Last weekend, Steve had a work team building weekend in the Cape. With some convincing from my dad (but not much!) I decided to use the excuse to go down there too and spend the weekend with my parents, especially since Sunday was Mother's Day.
I arranged for Steve's flight back to be changed to the same, much later, one as mine so at around midnight last Sunday we were driving home from Lanseria airport. On Malibongwe Drive, a fairly major road, we hit the mother of all potholes.
I don't think we were the only ones, either; there was a recovery vehicle seeing to another car close by. If it wasn't for Steve slowing down when he saw flasing lights we would have hit it even harder and who knows how much damage that would have caused.
It was an almighty slam, enough to literally make your teeth rattle and your heart to end up in your mouth. Since it was dark and the middle of the night in a city known for its crime rates we didn't stop - nothing felt too badly wrong so we continued home. When we got home it was obvious the front right rim was bent but on Monday we saw that the back rim was damaged even worse and the tyre was losing pressure. In the meantime we had to get to and from work so I would stop at a garage to have the tyre inflated whenever I set off and that's how we got around on Monday. Tuesday I phoned the insurance company; yes they can tow the car and have it fixed but no they don't offer a courtesy car (I could have sworn I opted into that; I'm still pursuing that with them) and it would take at LEAST a week to go through all their procedures and stuff; in the meantime we'd have to hire a car out of pocket. But the real kicker was that they wanted R3500 in excess. I couldn't believe my ears.
I told them to go shove it up their mule* and phoned a well known wheel and tyre place. They gave me the number of a place that fixes mags but they didn't have anywhere to keep the car - now I ask you how I'm supposed to take the car back home when they have removed two of its wheels. At this point I was really starting to freak out, I just didn't now how we were going to go forward.
At lunch I inflated the tyre again and drove to the wheel and tyre place. The guy took one look at the odd three-nut wheels on the Smart and said there's nothing he can do for me. I was feeling totally hopeless. Then he went inside and made a call - he knew another mag place and they had somewhere to keep the car; I could bring it in right then.
I tried to phone the office and say I'd be out longer than anticipated but of course no-one was answering. I took the car to the mag place and they assured me they could fix it, and for a lot less and much quicker than through the insurance company. The guy was also nice enough to give me a lift to the nearest car hire place.
Who had no cars available. At least the girl there was also quite kind and lent me her phonebook and a phone. I called a colleague to pick me up (another kind heart) and then started phoning around for a hire car. Found one but it was so expensive, and the only cheaper place I could think of then wanted proof of residence which of course I didn't carry on me. I had planned on asking the colleague to drop me at the car hire place but at R900 for three days' hire I asked him to just take me to the office, I'd worry about it there.
I googled around a lot and finally found an incredible deal with First car hire, a little more than R400 for the three days.
And then of course the next day my stomach was so upset I couldn't keep anything in and had to go home before lunch where I threw up and slept the rest of the time. My body does that when I'm very stressed, my stomach produces too much acid and it tries to digest itself.
So it wasn't a very fun week but I am very pleased to say we've got Roy back now and the wheels look good as new. It wasn't cheap but it was cheaper than the insurance excess would have been and I'm going to try and claim in back from the city council. And on top of it all it looks like we won't have to replace any of the tyres! Thank God for small mercies - no really, although I moaned about all of this the entire time it could have been much worse so I still have more to be grateful for than to complain about.
*I phrased it more nicely, but only slightly.