Let's just say yesterday was one of those "you had to be there" kind of days. I'm not sure any written transcript will ever be able to fully express how trying of a day it was.
A whole lot of small things went terribly awry... but...let's just fast forward and start (and end) with the (time consuming, stress inducing) lens debacle.
See that crack.
That crack is between the front seat and the permanent folding console table between the driver seat and passenger seat. At the top it is about 3/4" deep by 12" wide. It quickly tapers down to about 1 cm deep by 7 " wide. After that it becomes a mostly enclosed plastic casing that surrounds some bolts that has about a 1/2 cm wide by 6" opening at the top and a 1/2" cm hole at each end of the base. What you mostly need to know is that human hands CANNOT reach into this crack.
I've never investigated this part of my car before and it's kind of surprising how much stuff gets lodged in there.
To access this crevice you have to get yourself on the floor of the car. I have a minivan and that means I can either lodge myself in the 12" space between the seats with the console table folded up (next to impossible)...
or in the 15 or so inches between the back of the front seats and the second row seats. Keep in mind that Baby stashes all sorts of stuff in that space. To fit myself in that space I have to kneel and keep the side door open and kind of stick my legs and butt out of the car.
In order to actually see in the crevice you have to line your eye up with the tiny hole on the side of the base of the casing... this means your face has to rest on the floor of the car. I don't know about your car... but I've had mine for awhile... and I have kids... so... um... this is NOT a place you would intentionally put your face.
To move anything in that crevice you need to use a skinny but long tool, while keeping your face on the floor, and inserting it in a 1/2 cm opening.
Guess where Kid's missing lens ended up?
Don't ask how... I'm still disgruntled over it. It's safe to say that while I did not actually put it in there... I did put it somewhere that I, in retrospect, shouldn't have and it slide into the crack while I was driving.
Not having anything that fit in that space while still being long enough to manipulate (a shocker considering the amount of random crap I do have in my car) I headed into the Mc Donald's for two straws. Straws were good... they were long enough... and because they are collapsable I could squeeze them in the slot. The bad part was that they were collapsable and were prone to bending and couldn't provide enough leverage to shoot the lens out... even though I tried OVER & OVER again to do just that. People, I tried (in vain) to get that damned lens out, while parked in the Mc Donald's parking lot, with the kids buckled in their seats... for AN HOUR.
See my knees...
They still look like that 6 hours later. Hey, no one can ever say that I am a quitter.
This process is frustrating even without your children kicking you (inadvertently, intentionally, and absentmindedly) from their carseats. It's probably even frustrating without your two year old throwing board books at your head (with surprising velocity and accuracy). But it is especially frustrating when you know it is your own damn fault that you are in this situation to begin with.
And I can assure you that having Kid chime in every few minutes with "We can just go buy a new pair of glasses" didn't help the situation. Um... like Hell we will Sister! Those glasses are two hundred buckeroos!
If I hadn't had any success it would have been easier to walk away. But because, surprisingly, I was able to reach the lens (and lots of other weird random shit) I would keep getting encouraged, however briefly, only to become completely crestfallen every time I lost my hold on it... watching the lens fall back even further into this casing. Of course I was able to successfully remove everything else lodged in the casing... sheet of stickers, chopstick connectors, and a yoplait lid. I could reach the lens and slowly drag it up the side countless times... but... I could not slide it out far enough to reach it with my fingertips.
It didn't help matters that I knew with every failed attempt that I was probably scratching the lens beyond usability.
I wanted to scream and throw up my hands. It was all I could do not to be swearing in front of the kids (I didn't). There were more than a few moments when I just wanted to cry... it was so frustrating... and stressful. It was taking more sustained concentration that anything I can ever remember doing.
And I was doing it in a trapped, hot, location... with my kids!!
I mean, seriously, what was the goddamn point?!!... I was just going to have to suck it up and accept defeat and pony up the $200 for a new pair!!
Why did I have to put them on the console table?!! I'm such an idiot!!! Why couldn't it have been Mr F who did this so I could just hate him for it?!!!
While on the floor it came to me that what I needed was something sticky so that I wouldn't keep losing my grip on the lens. And that I needed something sticky so that once I started sliding it out of the crevice I could grasp it between two sticky ends and slowly maneuver it out. I needed something long and thin and sticky. I decided I needed to get home and try one last thing before I gave up... chopsticks with their ends covered in rubber cement.
As soon as I got them in there I knew immediately that I was on to something. I could get the lens and drag it up out of the crevise! But... I dropped it MANY times. Then, after 20 more minutes, I DID IT.
$200 not spent... It only cost me about 20 years off my life expectancy.