Practical Karma

brokenstring

A couple of days ago at work, someone mentioned that the house next to their’s was almost burgled this week.  It seems a bunch of nefarious guys (four of them, actually) in a black Camry made the mistake of parking in front of my co-worker’s house, where most of the following saga was ultimately captured by his outside garage security camera.

After posting a lookout across the street, the remaining three miscreants banged on the front door of the adjacent home, apparently thinking it was empty since it was, after all, mid-afternoon.

And this is where it gets interesting.

Turns out someone was, in fact, at home.  The owner was simply upstairs and didn’t feel like answering the door.  (Hmmm.  I often feel like that.)

The bad guys then figured it was okay to carry on, and they proceeded to try to break in through the front door, whereby the owner then realized what was happening and began to scream and shout and ultimately phone the police.

The result was predictable.  Said bad men high-tailed it for their Japanese beater and fled the subdivision post-haste.  Cop Cars and Cop Helicopters were called in, to no avail, and everyone lived to fight another day.

The good news was nothing was stolen and no one was hurt for once.  The bad news was, of course, there’s a still criminal-filled, crappy Camry out there prowling our streets looking for an easier mark for their next go-round.

After hearing this story, I regaled him back with a counter-tale.  I recalled my own break-in experience when someone broke into my old pickup truck here about eight years ago and stole all the change out of the console — maybe $3.27 or so.  However, the thief (or thieves) left behind a nice stereo, a $300 custom cover, a radar detector, and various CDs covering many musical periods (some good, some bad).

I wondered if, perhaps, the interloper wasn’t an ABBA fan and took pity on me.  Then, again, perhaps he was an ABBA fan and decided not to clean me out.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, he left the ABBA’s Greatest Hits CD behind.

Or perhaps he was just unexpectedly interrupted during the deed and bailed as quickly as possible.

Who knows?

Whatever the reason, I felt fortunate because my truck hadn’t been completely trashed and the stolen goods haul could have been much worse.

Never at a loss to turn pseudo-tragedy into a teaching moment with the kids, my story to them was that “someone clearly needed the change in the truck more than I did” and that “things always work out in the end,” even though the episode sucked wasn’t pleasant.

It’s all about Karma, after all.

That may not seem like a big deal, but what my kids don’t know about me is why I like to keep a bunch of change in my cars.

Because it makes me feel rich.

Why?  I feel like I’ve spent so many years of my life returning bottles for deposits at the grocery store to obtain that $2 or $3 extra every couple of weeks, that having a pile of coins at my disposal these days feels absolutely regal in comparison.

Silly, but true.

So the theft of my truck stash wasn’t as trivial as it might have seemed, because it was a blow to my deep-seated need to hoard pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.

Brushing it off was kind of a big deal in some ways then, but I figured Karma was at work and I would emerge the better for the experience.

Fast forward ten years, and different but related subject.

I haven’t paid for a haircut in a very long time.  My Lovely Spouse shaves my head styles what’s left of my hair on a semi-regular basis.  It is this same Loving Spouse who has draped me with potions, talismans, and all manner of herbs, stones, and minerals to better my general health and alter my specific curmudgeonly disposition.

So earlier this week as she was finishing up the latest home barbershop episode, My Better Half accidentally cut through my string necklace upon which is hung a couple of Stonehenge-like objects that Give Me Peace and Provide Me Balance during the course of my Daily Trip (dot com) with other Muggles.

She cut through my Good Luck Charm!

Not only was the necklace severed, when it dropped to the floor one of the attached precious stones shattered on the floor.

I was aghast.

What was going to happen next?

More termites in the house?  Major sprinkler system flood?  Daughter finds a job/career?   (Wait. That’s a good thing.)  Wildfires?  New Ice Age? Sickness in the Home?

I mean the possibilities are endless.

“Oh, no,” I shrieked.

Well, I didn’t shriek, but I was shocked.  “What’s going to happen now?” I wondered aloud.

Her response?

“You didn’t need it anymore.  It’s Karma.”

And, of course, as is true most of the time around here, she was right.

So she quickly tied a new knot and re-hung was what left of the talisman around my neck.

I suppose my choice was to bitch and moan about what was lost, or recover quickly and realize everything works out in the end anyway.

The proof was in the “sports pudding” in the ensuing days, because that’s typically how I measure myself — sad but true.

Anyway, I had one of my best shooting days in recent memory on the basketball court not a day later, and I almost broke 80 on the golf course today, as well.

Oh, right.  I should add that my family is relatively happy and relatively healthy, to boot.

So all’s well that ends well.

Yep.  I believe in Karma, but I still like keeping lots of change in my vehicles, too.

Namaste.

- Dad

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Pho Dat!

pho

“No. I don’t want a fork and spoon, thank you. I realize it will take me ten times longer to eat with chopsticks, but I want to look authentic.”

One of my best friends in the world is of Vietnamese descent.  I would normally write that he’s Vietnamese-American, but I am pretty sure he considers himself an American before all other classifications.  No matter, as he is the guy responsible for introducing me to the underworld of Vietnamese cuisine.   

Back in ancient times, sometime during the mid-90′s, my Vietnamese friend and I worked together on a military staff assignment in Texas.  Since we were both forward thinkers and were somewhat bored with the dining options on base, we began a tradition where we visited a Vietnamese restaurant every Wednesday for lunch.  *Memory Disclaimer:  I don’t really remember if we actually went every week or if the chosen day was Wednesday — but both are close enough.

I couldn’t tell you the name of the place we used to go to, but it was in a rough part of town that featured run-down laundromats and scary looking used car lots.  Neighborhood appearances (and appliances) aside, the food was great there, and we had safety in numbers since usually a group of four or five of us went together. 

I usually bungled my way through the meal, bravely brandishing chopsticks until my fingers cramped, forcing me then to retreat to fork and spoon.  I never knew what we ordered since my friend did all the talking, and the language was not English.  I was told we always received “authentic Vietnamese” as opposed to “Watered Down For Americans” Vietnamese, but I couldn’t really tell the difference anyway, as most of the ingredients of whatever dish sat in front of me usually defied my simple understanding. 

This routine became a regular part of our working lives, and when we both moved to Southern California years later, we picked it right up again.  This time we frequented a Vietnamese restaurant in a strip mall every Friday (previous disclaimer applies), and the entire routine was essentially duplicated.  My friend did the ordering, and the rest of us stuffed down our Muggle gullets whatever found its way to the table in front of us.

One particular Friday, however, we pulled up to a different Vietnamese restaurant in the same strip mall.  I guess it was not that unusual in and of itself, since all the stores in this shopping center were Vietnamese but, still, I wondered why we changed venues.

We all sauntered into the new place and grabbed a table.  My friend didn’t seem to be forthcoming with any information, so I broached subject.

“Okay.  What’s the deal?  Why did we switch restaurants today?”

The response from my friend was simple:  “It’s cleaner.”

Got it.  Okay.  That was that.

That incident took place probably about ten or twelve years ago, and my Vietnamese friend now lives on the east coast.  But today one of my favorite meals remains Vietnamese noodle soup:   pho. 

And as luck or fate would have it, our little SoCal suburban enclave features not one, but two Vietnamese restaurants.  Well, truthfully, we used to have only one here for many years, and that’s where I got my fix.  The trouble was, this place featured the meanest, surliest servers that I ever experienced.  They made the Soup Nazi look like Bambi. 

You see, sometimes when you happen to be the owner of a monopoly, it can go to your head, regardless of how good your food is.   

But two or three years ago, a second pho restaurant opened across town, which we immediately tried.  The food was great at the new place, and we’ve never gone back to the original. 

When Son came home for a weekend visit from college a few years ago, we bypassed our old haunt in favor of the new.  Son was unaware that the landscape had changed.

“Where are we going?  This is not the way to Pho,” he wondered.

“It is.  These other guys have opened up a pho place just down the street,” I replied.

“But why are we going there?”

“Because they’re nicer to us.”  End of story.

So as my Spouse, Daughter Number Two, and myself finished up a tasty Vietnamese dinner this evening, I remembered the journey that led to this destination.  And as I’ve said many times previously, what goes around, comes around.

The trouble is, the original pho restaurant here is still doing gangbusters business.  But, a-ha, so is the second one. 

Go figure.

Anyway, after we finished our supper, I had to make a deposit at the ATM across the parking lot from the restaurant.  After inserting the envelope into the machine, I turned to get back in the van and there on the ground in front of me was a shiny new penny lying heads up. 

I picked it up and thought that, all in all, it doesn’t get much better.

Namaste!

- Dad

Good Trips

wallet

“Geez, this guy has more grocery store club cards than credit cards. That’s pathetic.”

I can’t make this stuff up.  Really. 

Just a few weeks ago, I experienced a relatively harrowing adventure when I lost my blackberry at the local junkyard.  It, once again, recalibrated my faith in the innate goodness of most Muggles – even Salvage Yard Folk.  Chalk it up to karma or whatever you’d like, I’ve certainly been the beneficiary of some good turns lately, which leads me to the following story.

A colleague of mine at work retired a little over a month ago, and I was unable to attend his farewell luncheon because I was still at home playing hooky recuperating from a small surgical procedure.  I sent him an email expressing my regrets, and promised to take him out for a meal myself when I was back at work and he available. 

Yesterday was the day we were able to get together.  He dropped by the office, and we drove in Daughter’s Cabrio over to the local Corner Market Deli.  Since it was a Friday, the place was packed and, after ordering our food, we grabbed a table outside on the back patio. 

What ensued was a pleasant meal together during which we commiserated about getting old, feeling crappy, not being millionaires, and dealing with rust in classic cars. 

It wasn’t all complaining, you see. 

Since I am still employed (for now), we had to wrap things up after about an hour so I could return to the Salt Mine and the latest Crisis of the Day.  My friend thanked me and had the good fortune to be able to climb back in his car and continue with his retirement. 

I spent the balance of the afternoon on the phone, peeling other Muggles off the overhead when they became upset over minor project transgressions, and answering emails. 

Not soon enough, it was time for me to go home and, since I was the last one in the office (again), I locked everything up and descended to the parking lot.  But before driving off, I checked in my gym bag to verify my wallet was there.

Nope. 

Then, in quick succession, I checked my jacket, desk, Daughter’s car, the restroom, the entire office.

Nothing. 

This was not good.  I started to have that sinking feeling that, this time finally, I had really done it and lost my wallet forever.  Though I was more disgusted with myself than upset, I began to go through the mental checklist of the credit cards I immediately needed to cancel and the forms of ID I would have to apply for anew.  It was certainly going to be a hassle, but worse things were possible. 

Lots worse. 

Whether that was Zen-me thinking or just a function of being worn out at the end of a very long year and a half at work, I didn’t panic.  I may have used some choice words, but then I began to realize that none of the credit card banks had called my cell (which I hadn’t lost — yet) to query me about suspicious activity.

Maybe there was hope, but I would not allow myself to believe.

But before driving home, I figured it would be prudent to call the place where we ate lunch just on the off-chance that some good Samaritan had found my wallet and turned it in. 

Instead of describing what happened next, I’ll just say I have a brother-in-law who, despite his best efforts to the contrary, always seems to come out all right, no matter what the situation.  On my wife’s side of the family, they say “his bum lands in the butter.”

Well, yesterday, my bum was covered in butter, as my lovely Spouse reminded me.  She also recounted that I have either misplaced or actually lost my wallet on numerous occasions throughout the years, and it always manages to reappear, as if by magic.  She claims I have a Guardian Angel watching over me, and I don’t necessarily disagree anymore.  Maybe it has something to do with all the talismans she’s packed in my pockets, as well.  I just don’t know.

So, what could have been a disaster turned out not to be, and the manager of the deli had no idea who turned in my wallet — whomever turned the good deed will remain anonymous. 

In the end, I guess what goes around does, eventually, come around.  And I feel fortunate today.

By the way, I will test this theory tomorrow, since I spend my morning refereeing soccer. 

Along with the Gatorade, I plan on throwing into my cooler a stick of butter, just in case.

- Dad

I Can’t Leave Well Enough Alone

carbs

“Okay. These are fixed. Let me screw something else up.”

Probably a couple of years ago, I picked up an older Honda motorcycle to work on and keep me off the streets most weeknights.  It had been sitting in someone’s back yard for quite some, and the owners just wanted to get rid of it.  Total price for the (running) bike, helmet, and jacket was a lofty $500. 

Sweet. 

The nice folks selling the Honda even loaded it up in their pickup and brought it to my house.  They were either really, really sick of it, or were, in fact, great people.  I actually think it was a bit of both.

Well, the bike has somewhat languished in my yard since its purchase, with the prime culprit being clogged carburetors.  Son and I made a go of cleaning them out one weekend awhile back, but our primary success was managing to reassemble everything properly and getting the bike to start again. 

Of course, the carbs were still plugged after all that.  The bike ran better, but not as it should.

Time to call in The Professional and pay the piper.  My last motorcycle was similarly afflicted with the impacted carbs, and I randomly chose a guy off of Craigslist to provide service.  As it turned out, he was marvelous.  He did a great job, the bike ran superbly after he finished, and he was very affordable. 

Luckily, I still had his business card years later, and when I phoned him this week, I found out he was still busily engaged with being a Mobile Motorcycle Mechanic.  The way he works is interesting.  He charges a flat rate per carb, comes to your house, and usually finishes in four or five hours. 

So while I trudged off on Friday and spent a day at the corporate grind, he disassembled my Honda and put it back together again.  And true to form, the engine now ran flawlessly.  I was very pleased.

So pleased, in fact, that I thought I would spend some time attending to a few of the other niggling details that had been bothering me about the Honda — primarily the tachometer, which didn’t work at all.  As is usually the case with these types of things, I have a tendency to:  a) think they are easier to repair than they really are, and b) take way too many things apart to try to find the root of the problem. 

In this case, both a) and b) were true.  By late afternoon, I had taken apart almost the entire front end of the bike, and not only did the tachometer still not function, but also I somehow managed to knock out of commission both the turn signals and the brake light. 

This was going wonderfully. 

I was dead certain the tach was not working because of a broken wire somewhere.  Rather than finding that wire, I was heavily engaged in breaking every other connection on the bike during the troubleshooting process.  At that point, I prudently decided to quit for the day and think about things, before I did any more damage. 

I will tell you that, not so many years ago, an experience like this would drive me absolutely nuts.  I would obsess over the details, lose sleep worrying about how much my amateurism would cost me, and get extremely upset at myself for being such an idiot.  But with the luxury of age and mental fatigue, I now boast a more sober approach, which includes trying to stop while I’m ahead, having a nice cup of tea in the evening while thinking about things, and delaying further activity until I’ve recovered my wits. 

So, with a decent night’s sleep behind me, I started afresh today.  First stop was a guy I contacted on Craigslist earlier in the week who, incredibly, had a used tach for sale for my bike.  What were the odds?  I figured I would swing by his house, pick up the used part, and use it as a baseline to finish troubleshooting and finally fix things on my own motorcycle. 

The first hitch occurred when I showed up in his driveway and he produced a really nice — speedometer. 

“Dude, you said you had a tachometer.”

“Oh, no, I’m sorry.  I already sold it.  I guess I got confused.  I hate that you came all the way over here for nothing.  Go ahead and take something for free.”

Which I did, though I didn’t know if I’d ever need the part I took. 

I tried to stay positive as I drove back home, but I feared I was looking at several more potentially fruitless hours of electrical continuity testing. 

Well, I figured, what else could go wrong? 

In my heart of hearts, I knew the answer was “plenty”.

When I pulled up to my driveway, I calculated I could spend probably two more hours on this thing max, before I would have to put down my tools and kill somebody — most likely the closest family member.

I proceeded to uncover the bike and reveal its guts strewn here and there.  Forget the tach, would I be able to put everything together again, or was Humpty Dumpty Honda doomed to stay separated?

Then, I began to think about my bike’s symptoms and what I’d done the previous day.  Surely one broken wire couldn’t cause all this drama, could it? 

Do motorcycles have fuses? 

What an idiot I am. 

Next steps on Resurrection Road:  a) locate fuse box, b) determine if any fuses are blown, c) repeat constantly, “I am and idiot, I am an idiot.”

Well, you might have guessed the end of this story.  Yes, a fuse was blown, and replacing it magically “fixed” all the mysterious lighting problems on the bike.  I then reassembled everything and only had one screw and one clip left over.

I fired her up and proceeded to embark on a thirty-mile ride, and I enjoyed a wonderful late California spring day. 

And when I returned home and parked the bike for the night, I chalked the experience up to age and karma.

And, no, the tachometer still doesn’t work.  I’ll save that one for another day. 

- Dad

 

Stop Being Nice to Me. Please.

sad

I exchanged emails with an old friend of mine earlier this week.  We spent a few lines catching up.  He asked how I was doing, and then  he interjected he thought that I had been “bitter” about a couple of things that I have had to deal with in my life over the last decade. 

I had to think about his verbiage a bit before responding. 

Bitter?  Had I really been bitter?  I wasn’t so sure that captured how I felt.  In fact, I could think of a number of other ways to describe my feelings:  disappointed, realistic, not excited, resigned.  I suppose the list could go on, but the point in my mind is that there is a fairly large chasm between how I view my perspective and how others do. 

I promised him a follow-up email of longer length explaining my thoughts in more detail, but I haven’t actually gotten around to doing that yet.  My life has gotten in the way this week. 

However, I’m not so arrogant that I dismissed out of hand his observation about my demeanor.  I simply filed it away, and I figured I would either revisit myself later, or it would revisit me in some way, shape, or form, as these things often do. 

Not a day later, I was shopping at an auto parts store, and at the checkout counter I asked the cashier for my customary retiree discount.  Upon seeing my identification card, the parts person thanked me for my Service and asked me if I was a member of any local organizations. 

“That’s a new one,” I thought.  A little personal, but he was a Veteran and seemed genuinely interested in talking to me.  It turned out he was the president of a club nearby, and he said I was eligible to join and he welcomed me to.  He even promised to buy me a beer.

“It would have to be non-alcoholic,” I replied.  “Can’t do the real stuff anymore.”

“Same here,” he said. 

Glad to know I’m not the only one stuck in this rabbit hole. 

I then went on my merry way and had a few other errands to run.  Next stop:  Home Depot Big Box Hardware Store.  If you have been following my latest chronicles, I am still in the midst of a major servicing and cleaning of the Car Daughter Left Behind.  Though she is fond of referencing Hoarders regarding the state of our garage, I can make a similar case for the interior (and exterior) of her car.  Somehow the promise she made to clean it up before heading back to her Lesbian Cult College was overlooked in the drama of packing, repacking, and packing again. 

Yet she had plenty of time to download countless kitten photos, it seems.  That’s another story, I fear. 

Since I almost 100% successfully installed a new convertible top, I needed to finish up a few of the details I somehow screwed up overlooked.  I specifically required some black silicone adhesive/sealant, and I knew fairly accurately what I needed to buy.

I soon found myself planted in front of a wide selection of products at said Big Box Store.

“Too many choices,” I thought.  I could easily go wrong here.

After staring at the various tubes and containers for about a minute, I was joined by an older dude who immediately struck up a conversation.

“Whatcha looking for?” he asked.

Normally, I mumble something and walk away, shunning this kind of “helpful” advice from strangers.  But for some reason, I launched into great detail regarding exactly what I was searching for. 

Maybe my newfound openness was buoyed by the bonhomie of the previous counter clerk.  Maybe this new guy could help me.  Maybe the World was a Kind Place after all. 

Maybe not. 

“Well, I’ll tell you what you need,” he replied.  “You need some specialized stuff.  I know.  I used to do this kind of thing for a living.  And the place I used was Sunshine Supplies, and it’s near downtown.”

What a goldmine this guy was.  As a matter of fact, the business he mentioned was located about five minutes from where I work. 

This was going to be perfect.

“Don’t you want to write the address down?” he offered.

“Nope.  I’ll remember it,” and I thanked him, looking forward to visiting the place in the morning. 

What had I done to deserve this Niceness from the World?  Was is karma?  Did I look pathetic and in need of help? 

Something was certainly going on here, and I was determined to ride the wave.

The next morning I duly drove downtown to search out Sunshine Supplies.  This was going to be easy and rewarding.  For once, I was going to have the right materials to go with the right tools to finish the job I started. 

But after reaching the supposed destination, there was nothing there that even t resembled the store I was looking for. 

Maybe I had the directions wrong, or the wrong street, or the wrong portion of the street? 

I spent the next twenty minutes in a fruitless search for the supplier in question.  I knew I had the correct road, but I began to question myself about the exact name of the place.  I’m finding this phenomenon happens more and more these days. 

Well, I eventually gave up looking, and became resigned to going back to Big Box and buying something there.  The shine on my good karma was beginning to tarnish a bit. 

And after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion the dude was fairly old, and he was retired, and who knows when the last time was he actually visited this place.  Maybe it was now a lamp store or something.

I just chalked up the entire experience to “no good deed goes unpunished,” and I decided to get a couple of fish tacos and an unauthorized Vanilla Coke to ensure the morning wasn’t a total loss.  After all, it was lunchtime.

I guess by afternoon’s end I wasn’t really all that disappointed, as all things seem to even out in the end. 

I certainly wasn’t bitter, and I wasn’t even a tiny bit upset for having gone on something of a wild goose chase for a good amount of time earlier. 

After all, it had been a beautiful day, I had a nice meal, and I didn’t have to go to work.

It could always be worse.

Of course, it was.

Later, I had a severely upset stomach from the tacos (or the soda), so I was reminded, yet again, to take things as they come, to try not to get too animated one way or the other about anything, and never, ever be bitter, if at all possible. 

But if you see me in a random retail establishment, just don’t offer me any free advice and, for crying out loud, Daughter, if you just kept your car clean I wouldn’t be so bitter in the first place.   

- Dad

Attack of the Killer Cabrio – Part 2

cabrio3

Like all internet photos, this one makes the car look awesome, baby!

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 ZarathustraDon QuixoteVW 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. 

Thanks, Girls!

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!

- Dad

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