The sheen of ice on all the windows adds ten minutes to my departure each morning, so I bought a cover for the windshield, and a plug-in heater to defrost the inside (my truck heater is terrible). The windshield cover is a shiny aluminum color, much like the cover I used to keep out the San Diego sun. So similar, and yet not at all the same.
The cover worked well, but the additional heater was pretty week. I would do better to plug in a cheap hair dryer, but the combination did save a little time and effort. I was headed off to watch the Seahawk game at a friend's house,and stopped by the library to drop off a book. When I went to leave, I didn't.
The key would not turn in the ignition. I had been worried about the engine turning over in the cold, but I couldn't even get to that point. I tried rocking the steering wheel back and forth, pulling the key out slightly to see if the tumblers would engage, staring angrily and gnashing my teeth, all to no avail.
After getting a ride home, and while watching the Seahawks fall tantalizingly short of winning, I searched for auto shops online. Before my drive from San Diego to Seattle, I joined AAA for a little automotive peace of mind. They would come tow my truck, but I needed to find a shop to tow it to. I found a couple close by, but of course none were open on a Sunday (much less playoff Sunday).
While I had the internet tubes up, I did a little surfing around to see if replacing a ignition cylinder was within my skill set. Previously, the internet has taught me how to fix a washer, take apart a dryer, replace a lock, snake a drain, and many other random projects around the house. From what I found, the first step in removing the lock cylinder is to turn it to the on position. That was out.
I kept surfing and found this video. It is only a minute long, but the gist of it is to put the key in the ignition, and then tap on the end of the key ten times with a rubber mallet, driving the key into the ignition. I didn't have a rubber mallet, so I used the ice scraper that has become all too handy lately. I hit it several times, tried the key, and nothing. I wasn't surprised, it did seem too simple.
So, I hit it a few more times just to be thorough, and I'll be damned, the key turned and the engine fired up. When people ask me to take a look at something that isn't working, I usually ask, "have you tried swearing or hitting it with a hammer?" Sometimes a hammer is the answer.