Point & Click
Sometimes, I feel like a big old piece of my DNA is missing – you know, the handy-with-electronics DNA, the no-problem-with-gadgets DNA, the mechanically-mindful DNA. Why for example, am I utterly inept when it comes to seemingly simple tasks? (OK, don’t answer that.)I had an example of this kind of incompetent behavior this past weekend as I attempted to put my ski rack on my car.Yep, you read it right. Ski rack. Car. How tough can this be?Tough enough for me to start yelling a bunch of quick-succession swear words after 15 minutes of frigging with the thing and not being able to get it attached to my roof rack. It started simple enough. About a month ago, I burrowed my way through a pile of our vehicle accessories – you know, bungee cords, bike racks, ski racks, radial tires, snow tires that no longer fit any vehicle we own – until I found my state-o’-the-art ski rack. I got it last year because when I got my “new” four-year-old station wagon, my old ski rack did not fit it. That bugs me, by the way (you know, how quickly things become obsolete) but that’s another column. My new rack came in two pieces, front and back. Unfortunately, even though somehow miraculously I had managed to attach the plastic holders, bolts and nuts for the front piece when I put it away last season, the back piece was sorely missing all this special, only-can-get-it-through-a-Thule-car-rack-dealer apparatus. Grrr.So off I went to Factory Surplus – where I got my rack in the first place. The kind man there supplied me with all the attachments and holders I needed to secure my rack. Once home, I laid all pieces out in the back of my station wagon and set about securing the rack. Snap! That came to a speedy end when one of the plastic specially-made Thule plastic holders broke off right in my hand. Whoopsie. I stuffed the rack in my car and waited until I was in Glenwood again.This time, Kenny at Factory Surplus helped me. Not only did he replace the broken plastic piece, but he showed me that the special bolts that came with my rack didn’t fit my rack. Huh? As odd as that was, he was right. They were too long, making it impossible to tighten down the rack. So, Kenny showed me the kind of bolt and washers I’d need, and off I went to True Value to find the metric equivalents. All this effort to stick some skis on the top of the car was getting to me. I wondered why ski rack makers created a rack that required this much running around. I started thinking two gigantic rubber bands would work much better, with a lot less hassle. I got no sympathy from my husband, Erik. “Just throw them in the back,” he said of putting my boards in the back part of the wagon. “It’s already slimed back there, from the dogs.” But I had paid good money for my state-o’-the-art rack, dang it. The gauntlet had been thrown down: It was a challenge to get the stupid thing secured to the car. Fast forward to last Saturday. I was on my way to a little late-day skiing at Sunlight with a friend when I thought, equipped with all the pieces I’d need to put my rack on, I’d slap it up on top of the car. Feeling confident, I opened one of the car doors, and wrestled the front piece up to the roof rack. So far so good. I pulled the plastic holders apart and wrapped them around the rack. No snapping, no breaking! It was almost too good to be true. One down, one to go.As I lifted up the back piece, I heard a clunk, and saw a bright metal nut on the ground. “Where’d that come from?” I thought. I soon discovered it was holding the turny-wheely thing that tightens the back piece to the roof rack. At that point, I lost it. What is it that has to be so complicated about securing two metal things on top of a car? The string of bad words flew from my mouth, sending our two dogs, out playing by the car, running for cover. Realizing I was already wildly late (and wishing Sunlight had night skiing), I opened up the back of the car and shoved the back piece of the rack into the already-slimed part of the car, along with my skis and poles, and took off down the road, one piece of the rack on, one in the back of the wagon. After skiing on Saturday (hey, I managed to make three runs), I stopped by to see my friend Kenny at Factory Surplus. “Still having trouble?” he asked with a smile. It took him about four minutes to secure the piece to my roof. I guess I’m just going to have to learn to accept that some people are good at some things, and others are good at others. Show me a blank page and I can fill it with words. I’m a good aunt, and I love a good laugh. But please, oh please, don’t ask me to put a seemingly simple-looking ski rack on my car. And the same goes for programming a DVD player, too. Carrie Click is the editor of The Citizen Telegram in Rifle and is the Western Garfield County bureau editor for the Post Independent. Now that she’s got it on her station wagon, she is never taking her ski rack off her car. Ever. Carrie can be reached at 625-3245, ext. 101, email@example.com.
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