younger two. Saffron was already asleep by the time I read to them.
As the events of the day unfolded, I realized that you never know how long you have. You have now. You had yesterday. You don't have tomorrow...yet. Make sure you make the most of "now".