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The Ark under attack
Not but a week after we got back, I noticed that one of the windows in the Ark had been shot out by a bb gun. I knew it was a bb gun because there were several round indentations leading up the side of the ark to the shattered rear window. There were at least 5 other vehicles hit as well in the neighborhood. I was not happy to say the least. Scooter managed to point out that it might be karma for the things we did when we were young. That just infuriated me more, but there was a part of me inside that agreed with that statement.
Luckily a neighbor, a few houses down from us, had some lexan sitting around and Chip across the street cut out a template I drew up of the window and we were able to replace it quite easily. Crisis averted. Because where in the world would I find a custom window to fit, and when I did, how much would it cost? Not too mention we were knee deep in hoarding money in order to buy our house, and there were NO funds to spare.
A few days passed by and I finally got around to patching the hole in the hull of N.O.A. The hole was a leftover “injury” from our drive back from Port Charlotte. I felt like I turned the corner on the bad luck surrounding the little boat and it was beautiful warm spring evening so we decided to take out N.O.A. for its inaugural Pensacola cruise. We chose to run around in Bayou Texar where the water would be smooth as glass. Launching the boat and getting going on the water went without a hitch, much to our surprise.
Nora had a blast just cruising across the mirror-like water reflecting shades of pink, orange and lavendar from the gorgeous sunset taking place. We made it back to the ramp just as light was fading. Time for dinner at Bangkok Gardens, one of our favorite places in Pensacola to eat. All I had to do was back the van down and load the boat. Unfortunately that was easier said then done. I had locked the keys in the van :(
Normally this is not reason for panic as I have couple spares hidden. However one had recently fallen off while driving over rough roads in New Orleans, and the other I used and forgot to put it back outside in its hiding spot. In the past I have almost always come through getting into a locked car. And no, I have never used that skill for bad.
I took a pause and surveyed the situation. I went into my “McGyver” mode and took inventory of the tools and items around me to utilize in overcoming the task at end. I had a screwdriver, fishing tackle, a flashlight, flip flops and sticks. I could see the keys. They were next to Nora’s car seat where I set them down to get her out. In my haste to get going on the water I forgot about setting them down, and locked the doors. Now we were only about 1.5 miles from home. I could just walk and get them, but I didn’t want to make Sharon and Nora make the trek at night. And I certainly was not leaving them at the ramp by themselves. The mosquitoes were really bad already and there was no shelter. I did come up with a plan though.
I would pry the flip-out window on the side door to create a gap and keep it open with my flip flop. I would then take apart my two-piece fishing rod and slide some line through it with a hook and weight attached. Then I would slide the partial rod through the window gap and essentially fish out the keys. I wiggled and maneuvered for a while with no success. But I don’t give up easily. Eventually I hooked the keys and managed to elevate them up to the window, but they would not slide through so I pulled a little harder on the window to make more room so Sharon could squeeze them out. Just as I was thinking, “maybe we should just take the one key off we need as it had already made it out”, it happened. BAAAMMM! It sounded like a gunshot! The window shattered into thousands of pieces, raining glass shards down on all of us. I couldn’t believe it. Another broken window on the Ark. And this one seemed like it was going to be even tougher as it had a hinge attached to it and a metal frame.
So there we were, covered in glass, sweating from the heat and mosquitoes feasting on us. But at least we got into the van I guess, if you must find a bright side to all of this. I was so pissed at myself. I replayed the incident over and over in my head. Why was I so stupid to pull harder on the glass? Why didn’t I just get that one key off. Had I done that, all would be fine and we would be headed for Bangkok gardens instead of heading home to try and rinse all the glass off us and Nora. Those questions occupied my mind almost all night long. My only solace was that tomorrow I was headed to the salvage yard first thing in the morning to see if that by some chance one of the conversion vans they had out there would have the same size window.
The morning finally came and I was a man on a mission. I loaded up with my tools and took off early so I could be there when they opened at 8. I knew there was no way for me to focus on work until I came up with a plan to fix the window. In addition, the weather was threatening heavy rains coming that afternoon, so I had to fix it.
The first Chevy G-series conversion van I came across just happened to have the exact fit window. It was also the same van that I extracted power window and lock motors from a few months earlier for the Ark. Even better was that once the latch was unscrewed, the window, frame and all, just unhinged off the door with ease. Which was going to make installation super easy as well. In addition to that window, I also found a tow bar for the Town and Country and brake lines for the Caravan. The junkyard was treasure trove of parts I needed!
It only took a few seconds to install the window into the Ark and it fit like a glove. Unfortunately it took 30 minutes to get the spray-painted numbers off that came on the junkyard window :) The best news was that both Arks were fixed and ready for more adventures which I am sure will be full of highs and lows, misery and triumph.