Monday, March 16, 2015

What a (Lug) Nut

I had a flat yesterday.  No biggie, really.  I've changed my share of flats in my life.  Heck, I taught the boys how to change one.  Seth had the quickest tire changing lesson ever.  It's still the only time I've been to Toledo.  Flat tires are not a huge thing to me, as long as I can lift the new tire up.  ::reminds self to do more pushups::

I was driving home from work in the Miata -- a rarity at this time of year.  I left a few minutes early, looking forward to the drive on a clear winter's day, music blaring.  Ten minutes later, I felt that familiar thump, thump, thump.  Phooey.  Fortunately, I was at an intersection which was blessed with a Marathon station, so I pulled in, popped the trunk, and got ready to get to work.  Easy peasy Japanesey -- clear day, chilly but not too cold, and a small tire that's low to the ground.  I figured I'd be out of there pretty quickly.  I called Jim to tell him that I'd be late getting home -- the last time I didn't do that, he was ready to call the State Police, thinking that I was in a ditch.  Sweet man, he is.

I did a little inventory of the trunk, wondering if I'd taken my own advice.  When the kids bought their cars, I told them, ALWAYS make sure when you buy a car that you have a spare and a jack in the trunk before you drive out.  Spare?  Check.  Jack?  Check.  Huh.  The spare was held in place with a lug nut.  Okay, no problem.  I reached into the cubby in the trunk and pulled out the ziplock bag that held the lug wrench.  UH OH.  There's an adaptor, but no lug wrench.  Huh.  I looked around.  No lug wrench. Look in the owner's manual to see if there's a cubby I'm missing. Nope.  There was no lug wrench. 

No problem, right?  I mean, everyone has a lug wrench, right?  Not so much.  I quickly realized that I was parked right by the divorced parents' parental drop off, because someone pulled up by me and jumped out with their kid, and struck up a conversation with a person in the next car.  I asked if they had a lug wrench I could borrow.  "Oh man, I don't.  My lug wrench isn't gonna work on your car."  He had a pickup truck with big tires that apparently uses different, bigger lug nuts.  He asked his ex, who was standing next to her truck.  She rummaged.  Nope, no lug wrench.  Geez, lady, I hope you don't have a flat with your child in the car.  I looked around, nothing but pickup trucks.  I finally find someone else with a car -- no lug wrench. 

I decided my best bet was to go inside and see if anyone had one.  I went to push the door open, and realize that the whole station was full of Amish people.  Well that isn't gonna help me.  I went up to the clerk.  No, he drives a pickup, too.  He asked the other clerk, who looks at him blankly and asked what a lug wrench is. He looked at me and rolled his eyes, while he explained what it is.  "Oh, I don't have one of those.  My mom drove me to work."  Seriously?  The first clerk looked at me and said "the towing companies probably have one."  Dude, that's what I'm trying to avoid -- getting charged for something stupid.

I decided that my only real option at this point is to call Jim and tell him what's going on.   Only now, I realized that I am apparently in the Bermuda Triangle for T-Mobile, where my cell phone never works.  How it worked the first time is beyond me, because it's never worked in that area before.  Apparently, it used all its magic the first time, because I have no signal, no matter where I move.  I went back in and asked the clerk if I can use his phone.

 He says no problem, he'll just head up there and rescue me.  He arrived shortly thereafter, lug wrench in hand.  Unscrewed that lug nut and what?  The stupid lug wrench is under the spare.  Which was held in place with a lug nut. No way could I have changed that tire without the lug wrench.  No way to get the lug wrench without the lug wrench.

And thus, a weekend was started with me stranded at a gas station with a flat tire, a bunch of Amish people, and no lug wrench.  And you wonder why I'm half nuts.

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