Not to turn this blog into all-wrecked-car-all-the-time or body-shop-play-by-play or anything, but after talking to the Total Loss Department at the insurance company (could there be a more depressing office name? "Nice to meet you, where do you work?" "I'm in the Total Loss Department.") and having them call the body shop guy while I waited on hold, it turns out that much to my surprise the car can be repaired. I'm sure this takes its trade-in value down to nil, but now I'll be able to drive it for another year or two and take the time to properly research the whole car buying thing. (Hey, I've been driving the same car since 1991 -- there's a lot to learn about since then.)
I feel tremendously relieved.
I also feel the need to use "Total Loss Department" in a poem. Hmmmm. :)