Friday, June 19, 2009

Needing a Y chromosome

The reason for this blog post began on Wednesday evening. When I got in my car after volleyball and noticed that my low tire pressure light was on. I didn't really worry and just figured that I would check it out when I got home.* When I got home there was no sign of a tire losing air, so I chalked the light up to a fluke and figured I would check the tire pressures sometime the next day.

Thursday came around and I didn't have time to check my tire pressures AND go to Starbucks before work... So I decided to do the responsible thing and check my tire pressure go to Starbucks so I would at least resemble a normal human being in the morning.

So it's probably no surprise to any of you that I left work Thursday evening to find Curvy with one flat tire.** After running through the list of men that I know and could call to help with just such a situation, I realized that at some point in the last five years of my life they had all either gotten married or lived really the heck far away from me at that moment.

And so I heaved a deep sigh and called my father to freak the hell out calmly pulled out my owner's manual to refresh my memory on exactly how to change a tire. From the beginning, things were against me.

First, I knew where my spare tire was. Duh. I love my car. I know every inch of it. But I had never actually taken the spare tire OUT. Luckily I remember asking the maintenance guy if he checked the air pressure on my spare when the pressure on the rest of my tires was checked. They do. (I love Penske.) So the spare was fine. It was getting the spare OUT of the car that was NOT fine. After reading the manual (which made it seem like removing the spare was as easy as turning a screw) and trying unsuccessfully for several minutes to turn said screw, I was perplexed. WTF? I mean, I am not a weak female. I am not a weak female AND I was super pissed. The freaking wingnut should have given way before me like everything else does when faced with my wrath. Still, it remained stubbornly stuck.

So then I turned my attention to loosening the lug nuts on the tire before I jacked up the car. (As it told me to do with step-by-step illustrated instructions in my owner's manual.)

I should probably take this opportunity to mention that amidst all of this working on the flat tire, I was incessantly calling the boy. Incessantly. If there was one man who was going to be willing, nay, REQUIRED to help me, it was the boy. And yet his phone went unanswered. When he finally did pickup, it was with a wry hello that let me know he figured it was something important.*** He wasn't prepared for the scathing anger that he faced. Luckily it was directed at the flat stinking tire, and not at him. Yet.

I swear to God in heaven that I put every ounce of force that I could muster into loosening those lug nuts one-half turn as directed in the manual. Had I not been wearing flats, and instead been wearing some sort of rubber soled shoe, I would have stood on the stinking wrench handle. As it was the lug nuts would. not. move. Not one teensy millimeter. I pushed. I pulled. I kicked. I cursed. I would probably still be there trying to get the lug nuts to succumb to my will had it not been 82 degrees with 110% humidity outside and my hands hadn't suddenly given up all ability to grip anything. It was at this point that I acted rationally and waited for rescue again attacked the wingnut that was holding my spare tire hostage. To no avail.

Around this time (the details are fuzzy) the boy answered and assured me that the calvary was on its way.

The calvary was, of course, late, and by the time it arrived, my hands and fingers were showing the early signs of turning the pretty purple color that they are today. The boy was bemused. But his smug smile quickly faded as he tried to turn the stinking wingnut. He failed. I felt vindicated.

So we gave up on the spare for a moment, and turned back to the lug nuts. As the boy prepared to jack up the car, I showed him the illustrated instructions that directed us to loosen the lug nuts by one half turn first. So he shrugged and attacked the lug nuts.

Nothing happened.

After what seemed to be a superhuman effort, the boy stepped back, scratched his head, and said, "Let's jack the car up a little."

I was tired at this point, but the rule follower in me couldn't believe that he wanted to deviate from what the owner's manual was telling me. I mean, there were illustrated instructions! But I was tired. And so after very little protesting, I agreed.

I'm sure you won't be surprised to know that once the car was raised slightly, the lug nuts came off with minor effort. I would go into the physics of why this is, but you're all smart and you can figure it out, right? Too bad I couldn't figure that out sooner. (silly girl.)

So we went back to the problem of the spare tire being held hostage. The boy pulled out some pliers and eventually won over the stubborn wingnut. (It took a LOT of effort and at one point I was concerned that the vein in the boy's forehead was going to explode.) Once removed, we saw immediately why Emily couldn't remove it herself. There was a slight but pronounced bend in the middle of two inch screw that is attached to the wingnut which made it all but impossible to turn. Apparently there was some residual damage from this incident that no one thought to check.

After that it was just a matter of getting the spare on Curvy and driving the three miles (very slowly) to my home.****

As I write this, my tire is fixed and back on my car. Best $30 I've ever spent. I think the lessons that I've learned are twofold:

1) I need to move marriage up on my priority list. Apparently a husband is not only good to have someone to mow my lawn, but also to have someone come and rescue me should I get another flat tire.*****

2) You should never do things "by the book."******

*In my defense, that light was malfunctioning when I purchased the car and pretty much stayed lit for the first four months that Curvy was mine. So I have grown slightly immune to its importance.

**The stream of obsenities out of my mouth probably wouldn't have surprised you either.

***I think the 15 missed calls were a good indication.

****The boy was compensated generously.

*****Not that I won't be able to do it myself next time.

******As J-mac said, "Apparently the owner's manual was written by a woman." Apparently the fact that he lives far away saved him from having to change a tire yesterday and also from getting punched in the knee.


zlionsfan said...


I can't wait to hear about the first time after you get married that something like this happens and your husband has to wait until you literally exhaust yourself trying to fix something before you let him try to help.

I thought it was rather interesting that the two men who were likely closest to you were two who escaped your brain at the time (although in fairness, one was unavailable).

Also, I've found it's extremely difficult to get important details out of you when you're upset or stressed or both. I'm sure your husband will have great character, though, and will be able to communicate with you well enough to prevent you from, say, tearing the skin off your hands trying to loosen a stuck nut.

Any thoughts on putting an emergency toolkit in your car, one that has a little more than what your current kit has?

Also, did you find the can of Fix-a-Flat? (Not that it would help with a completely flat tire, not unless it conveniently collapsed while you were parked at an air pump.)

Candace said...

Haven't I taught you anything yet? Fuc* the RULES! Ignore them! They only get in the way of completing important tasks.

I have changed two tires in my life without ever looking at the instructions. To be fair there are a few tasks that a husband would be good for such as putting the new grill together or mopping the kitchen floor. But, now that you know how to change the tire you shouldn't have any future problems.

Jaclyn said...

I'm pretty sure that reliability you're looking for comes from marrying the right person - not just from getting married.

The Carrels said...

Just a suggestion...JOIN AAA! :)

Farmerspice said...

apparently you don't remember changing tires as a competition at Phi Psi? you were there and I have pictures!!

did you just say husband and marriage?? LOL

ems said...

I thought about AAA, but I can't justify it. I mean, when I had an older car I had AAA because my car broke down all. the. time. But now?