80 mph – Do It Right the First Time

80 miles per hour… the best part about driving through southern Idaho.  My dream-come-true speed limit; I used to wonder why I would pass cars going so slowly when they didn’t have to.  Last Friday I was one of them…
Before my tale of woe, I must first go back to my earlier drive through Idaho – a week ago… I have learned to see great beauty in southern Idaho.  Twenty years ago I thought it was about the most bleak spot I had ever seen, but in my quest to see beauty in all things a miracle has occurred.  I have learned to enjoy the beauty offered through all of that wide open desert, I like the mountains and the way the light plays off them during different times of day, I like the farmland, I like that I once saw a moose walking along the freeway, but mostly I like legally driving 80 mph.  Last week I was driving along enjoying this landscape and I suddenly felt a jolt as I realized I had published an incomplete blog about “incredible women” – no doubt leaving off dozens and dozens of my friends and acquaintances – I left off one of my all time favorite and influential women!  
I hope that Heather is reading this and knowing that I not only remembered her, I thought of her all week.  Heather is the most social person I have ever known… we cannot have a conversation together without her having some sort of connection to almost any other person (from just about any other place) that I might mention.  Hers is truly a magnetic personality…. I was immediately drawn to her and if we are in the same room, I want to be at her elbow; hearing and participating in all of her conversations.  She is positive, upbeat, intelligent, amusing and very kind – also incredibly organized.  I could honestly use a little more time with her so that her influence could rub off on me a bit more.  We used to live close – I had two little boys and she had two little girls – and we would all get together to play as much as we could.  She would get take-out and I would bring peanut butter and jam.  She loves to clean and I love to cook.  We are a good pair – I see her rarely now, but each time I do we pick up right where we left off and I leave a better person.

At least we found some
shade in WalMart parking lot

Now, back to Idaho driving… Last Friday I left Payson, UT to drive to Rexburg, ID and pick up Natalie and her friend, Kandra, from AFY (Adventures for Youth).  We were happily driving along (at 82 mph) when there was a terrible explosion.  We all felt that we had been shot.  Small, black particles were flying off the back of my car and I quickly pulled over.  Our car carrier was untouched and I could not imagine what had made that horrid sound – the children suggested that I check the sunroof.  Sure enough, it had shattered and broken.
Sidenote – this same thing happened a year or two ago when the kids were driving.  Like me, they were in the middle of a freeway with no overpass, trees, etc. – no reason for anything to land and shatter it.  Fortunately for them it only shattered and remained that way for weeks until it was replaced.  I am left to wonder if there is a structural problem with Toyota Sienna sunroofs?
We were now in a bit of a wind tunnel and I drove slowly to the next offramp – Blackfoot, ID – where we found a Walmart.  Planning to buy plastic and duct tape, I was pleased to pull up near a car that was missing a window.  I saw that they had a piece of thin board inside their plastic… so my female ingenuity began to kick in.  We purchased a set of three silicone cutting mats, contact paper and duct tape (the paper and tape were white to match the car).  David and I did a pretty decent job fixing it all up, and we left the parking lot with a giant bandaid on top of our car.

Catching broken glass
with a blanket
We were so grateful that we
had it closed from the interior.

Our goal was Boise (five hours away) and we were confident that there would still be time to swim.  As we drove, however, we realized that our problem was worse than anticipated.  The noise was deafening and like nothing we had ever heard.  We pulled off on several other obscure off ramps to make slight adjustments (such as spreading a blanket under the inner opening of the sunroof to let all of the loose glass spill out).  Even with the loose glass gone it was so loud – with the stereo at full volume we could not hear our audio book.  Finally, I thought back to each step that we had taken in our repair and I remembered that, as we removed the paper-backing from our first sheet of contact paper, the backing had torn and we had used it anyway.  This meant that right in the center, right under the car carrier… we had a small area that would allow air to enter from behind.  We tried to put more duct tape in the area, but our hands just could not fit under the car carrier well enough.  We decided to move our hotel reservation to Twin Falls and drive those last 90 miles at a nice, slow pace so that we could hear ourselves think.
I should mention one other “quick-fix” that we employed.  Grandma had sent the kids with a box of Froot Loops.  Emptying it out, we replaced the contents with a sweatshirt and pillowcase and closed it between the outside contact paper layer and the inside cover.  I have to admit that we stuffed pretzel rolls along the sides… It sounds silly, but it did muffle the wind.
Now that I could think, I realized that, although our repair was a fabulous idea, it would never work well unless we removed the car carrier and properly taped those few inches correctly.  The problem

Who knew Froot Loops
could be good for something?

Several weeks later…
…the “problem” was that I hit the ground running, have had very little time on the computer, and got bored with my little story.  Here are the details…
We stopped at a hotel in Twin Falls… I checked in and, although everyone was anxious to go swimming, we first took off the car carrier, sent David and Kimberly to a nearby store for more duct tape, taped everything securely and hoped for the best.
This is my favorite part of the evening:  We didn’t take the car carrier all of the way off, just  nudged it and balanced it on the back of the van.  As we worked with the duct tape, a couple from Portland came and asked if they could please help us.  They had some cord in the car they wanted us to use… they thought that we were using the tape to hold the car carrier on!  We all had a good laugh together. Nice people.
End of story:  We were able to drive the 9 hours home at full speed and with no indication that there was anything wrong.

Not messing around this time!
we covered most of it with
the rest of the white contact
paper – it is still like that!

Life lesson:  Do it right the first time.  I learn this over and over again.  It is usually one of those things where I have to step back, take a deep breath, and do that little extra bit of work which will invariable save me so much in the long run.  It always feels good.  It never feels good to have to go back and start over…
This little adventure of mine takes both sides of the life lesson… I tried to fix it the best way I knew how.  I drove for quite awhile and tried several things before I realized what the real problem was.  I could have pulled over to remove the carrier and do it right, but I didn’t want to do this on the side of the freeway, and we only had a little bit of tape left, so I would have had to do it twice… I was prepared to drive slowly to Boise, but made the right choice to change our reservation, let the kids swim, and just have a couple of extra hours to drive the next day…
Nevertheless, it is a good lesson.  Do it right the first time… or at least the very best that you can!

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