I love this man. And the baby, too.
Hubby travels everyday for work, logging on average about 40,000 miles on his vehicle each year. That is a serious amount of road time. But with all the daily mileage required, he doesn’t do overnights away from home unless he absolutely has too. He wants to be with his family. Often, that means he gets up before dawn and gets home well past dinner time just so he be home with his family instead of alone at a hotel. For him, the extended road time is well worth it because he wants to see his wife and kiss his boys good night, even if they are already asleep. Last week was an exception in that he had out of town meetings for most of the week.
Now I really try not to invite trouble into our lives, but it’s a well documented fact that when Hubby is out of town, bad things will ensue at home. Usually in the form of a violent stomach bug sweeping through the family, or major appliances breaking down, or someone in our immediate family needing hospitalization, or as was the case last week, strong storms that knocked the power out. Some unexpected illness or calamity will occur. We’ve come to accept the chaos theory that his absence from our home brings about.
Sometimes we even laugh about it. After the fact, of course. And after a lot of baking therapy on my part.
With Hubby being away from home for a few days, we were all ready for him to be back home. Unfortunately, Hubby’s flight was delayed in leaving (for no apparent reason) so he wasn’t going to see the boys before bedtime. When his flight finally did take off, he got so far as our home airport, and soon realized that they were circling the town in a holding pattern. Soon the captain informed them that the airport’s guidance landing system was down, and it was too foggy to land the plane without it. Thankfully, the plane was able to land at another airport that was only a couple of hours from home. So at about midnight, after more than 8 hours of travel time, Hubby was able to rent a car to drive the 2 hours home.
Let me pause for a minute to insert a tiny bit of my neurosis here…see, with Hubby doing all of the driving that he does, much of it on isolated rural highways, I have developed this irrational fear of him getting into a serious car accident while on the road. I say irrational because Hubby is a very good defensive driver, and those skills allow him to avoid many near-accidents with distracted drivers on a daily basis.
I am convinced that Hubby has his own personal guardian angel riding shotgun with him. But while he can anticipate what other drivers may or may not do on the road, it is much harder to gauge what a large animal will do. Especially one that he didn’t see.
Because Hubby’s most dangerous driving adversaries are not distracted drivers, but are deer. When we moved Up North, we were told that it wasn’t a question of if we would ever hit a deer with our cars, it was merely a question of when. Deer are large, solid, skittish animals that are anything but smart when it comes to running in front of a moving vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed. They don’t think about it–they run first, then freeze when they see the car about to punt them off the road.
Thus the phrase: Looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
You can almost see the wheels turning in their little deer brains, as if they are thinking, “Here I am, just minding my own business, sprinting across this highway when BAM! Out of nowhere this car comes along and hits me! Can you believe the nerve of some people? Since when do cars drive on the highway? Geez!”
Hubby clips or grazes several deer each year, but since he is an alert driver, he has been able to avoid fully hitting any of them head on. Which is good because when a several hundred pound animal collides with a car driving at a high rate of speed? Bad things can happen, the least of which is to the animal.
That is exactly what happened to Hubby the other night while he was driving the two hours home from the airport after his flight was re-routed. He was driving in the rain on a rural highway when, seemingly out of nowhere, a large deer ran right in front of his tiny little rental car. It was a big one, too!
No evasive maneuvers in the world were going to steer Hubby around that animal. He was going to hit the deer head on.
Just as he was bracing for impact–a miracle occurred. Now, I’m not one to use the term miracle lightly, but I have no other explanation for what happened next. Right before the point of impact, when Hubby should have hit that deer and sent it careening into the windshield, the deer slipped and fell, rendering it on it’s side. It was at that exact moment that Hubby ran over the big buck with his car. He likened it to going over a giant speed bump at 70 m.p.h.
I feel that I should tell you that it was at this point in the story that I squeezed my eyes shut while my heart dropped into my stomach, sending bile into the back of my throat. My worst fear had just been realized.
I took a deep breath, opened my eyes, and realized that Hubby was relaying the story while standing right in front of me, obviously safe and unharmed. Seeing that he was in fact fine and in one piece, my thoughts immediately turned to the welfare of the animal. I wrinkled my nose and asked the question of which I already knew the answer:
“Honey, the deer didn’t walk away, did it?”
Hubby replied as deftly as I would expect, “How should I know? Once I realized that I was still alive, I was trying to assess the damage to that dinky rental car!”
Since the car was obviously driveable, he pulled off at the nearest exit to survey the damage rather than along the dark, rainy highway.
This is what he saw…absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Bupkis. Even though Hubby literally ran over a large deer while driving the legal speed limit of 70 m.p.h., the neither he nor the car sustained any obvious damage.
That is a miracle to me.