Archive for January, 2012

Feeling Flat and Tired

Last night we were invited to a friend’s house for a party.  Our neighbors were invited as well and offered to drive.  With a chance to save gas (and have a designated driver that was not me) we accepted.

On our way to the party, our ride stopped for gas.  They drive the same model of minivan that we used to have.  I noted that his tire light was on.  My wife was always complaining because the tire light kept coming on.  She blamed the guys at Jiffy Lube, convinced that they let air out of the tires every time she went for an oil change.  I suspected it was just a defective sensor.

Our ride assured us that the low tire pressure light always comes on when it gets cold.  We had a good laugh about it.

After a pleasant evening of playing BUNCO, perhaps another blog entry unto itself, we headed out into a snowstorm to return home.  We were only about five miles from home, but no sooner had we started to carefully slide down the hill from our host’s home in this blizzard, when the rear tire started making noise.

“It sounds like you have a flat tire.”

No.  It was just some snow and ice built up in the wheel well.

But the noise persisted and seemed to get worse.  The car was listing now like the Concordia cruise ship.

Finally, at the bottom of the hill, we found an empty parking lot behind a church and pulled over to inspect the wheels and see what was causing the problem.

Sure enough, the back passenger tire was not only flat, but was now off the rim.

They don’t have a dashboard light showing your tire popping off apparently.

So we call AAA, and despite the bad weather, we are assured that help will be on the way.

At least the engine is running and we are warm.  It is now past midnight, and we are tired.  Well, at least 3/4 tired.  It’s that last tire that is the problem.

So while we are waiting there, a taxi cab pulls into the church parking lot beside us.  At almost the same time, my friend’s phone rings and we all look at each other thinking the same thing . . .

Did Triple A send a cab for us?  How long is this going to take???

The call was from the Tow Service, but no one sent a cab.  The truck is en route and the driver was just verifying our location.

So what is up with the cab?  It’s now about one o’clock in the morning in Hollidaysburg, PA.  We look at the cab driver.  He looks at us.  Everyone pretends we’re not looking at anyone else.  We make sure our doors are locked.

Before the situation could get any weirder, it does.  Another car pulls in between us–an SUV.  Two young guys get out and get in the cab.  The one looks like he has an open beer bottle.  Both vehicles now leave.

I have no idea what that was all about.  We were at a Brethren Church.  I doubt this kind of thing happens at the Catholic church.  Or even at our Presbyterian Church.  Of course, the Presbyterian Church has no parking lot, but I digress.

So while we continue waiting, with no taxi cabs to entertain us anymore, we start to think about the spare tire.  This begets a search that proves fruitless.  We didn’t find any fruit either.  As I may have mentioned, my wife used to drive this particular model, and I recalled having a flat tire one time.  The spare was located underneath the van and had to be released by a screw inside the van.

After a quick check of the owner’s manual, we found the tools to assemble the key that would release the spare and we lowered it so it would be ready when the tow truck came.

Now the comical aspect of all this is lost in mere words.  I am an eye surgeon.  My friend is an attorney.  None of us, the women folk included, know a lug nut from a walnut.  The whole process of finding and getting this spare tire was something worthy of an episode of I Love Lucy with Lucy and Ethel cast as two white-collar professionals who barely know how to start a car, let alone service one.

By one thirty, we are back on the road with our spare and a flat tire in the trunk.  It has been snowing miserably this whole time.  Whether it was merely the weather or the fact that we were running on three tires and a temporary donut, we were unable to get up the hill into our development.  We tried twice, but didn’t even make it as far the second time.  They do have a light on the dashboard that tells you the wheels aren’t getting traction.  That was terribly helpful since we otherwise couldn’t have figured that one out.

We tried another entrance, also with a hill but not as steep.  We fared even worse.  Each attempt brought us farther from home than the last.

I finally got out and jogged the rest of the way home.  I got in my trusty Jeep with 4-wheel drive and headed out to fetch the rest of the group from a parking lot at the bottom of the hill.

So much for not having to drive.

And thanks to that one tire, we’re all quite tired.

And thankful to finally be home.

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