Never start a major car repair project in a parking lot an hour before dark, just as the first flakes of a long-anticipated snowstorm are falling. Not when it’s cold enough to numb your fingers after five minutes of work. Especially not one that risks leaving all the power windows disabled in the down position.

I was installing a new stereo in my car with a “knowledgeable” and “experienced” airman who convinced me he “knew what he was doing.” He had “done this before,” he said. He used to work at Circuit City, after all. Hell, that practically makes him a “professional.” Now when I turn on the ignition, all my windows roll down, except for the one whose connection got broken and is now completely non-responsive, and permanently open. And the engine doesn’t turn over. I told the kids that I made them a “fun car.” A snow-filled car. Jen is not amused.

On the plus side, after two days of working on the project, one speaker works, and I only need to hold the stereo in place when I go around very sharp turns. That’s a measure of progress. Unfortunately, none of the “standard” sized parts I bought quite fit (For example, I needed to cut notches in the edge of the speakers to make room for the oversized wood screws that were the only things I could find at the all-night shopette on base, and now the grille covers won’t fit. Not that it really matters as someone stole all the cover-attachment screws out of the box before I bought it, and I bought the last two in stock so I can’t steal the screws from another box.) And I got one door back together this afternoon, so I don’t need to close it by wedging my fingernails between the window and the door, as I did this morning. The interiors of the other three doors are either in my trunk, or are stuffed in the back seat, held in place by the power-lock wires. Unfortunately, I need to take the kids to soccer tomorrow, and the snow is coming again, so my “expert” will likely be stuck doing snow plow duty, making it exceedingly likely that my kids will get to enjoy the quirks of the “fun car” to full effect.