Stress Level: Outer Limits – Part I

Our stress levels around here the past two weeks have been ridiculous. I know it’s not just us — BDH has said that so many people he knows are so very stressed out right now — but for us, being this consistently stressed out is pretty unusual.

We’re tired. Like, super-over-tired. None of us, not even That Girl, are getting good sleep. And our days, and the stress of them, are adding to the problem.

Nothing catastrophic has happened. As we talked about this morning, we have a roof over our heads and food on the table and we’re safe and healthy and loved. It’s not *that* kind of stress. It’s just… Life is conspiring against us right now in moderate ways to make us feel really, really stressed.

Our stress — let me show you it!

Well, let’s start with the bigger things.

First off, about two weeks ago, That Girl was getting off the bus, and her bus driver, John, said he would no longer be picking her up. It was a temp job so he was moving on, but another driver would come at the same time and the route would be the same and everything. We were sad; John was a really nice guy.

Just after that, I got a call from BDH that he was coming home early from work. He has bluetooth in his car, so we were chatting about John, and about taking That Girl to karate that evening, and whatnot. BDH was stopped on a regional road, preparing to turn off onto a street and wind his way through the city and home. Traffic was heavy, because it was just about rush hour.

Suddenly there was a big bang and BDH said, “I’ve been in an accident. I’ve been rear-ended. I am fine, but I have to go deal with this. Stay by the phone and I will call you back.”

So we waited, a little panicky.

As it turns out, he was hit while stopped, waiting for the turn, by a school bus, and the bus was hit by a truck. He was hit hard enough that he lost his rear window onto the road, and the airbags in both other vehicles went off. But he was fine.

We went to get him after all the police reports were done and the car was towed to a yard to await repairs. We stopped off to eat on the way home, and went home to let BDH rest. The next morning, promptly at 9, he got on the phone with the claims people and got things underway to make a claim and get things taken care of.

We rested for the weekend.

Monday morning, we got That Girl ready for the bus, and walked her out to wait. The bus pulls up, the doors open…


We were gobsmacked. How? How is the woman who was inattentive enough while driving her bus to rear-end another vehicle at non-insignificant speed — LET ALONE OUR CAR — be the woman driving our bus? And we were supposed to entrust the life of our daughter — our most precious, hard-sought, much-loved child — to this woman on a daily basis? WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK WAS GOING ON?

We were, to put it mildly, unimpressed.

Now, this bus company is new to the area. They’ve been a shitshow from the first moment on the roads here. We’ve heard stories of buses just not showing up at schools to pick up kids. There were something like three other accidents involving these school buses just on that night alone, one involving That Girl’s karate sempai.

And don’t get me started on my daughter’s route, which drives all over hell’s half acre. On the first day, my daughter was at least an hour and a half riding home, and that has only improved slightly so now she’s on the bus at least two hours a day, for a ride that took half the time last year and was just as far-flung.

(She is exhausted from this daily grind. The kid’s ten. She doesn’t need to spend two hours on the bus. She has enough learning challenges without being bone weary at school every day.)

Now to be fair, the routes are set by the board. And our complaints to the bus company went unheeded, so we called the board and voiced our complaints. They have been receptive and are working to change the route and make it less of a long haul, which I appreciate.

But they can’t do anything about the driver. And we have issues with the driver, not least of which is OH YEAH SHE TOTALLED OUR VEHICLE.

Oh yes, did I mention that? The word came back yesterday that the vehicle is not repairable, it was totalled, the damage was too much. THAT IS HOW HARD THIS WOMAN HIT IT. WITH HER FUCKING SCHOOL BUS.


Moving on to the insurance, which is to take care of these issues, let me tell you THEY REALLY AREN’T. There has been issue after issue after issue in dealing with all parties in the scenario — insurance company, broker, repair shop, dealership. If you can even get through to anyone, of course. This recommended-by-the-dealer repair shop can’t fix the car because they’re in a tiff with the insurance company. The repair shop can’t use new parts for the repair, and now that no repairs will be done, that insurer can’t pay for the full value of the car, because the broker says BDH declined the waiver of depreciation.


I highly doubt that. I mean, it was a new, leased vehicle when we got it, as a treat for BDH with a bonus he received after a number of very, VERY stressful years at work. There is no way in hell he would decline ANY coverage on his brand new car. He loved that car. He babied that car. He took meticulous care of that car.


So what they are saying now is that the $8000 we have sunk into the car through payments just over the last year and a half, the investment we have made, is forfeit. They say when he insured it, he declined this waiver, so they don’t have to pay the full value of the car. So this means, essentially, that we cannot afford to replace the car, and they are taking the car and the money and just waving bye-bye.


BDH will have to go to the brokers and demand they PROVE to him that he declined this waiver. What did he sign? Oh, it was over the phone, you say? PLAY ME THE RECORDING. They are supposed to record all these calls, so PROVE IT.

(Now if it is in fact the case that he did, not knowing what it meant, well, that’s on us. But as I say, it’s very unlikely.)

And I say this as someone who literally grew up in the insurance business. I grew up in the foyer of a major insurance company where my father was an executive. Every summer and part time job I ever had was in insurance. My husband’s first job out of university was for an insurance software company, where my then-inlaw was an executive. Where I also worked for five years. The brokerage we are with was where my husband spent another few years working.

Safe to say, we know our way around insurance a bit more, or are at least a bit more familiar with it, than the average bloke.

And, BDH has has to deal with all the wrangling and back-and-forth-ing at work, in the middle of his extremely already stressful work day. So not only has he been up to his whatzis in work stress, which is what his life is like normally, but now he also has to deal with this extra shit on top of that in the middle of the day.

Fantastic. He’s a walking stroke waiting to happen, moreso than he usually is. Lovely.

This also leads to the stress of not being able to afford to replace the car. His baby. His pride and joy. We will have to make do with a beater car, which I will take on, and give my almost-owned car over to him to drive. Which is not the end of the world, of course. It’s probably doable. I don’t need much, just something reliable so I can get That Girl where she needs to go throughout the week.

But that is not the point. The point is, through no fault of our own, we have been put in this position by OTHER PEOPLE. The broker, the insurance company, and oh yeah, THE FUCKING BUS DRIVER THAT IS STILL PICKING MY KID UP IN THE MORNINGS.

The bus driver who gave me a hard time for not being out on Tuesday morning because That Girl was sick, so she had to wait and did we call the bus company and let them know and you know, she could give us her cell number and in future we could just text or call and let her know…


So what you are implying is that you expect me to jump through hoops not to inconvenience you WHEN THIS IS YOUR FUCKING JOB? And you want me to call you, which I am pretty sure IS AGAINST BOARD POLICY, so you can receive texts WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING A SCHOOL BUS.

I am thinking I know why you fucking totalled our car now.

So, yeah. That’s been fun.

This has been since the 14th — so, two weeks. It’s a drama that is going to drag on some, too. Yippee.

Stay tuned for part two of our story of stress, in which the women in our family get their own special versions of stress! Lucky!