I spent most of today with the family. The Pipsqueak was her usual self (even has her old cold back, darn it!) but the reality of what could have happened yesterday was really sinking in for AJ. She's given us more details about the accident, and all I can think of is how obscenely close we came to losing her and Miri.
Even though the tow company's yard is officially closed on Sundays, the woman who answered the phone told AJ she could come anytime between 1:00 and 4:00 and she'd let her in to get all her belongings out of the Highlander. We tossed some boxes & shopping bags into the trunk of Mom & Dad's car and headed over en masse to ensure AJ got everything out of the wreck.
Important note: If your vehicle ever has to be taken to a tow yard or junkyard, the insurance adjuster was adamant that EVERYTHING with a name, address, phone number, bank account number, credit card number, or any other kind of identifying data on it (even if it doesn't include a name) be removed from the vehicle ASAP. You don't need to deal with identity theft on top of the complications of a motor vehicle accident.
We were shocked at the damage, but as I said earlier, the engineering worked; at one point AJ said, "I loved that car!" and I replied, "And this time it loved you right back!" Afterwards, with visions of the horrors that could have been dancing in our minds, we caught our collective breaths and had a nice family dinner at the place Dad's nicknamed the slop chute. It's never felt so good to take turns chasing the Pipsqueak when she'd set off on safari or unexpectedly follow someone to the buffet.
But right now I'm going to shut up and post some photos as a warning to one and all: You may never need all the safety features of a well-built vehicle, and you may never need all the special safety features of a really good car seat for your child -- but one look at the photos below should be a wake-up call to the fact that maybe, just maybe, you will... and it's only because we followed the adage of "it's better to have and not need than to need and not have" that my sister and my niece are a little bruised but otherwise OK.
My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅-- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!