Be warned, this is a super long post…at least for me….
Well, Christmas is pretty much winding down. All in all, it was a good Christmas. I had a bit of a meltdown mid-day Christmas, and ended up sleeping it off most of the afternoon. I just suddenly really missed Grampa. This was the first Christmas without him. The whole day, while good, felt wibbly-wobbly. I know he’s in a better place, and much happier because he actually feels good now. I wouldn’t have wished continuing to be miserable on him. The thing is, our immediate family is so small, and Grampa being gone just makes us an even smaller group. It somehow emphasizes the fact that he’s gone. It’s hard wrapping my head around that fact sometimes.
A few weeks ago I ended up watching the show Hoarders and it really got me to thinking about all the stuff I’ve got. I’ve got a lot of stuff. Really, much more stuff than anyone needs, and it’s just stuff. Sure, I have a few things that are really important and meaningful to me, but overall, I’ve just got a lot of stuff. I think the time has come to get rid of a lot of my stuff. I’ll keep my books and movies, but there’s so much random crap that’s been living in boxes under my bed and I haven’t looked at it in over a year. Clearly, I do not need it to function as a human being.
The thing is, going in the ditch in South Dakota a few weeks ago started tweaking my perspective on life and such. I guess, I never really filled all of you in on what happened after I wrote my post about going in the ditch and then being rescued and spending the night in Brookings. What happened following my writing of my December 9th post was even more “exciting” than going in the ditch.
About an hour after I wrote the December 9th post, I went to bed, only to wake up about 3 hours later in a full blown panic attack. I’d had a nightmare and all I remembered when I woke up was that I was driving, and the van was going off the road and all I could see was blinding whiteness. My panic attack basically consisted of my realizing that not only could Katy and I have frozen to death, but the fact that neither the 9-1-1 dispatcher or sheriff’s dispatcher were willing to do anything (even offer a kind word) to ease our terror. Basically, I felt that they had left us to die. Trust me, that’s pretty much the worst, most scared I’ve ever felt for my life (and ironically, we were completely safe at the point this feeling kicked in). I ended up calling my mom in the middle of the night, completely hysterical, wailing that, “9-1-1 left us to die!” Once mom got me calmed down a little and we prayed, I ended up calling my “sister” and we talked some more and prayed, and I was finally able to get to the point of being able to go back and get some sleep.
Now, when we went in the ditch on 12/9 Katy’s mom had talked to a towing company in Brookings, and they had agreed to rescue my vehicle on Monday morning. So, when Katy & I got rescued, I called 9-1-1 back and told them not to worry about moving the car, we’d made arrangements to get it in the morning. The dispatcher told me that was fine and that she’d documented it. I also left a big sign under the windshield on the driver’s side with my name and phone number. Come Monday morning, Katy called the towing company, and they told us that there were about 6 cars they needed to get before getting to ours, but they’d give us a call when they needed the keys. About an hour later we got a call from the towing company telling us that not only was the van no longer in the ditch, but the state troopers had my van towed during the night. Katy’s phone connection was bad, so she only got that my car was somewhere in a nearby county. I began calling counties, and each person I talked to was completely rude and unhelpful. Finally, Katy called the towing company back and asked if they could give her more details about where my vehicle had been towed. They told her that the van had been towed by Tiny Town Towing in Tiny Town, SD. Immediately, I turned to Google maps because I had never heard of Tiny Town. Tiny Town happens to be 40 miles southwest of Brookings (Perfectly logical place to tow it, right? Since I crashed 10 miles south of Brookings…)
I called Tiny Town Towing, and proceeded to get told that not only was my vehicle there, but there would also be fees to get it back. I asked repeatedly for specifics on the fees, and was told that it was $100 for getting the van out of the ditch, $3.50 per loaded mile for taking the van to Chester and also for taking the van from Tiny Town to Brookings, on top of which, I was told there would be fees for diesel fuel, service, and labor. I could not get her to tell me what the last three fees would come out to. So, I told her I would have to call her back. I ended up calling home finally and telling mom and dad what was going on. Dad told me he would call Tiny Town. At that point I was an emotional wreck because I’d spent the better part of two hours talking to rude person after rude person. Not only was I not being my normal sweet self on the phone, I was being a stern, direct, no-nonsense “I want answers” person.
A few minutes later I ended up getting a call from Sheriff who was the county sheriff responsible for towing my vehicle. Our conversation went something like this:
S: May I speak with Milia?
Me: This is Malia.
S: Hi, Malia, this is Sheriff from …. County. How are you today?
Me: Hi, Sheriff, I’m pretty stressed.
S: Well, I just wanted to let you know your vehicle is at Tiny Town Towing.
Me: Yes, I know, I’ve been talking to them. I don’t understand why my vehicle was towed without anyone letting me know that was happening. Especially, since I had left my phone number and let 9-1-1 know we’d made arrangements to get the vehicle towed this morning.
S: Well, it’s protocol that we tow all the vehicles from the side of the road. If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t call anyone who’s vehicles we towed.
Me: That does not make me feel better! Did you even bother to look at my license plate? It says I’m from Nebraska. I don’t know where anything is up here, and now I find out that my car is in Tiny Town which is apparently 40 miles south of here. I went off the road 10 miles from Brookings. I do not understand why this happened especially when I made arrangements and no one bothered to contact me.
SW: Well, you can’t just have anyone with a pick-up and a towline come out and get your vehicle. It has to be an actual tow company.
Me: I made arrangements with an actual tow company here in Brookings!
SW: Oh. Well, I can talk to Tiny Town Towing and see if they can bring your vehicle up. I was there when they pulled out your van and saw where they parked it. Of course, there will be fees for all this.
Me: I have a grand total of $20, I have no idea how you expect me to pay for this.
Honestly, there wasn’t much after that, basically I told him that we were trying to figure things out. He pretty much ended up the conversation there. If Barney Fife and Boss Hogg had a love child, I’m pretty sure that child would be Sheriff W.
Anyway, by that point, I just collapsed and gave up. Fortunately, shortly after that I got a call from dad and he’d worked things out with Tiny Town Towing. Turned out they gave him a completely different quote. The van got dropped off about an hour later. My sign was still sitting where I left it, and the windshield had been cleared off, so it was apparent that the sign had been seen.
I guess mom and dad were on the phone back and forth with the South Dakota state patrol all Monday. Every time the state patrol called back they would change their story. They eventually tried to tell the parents that I was on the road illegally, because the interstate had closed at 1:07 p.m. and I was out on the road after that. We easily disproved that by the fact that we had text message and phone log proof that we had gone in the ditch at 12:56.
Anyway, long story short, avoid South Dakota in the winter.
Getting back to my original point, the whole realizing that we could have died or at least gotten hospitalization level hypothermia has really been working on my whole thought process. I’ve started thinking about what I really believe and also what I want out of life. Super heavy (apparently, something’s wrong with the earth’s gravitational pull in 2012). So, I’ve started making a list of what I want to accomplish in life before I’m 30 (which happens 11/24/2014 at 2:35 a.m.).
1. Actually finish writing my novel. I’ve got a good first draft, and have started on the second draft. It’s not a life changing novel, or anything, but at least it’s better than some pop tween fiction I’ve read.
2. Lose weight. Okay, this is an ongoing one, but I really want to be 100 lbs. lighter by the time I’m 30. Which is totally do-able.
3. Clean out useless crap from my room and/or life.
4. Go on a date. To this point I’ve been on one date in my entire life, and while it wasn’t a bad date I’d like to experience one where I don’t feel completely blindsided. (It’s an entertaining story, and the guy was a nice, decent, good guy, just not the guy for me). I would like to reach 30 having gone on more than one date. It’s not a big deal, but it’d be nice. Plus, I’ve got two really super cute date appropriate shirts now, so that should count for something.
On a different note, even though Christmas is over for the year, you should totally take 5 minutes of your life and watch the Penny & Teddy video I posted yesterday. I have to say that making these videos gave me a whole new level of appreciation for professional puppeteers. I thought doing the videos would be quick and easy, and I was shocked that in order to achieve 7 minutes of semi-okay footage we worked for about 5 hours and only stopped because the two diabetic performers (mom and I) hadn’t had lunch and we were both about ready to pass out. Here’s the video I posted yesterday (yes, I realize that I’m harping on this, but I’m actually pretty proud of myself for actually finishing a project for once in my life, and that said project turned out fairly decent).
Okay, well, I’m all pau for tonight.
P.S. There’s no Tiny Town, SD, I just changed the town name. Also, I was nice and didn’t share the sheriff’s name. I should also mention, that I’ve always had a lot of respect for the law, and those who do that work, and overall it really saddened me to run into this situation.