Are we ever really prepared for a flat tire? We know it can happen at any time. For a lot of us it’s already happened. I could say I like to live on the wild side and as such, disdain a AAA membership… but the sad truth is that I just hope I never need it and don’t particularly feel like forking over the $$$ for it. Somehow it never made my priorities list. Ok, so I’m not a posterchild for AAA. Guess I won’t be asked to star in any of their commercials. Sigh.
Anyhoo… I walked out of work at, oh, about 6 PM or so and opened all my windows for some hint of breeze. As I got ready to drive out I very clearly heard what can only be described as a weird dragging sound. I brake, then step out of the car for a look see. Suprise! My right rear tire was completely flat. Oh joy.
Do you ever have those moments of “Huh… what the h@!! do I do now?”. I SO wanted to be on my way home and… well, I just wanted to be home and through with the day.
My first and thankfully correct impulse was to pick up my cell and call a co-worker still inside (She always has such a cool head in stressful situations). I was still processing the flat incident and wanted to share my joy in the situation with someone.
My coworker immediately told me that her father had shown her how to change a flat and that she would be out in a minute to help (What? Change my own tire????). Hmmm. What a concept. I know that people can AND do this but somehow it never really occurred to me that I could do this my little ol’ self. My faltering courage was raised by the selfish thought that the faster this is done, the sooner I get home.
My co-worker came out as I was @$$ up in my trunk trying to clean it out and locate the doughnut wheel thingie (technical term) that I had seen maybe 9 years ago when I bought the car. I was busy figuring out how to unscrew the bolt that holds it in place (ok, makes sense… No sliding around in the hidey hole area). Voila! Check… doughnut thingie retrieved.
Katie then proceeded to tell me that the jack must be placed in a certain area where it would support the weight of the car. Said location was located… check. We had a giggle as I puzzled out how to connect the lever/arm piece to the jack. With pieces connected and jack in place I proceeded the slow motion “jacking” (ok…now I’m just winging it with the terminology). For some reason Katie thought this was humorous. Me in a skirt, kneeling over a carefully placed beach towel so my bony little knees might remain unscathed. She started snapping a couple of pics. Damn cell phone technology. Knowing I had papprazzi did little to minimize my graceless flailing at the jack. Great…
Still, the car WAS raising slowly. Go me. Rah rah sis boom bah. Car raised…. check. I started trying to take the lug nuts (?) off. For all you tire changing virgins out there, if you are pushing in a downwards motion, vainly hoping for some sort of movement or loosening (rightie tightie, leftie loosey – check)... Stop. Just stop. Through trial and error I can heartily recommend a pulling upwards motion, using your legs for extra leverage power. As opposed to a downward pushing motion that my 115 lbs failed miserable with. Lug nuts off… check.
The misbehaving tire was lifted off and I attempted to fit the doughnut thingie to the designated area. Funny… It wasn’t going on. Just wouldn’t work. Weird. I carefully considered the situation and with a sudden stroke of genius, I figured out I had to turn it around to the OTHER side (Ohhhh. The OTHER side). It slid smoothly into place and I tightened the lug nuts(?) with a rush of relief. Spare doughnut tire thingie was afixed. Check.
Who knew I could do it? Not me. Not 100%. It seemed a little scary at first thought, but maybe only because it was an unknown. Having a co-worker/friend walk me through the important parts and keeping the mood light helped.
Huh. Do something outside my comfort zone…. check.