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A donut would have been nice.


“Can I give you a hand with that?” said the man in the liquor store parking lot. I wish I had known that that would be the last time I heard those words all night.

I was standing there in the cold rain, wearing a dress, heels, and wool overcoat. I was a half-mile from my house, stopping for a bottle of wine because I knew I was going to need it. I didn’t want to deal with my evening’s project in my work clothes, so I planned to go home and change into a raincoat and grubby jeans first.  “No, thank you sir,” said I to the kind man. “I live down the street, so I’m just going to take it home.”

I drove home, slowly and carefully, on a very flat tire. My mind and body had kicked into what I call “survival mode”. I recognized it immediately, because it wasn’t so long ago the last time it happened (the Derecho/epic power outage/absurd heat wave/car crash of June 2012). I was starving, and I’m pretty sure I had to pee, but I forgot to deal with either basic function because I was focused on the task at hand.

I had to change a tire for the first time in my life. Outside. In a parking lot. In 38 degree weather. In the dark. In the rain.

I changed costumes like a superhero, gave the kitty a little scratch behind the ear (“I’ll feed you shortly,” I promised) and headed outside to my disabled vehicle. I was operating under the assumption that some kindly gentleman from my community would see what I was trying to do and offer assistance, just as the man did at the liquor store. I may not have the male-magnet ass that I did in my 20s, but I still have the big blue eyes, and I know how to use them.

I was so impressed with my preparedness under pressure:  I had with me a flashlight, gore-tex gloves (to save my flimsy girly hands from getting torn up), and an old blanket to kneel on.

What I did not consider is the fact that my blue eyes are useless in the dark, so I had to change that tire all by myself. And we’re not talking about a donut… this was a full-sized SUV tire which felt like it out-weighed me. After loosening bolts and jacking up the car, my already feeble upper body strength was failing me completely by the time I put the new tire on. I was sweating, I think, or maybe I was just dripping with rain.

Finally, almost an hour later, the project was completed. I went back inside to my warm and dry home, fed the kitty, fed myself, threw my filthy clothes in the wash, drew a bath, poured a huge glass of wine (again, good disaster preparedness on my part), and sat in the tub until I was pruned. Sucked though it did to change my own tire, I admit I felt empowered.

I just hope I never, ever have to do it again.

Ahh... new tires. Let's keep our distance, shall we?


Comments

  1. Good for you! I've never had to change a tire - but it bothers me that I don't know how.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My dad "showed" me how like 20 years ago (basically just told me what to do while pointing to things), and surprisingly that hands-off lesson was really helpful.
      1. Loosen bolts.
      2. jack up car.
      3. remove bolts and take off flat tire.
      4. jack up car a little more (if not a donut)
      5. put on new tire and screw on bolts.
      6. un-jack car.
      7. tighten bolts.
      8. throw flat tire in trunk.
      9. drink wine.
      10. if you like an even 10 steps, just drink MORE wine.

      Delete
  2. I would be in a lot of trouble if I had to change a tire. I would have waiting for the next day and/or called AAA. I'm soft.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to have AAA back when I was a younger woman and would lock my keys in my car all the time. Now my car won't lock if the key is in it. Hopefully my next car will have an auto-tire-change function.

      Delete
  3. Ugh... I hope you eventually warmed up!

    I've never changed a tire, either, but am pretty stubborn when it comes to stuff like that, so I'd have attempted it solo, too. Good work!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I did. A hot bath is the ultimate cure!

      Delete
  4. Good for you! I take a lot of pride in the fact that I'm a girl who can change a tire - you are right though, the hardest and most precarious part of the operation is getting the new tire on - so heavy and awkward! We girls rock!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm impressed. I never would have changed that tire. I would have called triple A while I drank the bottle of wine and they changed it. And. . . you just gave me the new name of my band: Male Magnet Ass. . . thanks for that. . . :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, that IS a good band name! :)

      Delete
  6. This is impressive, not because you changed the tire, but that you did it in the dark, in the rain, for the first time in your life. I've done it before, I didn't much like it, but sometimes things like that just need to be done.

    But now, there probably isn't anything that you can't tackle. Well done! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I sure did feel pretty awesome. But a little sore the next day!

      Delete
  7. I dread the day I have to change a tire. Maybe I can talk my husband into teaching me how to do it on a slow weekend so if it ever comes up I won't need to rely on my cleavage to flag down some help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I strongly recommend that! It will be the most worthwhile lesson of your life, take it from me. :)

      Delete
  8. So impressive. I always think that I need to learn how to change a tire myself in case of an emergency. You definitely earned that bath and the wine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should definitely learn, because if you get a flat tire and call me for help, I will probably make up some excuse to get out of it. ;)

      Delete
  9. Go girl! My dad taught me how to change a tire lo some three decades ago. I think it is like a foreign language and if you don't use it, you lose it. I've never had to do it. I'm pretty sure I would just cry and cry and cry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet you wouldn't... I thought I would for sure, but somewhere that switch in your mind will go off and you'll be on a mission!

      Delete
  10. To my chagrin, I have reached my thirtieth year without having ever changed a tire. My hat's off to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I hope you live another thirty without having to do it! :)

      Delete
  11. I haven't changed a tire in so long. I wonder if I'd remember how. Huge kudos to you for a job well done and boo to the guy who didn't offer to help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't blame anyone for not offering help. It was cold and raining... I don't think I would have helped either!

      Delete
  12. When I first separated from my ex, 12 years ago I really challenged myself to take on these types of jobs. I'm glad I did it then, because the older I get the less I'm interested.

    Yes it is very empowering to look after yourself. Now you know that if you ever have to change your tire when you're stranded you can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never wanted to be dependent on anyone, but when it comes to cars I'm pretty ignorant. Hopefully I've paid my dues to the flat tire gods and I won't ever be in that situation again!

      Delete
  13. Wow. That is awesome. I wouldn't have the slightest idea what to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't underestimate yourself... it's not as hard as you may think!

      Delete
  14. Wow! KUDOS. I really gotta learn to do that one of these days. Right now I'd be forced to call the auto association.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Do it! Learn now! If I can do it, anyone can!

      Delete
  15. Haha! I live by this motto--just because I CAN do something doesn't mean I WANT to do it. Good job, though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly how I feel about changing a flat tire. :)

      Delete
  16. The cold and dark are the kickers here- my hands don't function at temps less than 50 degrees :P At least you got to revel in the glow of accomplishment, the one good thing about attempting such a not-fun activity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My hands don't do all that well, either! Yes, accomplishment and a little bit of bragging rights is always a sweet ending to something like that. :)

      Delete
  17. I did it once, now I have AAA. It's good to know though that in addition to getting my refrigerator super shiny, you can also change my tires. You never cease to amaze me, D.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I would change a tire for you, Michelle. Not many other people would so freely and generously receive my amazing skills. ;) <3

      Delete
  18. I have absolutely no idea how to change a tire. I'm so impressed.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think, after reading a lot of these responses, I've learned the most important step to changing a tire is to join AAA. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Gosh. That is one thing that will never be on my bucket list but it still is an important thing to know how to do. I felt your pain out there in the rain. I'm impressed to say the least.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You are a rock star! My Dad made me learn when I was 16 (but it was a VW rabbit so smaller tires!). I haven't done it since, because you know AAA is so much easier!

    ReplyDelete
  22. My dad had me learn how to change a tire, too, but I've never done it on my own. And of course it was raining...that's how it works! But it makes a great story. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  23. You rock! I am quite impressed. My stepdad showed me how to change a flat tire a long time ago, just in case. I remember absolutely none of it, but it wouldn't really matter if I did. There is no way I could lift a tire.

    ReplyDelete
  24. AAA is quite useful but so is knowing how to change a tire. Options are always good to have.

    ReplyDelete

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