Entry for April 03, 2006

Friends, the past week has been difficult, but at least it's over. I was busy enough with work, but events, some expected and some not, have added to Janice's and my calendar and expenses.

At about 5:45 p.m. last Tuesday, 28 March 2006, I had just left work and was in the left lane of Speen Street in Framingham, Massachusetts, headed southbound toward the exit for Route 9 East toward Boston. Across from the Natick Mall, a sedan driven by Laura K.C. swerved from the right lane into the center lane, cutting off Michael B. in his Lexus.

He then swung into my lane, striking my green 1998 Honda Civic coupe and forcing me to the guardrail. All three automobiles pulled over immediately after the accident. Fortunately, nobody was injured. Michael and I exchanged information and called the police and our insurance agents on our cell phones, but we found Laura and her passenger to be uncooperative. They said the car wasn't theirs and that they weren't responsible for our fender-bender.

The Natick police arrived, took statements, and let the two young women go. Michael's car was slightly damaged in the left rear quadrant where it had struck my vehicle, which received the worst damage. My right front wheel now rubbed against the wheel well, the suspension on that side was squeaky, and the left front fender was also badly scratched and dented by the guardrail.

I limped home and spent the next few days talking to insurance agents, who said they intend to track down Laura. I was also late for work that Wednesday because I had to drop off my car at a body shop in Norwood, Mass., and pick up a rental 2006 Toyota Corolla. As of this writing, the insurance assessors haven't yet looked at my Civic, but I hope I won't have to pay the deductible since the incident clearly wasn't my fault.

Wednesday night brought more bad news: As Janice and I had suspected, our landlord wasn't renewing our lease for Bobsled Drive. Apparently, after the recent death of his father (who had built numerous apartments in the area about 50 years ago), he had to sell half of his properties to pay taxes. Janice and I had noticed that several units around us had been vacant for weeks, and we thought they might be torn down for luxury homes. About 40 families have been displaced.

Fortunately, Janice immediately began searching for housing. She contacted real estate agents and our landlord, who had not replied to earlier calls and was apologetic. He said that he wanted to keep us as tenants and offered another duplex only a few blocks away. Naturally, despite our problems with October's basement floods and the lease renewal, the chance to move into a nearly identical space in a neighborhood we like and to avoid having to pay deposit, first/last months' rent, and realtor's fees was too good to pass up.

Thanks to our friends who offered their support. Some of them advised us to buy a house, but given our time and cost constraints (we have to move within the next few weeks, and we'll be out of town for much of May), relocating nearby makes the most sense right now. We like Needham Heights, Mass., because it's midway between Janice's technical writing job in Norwood and my copy editing work in Framingham, has public transportation access into Boston, and is a quiet residential community.

Janice and I will be moving within Needham on Easter weekend (April 15 to 17). Her parents and one of her sisters will be coming from Upstate New York to help, and some of the local social/gaming group have also offered their assistance. Thanks in advance! Alas, I wasn't able to get any additional time off from work. As you can imagine, we have lots of books and other stuff to pack within the next two weeks. I spent much of this past weekend filing, so some friends will be getting snailmail packages in the next week or so.

Unfortunately, I've had to postpone the planned visits from out-of-town friends, including Dexter V.H., Erik B.L., Ron J.K., and Carolyn M.P., as well as various one-shot role-playing sessions. They'll have to wait until after our trips to the U.S. Southwest (for a conference in Las Vegas, sightseeing at the Grand Canyon, and volunteering at the Best Friends animal shelter in Utah) and to Belgium (for the baptism of niece Ava with my father's side of the family).

Although we didn't have time to get out to the movies this past weekend (computer-animated comedy "Ice Age 2: Meltdown" and political satire "Thank You for Smoking" opened), Janice and I did take advantage of the nice weather to check out our new place, as well as Needham's renovated public library. Last week's "Dragon King" miniseries on the SciFi Channel was only O.K., but it did prompt me to reread the original Germanic/Scandinavian epics. It's just as well that most genre television shows are in reruns right now, since we'll be busy enough…

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