Tuesday, January 23, 2007

So You Had a Bad Day...

The planets seem to be in major misalignment in Outer Podunk.

First it was my officemate and the fish and the car.

Through an interesting series of events, my coworkers found themselves in possession of an orphaned fish -- an algae eater left behind in an abandoned aquarium. My officemate, who already owns a fish (named Lucky, since all of Lucky's tropically constituted finny friends died during a power outage awhile back), volunteered to adopt the fish. It's been very cold here, so my officemate decided to warm up her car before she began a long commute home with the fish, esconced in a Baggie. Well, in the process of doing this, my officemate somehow locked her keys in her running vehicle. When I left work, she and a coworker were standing outside the now warm but inaccessible car, trying to figure out how to jimmy open a door.

I had no expertise to lend. And, anyway, I was on a mission. Because the supermarket down the road from Fellow Traveler is having a great sale this week, and I wanted to buy some stuff; and I wanted to visit the drugstore next door too. So I drove home, picked up the dog, and headed back down the highway to South Elsewhere, Friendly Traveler's community a few miles down the road from Outer Podunk.

En route I noticed that the ol' Intrepid (for long-time readers -- I finally found the E) wasn't handling so well...but I chalked it up to the glaze of blown and compacted snow on the road. Then when I hit the South Elsewhere city limit and slowed down, I felt an ominous vibration and heard an ominous rumble. Uh-oh.

I made it to the supermarket parking lot; got out of the car; my right rear tire was pita-flat. Uh-oh.

So began the evening's vehicular adventure: Calling Fellow Traveler (who'd had a frustrating day of her own) to rescue a damsel in distress; calling one towing company that didn't want to come and help me; getting angry and flustered; the collected FT calling another, more amenable towing company; following the tow truck back up to Outer Podunk, to my mechanic's; going back home with FT; consoling myself with hot coffee, mindless television (Dog the Bounty Hunter, not the State of the Union address) and the cheerful presence of my heroine.

Ironically, I had an appointment with my mechanic for tomorrow morning anyway, to check out my wonky heater. Well, hey -- my car will be waiting there, bright and early. In retrospect, it's also almost spooky, in a good way, that I had this mishap literally less than a mile from FT's house -- I'll be on the road later this week, and I could have blown my tire on the freeway, far away. So life is good. That's what I'm telling myself.


BetteTheRed said...

LC, you're one of my bnet heroes, but the first thing I thought when I saw this was, "chik can't change a tire!!!!!"?

Sorry. You should learn. It's been a very handy thing for me to know in life; mind you, I seem to have extraordinarily bad karma with tires, so may not apply to you.

Some tips: the jack that came with your car is probably awful. Get one that you like and can easily manage. Practice in your driveway in the summer so that in the winter you can still cope. Further, the tire iron that came with the car is probably also sub-optimal - get a good tire iron that you like the weight and feel of. Keep an old pair of soft leather gloves in the trunk so you'll have some touch sensitivity for nuts, etc., while not losing your fingertips to frostbite. Check your spare occasionally. Those donut things are actually OK except at freeway speeds for quite a few miles until you can get to a garage. A can of WD40 is handy for loosening stubborn nuts, and don't forget that you can always stand on the tire iron to get the most weight behind it if your arm strength is insufficient (an 80 year old man taught me that one day when I was wrestling at the side of the highway with a stubborn nut).

But it seems your misadventure had a happy ending, anyhow. It's nice to be rescued sometimes. ;-)


LutheranChik said...

Alas, it's true; I can't change a tire. (Do I have to give up my toaster now?) I don't have a spare anymore, though, so it's a moot point anyway.

My philosophy: Road assistance -- worth the extra money on insurance premiums!

LutheranChik said...

I did enjoy my encounter with my tow guy and his wife, who came along for the ride. He was a pleasant older gentleman who looked just like Santa Claus. I suspected, from the look of their rig, that they needed the money, too. So I think my bad day was their good day.

St. Inuksuk said...

Some days are just that way, frustrating!
I can't change a tire either! Roadside Assistance is worth it for tire changes, tows and jumping batteries.
So, whatever happened with the fish? Did it make it to its new home?

Trish said...

Did your officemate eventually get the car open? I locked my keys in the car for the first time a few months ago. I (all by myself, even!) used a straightened out wire hanger to open it up! But, that's not a good idea for those with power locks...

LutheranChik said...

My officemate's spouse, I think, came to the rescue. And the fish made it home and is, as of latest report, still alive and swimming.

Bag Lady said...

LC--you sound as though you're an amazing cook. Changing a tire is pretty much like cooking--that is, if you follow recipes. :)

Recipe for changing a tire:

Preparation time: 20 min.

Ingredients (thanks to BetteTheRed for refreshing my memory):
-Spare tire
-Tire iron
-Gloves (very good idea!)
-WD-40 (also handy for other things, like crotchety locks)

-Have a flat tire

-Remove ingredients from trunk; set alongside car near flat tire

-Install jack beneath bumper nearest flat (some cars even have slots for where the jack fits, if you have the jack that came with the car)

-Raise the car with the jack, so the flat is off the ground (you'll feel like Superman--lifting a car with just lil' ole you and your jack)

-Remove hub cap or whatever tire jewelry the flat has

-Remove lug nuts with tire iron (use WD-40 as needed to make the nuts cooperative--wish it worked on people)

-Remove flat

-Place spare where flat was

-Replace lug nuts and tire jewelry

-Use jack to let car down

-Toss ingredients back in trunk

-Drive away feeling smug, especially because it takes a whole lot less time than trying to find a tow truck and then waiting for said tow truck.

Verdugo said...

I do NOT like all this defeatest "I CAN'T change a tire stuff." Seriously, changing a tire is the easiest thing in the world. (Although in all fairness I've only done so in optimal So. Cal. weather-- snow and ice would certainly complicate things). I am definitely not mechanically minded, and at 5'0" no powerhouse either. Takes me about 10 min. to change one. I have AAA but usually don't bother calling them cuz I can get the tire changed and be on the road in half the time it takes for them to get there.

If I can do it, ANYONE can do it.

(Now making a soufle or turning a perfect omelet-- that's HARD!)