A total of about three hours on the phone with, variously: my car insurance company, my car dealership, and a towing company. No one was obstructive or not helpful, quite the opposite, but it was still mighty stressful and frustrating. My car's rear end seemed to want to go walkabout the day before yesterday when I started out on errands, so five blocks from home I turned around and crept it home about 5 mph. I had my pre-op doctor's appointment yesterday so I left the car for this a.m. to deal with.
Long story short: the car is finally at the dealer's (though I haven't heard anything from them and now, won't until tomorrow). The tow truck guy took a look and was stunned at what he saw: the rear axle and tire assemblies had come completely un-attached from the sub-frame. They were floating freely. He kept looking at me and saying, "You are SO lucky!" He thought it was beyond repair. It's a 2001 Hyundai Elantra 4-door and I am its only owner. For 10 years it was (for the most part) faithful and true, commuting round-trip 100 miles per day, probably an average of 3.5 days per week. Since I retired in 2011, it hasn't got anywhere NEAR that many miles put on it but it's still at a respectable 190,000+ miles. Its breakdown is no doubt my fault. It was rust what done 'er in.
And I have no idea, at this moment, if it is gone for good. The dealer's shop guy seemed to think they might be able to fix it, but he had to have it in the shop to take pictures of and send to their HQ shop (? Really? They do that?) and ask how to fix it. I can't imagine its Blue Book value can be very high so it's going to have to be a VERY cheap fix before I'll be able to afford it.
And I cannot afford another car. At all. So if this one's a goner, I'm officially carless. And now I'm very glad indeed that I did that carless experiment back in October, because it gave me a realistic idea of what I'd be dealing with in this situation. It's going to alter my life, but I can do it.
I am so lucky that my son & his family are here right now visiting. He worked in a bike shop for several years when he moved to California many years ago. Today we went to the Omaha Bicycle Company in Benson and bought a replacement tire tube for my new bike, a helmet, a pump, and a lock. The basics. Next I'll need elbow & knee pads (THIS old lady ain't going out on a bicycle without them!) And that will round out my transportation options: feet, bike, bus, taxi, friends. With the occasional rental car as needed. I won't be able to offer friends rides to places any more. I don't like that. But maybe it won't be forever. Maybe I'll be able to save up enough to find a decent used car, eventually. That's not on the top of my list right now.
My surgery Monday is on the top of my list. Compared to that, all else pales. I can handle transportation.