How do you define success?
By the absence of failure? By reaching 95% of an unattainable goal?
Or do you just make it up, sometimes, like I do?
Also sprach Zarathustra. Don Quixote. VW Cabrio Convertible Top Replacement — the novella Hemingway meant to write after The Sun Also Rises. Apparently, he never got around to it.
And for good reason.
Good God, you have to be something of a philosopher poet mechanic to get the thing (said Top) fitted on the car correctly.
And for the record, I did have some help the last couple of days. My Significant Other assisted me in maneuvering the monstrosity (said Top) onto the body yesterday, and Daughter’s Little Biting Sister struck a perfect Statute of Liberty pose for me today as she held the thing half-open so I could tighten some inaccessible bolts.
Let the record, therefore, show that the marginally negative comments I referenced in my last post were balanced by a little bit of timely assistance by sideline family members.
As the photo above should demonstrate, I did manage to reinstall the new used Top onto Daughter’s car today. I carved out about four hours (more or less) to “git ‘er done” and I just about hit the mark.
At this point, I would characterize the job as being almost finished. And even though I took everything apart just yesterday and thought I had a pretty good idea of where all the pieces went, I managed to end up with everything back in place and ”only” five grommets left over — a couple of them are fairly large, too.
I have no idea of where they supposedly fit, but I’m sure their absence will be felt during the first rain or bumpy road, depending on their purpose. Until they are needed, they will slumber in the console.
On the positive side, I did note upon disassembly that one bolt used to secure the rear seat to the frame was missing. And though I couldn’t remember the position of all the rubber bits (see previous two paragraphs), I cannily made a mental note to address this absence and source a replacement from my Spares Coffee Can.
I did, in fact, find a correct replacement this afternoon, and I happen to know that it originated from an old Alfa Romeo of mine from years past. For good measure, I even replaced the good German bolt (that wasn’t missing) with a second Alfa bolt, so Daughter’s VW has a tiny bit of Italian blood in it now.
Based on my many years of experience, the next failure for the VW will have something to do with the Alfa parts.
Trust me on this.
So as I was finishing everything up late today, my work certainly seemed to be taking on the appearance of looking half-way decent. A neighbor across the street emerged from his house, just as I was taking the Cabrio for a test drive — I had to make sure the Top wasn’t going to fly off at speed — and I commented to Said Neighbor, “Hey, I noticed you didn’t offer to come over and help me with the Top today.”
To which he replied, “I’ve had a headache all day, and it looked like you knew what you were doing.”
“My goal is to be semi-professional,” I shouted, and I roared off down the street.
Actually, Daughter’s car never roars; it putt-putts.
After a successful test drive (nothing bad happened), I pulled up to the house and began to button everything up for the night.
Don’t be fooled — the Cabrio still needs a major, thorough cleaning, top to bottom, and I’ve got to figure out why the “Check Engine” light is now illuminated and, of course, the speedometer and tachometer have stopped working again.
Plus, there’s the matter of making final adjustments to the Top — the last 5%, as it were.
By my reckoning I’ve got at least another weekend of work ahead of me to conquer all the remaining tasks and to address whatever new ones pop up during the course of knocking out the old ones.
But it’s good therapy, after all.
So for me, success is a new used Top on Daughter’s VW that fits pretty darn well and no longer has any gaping holes around the rear window. Yes, in a pathetic attempt to stave off the inevitable replacement hassle, I was one of those guys who used packing tape to try to patch up the Top in a forlorn quest to keep the elements from entering the cabin.
The tape lasted about two days before completely delaminating.
And just to reassure you that this new used Top was meant to be exactly for Daughter’s car, as I was cleaning off the rear window, I noticed not just one, but two very faded decals in the corner of the glass.
You guessed it. They were cats.
Hope does, indeed, spring eternal, and tomorrow is, indeed, another day.
Daughter, I want my truck back!