Serendipity |


Handan and I were driving home the other evening after scouring the Connecticut River Valley for a particular paving stone we needed to fill in the patio around our new deck. You may be wondering how it’s coming along and when I’ll post the Big Reveal. Well, here’s the deal: it’s coming along great, but the reveal won’t happen until next summer, as weather delays and last-minute add-ons and changes (by us) have delayed the project. The deck itself is finished and beautiful, but the decorative skirting around the base won’t be completed until later this week. We also needed our contractor to install about 125 square feet of new patio pavers to fill in the void left by the old deck’s stairs. Finding those pavers felt like a snipe hunt after a time. We knew the pavers existed – they were arranged all around our pool, after all – but no one seemed to sell them or anything with their dimensions. In desperation, I contacted the previous owner of our house and asked if he remembered who installed them or where he got them. He told me that he installed them himself, and that he bought them in New Britain, though he couldn’t remember the name of the place. No matter! I had a town. I could find the stone supplier.


But there are no stone suppliers in New Britain!


I thought back to our conversation. He described how the place was near a big left bend in Interstate 84. I called up a map of Connecticut on my computer, looked at I-84 near New Britain, and YES! There it was! A big left turn! I searched for stone suppliers in that area and BINGO! Washington Concrete popped up right where he said it would be. Okay, so he was off by one town. Didn’t matter. Handan and I made a beeline for Plainville and hoped Washington Concrete would have what we needed.

They did. And Handan danced for joy. I love it when she does that.

As we were driving home from Washington Concrete, and as I was exiting off I-91 and onto Rt 3 towards Glastonbury, my tires slipped and the car went into a little skid on the on ramp. What the heck?

That had never happened before.

When we got home, I looked at the tires. The rear tires were pretty worn, but not horrendous. The front tires were HOLY CRAP! I’ve seen cantaloupes with more tread than those tires! They were balder than Telly Savalas! Bald, I say! Yeesh, how did I let that go unnoticed for so long? I’m not a car guy, but still!

I got in touch with my childhood friend, Angelo Dibernardo, who owns Imported Auto Center here in Glastonbury. He is the only person I now trust to diagnose and fix my car.

As I stumble and err through this life of mine, I have learned that there are certain things every man (and woman, though your list may differ) needs at various points in his (or her) life.

When just out of school and starting out in the real world, a man needs a good barber who knows how to keep him looking professional, a good bartender who knows what he drinks and keeps up the conversation when his buddies aren’t around, and a good tailor, cuz every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man…or so I believed back in the day when my hairline was straight and my waist was narrow.

Later, when he is settled and enters into home-ownership and bone-crushing responsibility, a man needs an honorable contractor (we have yet to find one), a good doctor (by the grace of many gods, I haven’t really needed one yet), and a good auto mechanic that he can trust. Angelo is that auto mechanic. If you live anywhere near Glastonbury, give Angelo a call and tell him the Navages sent you. And though his business is called Imported Auto Center, they also service all domestics as well – like my Ford Edge.

I made an appointment with Angelo, and this morning after dropping Handan at work, I went to get new tires. Since was a little early and they weren’t open yet, I parked down the road from Imported Auto Center, grabbed my camera and walked towards to swollen and flooded Connecticut River. We just endured a massive wind and rain storm that brought hurricane-force winds to Rhode Island and Cape Cod and torrential rains and near-hurricane-force winds to Connecticut. We were lucky. Our house sat at the eastern edge of a wedge-shaped clearing in the storm that avoided the most damaging wind and rain. But all of New England got clobbered to some degree, and all of that rain was making its way into the Connecticut River.

I walked along the road and found a spot to hike down an embankment to the edge of the floodwaters. Click on photo to enlarge.

Serendipity | New Tires | Connecticut River | Imported Auto Center | Sunrise Photography |

The light was perfect. I love this time of morning. Unfortunately, with the time change this coming weekend, it will be harder to find this morning light for a while.

I climbed back to the road and snapped a few more pics on my way back to the car. Click on photo to enlarge.

Serendipity | New Tires | Connecticut River | Imported Auto Center | Sunrise Photography | Serendipity | New Tires | Connecticut River | Imported Auto Center | Sunrise Photography |

I drove to Imported Auto Center and handed over my keys. As I waited for my car, I snapped a few pics of Angelo’s shop.

Serendipity | New Tires | Connecticut River | Imported Auto Center | Sunrise Photography | Serendipity | New Tires | Connecticut River | Imported Auto Center | Sunrise Photography | Serendipity | New Tires | Connecticut River | Imported Auto Center | Sunrise Photography | TheNavagePatch.comSerendipity | New Tires | Connecticut River | Imported Auto Center | Sunrise Photography |

Once they had my car on the lift, Angelo called me over to have a look at one of the front tires. The steel belt was showing on the inside. He said the tire would have fallen apart in another couple of weeks. Yikes! I’m sure glad my car went into that skid the other day, otherwise, who knows what might have happened.

Serendipity | New Tires | Connecticut River | Imported Auto Center | Sunrise Photography |

This uneven wear was caused by a misalignment that was supposed to have been fixed twice by my previous mechanic – this was before I learned that Angelo also serviced domestic cars. My car had been wobbly for three years, and that wobbling was killing my tires. Angelo assured me that the wobbling days were over. I was thrilled! We had a look underneath the car, and he explained what he was inspecting and why.

Serendipity | New Tires | Connecticut River | Imported Auto Center | Sunrise Photography | TheNavagePatch.comSerendipity | New Tires | Connecticut River | Imported Auto Center | Sunrise Photography |

And wonder of wonders, after 95,000 miles and nothing more than brakes and tires, the car was in perfect shape! How about that? An auto mechanic who didn’t invent a problem to be fixed!

While one of Angelo’s guys got on with the tire installation, balancing and alignment, Angelo and I wandered around and chatted about this and that.

And then he said that he had something that Handan and I might be interested in. He told me that he had an Ethan Allen entertainment center armoire that he had tried to sell on Facebook over the summer. I told him that I remember him posting it. I was surprised no one bought it – it was gorgeous. Well, it wasn’t for lack of interest, it turns out. But the piece is so big that no one could fit it into their house. He then told me that if we thought we could do something cool with it (he and his wife, Gina, read the blog, so they know what Handan and I like to do!), then we could have it for free.

Holy Cow! Ethan Allen! That is real wood furniture made be real human beings! I quickly texted a photo to Handan, and she jumped at it (really, did you think otherwise?) She even thought of a project for it and a place to put it.

What a day! That one little slip of the tires while searching for pavers led me to make an appointment with Angelo for new tires, and though I paid him for his services, Handan and I came out with an incredible piece of furniture to play with, blog about and put to good use!

Oh, and the drive home was the smoothest ride I’ve had since we bought the car in the summer of 2013. Angelo had cured The Three Year Wobble.

Call it serendipity – it was good fortune found in a bit of bad luck. Do you have any stories like that? Something that started bad but turned good? Or just an unexpected bit of good fortune? Share your stories in the comments section!

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  1. I have only been following you for a couple of months, but I really enjoy your blog. Loved the hanging cages for Halloween.

  2. Your photos are great. The first one looks as if you are taking it through Queen Ann’s Lace. Just beautiful. You are correct about finding a great me ahnic you can trust ( and the others on your list). Luckily for us our son is our Mechanic. He Has to work on our vehicles. We paid for his schooling?.

  3. Just wanted to let you know I made two cages for our Halloween party. They turned out absolutely great! After painting them black, we applied a grey stone-texture coat of spray paint which made them look like like steel cages. Fabulous! Thank you for the great tutorial, and I look forward to seeing more of your work.

  4. Your photos are beautiful, enjoy the nature ones. But that toolbox, that one caught my gaze for a few minutes. It tells a story, love it and appreciate the people who do this kind of work.

    My husband is the mechanic in our family. He studied automotive technology and while he never worked as a technician, he was in the auto industry for almost 30 years before changing careers. He keeps our cars going. The other day after purchasing another old car to work on and enjoy, he told me liked playing with cars as a kid and still does. 🙂 We have the matchbox ones from his childhood and the old cars in our driveway to prove it.