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Blood on Asphalt

Lost Fall

This August marks the three-year anniversary of the beginning of my journey through graduate school. All-in-all I’d rate the decision to go back to school my best decision of my professional life. It truly has been great. I’ve felt that I’ve become more valuable at work, I’ve met and befriended some spectacularly talented classmates (and professors), and it has been particularly fun to be a part of the school’s community during a period of major change.

But while the past three falls have been marked by the start of school, it also means the beginning of high school football season, and the amping up of my other job as a stringer for the Daily Herald. I’ve been freelancing with the Herald since 2002, so that’s five high school football seasons. From December 1999 until early 2002, I was a sportswriter for Pioneer Pressbureau in Lake County. The three years before that, I was assistant sports editor at the LaPorte Herald-Argus (now a shell of its old self, but that’s another story).

So that means that since 1997, the end of August has meant my Friday nights have been dominated by football. That’s 11 years, an average of 10 games per year, 110-plus high school football contests since 1997.

Not this year. Every Friday, beginning Aug. 29, I will be otherwise occupied. Class on Friday. Can there be anything better?

Ever since I left the full-time world of journalism and began stringing, my hold on the title of “sportswriter” as my line of work has become more and more tenuous. That’s fine, I suppose. I’m engaged in my business, and while I enjoy the opportunity to freelance for the Herald (and I hope they like my work), it isn’t the center of my life. But it is part of my life.

I hope I can get back to stringing once I’m done with school (mid-February, hopefully), but this Fall will feel strange.

Travelers Insurance is on My List

This car was as good as new when I dropped it off at Bredemann Ford.OK, so you might have read about the accident my car dealer’s service department had while road-testing my Explorer following routine service.

At any rate, these are pictures of my 2004 Explorer hours after the Friday afternoon collision. As I said, my dealer-issued loaner was a 2007 Ford Edge, metallic orange (or copper, as they officially call it). I made fun of the color, but the car itself was terrific. Rode like a dream, handled great, seemed to give aOuch! vibe of “I’ll save Detroit by myself if I have to.” It didn’t hurt that it was loaded: satellite radio, GPS navigation system, etc. It was a fun car to play with, even if my insistence on playing with all the toys drove my wife crazy.

At any rate, the facts of the crash came in, and they were as follows: Ford Explorer was traveling south on Waukegan Road in the left lane. The right lane was backed up at the stoplight at Chestnut. One car left space at a driveway for cars to turn in This is why 21-year-old women shouldn’t pull out onto Waukegan Road.and turn out. That same driver waved a 1997 Toyota Camry, driven by a 21-year-old woman from Highland Park, to turn left onto northbound Waukegan Road. The driver of the Toyota didn’t think about the left lane not being backed up and pulled out in front of my Ford Explorer.

The Toyota driver’s insurance is Travelers. Travelers agreed that they should accept 100 percent liability, so I had the car towed to  the Maaco in Wheeling on Milwaukee and Hintz.Yes, the front door won’t open! The frame better not be bent!

That’s when I had to bring back the service loaner and go to Enterprise Rent-a-Car where the car Travelers has rented for me awaited. I will be without my Explorer for three weeks. During this time, I plan to:

  • Take a trip to New Buffalo, MI
  • Pick up some lumber and other odds and ends up at Lowe’s or Home Depot with my father in law
  • Pick up a heavy and large piece of furniture in Downers Grove.
  • Take that heavy and large piece of furniture elsewhere.
  • Possibly go up to Beloit and take delivery of surplus bus parts.

All the above would work well in an Explorer or similar vehicle. Many of the above will be impossible with my rental, a Ford Focus. My desk chair with wheels might have more pickup than my Focus.

I called Travelers and suggested that they could do better than this. They suggested I upgrade with Enterprise and pay out-of-pocket for any cost of an upgrade. That’s all fine and dandy except:

I paid out of pocket for my Explorer when I bought it!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe Illinois law states the insurance company should only pay for basic transportation. But if I wanted basic transportation, maybe I would have bought a basic car. I can’t even get a medium-sized sedan for the two-to-three weeks my car is out of commission.

And let’s remember the key point:

Their client hit MY car.

According to the Travelers’ adjuster, it was my fault that I gave Bredemann permission to road test my vehicle. God, do they suck.