New Year’s Rockin’ Eve

To get the full extent of my excellent New Year’s Eve, we have to go to back to the eve of NYE.

We were pretty busy on Friday night and we expected to be even busier for NYE.  We had reservations to fill the restaurant for most of the night and I was scheduled to work open to close.  I went home and noticed a new flashing sign at the top of the Rim warning of elk crossing the highway for the next 5 miles.

For the last several weeks I have seen dead elk on the highway at the bottom of the Rim.  It’s a blind corner with meadows on both sides and drivers can’t see the elk until they are right on top of them.  By then it’s too late to do anything but let Jesus take the wheel and hope you get out alive with minimal damage.  Elk are large.  Deer do plenty of damage, but an elk can be a deal breaker.  Last winter I came around the corner and ended up in the middle of a herd of about 20 elk and somehow managed to come out without hitting anything.  I did have to pry the steering wheel from my hands and pull the seat cover from my ass crack though.

Friday night I did what any responsible adult scheduled to work the entire next day would do:  I was in bed by 11, turned the TV off by midnight…and stared at the ceiling until sometime around 5 in the morning.  I listened to the wind howl and the snow hit the side of the house all night.  I wondered if I was going to make it to work.  Would the van start?  Would I be able to get out of the driveway?  How bad was the road going to be?  Should I give up on sleep all together and leave for work 3 hours early? 

I got to work without incident and told everyone my goal was to make $200.  My winter full day personal best total is $250, but I didn’t want to appear too greedy and jinx things.  Things died down at around 8 pm so I clocked out at 8:30 and had dinner (salmon scampi, oh yeah) and a glass of wine while I waited for my last table to leave.  I started packing things up at 9:30 when my last table showed no signs of leaving even though they paid their ticket at a little after 8 and we closed at 9.  By the time I had all my crap gathered and my money counted, they started showing signs of leaving so I moseyed by their table to see if their tip took me to $200.  My grand total for the day was $210 so I was pretty happy…

…until I looked at the schedule for the next two weeks and noticed that Pro Rodeo had switched one of my nights shifts for a day shift.  That gives me 1 night, 1 full day and 2 day shifts.  While the tip percentage on days is awesome, people don’t buy the things that run up a ticket total…bottles of wine, desserts, appetizers.  More than the money is the principle.  A few months ago one of the servers got into a bucket of trouble over drugs.  At best she’s unreliable.  She’s full of drama.  If she’s not in jail, she’s fighting with her on/off boyfriend.  Between her and one cook, it’s the Harribalsac all over again.  She was bitching that she can’t make it working day shifts, so guess what.  I now have the day shifts.  Logically, I know Pro Rodeo doesn’t want her on days because if she can’t make it, everyone is screwed.  Enough people work nights that it doesn’t matter if she shows up or not.  Lunches are pretty consistent, therefore the money is pretty consistent.  Thursday nights can be boom or bust.  All this is logical and it’s a win/win for me and Pro Rodeo, but for some reason it irritated(s) the shit out of me and I feel I’m being punished for being drug/drama free and reliable.

I was still irritated when I stopped to buy cigarettes (I’m smoking less than a pack a week!).  I was even more irritated when somehow I managed to slam the middle finger of my left hand in the door while I reached for my seat belt.  I thought I might pass out in the gas station parking lot.  After about 5 minutes the woozy passed and I noticed my passenger side high beam was out.  I started driving home and decided two dim lights were better than one bright light.

Top speed was less than 55 mph since the highway was sheer ice and the wind was howling.  I continued to stew about my schedule and whine about my hurt finger.  I got to the halfway marker and decided I was never getting home at the speed I was driving.  I wanted a hot bath, time with my dogs, some TV and bed.  It was almost 10:30 and there was no way I was staying up until midnight…and really, fuck everyone.  Fuck my finger, fuck the schedule, fuck being reliable, fuck people who can’t show up for work, fuck, fuck, fuck… 


What the hell?!

Oh fuck me!  It’s an elk!

Okay, I missed it…SHIIIIT!!!!!

Yeah, I didn’t miss the second one.  I don’t know if I even had time to brake.  It wouldn’t have mattered since the road was as slick as an ice arena and the van turns into a gigantic skate on ice.  I know I wasn’t going very fast, but fast enough to kill the elk and trash the front of my van.  Something tells me the Game & Fish need to put up more signs since these elk were about 5 miles before the warning sign. 


So now I have to decide what to do about the van.  I paid $1500 for it 2 1/2 years ago and before the elk it was right on the cusp of fix it or fuck it.  The wipers need fixed, the ignition doesn’t work when it’s cold (uh…can you say January in Wyoming?) the left passenger tire wears out about every 3 months, it leaks transmission fluid and oil, and it’s rusted almost through in places.  I refuse to spend more than $2000 on a vehicle.  I drive them ’til they have to be towed away, I suck at checking fluids, I haul 5 big assed dogs around, and more often than not my ride looks more like a dump truck than a passenger vehicle.  I figured I would replace the van this summer, which would give me time to save up some money and find exactly what I want, but now I might not have a choice.  Finding a cheap all wheel drive van with high clearance isn’t shaping up as an easy task.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Fuck My Table
    Jan 02, 2012 @ 01:36:47

    Damn, that sucks. I guess you’re lucky the elk didn’t take out your car AND you, but this certainly leaves you in a pickle. Best of luck in finding a replacement. Keep an eye out for elk, we want you alive so you can keep posting. 😉

    I’m thankful I’m alive to tell the tale and really, it’s just cosmetic stuff on the van. I feel worse about the elk. 😦


  2. DarcsFalcon
    Jan 02, 2012 @ 02:30:57

    You poor thing! I’m so sorry about your car! I can’t even begin to offer any advice to you about that, although my gut reaction is, if it’s drivable, then stick with it as long as you can and save for a new car.

    I have a parts van and I think I’m going to Frankenstein the van until summer. I found the head light assembly and grill on ebay for less than $100 so that’s the way to go.

    Stupid elk! Elk burgers, that’s all I’m saying! LOL

    You know…that elk would have fit in the back of my van. I don’t eat red meat, but I’m just sayin…

    I’m glad you’re okay though, that’s the most important thing. Those roads can be treacherous, elk or not, and I’m glad you made it home safely.

    I’m good other than some minor soreness in my back and shoulders. I think my smashed finger is the worst injury I got.

    And a happy new year too! May this be the worst of 2012! 🙂

    Happy new year to you! Hitting the elk was the worst thing that happened to me last year. I’d like to avoid a repeat this year.


  3. skippymom
    Jan 02, 2012 @ 05:42:50

    There are so many deer here that signs are useless. There would be one every two feet. I hit one and totaled my car and my cousin hit one and it killed his passenger. They are not to be messed with. I can’t even imagine a HERD of elk. Yikes.

    There is a permanent sign at the bottom of the Rim warning of deer the next 5 miles. Most dead deer are within a few feet of that sign. I don’t drive a car because of the deer population. The van is higher and doesn’t have a sloping hood which acts as a scoop to throw the deer through the windshield. I did hit an antelope in a Geo Metro once though. That wasn’t pretty.

    I am so sorry about your van, but glad you were in such a large vehicle that you came out unscathed yourself. I am like you with vehicles. I drive them for years but I do try to take care of them so they’ll last. I HATE car payments. Heck, I hate the waste of a new car.

    The car payments are bad enough, but add full coverage insurance and interest and holy crap! I refuse to work my ass off for something that loses value every time you look at it.

    I wish you the best of luck finding a new vehicle to replace this one. Fingers crossed and sending you good thoughts.

    Cheap vans aren’t hard to find, but I lucked out with this one being all wheel drive and sitting as high as a truck. It will take some time. Thanks for the good thoughts.


  4. thelifeofjamie
    Jan 02, 2012 @ 08:40:54

    how scary!!! I freak out if I might hit a squirrel…can’t imagine an elk!

    I don’t like to hit anything either and will try to avoid all animals. This happened so fast, there was no avoiding.


  5. Bob
    Jan 02, 2012 @ 09:45:57

    I am glad to hear that you didn’t get hurt in the accident. Sounds like the van wasn’t in good condition in the first place, I think this was a sign that it needed to be replaced.

    It wasn’t pretty, and it was starting to be unreliable. When that happens, it’s time for a new one. I just need the time to find what I want.


  6. wigsf
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 06:50:40

    Good. You’re okay. Vans can be fixed or replaced.

    But maybe somebody ought to tell the elk to stay of the roads. You’d think they’d learn having seen the dead elks piled up on the side of the road.
    Hmm… There’s Frank. No wait, he’s dead. There’s Nick, he’s dead too. Oh, there’s Bobbi. Nope, she dead to. This looks like a good place to cross the street.

    It’s what survival of the fittest is all about. The dead ones are obviously too stupid to live and don’t need to contaminate the gene pool. Now if only we had something that worked the same for stupid humans…


  7. Brea
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 10:15:53

    Oh wow! So glad you’re OK! And yeah, it would have been nice to have some prior warning, both about the elk… and the shift change.

    Prior warning for pretty much everything is good.


  8. sadpear
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 10:31:53

    That sounds terrifying! My art teacher in 6th grade hit an elk and was in various casts for weeks. Glad you’re okay and hope you can drive Frankenvan a little longer til something works out.

    Frankenvan…hahahaha! Sunni and I were laughing about it today. I be stylin’.


  9. Sparty Girl
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 11:01:17

    The shift change stinks. Since Pro Rodeo seems to grease the squeaky wheel, show him your van next time you go in and explain how you need the cash to buy a new one, therefore you need more night shifts….

    The shift change sucks ass. I’m NOT the one who has to go to drug addict counceling in the morning. I’m NOT the one who has to check in at the police station every day. However, I AM the one who needs to get home before dark…at least until Frankenvan is fixed.

    It’s often the 2nd one that gets you (deer, elk, whatever). I’ve been hit by deer before, they run right into the side of the car while you’re busy watching the first one go by. I’m really glad you weren’t hurt. By the elk.

    That’s sort of what happened. I was busy watching the one on the right, and trying to stop, and praying the one on the left stopped running when it ran into the front fender. I think things might not have worked out so well if I’d hit it head on…at the very least my air bag would have deployed and smashed my glasses.


  10. michele
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 17:24:59

    events like this accident make me question “KARMA”. you are a good person just living one day to the next, not bothering anyone etc. and “BAM”, a FUCKING CAR ACCIDENT! meanwhile, someone like “brittany” (my uncles nickname for her while visiting wyo) who drives drunk, badmouths everyone, lies and cheats, sails thru life !unscathed! GO FIGURE!!

    Brittany will get hers some day and it will be more than an elk.

    let me know if i can help.

    I think I’m good, but I appreciate the offer. You’ve helped out so much already.

    maybe CG will loan you one of her vehicles. NOT!

    I bullied Rex into letting me drive his truck until Brian can get the ignition replaced. Then I’m going to Frankenvan it.


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