Thursday, October 1, 2009

Best Laid Plans and flat tires

My neighbor invited me out to brunch yesterday so we could discuss a few last minute things about the upcoming Been there/done that sale this weekend. Estimated elapsed time (door to door) we figured would be two hours even if we ran a few errands at same time. Actual elapsed time was five hours.

Breakfast was delightful and then off to community center to post a flier about the sale. Then Jan needed mouse traps. It is a hideous rodent year and she has no cats. I have offered to loan her one or two of mine for a couple hours but she is allergic.

At the hardware store they were having a killer sale on wild birdseed. Yes, it will soon be that time of year. While loading the birdseed into the trunk I noticed her rear tire was almost flat. Easily remedied we thought. We drove immediately to our friendly local mechanic who also happens to be one of only two people in town that can fix a flat. He was off on a test drive the sign in the window said but would return ASAP. A half hour later we came up with plan two which was to go to the Valley Market with gas pumps and use their air hose to fill the tire and see if it held air long enough to get us back to the house and my car.

While trying to fill the tire I noticed it just got flatter. Time to change the tire. My father always insisted us girls know how to do this. But the spare donut tire was also flat. Mechanic calls back to say he has returned to shop (I have him on speed dial on my cell) but by then we had called a neighbor to come and get us. I warned Alan we would have a flat for him within the hour.

Home, van, back to town, pick up flat tire, off to mechanic. Back to car, change tire, take spare to mechanic. Meanwhile while waiting for our ride I mention to the store it might be nice to remove the air hose or at least post that it is not working. The were irritated with me for even suggesting such a thing. I felt they deserved a parking tons of cars with flat tires because of their bum air hose but I dutifully warned off five drivers looking for air.

Needless to say all I had planned to do yesterday did not get done. Any idea how many calories are burned changing a tire twice? I am pretty aware this morning what muscles it requires.


  1. I never learned to change a tire. Something I never wanted to do, I guess, and thus haven't had the pleasure of burning this particular set of body calories. Such practical zen knowledge does come in handy if stranded on a lonely road beyond auto club service at night. But, honestly, it's no picnic anyway you paint the picture, but you and your friend managed to make a good day around your troubles from the sound of it, which is what I might call some very creative DYI energy. :)

  2. I know how, but have never actually changed one. I don't know if I could manage the jack properly or if I'm strong enough to get the lugnuts off. My flat tire episodes have all been near someone who was willing and able to help.

    By the way, Jacqui, tell your friend that those sticky traps I use for spiders are great mouse catchers too. Old-fashioned snap traps are hit and miss. The year I got new windows installed, it was a cold September and the workers left all the doors and garage door to my house wide open for the better part of two days. Almost immediately I began seeing the little critters that had run in from the cold. I had already set out sticky traps for spiders and began catching a mouse in every one when my mouse traps remained empty. The critters cannot get away from the sticky traps. I was not so humane as to set them free. Most died very quickly in their struggle with the trap. All we placed in the outdoor trash. Within a week or so I caught about 30! Horrifying, but helped me discover confidence in my own ability to deal with things on my own. As that was the same month my husband and I separated.

  3. I believe women have to be smarter than men because we cannot muscle our way through things. Strength is not the issue with jacks. And there is a trick to lug nuts - do not jack the weight of the car off the tire until you have loosened them. That way you can actually step on the end of the lug wrench and start them turning before jacking up the car.

    In New Mexico a state police officer cannot stop for a woman alone on the side of the road. They can radio for assistance for the car. And as you know in Utah, Becky, there are large stretches of highway with assistance a long time and way off. And huge areas that have no cell phone service.

    I consider my ability to change a tire a survival skill. One men want to rob us of. Rather like putting us in high heels so we cannot run from them.

  4. Disaster or not, planned time always, always runs over!

    My father taught me to change a tyre before he would allow me behind the wheel. I have never had to use this as I too have always managed to get help. It's the nuts that are the problem. Last time - 2.30am round the Savannah after a party. Only females in the car. I was all for it but I could not budge the nuts. I ended up dancing in the road as there was a huge fete playing carnival music going on nearby. It's on record!

    Don't like mouse/rat traps. Am reminded of walking into our Far east kitchen as a very young child and seeing dead rats almost sliced in half! Not an image I can get out of my mind when the subject of rodents comes up.


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