Friday, March 13 2009
The 1998 Subaru Outback we just bought from a friend-of-a-friend has a small crack in its windshield (something its owner hadn't noticed, but I'd been burned once before by a cracked windshield, and I'm never burned by the same used-car defect twice). Fortunately, the car had been covered by a comprehensive insurance policy and the crack would be fixed for free. I drove the car out to Excel Autoglass on 9W in Lake Katrine (a hamlet just north of Kingston's mile of Anywhere, USA). I'd brought the dogs with me, and I could tell the Excel was a dog-friendly place because the waiting room had an episode of The Dog Whisperer playing on its little television screen. I was encouraged to bring the dogs in to wait with me while my car was attended to, and the various employees asked me about my dogs ("She's a pit bull [Eleanor]. And she's maybe a Labrador crossed with a whippet [Sally].") and told me about their own. Normally the owner's dog (a Labrador mutt) sleeps on a small carpet in front of the door, but the owner wasn't in today.
It turned out that the windshield couldn't be fixed with glue; one of the guys showed me how rust had worked its way under the glass and its expansion had put pressure on the glass. The only repair that would hold would be a windshield replacement, one preceded by localized rust abatement. Happily, the only part of this that wouldn't be covered by insurance would be the rust abatement (rust must be considered "normal wear and tear" by the insurer).
Before I returned home, I picked up six twenty four by ninety six inch sheets of half inch styrofoam and six sixty by thirty six inch sheets of half-inch Wonderboard, that concrete-and-mesh material. Topping off my shopping spree of bulky materials, I also bought a ten foot length of four inch unperforated PVC sewer pipe. This was something of a shakedown cruise for the Subaru's roof rack under its new administration. I'd never owned a car with a roof rack before and was savoring the difference it made. It wasn't difficult to tie down all those materials tightly using a minimum of rope. Mind you, I've often lashed things to the roofs of our non-roof-rack-equipped cars, but it always involved the awkard routing of ropes into or through the cab. Though I never carried concrete blocks (or, for that matter, Wonderboard) this way, it was never especially good for the roofs' paint jobs.
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