Things that go ‘bump’ in the afternoon….

We moved offices yesterday.

We were told about the move around six weeks ago and I’ve been unhappy about it ever since. We’ve gone from a nice convenient office in the center of the city to a building that’s only another 5 minutes from home, but the setting couldn’t be any more different.

We’re now in the middle of what Australians call “the bush”. This is the sort of area that firefighters worry about – lots of trees, high fuel load and at the top of a hill where the wind can whip up a frenzy in no time. In fact, I went on a small walk today and you could see the charring from the last fire that came through.

I was told today that snake season is coming, too. We need to watch out for them in the carpark and in the surrounding countryside. Tasmania has three types of snake (Tiger, Lowland Copperhead and white-lipped) and two of those three will do more than just spoil your lunchtime stroll.

Enough of the snakes, though. As I was cleaning out my office cupboards earlier today, I came across some papers I haven’t seen in a long time.

The main one of interest was a green invoice, detailing the purchase of our Saab 9000 CS from a used car dealer here in Hobart a number of years ago. Along with that invoice was an inspection report, listing a bunch of items that needed to be fixed or replaced. Looking back, I don’t know why I paid the price that we did for that car, with all those things wrong.

It was a wonderfully nostalgic find for a car guy. Our 9000 isn’t anything to shout about but it’s served us faithfully, noisy transmission and all, ever since we first brought it home. It eats up the miles on a long trip and is truly one of those cars that gets you to your destination in as good a shape as when you started off.

The 9000 is my wife’s car. It’s the only automatic in the family, so it’s the only one that she drives. A few hours ago, as I was contemplating what to write next here at SU, she called me on my mobile phone.

“Swade, I’ve been in a bad, bad accident!”

My mind raced, as would anyone’s. But she was OK enough to call, she sounded OK and she wasn’t crying.

How bad could it be?

The good news is that Mrs Swade is indeed OK. She’s feeling a bit shaken up and she’s a little embarrassed about the fact that I’m writing about it, but she’s OK.

Unfortunately, however, our faithful 9000 – the car that I was reminiscing about just a few hours earlier – looks destined for the wrecking yard (or Drew B’s place).

Sorry, phone pics only.

Saab 9000 accident

This is my wife’s parking space. It’s on the end of a line of spaces and has two concrete-filled steel posts on the right hand side. They’re quite low and not immediately visible, either when you look in the mirrors or via a shoulder check. We’ve had a run-in with those once already, which resulted in an insurance fix. Today’s was terminal.

From what I can tell, this is how it happened.

Tired at the end of a long work week, Mrs Swade reversed back and started to swing the car out so that she could head for the exit. She swung too early, however, and hit either one or both posts. This resulted in quite an orange dent in the front quarter.

It seems the car got stuck on the post and Mrs Swade started to panic. The car wouldn’t move either forwards or backwards, so she hit the gas, perhaps harder than she should. The wheels span in place until the car freed itself, driving with some force into the low concrete wall and steel fence you can see below.

Saab 9000 accident

Saab 9000 accident

It doesn’t look like a whole lot, but the front right quarter is gone, the front bumper and valence are gone and the radiator’s been punctured.

A year or so she just clipped the steel post and the resulting bumper and light replacement, along with paint matching, etc, was nearly enough to write off the car. This time I think there’s little, if any, hope.

Saab 9000 accident

It looks like those 9-3x plans are going to be on hold for a little while as we ponder the replacement for this car. Another inexpensive 9000 while we get the house paid off, or spend a little more on a 9-5 SportCombi?

She actually wants something a little smaller, so maybe a 5-door first-gen Saab 9-3 Aero might be the ticket.

The downside – we’ve lost our car before its time.

The upside – Mrs Swade’s OK. And I get to go car shopping again!

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