How snow can total your car when it’s parked on the street

Prius totaled by snow

My car was recently totaled by falling snow during last week’s snowstorm. (It happened in the middle of March, in Philadelphia for the record. Not a time of year known for its blizzards.)

Let’s start at the end.

The little tissue box that could

I was a copywriter at QVC from 2011-2014. I learned way more about Guy Fieri, Rachel Ray, pressure cookers, and cordless vacuums than I thought was humanly possible. I also stocked up on office supplies.

QVC had a pretty generous office-supply policy. Need some pens? Just find what you want in the communal Office Depot catalog, email the item number to the department admin, and receive your order 1–2 weeks later.*

I sat pretty close to the admin who processed the orders, which gave me a front-row view of the orders of my co-workers.

And what I saw opened my eyes

People ordered a lot of stuff. Novelty tape dispensers. Stainless steel staplers. And boxes of tissues. Tissues! I always need tissues! But it never crossed my mind to order them from work… I can provide those just fine thank you very much.

So when it came time to place next month’s order, I ordered a box of tissues. And since I’m a good eco-conscious consumer (and because I wasn’t the one paying), I ordered Seventh Generation tissues. Nothing but the most environmentally friendly tissues for my nose, thank you very much.

Except there was one teeny tiny problem: I ordered a whole case of tissues. 24 boxes of tissues showed up at my desk in a giant box. WHAT AN EMBARRASSMENT. That guy must be abusing the system, my colleagues surely muttered to themselves.

To save face, I immediately distributed boxes of tissues to my preferred co-workers and stashed a bunch under my desk. And I took a box to my car, of course.

Now back to the car

Prius getting towed away

As mentioned above, my car was recently totaled in a snowstorm.

It was a 2011 Toyota Prius in great condition. An avalanche of snow came down from the roof of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital at Seventh and Spruce streets and landed right on my car. Multiple snow bricks rained down on my car during the middle of the night, denting the roof, smashing the windshield, and crushing the whole side of the car.**

So yesterday I removed everything from my car before it was towed to the salvage yard. For those keeping track at home: I still have some tissues left.

Seventh Generation tissues

Important notes:

*I never abused this policy nor did I ever order more than was required as a copywriter.

**Penn’s property insurance is covering the damage no hard feelings ok?

My DIY Prius iPhone Windshield Mount Setup

I started looking for a DIY windshield mount for my Prius ever since I got an iPhone and started using Waze to get to work every day.

Prius navigation setup for my iPhone

I thought about buying a cheap iPhone case and gluing it to the suction cup-style mount I have from an old standalone GPS unit. For awhile, I was just wrapping the charging cord around the gear selector knob and hoping for the best.

But then it hit me, as I was admiring the contours of the Prius dashboard: I bet it could just fit right in there. (Insert “that’s what she said” joke here.)

DIY iPhone Prius windshield mount

And it does, quite handily, right next to the hybrid system monitor screen so you can keep your eyes on your road.

Here’s what you need:

  • Prius  (tested in a 2011 gray hatchback, the regular kind before all the “v” and “c” nonsense).
  • iPhone  (tested with a 4S).
  • iPhone case  (preferably a thin rubbery one); I use an Incase.

Thanks to the shape of the dash, I imagine a variety of different phones would work, but the square shape of the 4S makes it a cinch. You just slide the phone into a good location. I start from a point in the center where there’s plenty of room, then pull it toward me until I find a comfy spot. You want to slide it in far enough so it’ll be snug, but not far out enough where it could fall out if bumped. The important part is that the case allows for some friction between the dash and the phone, both for a snug fit and so you don’t end up scratching your dashboard.

Here’s what’s recommended:

I plug my iPhone charger into the 12V (cigarette-adapter style) charger located in the center console (underneath the front armrest), and then plug the cord extension into that. It reaches all the way to the dashboard, and tucks away neatly when you leave your car.

Plus, there’s the extra audio jack right in the center console.

iPhone DIY dashboard mounting solution for 2011 prius

Feel free to post your questions in the comments thread. And apologies for the image quality; it’s difficult when your good camera is in the shot itself!