Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bang, Scrape, Crunch Crunch, Scrape...

And the answer is...well you'll have to read to the end to find out...
First, we must begin with these guys! They are what Jim likes to call "Two pugs in a pod" I just wanted to show this to you to make you go "Oh How Cute!". I know that's what you're saying! I am coming back to New York today because we headed back to NYC again to get the rest of Jim's belongings from the apartment he had been staying in and as usual, it was an adventure that I just can't wait to share!
We went on Veteran's Day because the place that Jim is working had the day off.
We started out about 8:15 and Jim dropped me at the train station while he parked so that I could get the train tickets. Okay, I admit it, I am vain! Without my glasses I just cannot read those stinking tables that give you the number of the stations--each station has a number. Harriman where we started is 793 and Penn is 000.
I finally figured out the numbers for the stations (Harriman to New York Penn Station--not just Penn Station I found when trying to find the stupid station number!) and put in my credit card to pay and card reading error! Oh just ducky! So, with the train pulling in and Jim breathing down my neck, I slammed it in again and Voila! It read the card and was authorizing.
The conductor asked if we were boarding and Jim told him we were waiting for the tickets. The conductor said no problem they would hold the train if we were about done.
And it was authorizing...
The conductor said that if it wouldn't take the card, we could buy it on the train--great! NOW you tell me!
And it was authorizing...
The conductor asked what was happening and it finally started printing the tickets and spewing them out! Thank goodness! Grabbed those puppies and we bounded onto the train!
There were a lot of people heading into the city. Some were going to work and some were going for the Veteran's Day parade--the oldest in the country. It is a big parade and Jim said there were trucks all over the place the day before when he was on his way home.
This time I had a better idea of the trip and was ready for all of those fun changeovers.
We did not miss any trains and when we arrived at Secaucas to transfer to the Penn Station train, we were serenaded by a trio which was a violin, guitar and bongo drums. Sounds weird to explain, but they sounded great! You can't see them very well in this picture, but they are next to the flowers in front of the big mural. So nice in the morning! Jim said that this happens all the time. Cool!
When we got down to the track, there was a guy with a keyboard who was singing. He was very good!
During the subway trip, there was a lady and two young Asian girls--okay, the girls were about college age. The lady kept up a conversation, telling the girls what was at each of the stops. I noticed along the way that she was wearing a button that read "New York City Greeter", so of course, I listened in. At each station she had something really interesting to say. For instance, one of the stops was Borough Hall. Well, each of the Boroughs have a Hall--like our county courthouses. Never even considered that! There is also a prominade where you can get magnificent pictures of the New York skyline. Didn't know that either! Also in our car was a very interesting painting of a futuristic subway car--at least I think it is. I suppose there could be many interpretations on this theme. You take a look and see what you think! I am sure there is some really deep meaning that the artist was trying to say, but I look at art kind of like the picture--I just float over it and enjoy. :) At least it is something to look at and think about on the subway trip--though I really enjoy the people watching part. This time, there was a lady crocheting something that looked to be a mitten. Someone is getting a Christmas present I bet! From the subway to the apartment are a lot of row houses and apartments. They all have iron security grates on windows, doors and gates around the house. Some of the work is very pretty and well-kept. I intended to take pics of that on the way back, but we came back a different way, so not this time I am afraid. It took us 3 1/2 hours, but we got to the apartment and I got to meet Jorge. His wife's name is Yvette and they are from Costa Rica where they have a farm which she runs in his absence while he is working up here at the same place Jim is working. Jorge is a very nice guy and he and Yvette plan to come up to Florida in the spring to see the camper and the area around here. They are the ones who had the accident in our van. I look forward to meeting Yvette. Hey! Our names are of the same root, so I have to meet another of me! :) We put Jim's stuff into the two suitcases that we brought for that purpose. One of the things that was there were my jumper cables that had been in the van! Yay! I have been looking for those! :) Then, it was off to the subway to head back.
You look one way down the tracks and there are white lights. Then, you look the other way and the lights are blue. As I was looking down on the track, Fivel and his family were very active. They would head down the track and interestingly, they would sit until the cars went past and then scurry across to wherever they are heading. I found that amazing! This is the picture in our subway car this time. It really reminds me of some posters that my son has hanging in his house where the stairways go up and down, but seem to always be rightside up and yet at the same time, upside down! In fact, there is a comercial on SyFy that uses the same imagery. In this case, it is a subway going all over! We wanted to get to Penn Station with enough time to eat before we left on the 1:05 back. I should say here that in a previous post, I talked about the mosaics in the subways and the workmanship. I took a better picture of the mosaic this time so that you can see all of the work that went into all of the subways! Can you imagine! I bow to their work! Thank you! Here is the New York Penn Station. There is everything imaginable in here--including a K-Mart complete with pharmacy that was advertising flu shots! How about that? One of the things that I really like is that there is an abundance of places that sell those huge pretzels with mustard! Gosh! I LOVE those things! I can't eat much of them--just a few bites, but they are ambrosia! One of my favorite things from NYC! I had been looking forward to one from the moment I knew we were coming up here. So, having had my fix, we headed down to the tracks for the train and boarded the train to Secaucas. This train was a double decker. Jim and I found a seat on the bottom--easier to get to with full suitcases--and my phone rang. It was the insurance adjuster letting us know that the van is indeed a total loss and we spoke about all of the items that were needed to resolve everything with our insurance company who will then go after the insurance company of the guy who was driving under the influence that ran into our van. His insurance company was not really willing to work with us directly to resolve the damage, so our insurance company is doing the fighting for us. It's possible that since that guy totalled 3 vehicles plus his own and sent a bunch of people to the hospital, including himself and took out a light pole to boot, that his insurance limits may be reached or very close. At any rate, we no longer have a van.
There is a picture of the van in the previous NYC post if you want a peek.
We had an uneventful trip to Secaucas and boarded the train to Harriman Station which is our home station.
This is where the title of this comes in...
We are just going down the track when BANG! Scrape, crunch, crunch, scrape!
We were sitting in the last car of the train and what did I do? I grabbed my camera and ran for the rear of the train as it was abruptly stopping. I am NOT gonna miss whatever this was! Do you know what it sounds like when a train and a car collide? I do! Okay, so the car actually hit the train--at our car--the last one on the train! I'm talking to the conductor at the back of the train and he saw the woman running from the car and confirmed that no one was in the car. The car was down around the corner on the track--it takes a long way for a train to stop.
The engineer walked back to the crossing to check out the wreck and speak to the police and to meet with the safety officials. I went back up to tell Jim what happened--we hit a car--a car hit us--and the lady in the seat in front of us was on the verge of hysteria. Are they sure it was a car? Could it have been a deer? How do they know no one was in the car? How do they know this car is safe for us to sit in? They can't check it out thoroughly! We could be in danger! Blah Blah Blah!
I listened to her and told her I was going back to speak with the conductor to be sure no one was injured and she might just have a point about the safety of the railcar. It does no good to argue with someone in that state of mind.
So, I went to the rear of the car where all of the other crazies were hanging--one of whom heard the comment that the lady made about a deer. He laughed and said, "That would be one TROPHY BUCK!" LOL Okay--that really WAS funny! This was a rare time when the door was open to the conductor's area and even his actual seat area so we got to see all of the rear controls and listen to the radio transmissions between the engineer and other emergency workers. Usually, especially since 911, there are two steel doors between the conductor and the passengers and you can't get in there. As I sauntered back, I asked the conductor if he can open his window and hang out. All went very quiet as everyone thought that was a weird question. Okay--it was. I explained that I wanted him to take a picture of the damage on the rail car for me. He opened his window and looked out--but alas, there was no damage to see on the train car and they had already pulled the parts of the car out from under the train car. He said he would be happy to take a picture if there was anything to take a picture of, but nada. That was nice of him though. One of the guys said "No arms or anything? Gosh!" I looked around and said, "Well, I hope you know I am gonna blog THIS!" Everyone laughed and went back to making macabre jokes and passing the time while listening to the radio and trying to get a look at something interesting.
I took a break and went back up to let Jim and the hysterical woman what we knew. I talked to her and listened to her concerns and she began to calm down.
I noticed a woman across from us who asked me what happened. I told her that a car hit the train. She could not believe it! This was the SECOND time she was riding a train that hit a car! I asked if she had some sort of magnetic force that drew them to her! She said she was not sure, but was tired of waiting on tracks! It turns out that especially in the morning, cars wait at the tracks and as the train comes around a blind corner, they car scoots onto the track to commit suicide. Many crossings actually have police cars there in the mornings just to keep that from happening! Sheesh! Okay, REALLY???!!!!!
So, I started watching people--as I like to do. A quartet was riding in the front of the car and started singing Mr. Sandman softly. I yelled "Louder" and they started singing louder. They were really good!
Ms. Hysteria continued to calm with Mr. Sandman. Some people were angry at the delay and were calling babysitters, wives and whoever to let them know they were late and didn't know when they would be home. Some people just said Hey! Who cares--if they're dead we can't help 'em--let's go! Others, just sat listening to their ipods and MP3 players--relaxed in their own worlds. Still others, such as myself, decided to enjoy the moment and have a good time--music, frivolity and jokes abounded. This is how Jim dealt with the time sitting on the track! LOL
I also couldn't help but notice that someone had been active under the bridge where we were parked. Not being a graffiti afficionado, I don't know what all of this means, or even if it is good, but the colors are pretty and it is interesting...
About 45 minutes later, who do I spy coming down the track, but the engineer. Yay! This means we are closer to moving! He began looking at the damage from the rear and worked his way forward.
And he was not alone. He had a police officer and a safety engineer with him to check everything out. They worked their way forward, looking at the damage. Took statements from the conductor who had stayed with the train and we were on our way! As it turned out, when the track arms came down at the crossing for the train, the woman in the car was on the east bound track (we were west bound). She hopped out of the car and ran off of the track to safety, but neglected to put the car in park. As our train went past, her car rolled forward into our train and that is why it hit the last car on the train. Having just spoken with our insurance adjuster, my mind went to how in the world you call your insurance agent and say, I had an accident--and will be fixing a train car! oh boy! LOL
So, here we are today as we hybernate inside the RV on Saturday, November 14. As I write this we are staying out of the rain from hurricane Ida. We started the day at Dunkin Donuts and then went to the grocery store and hoofed it back to the RV where I started a pot of Denver Bean Soup in the crock pot. We hunkered down to watch the Nationwide race and watched Kyle Busch pout once again! It rained all night and all day today. Ida is causing coastal flooding and uh, what they are calling strong winds. Okay folks. These breezes are not even moving the RV! This is a breeze not even worthy of mention in KS! But, NY is not KS, so it is worthy of mention here. So, until next time, everyone stay safe and be sure to check back for more of our adventures!

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