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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

 

A birthday gift from Interstate 5

Yesterday was my birthday so I broke out a box of time-off and spent the day in Seattle with my younger sister (the only person I knew with both TO to burn and willing to partake in a fairly spontaneous weekday road trip to the Emerald City). On our way back to town I-5 took time out of its busy schedule to give me a gift.

Or, more specifically, somewhere north of Tacoma a flying chunk of asphalt collided with the right side of my windshield, creating a fairly impressive, bullet hole-style crack. Now I admit that I'm almost completely ignorant when it comes to all things automotive (you're supposed to change the windshield wiper fluid ever 3,000 miles and the oil at least once a decade, right?). People I consider knowledgeable when it comes to these things tell me that cracks like this need to be fixed, ASAP, to avoid the entire windshield from breaking like an ice-covered lake in every single movie ever made featuring an ice-covered lake. Here's the "before" photo I hastily took while stuck in traffic tonight:




While the resident know-it-alls in at least one internet forum claimed I had little to worry about, I rushed over to the nearest Jiffy Lube after work. I knew from the experiences of others to set my expectations low but that this would be the quickest, cheapest fix. Recently, a colleague wound up with a dime-sized crack in a windshield which a Jiffy Lube attendant was able to reduce to the size of a grain of rice.

Thirty minutes and $30 later, my crack now looks like the web of a spider living in a high rent district. Should I have expected something better? According to the paperwork I signed beforehand, maybe not. Based on the angle and size of the crack there was a serious chance that the repair wouldn't reduce its girth in the slightest. The goal here is to prevent the crack from spreading, not necessarily reduce its size. Here's the "after" shot:




So the good news is that the crack is supposedly stabilized and guaranteed not to grow for at least a year. The bad news: it's still there and looks fairly menacing.




In hindsight, maybe I should have bagged the Seattle day trip to stay home with the leftovers of my Indiana Jones ice cream cake. I'm sure that the resident baker at the Garden Home Dairy Queen didn't intend for the tumbling boulder to serve as a metaphor for my own mortality, nor my faith in quick-fix automotive repair.

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