Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bumps in the road

Within weeks of buying our new rig (a lightly used fifth-wheel trailer and a significantly used diesel pickup) we enjoyed a couple of impressive but ultimately harmless mishaps. Heavy rains produced an indoor waterfall when water pooled on the roof of the slide and breached a defect in the weatherstripping. And then a nasty hailstorm left its indelible signature on two sides of the unit, also breaking a window, roof vents, and the exterior speakers.

Joe made the necessary repairs and the insurance company paid us something to acknowledge its near-worthlessness for resale. The replacement window frame and speakers look significantly fresher than the yellowed originals, so overall we weren't too fussed once we accepted the dents.

The next issue was a little more alarming, being the first one involving roadworthiness. Somehow the safety chain came into conflict with the gooseneck adapter. (This is an extension which allows one to pull a fifth wheel trailer with a ball hitch mounted in the bed of the pickup. We purchased them separately, and they happened to be set up to accommodate each other, so we had kept that configuration.)

Something about the interference between safety chain and adapter caused an important bolt to shear off. Joe, doubting the integrity of the system, decided to immediately unhitch the truck and have the ball hitch replaced with a fifth wheel hitch. The delay was only half a day, and we were on the road the very next evening, feeling a bit more secure with the more robust connection.

Three days and three states later a tire blew out.

Joe is pretty good at checking things over, and air pressure and fluid levels are regular checks for him. He drives the speed limit or slower, and is careful about road hazards. But shit happens. So he changed the tire, caught up with us and bought a replacement for the spare the same night.

We used to be slow about the follow-through on these kinds of repairs. There was always a spare vehicle, or a project with higher priority. Having such a short list of "stuff" to maintain (and rely on) means we resolve them right away. This reduces stress and conflict in our family. We're getting plumb philosophical about bumps in the road.

I started this post before this latest little bump:

We returned to a city parking garage yesterday to find a window of our minivan smashed, but most of our random stuff still there (we don't have much that's worth taking). We went quickly from "Oh, crap!" to "Bet we can get this fixed tomorrow," and then "I'm glad this happened to us and not some actual tourists from Kansas -- it would've ruined their trip!"

We had a new window by noon this morning. In fact, the glass folks installed a new regulator (bought by Joe at the auto parts store) so the power window that hasn't worked right for a year is completely functional again.

Somehow everything that happens to us leaves us a little better off for a few dollars and some inconvenience. And maybe that's just the way our road is gonna be.

Shit happens. How great is that?

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