Thursday, January 24, 2008

The tire

My afternoons are hectic. My afternoon pick up schedule goes something like this: 2:15 pick up Tryphon 15 min early so I can make it to Lyndonville to pick up Aysha at 2:30..and a few days a week I have to run up to Sutton to pick up Zephryn by 2:45. Not much time for things to go wrong in between pick ups. Today started out the usual way, I made it to St. J to get Tryphon, went in got his stuff and as we were walking out he says "'ve got a flat" . Great...well..there is a napa right next door, ill just grab some fix a flat and then after I get Zephryn ill run down to my mechanic and have him order a new tire. easy enough. ha! Flat tires in January suck the big kahuna. I managed to get to napa, run in and get a bottle of fix a flat..two of the 5 guys behind the counter were kind enough to point it out to me...nice of them..the other 3 were too busy reading magazines to bother. I run out...try to screw the little thingie onto my gets cross threaded..I cant move it. Now my tire is completely flat and I have a little hose sticking off the tire that I cant get off. OK..this isn't going to be a 5 min. fix. I send Tryphon over to his school with instructions to call Sutton school and let them know I have a flat (my cell phone is sitting on my table with a dead battery) and for him to stay with Danielle and the brownie troop until i can get there, and to call Aysha on her cell and let her know as well. Then I begin the arduous task of trying to remove this salty, slushy, studded piece of rubber from its place on my van. I have to say I think it was pretty happy with where it was because there was no way that tire was coming off. I managed to get 1 lug nut off before Tryphon got back, then, realizing that without help I was going to be stuck in this parking lot in nothing but a sweater for more than an hour, I decided to go ask the guys in napa for help.
Now, when i said there were 5 guys in there..i wasn't kidding. there were 5 men, behind the counter in a deserted Napa store. I was parked right out side there front door...where they were watching the events unfolding..well, at least the ones without the Hot Rod magazines. I stuck my head in and said "can any of you help me change a tire?" and they all look at me..and shake their heads "no, sorry, there are garages around here that do that, and we don't want to make them mad".
For those of you that know me, you know how often I ask for help. This is why. When I am truly in need of help and ask people I don't know (this doesn't go for my friends and family, when I need something they're always there :-) ) this is the kind of response I usually get.
So back out I go. Still struggling to get the lug nuts loose, the whole van is moving, traffic is stopping and going at the lights right there by the napa store, people are staring at me, Tryphon is telling me how I should let him do it because he wants to be on a pit crew..finally! one comes loose! just 4 more to go! another 5 minutes...and a guy from Napa, yes, Napa, comes out and says "what do you need, just the lugs loosened? I can do that for you" and within 30 seconds all the lugs are loose and the Napaman disappears back into the store. OK...I finally get the tire off , after a little torn skin and blood. phew! almost done! NOT! Now my spare, which is soooo conveniently stored UNDER the van (great concept in places without snow and salt im sure), won't descend. the cable will come all the way down..but the plastic doohickeything is stuck on something. A woman from T's school pulls in and tries to help me...she can't get it either. Finally she has to go..and suggests I go across the street to a garage (one of the ones the fearless band of Napamen are so afraid of I suppose) and ask him if he can plug my tire or help me get the spare down. Tryphon and I start out across the street...I'm covered in gook from the tire and probably look like a homeless woman stealing a kid. Into the garage I go. "Can you help me.." I go through the whole story and the guy says "well you'll have to drive it over here, I cant leave the garage". Um...the tire is sitting next to the van...I cant drive it over! "oh" he says "well maybe you can ask the garage out in back of napa if they can help you, I cant". Great.
At this point I'm imagining my oldest daughter frozen solid on the side of the road and my son in hog heaven sitting at a table of all girls. At least one of them would be happy to see me coming, If I ever make it out of St. J.
Back across the street I go. This time both of the mechanics there headed right out and took over. Even with a pry bar they couldn't move the spare. apparently its frozen or salted stuck...I don't know. Next time my mechanic has it up on the lift I'll have him take it off, because if I don't then sometime this spring I'll hit some Vermont-back-road-bump and whole shibang will come flying off.
They rolled my tire into their shop and patched it for me. Then brought it out, put it on, made sure all the lugs were tight and took the jack down. I wanted to hug them. I gave them an extra $5 for their help..not much, i know..but its what I had.
An hour late I pulled up to the high school. Aysha had called a friend after she lost feeling in her legs, so she was only frozen semi solid. And Zephryn wasn't with the brownies, he was spending time with Ms K so getting him out of the school was relatively easy.
I made it home with only a few lacerations to my hands, which were fine until my hands started to warm they hurt. And Tryphon? He doesn't think i should go try out for a pit crew for nascar..."not to be offensive, mom, but you re too slow" :-P lol

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