Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Windshield Factor

My wife thinks I run my windshield wipers too slow when it rains. She always asks, in her adorable, exasperated-with-me tone, “How can you see anything!?” When I explain that I’m not looking at the windshield, I’m looking through it at the road, she just throws up her hands and makes her adorable, exasperated noises. As you might imagine from this, cracks in the windshield bother her way more than they bother me.

We take our Suburban up I-80 into the Sierras a lot during the winter months, because even though Son Number Three breaks the occasional collarbone, I remain inexplicably healthy and uninjured, and therefore able to snowboard with my boys.

**sound of me knocking on any and all wood I can find**

If you have ever been on I-80 in the Sierras during the winter months, you know that with the big trucks and their tire chains, combined with the constant new road damage due to the snow and ice, it’s basically like driving through a shooting range. We also take long road trips in the summer months, so our windshield seems to always have a few chips and at least one crack of some length.

This year’s crack came on fast and spread like wildfire. It started at the very bottom of the windshield right in front of the steering wheel, and before I even had a chance to try to stop it, it had spread all the way to the top of the glass. It was a jagged vertical line directly in front of the driver’s face.

As you can imagine, my wife didn’t love it. But it happened in the fall, even before snowboarding season had begun!

“Honey, it makes no sense to fix it now, right before we’re going to drive into the hailstorm of rocks and busted chain links.”

“[exasperated noises]”

Buying new windshields is one of my least favorite things to do. I rank it just above the stomach flu. That’s because I know, the minute that beautiful new curved sheet of glass gets glued in place, I’m going to have to take the car back outside again and drive it around. Getting it replaced in the winter here is as futile as brushing your teeth while eating Oreos, only far more expensive.

Well, we had one last hurrah up the hill a couple weekends ago when we had a cold spring storm blow through, and now the forecast calls for nothing but sunshine and slush. Son Number Three takes his behind-the-wheel driver’s license test at the end of next week, so I figured it was time. He’ll take the test in our Honda Accord, but just in case something happens, I want to have a backup vehicle ready.

I have a feeling the DMV testing employee might have a problem with the full-windshield crack right in front of the sixteen-year-old driver’s face. It’s very likely illegal, but more importantly, the DMV employee’s exasperated noises would probably result in my son not getting to test, which means I would have to be on carpool duty longer, which is unacceptable.

So, on Monday I said goodbye to my $500 insurance deductible and hello to my brand new, crack and ding-free windshield. That was all well and good, for a few hours anyway.

The glue was probably still drying on Monday evening when Son Number Two – who is turning eighteen on Friday – informed me that he would like to skip school that day to take his buddies up the hill to go snowboarding for his birthday, one last time before the season ends.


He’s going to look pretty silly driving our Suburban up I-80 in reverse.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2024 Marc Schmatjen


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1 comment:

  1. LOL, so true! Well, did he make it back alive, and with a chip and crack free windshield? Happy 18th #2 - with love from your Aunt Gail!