Hey friends, it’s been a while since I told you a story, hasn’t it? Well, would you like to hear about how I spent my afternoon?
Last time I went in for an oil change they said all my tires were pretty worn so I should get them replaced sometime before winter. And then one of my tires developed a slow leak, so last week I made an appointment to get four new tires.
My appointment was at 5 o’clock so I was going to leave work an hour early. But then I remembered that I still had a summer half day to use so I took the whole afternoon instead. My plan was to go home, take the dogs out, do some laundry, and start a roast in the crockpot so dinner would be ready when I got back from the appointment. I also decided to get a haircut before taking the car in, since I would have some free time in between.
That was the plan, anyway.
I did go home and take the dogs out as planned. Yay me!! Then I did some laundry and started the roast. So far so good, right? The hair salon’s website has online check-in to reduce the wait time, so I signed up. Cool. Then I went out to the car.
And that’s when my plan went off the rails.
I mean, just look at this nonsense:
I guess my car just couldn’t wait until 5 to get that tire replaced. That’s annoying, but I know how to change a tire so I wasn’t worried.
Figuring I probably wouldn’t have time to get my haircut after all, I canceled my online check-in and got to work. First I made sure I had all the necessary equipment (yes, I did). Then I attempted to loosen the lugnuts.
SPEED BUMP #1: Turns out three of the lugnuts were stuck tight. After much pulling, pushing, pulling, sighing, and cursing, they would not budge. I took a break to complain on Twitter and Facebook, you know, like ya do. After my temper had cooled down a bit I attacked the lugnuts again with renewed vigor. Eventually they each relented to my superior stubbornness and loosened. #winning
Next I got the car jacked up and removed all the lugnuts. All that’s left is to remove the old tire and put on the spare, right?
SPEED BUMP #2: The car would not let go of the wheel. Though I had hoped to be pleasantly surprised, I was sort of expecting this result, as I had the same problem the last couple of times I’ve had to change a tire. I tried using the crowbar, pushing, pulling, kicking, hammering, and of course, there was cursing and muttering galore. Nothing worked. Not even the cursing. Eventually I gave up on my dream of being a strong, self-reliant woman who don’t need no help from no man to change a tire. I could hear my handy neighbor working in his garage (which he often does) so I sheepishly asked if he could maybe help me get the tire loose. He gladly set aside what appeared to be an airplane the size of my Saint Bernard (seriously) and came to my rescue. The first thing he did was kick the wheel several times, and I felt slightly vindicated that at least I had the right idea (even if I wasn’t successful in its execution). His kicking was no more effective than mine had bern. Eventually with the combined power of WD40 and persistence, he convinced the car to let go. This also involved crawling underneath the car and hammering on the wheel from behind, which is something I hadn’t tried. Talk about dedication. (Kind of embarrassed I didn’t think to try that myself actually, but I will file that knowledge away for next time.) At this point I was prepared to take over again, but he said he might as well help me get the spare on, since he was already there. And when I say “help”, I mean “do all the work while I stand there awkwardly handing him stuff and thinking I should probably be more useful”. He mounted the spare, tightened all the lugnuts, and lowered the jack in a fraction of the time it would probably have taken me, and then stood there looking at it for a moment.
“Hang on,” he said and walked off to his garage. He returned a moment later with a tire pressure gauge.
SPEED BUMP #3: I think you can guess where this is going. Yep. My spare tire was flat.
Let me repeat that for emphasis:
My spare tire.
I swear I have the worst luck. But have no fear! I clearly asked the right neighbor for help. He walked off again and returned with this glorious machine:
That’s right, friends. Handy Neighbor just happens to own an air compressor. Thank goodness I didn’t insist on taking over after he got the tire loose from my car.
Handy Neighbor got my spare inflated again while I put the old tire and the assorted tools back into my car.
I owe this guy some cookies or something.
After many expressions of gratitude, I was on my way. But, since I apparently can’t do anything without some kind of drama, the skies opened up and I had to drive through a torrential downpour the whole way there. Gutters backed up so entire lanes were under water, reducing a 4-lane road to 2 lanes in some places. I suppose I should be grateful it didn’t start raining while I was still outside failing the lugnut challenge, but… I mean, COME ON.
Somehow I managed to get to the shop at exactly 5 o’clock. Tires were replaced in an hour and all was right with the world again. As I drove home I was surprised at how smooth a ride it was. I guess I forgot what it was like to drive a car that didn’t have balding, leaking tires.
So anyway, that was my exciting afternoon off. What have you all been doing for fun lately?