Thursday, February 20, 2014

Child #3 hits a parked car: a cautionary tale

Last week, I received a text from Child #3: "i just clipped someones side mirror and left a note with my cell and our home numbers"

I texted back, "good thinking"

Now, we know it wasn't good thinking. At least, it wasn't enough good thinking.

What happened: Child #3 came home for lunch from high school and was driving to his afternoon science class. He dropped his chocolate bar, leaned over to pick it up (argh!!), and swerved into a parked car, knocking off the mirror.* He pulled over to the curb, tore a page from his notebook, wrote his name, two contact phone numbers and an apology. He slid said note under the windshield wiper, placed the mirror on the sidewalk, texted me and went on to class.

What happened next: A couple of hours later, a man phoned our house. He was the son-in-law of the car owner. Grandma was babysitting when my Twix-munching son hit her car. Anyway, I was running out the door to pick up Child #4 from school and take her to ballet class, so we (the man and me) agreed to all meet that evening and figure out how we'd (the Summys) pay for the damage, hopefully without involving our insurance.

Then: I'm sitting on a bench, watching Child #4 twirl and point her toes, when I get a panicked call from Child #3. To put this in perspective, Child #3 rarely panics. Perhaps this is due to years of water polo. Or perhaps he has a special keep-cool gene (probaby from Mr. Summy's side of the family). Perhaps he figures life will work itself out. Anyway...

Child #3: "Mom! The sheriff just called my cell and said I have to come back to the car I hit immediately, or I'll be arrested."
Me: "What?"
Child #3: "He said it was a hit and run."
Me: "What? Don't go by yourself. I'll call Dad. He can come home from work and go with you. I'm stuck at ballet."

The cautionary part: In California (I don't know about anywhere else), when you leave a note on a car you've hit, the note must include your name, your address, your phone number, your car insurance info including company name and policy #. Otherwise, it's considered a hit-and-run.

Odds and ends: The daughter of the car owner called the sheriff. I have no idea why. Maybe she just wanted a police report? The sheriff was pretty rough on Child #3, reiterating that he'd be arrested and accusing him of avoiding phone calls. Which wasn't true. There were no missed calls. Our incident got a bit more complicated because the insurance card in Child #3's glove box was expired. This was cleared up with an email from the insurance company. In Calif, you can show proof of insurance on your smart phone.

On the bright side, no one was hurt. And we learned a good lesson.

*The damage was more than a knocked-off mirror. There were 3 dents, to the tune of $3,000 + in body work repairs. Apparently, Nissan Maximas are made of cardboard. Our Toyota Rav 4 is fine. So, if you happen to be in the market for a car...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Book Review Club (February 2014)

Welcome to the February meeting of the Book Review Club! And here's some trivia about the month of February. Shakespeare mentions February in only one of his plays--Much Ado About Nothing. Julius Caesar introduced the leap year by have Feb 24 counted twice. Today is Laura Linney's birthday. And, moving on to more important things....we've got some great book reviews for you!
(trivia source:

by Laurie Halse Anderson

Are you wondering how was I able to read a book  this month AND finish the incredibly extensive, exhausting revisions on my book due to the editor yesterday? The answer is simple. I didn't read the book....I LISTENED to it! Hayley and Finn and Gracie and the other characters all kept me company during my car time. Stellar narration, by the way!

And here is how you know you're listening to an excellent book: you sit in your driveway or a parking lot to finish a chapter!

In a nutshell: Hayley Kincain has been homeschooled (or "unschooled" as she calls it) for the past five-ish years as she and her dad drove around the country in a truck. Her father fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and suffers from severe PTSD. The book opens with the pair giving up their truck-driver ways and settling in dad's childhood home. Hayley's a senior at the local high school. This is a dark book. There are lots of issues: addiction, divorce, abandonment, suicide, secrets, dysfunctional families, PTSD*. To name a few. But there is also Hayley and Finn's (her boyfriend) very dry sense of humor. 

What I liked: The increasing tension as Hayley's dad spiraled down, despite all her attempts to keep him grounded. The relationship between Hayley and Finn, between Hayley and Gracie (best friend).  Figuring out the stepmother's motivations before Hayley. The voice in this book was the perfect blend of fake tough teen bravado and hurting, confused, insecure teen. I didn't want the book to end, and I appreciate how the author didn't rush things, but took the time to address the various plot lines.

What was a little meh: I wasn't so keen on the scenes from her dad's (Andy) perspective. It's not that I wasn't interested in his struggle with PTSD. I was. But a great strength of the book was Hayley's voice. So, I would've preferred to learn of the PTSD from Hayley's perspective only. Also, I got quite a kick out of Gracie and would've loved a little more of her in the book.
*Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Please click through on the links below to wonderful, thoughtful reviews. They'll make your day!


 Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: THE REAL BOY by Anne Ursu (middle grade, fantasy)

 Jody Feldman: SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE by Joanne Levy (middle grade)

Stacy Nyikos: BOXERS & SAINTS by Gene Luen Yang (middle grade graphic) 

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE RITHMATIST by Brandon Sanderson     (young adult) (reviewed by Alyssa's son!)


 Sarah Laurence: BREAD & BUTTER by Michelle Wildgen (contemporary + food porn)
 Bread & Butter by Michelle Wildgen

Scott Parker: A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS by Marie Brennan (fantasy)

Stacy of The Cat's Meow: THE HANDMAN'S DAUGHTER and THE DARK MONK by Oliver Potzsch (books 1 and 2 in an historical mystery series)

Prairie Rose's Garden: HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN by Louise Penny (mystery)


Linda McLaughlin: AT ANY PRICE (GAMING THE SYSTEM) by Brenna Aubrey


Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: FIREBALLS IN MY EUCHARIST: FIGHT CANCER SMARTER by Dr. Joseph Pinzone (self help)

Jody Feldman: SPIRITED by Rebecca Rosen

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!