Thursday, March 03, 2005

Close Call

I thought I was going to be in trouble today. I go out to my Jeep this morning a half hour before work. Something looks wrong. I can't quite place my finger on it, but something is way wrong. I walk around my Jeep and ... SHIT! I've got a flat. So I call work and tell them I will have to fix the tire since I think my spare is pretty shot as well. So now, I've got to burn a vacation day to get this settled.

I get out the jack and the tire iron and start to try to remove the lug nuts. I say try because they were stuck. Well, I'll just throw some WD-40 along the base and this might loosen 'em a bit. No. I pull and tweak and nothing is going on. I keep thinking to myself: I know I'm not this weak. I start calling some tow truck companies and I'm red in the face. Imagine having to call a tow truck because you can't get the lug nuts off of your tire. For some people, this might not be embarrassing, but if you knew my dad (a.k.a. the Hispanic Hank Hill who never goes to a mechanic and always, always made sure we have tools in our cars, a full spare, and taught us all basic car care) .. well, if you knew my old man, you'd be embarrassed. I call several towing companies and each of them is about $60 on such short notice and I don't have AAA (If my family is reading: potential bday gift!!). So I'm debating what to do and decide to give the lug nuts one last shot. This time I have the tire iron; I'm pulling towards me and pushing down away on the opposite end with my foot .... and it works. Little by little, each nut comes loose this way. So in about 15 minutes, I have the tire off and the spare on, which is low itself but has some air.

Now, I had just called the Midas up the road about 2 hours earlier and the guy informs it'll be $15 per tire, which isn't too bad I estimate. I get to Midas which is about 1/2 mile away, when the mechanic informs me that he's just broken the tool he'd need to plug my tires about a half hour ago. So now my options are really going downhill. It's now 2:30 and if I dont' get somewhere soon, I won't have my car by the end of the day for something that should only take a 1/2 hour.

I take off and go to a Shell station about 15 minutes away. I pull in and the attendant takes a look at my tire. He says nothing at first and I feel that "Oh shit, I'm going to have to buy one new tire to last me a month or two when I get my new tires". He takes it out of the back of the Jeep; looks it over; and says, "This will only take about 20 minutes. You can wait inside if you want." Just like that. A half hour later, he has my tire fixed. He informs me that the spare I'm using only has 10 lbs of air (it should have 35), so he fixes the valve stem which is why it was low in the first place. Turns out, I somehow ran over a piece of plastic last night about an inch long and it perfectly lodged into the tread. My total bill: $12. It easily could've gone higher if I had called a tow truck. But it was only $12, a lot of panic, embarrassment, and a day of vacation; but I'm ready to go now.


Earth Girl said...

See! there was method behind your old mans madness !!!

NML said...

You see, this is why I don't own a car. I would hate to have to go through that! Glad you saved yourself a lot of money though

Cincysundevil said...

It would be nice to not own a car, but I can't imagine being without one. Public transportation in this city is a joke, if not non-existent altogether. I would just bitch if I didn't own one and had to go grocery shopping. Imagine having to carry all that stuff!!