About 4 years ago, while I was heading to my graveyard shift down Reserve Road in Missoula, I stopped at a light. I was eating a hot pocket and as I lifted it to my mouth to take a bite, I looked in my rear view mirror in time to see a red sports car slam into the back of my Honda Element. It turned out that the driver, a young girl, had been bent over in her seat, trying to reach her cell phone that she'd dropped, and hit me going over 50MPH, never touching the brakes. She hit hard enough to push me into 4 vehicles ahead of me. Amazingly, I walked away shaken, covered in pepperoni, and with some gnarly bumps on my calves where they'd kicked up into the dash, but otherwise safe. My Element was totalled. When she hit, she hit hard enough to bend the frame of the car, buckling it up into my seat, breaking it, and forcing it to recline. She crushed over a foot in the back and roughly 8 inches in the front of my car, and shattered all of the windows. Somehow, when she struck me, the change I had in a pocket by the steering wheel flew up and back towards me, then up and forward to land on the dash. Surprisingly, my airbag never deployed. Quite frankly, to this day, I'm amazed I walked away from the accident, and will forever trust in Honda Element's ability to protect me. The lady in front of me was hurt badly, and ended up in the emergency room overnight, the girl that hit us, miraculously only hurt her index finger. Looking at her car, she should have been dead. Luckily, she happened to sit up right before she hit me, so the airbag helped her. When I had my wife call my work to let them know I wouldn't be in that night, the Store Manager told me I had to be there, and couldn't call off. This was one of many reasons we had to get far enough away from that store that she couldn't follow me on her broom.
At any rate, the accident gave us a little bit of money, that we decided would be best spent on a home, rather than a new car, Lindsay was going to be heading back to Missoula for school and wouldn't need her car, so we bought a house in Pocatello, and I drove the Avocado Dreamboat until about a year ago, when we needed to buy a new Element.
We got into a house at a good time, rates were decent, and they were approving pretty much anyone. We qualified for a $225,000 house, but set our own limit of $100k, so that payments would be reasonable. We got together with our very dear friend and advisor Gordon Wilks, owner of Gate City Realty, and father to our current Realtor, Jared, and he agreed to help us find a place. At the time, while we looked, we were living in the attic bedroom in the In-Law's house, a far from ideal situation, so we were pretty anxious to get out of there. However, we took our time finding the right place, partially because we loved looking at houses! It was great fun to head out with Gordon, and see what he would recommend. He has a great sense of humor, and was really good at spotting what we liked about places (Sunrooms, big basements, fenced yards, lots of space...) and narrowing the field to eliminate things we didn't (Low ceilings, bad neighborhoods, houses that were 3/4 garage, frosting cups labeled "Spit" in marker...) After about a week, we found a place we really liked, and put in a bid. Unfortunately, someone else did too, and we lost. We muscled on, and kept looking, going out on our days off with him, and searching the Internet the rest of the time.
One day, we were cruising around the West side of Pocatello, looking at a friend's place that she was selling, and we drove past a road called Rosewood Avenue. Lindsay commented on how much she liked the name, and how she'd like to live on a street with a pretty name. Less than 5 minutes later, Gordon calls us, and tells us to meet him on the corner of Rosewood and Foothill, where a house was just listed for sale! We looked at the place, a 3 bedroom on the corner, and liked it a lot. It had a big fenced yard, a nice family room, and a big kitchen. We told Gordon that we liked it enough to bid on it, and we managed to beat everyone else in. We finally owned our own house!
Of course, there was a lot of work to do....