Friday, October 10, 2014

Trouble and Triumph: The windshield saga

I think people are far too eager to blow things up into sagas when they are simply events. I'm not a fan of the misuse of language ('I don't believe in - ' is one of my hot buttons. What do you mean you don't believe in violence?? You actually don't think violence exists!!!) but in this case event started piling up on event, so I feel justified in calling what follows a full blown saga.

Faithful readers (All 2 of them!) may remember that back in July the van suffered a grave indignity up in North Dakota when her windshield was cracked by a flying rock as I drove south out of the Roosevelt National Forest.

Once I got over the shock of this grievous injury I decided to try and hold off until February to replace it since two of the three windshield stickers have to be replaced then anyway and the third would be expired, but the small crack, as small cracks are wont to do since they apparently have crack-envy, kept getting larger. While driving I would keep a close eye on it because this seemed to stop that growing crap, but inevitably my eye would wander and next time I looked the crack would have run just a little farther.

One wasn't enough, so two more cracks were added to the menagerie
But this was a greedy crack so one just wasn't enough, and while the van was parked back at home base, two additional cracks were spawned in the dark of night. (Actually I suspect it was the light of day and caused by the Reflectix sun visor in the windshield. I've noticed that things get really hot on the sun-side of this material, which is good since that's all heat that didn't get inside the van, but maybe not so good on a failing windshield.) I could feel these cracks when running the edge of my thumbnail over them, indicating that the glass was shifting as the cracks released it. Cracks which now reached from the far right edge to a little more than halfway to the left edge in a snaking path. So, forced unwillingly into reality, I bit the bullet, and scheduled a replacement at one of the two insurance company sanctioned places in town.(It's a small town but I still don't know where the other place even is!)

By this photo, which admittedly doesn't show it very well but you try photographing clear glass!, the crack was running from the far edge of the windshield  to across and off the left edge of the photo!

Which is how we ended up going to town in two vehicles on Monday. I had a appointment for 0930 and should be able to pick the van back up shortly after lunch.



I had a bad feeling when I dropped the van off and was told by the the woman behind the counter that the installer would get started as soon as he got back from the chiropractor's, but, choosing to ignore that bad feeling for the more pollyanna-ic stance of glass-half-full, I left her there anyway.

With my head in the sand we stuck to our original plan and went on our annual pilgrimage to Cabela's where I would buy new go-to-town boots. (My current go-to-town boots would be demoted to shop boots and my shop boots, the soles thin and badly blown out almost all the way around and the uppers well stained with various paints and glues and burn-marks, would be thrown in the trash.)

Cabela's is plenty far enough away, the better part of a tank of gas, to keep us busy during the windshield replacement and cure time.

Phone call 1, them to me sometime between town and Cabela's: Voice mail because I don't answer my phone unless I recognize the number and I never answer it when driving.

Phone call 2: Me to voicemail "This is so-&-so at the glass place, give me a call."  OK, that's not good!

Phone call 3: Me to them. No answer

Phone call 4: Me to them on a different number. Busy signal.

Wait 15

Phone call 5: Me to them: "Yes sir,  thanks for calling, I wanted to let you know your van won't be ready until later this afternoon because the installer is running late."

Phone call 6: Them to me. (I recognize the number now and answer.) "The installer's shoulder is just too sore for him to do your van today. He'll get it first thing in the morning and it should be ready by lunch tomorrow."

We do not pass go, we do not collect $200, we go straight home; van-less and resigned to a second town-trip in the same week.


Phone call 7: Them to me. "That is a really big windshield so I'm getting a second installer in to help my guy so it will be late this afternoon before it's ready now."

Phone call 8: Them to me. "The second installer is here to help but when they moved your van around to work on it they realized that the Sprinter requires a special urethane which we don't have. I'll order it overnight and they will do your van first thing in the morning."

OK, this is a little inconvenient since we didn't pick up any fresh veggies yesterday, anticipating going in to town again today, and now we're getting pretty low. Not to mention I'm having separation anxiety and haven't slept too well. (This is the first time I've been more than a long hike away from the van since the day I picked her up, and never overnight!)


Phone call 9: Me to them. "Just checking to make sure everything in on schedule before we leave the house for the long trek into town." "Let me check with the installers on when it will be ready and I'll call you back."

Phone call 10: Them to me. (It's been a lot longer than what I think a quick check with the installers should take and I'm not feeling the warm-fuzzy!) "Turns out our supplier didn't have that special urethane in stock yesterday and it won't be here until tomorrow now. I'll have the installers start on your van as soon as the shipment gets here and you should be able to pick it up around lunch tomorrow."

We resort to raiding the canned goods and do without fresh veggies for the day. I think I might be having withdrawals, but I don't know if it's broccoli or van!


Phone call 11: Me to them. "Just checking again to make sure everything is on schedule before we head for town." "They're putting the new windshield in now (I think I was so shocked I dropped my phone about this point.) and it will be ready after lunch."

We dropped off the recycling at the recycling center but had come to town much too early, so we went to a resale shop to bleed off some of the extra time, passing the glass place on the way and noting that the van was in the install bay (Well so far so good!).

After milking the used clothes and chipped dinnerware for all it was worth, we headed back across town, again passing the glass place, (It's a small town so you tend to pass everything.) and noting that the van was now sitting outside curing. (Holy crap!! This might actually work!)

We end up standing impatiently outside our favorite restaurant, still too early, but they took pity on us and let us in anyway.

After lunch we dawdled around the grocery store, checking and double checking our list, but enough was enough!

So I got dropped off up the street (The glass place has very little parking and we had the recycling trailer behind the car.) and hoofed the half block back to the glass place while the frozen raspberries headed for the house and the freezer.

I waited, and waited, and waited while the woman at the glass place tried to buff some scratches out of some other lady's smartphone screen (Yes, they replace glass, they tint glass, they sell audio systems; and they also sell cell phones and service, they sell health supplements, they sell - well, you don't really know what-all they sell unless you go in and wander around while waiting for them to finish up with someone that dropped their cellphone and now expects someone else to remove the scratches! Oh, and a TV over in the corner is permanently tuned to a God station just in case you have a personal crack or two that needs seeing to.)

It's finally my turn but the woman can't read the VIN number the installer wrote down so she can't finish the paperwork. The installer, who may be able to interpret his own handwriting, seems to have gone off somewhere for a nap. I go out to the van to get the insurance papers once again.


I walk out with paperwork and keys in hand and make it all the way back to the house without the pristine new windshield popping out as I surf and twist and rattle the back roads to get there!

The world seems just a little more normal now with the van parked out in front of the shop. . .


No comments:

Post a Comment