Monday, October 13, 2008

How to Change a Tire

Sigh. I'm on my last job for the year. I worked in Layton today and will be in Draper tomorrow, then I'm done for the rest of the year. It's probably a good thing...a very good thing. Everything is falling apart.

Yesterday, I had a bit of an incident. I'm sad to say that I didn't react as calmly and rationally as I would have liked. Let me embellish (one of my favorite hobbies).

As is my custom before driving Bertha and the Beast, I performed the pretrip inspection, checking all sorts of fun stuff to make sure everything was ready for the trip. However, I failed to check one important thing because my boss's son had misplaced a vital tool that I needed (he likes to use it as a sword!). I didn't check the pressure of the tires as I normally would have due to this tool's absence, but I did look at them, and they all looked ok (to my highly-trained eye).

I drove along, thinking what a fine day it was for a drive - I missed most of the snow, I guess, because I ran into nary a snowstorm, just a tiny flurry around Beaver. I stopped at my usual truck stop ("gas station" is so passenger vehicle!), and my diesel(not gas)-pumping neighbor informed me that one of my tires was low. My heart sank when I realized it was on the trailer, but then it lifted again because I was at the perfect spot to fill it with air. And I did so while my truck guzzled fuel. However, I soon realized that air was leaving the tire almost as quickly as I pumped it in. Upon further investigation, I discovered metal sticking out of the tire (some of you know what this means) and found what looked like a puncture in the inner part of the tire. I guessed that I had inadvertently (because why would I do it on purpose) run over some thin piece of metal which had killed my tire. My heart sank again, this time really, really low. I didn't know how to change a tire.

I entered the truck stop and asked about a tire repair kit, somewhat like a bicycle tire repair kit. The lady held back her giggle when I asked if I could just put duct tape over the tire's puncture when she told me she didn't have a tire repair kit. (Just because I have a CDL doesn't mean I'm a tire expert, people!) Instead, she sold me some foamy stuff that was supposed to temporarily repair and inflate the tire long enough to get it somewhere to be fixed. Yeah, it didn't work. I think it actually made the tire mad, because it started spewing foam out of the puncture hole like a rabid dog. I returned to the counter and asked where I could possibly find a place on a Sunday so that someone could put on the spare tire I fortunately had in the back of the trailer. Wal-mart was the only spot, so I slowly dragged myself and the vehicles through the streets of Payson, praying the tire would make it. It did. Barely.

This next part is when I broke down. I got to Wal-mart, waited awhile before someone came to help me, explained my situation, showed Dan (Wal-mart employee) the tire, and was told that they can't take tires off of trailers. I stared at him, then asked, If I manage to get it off - with you telling me how - can you put the spare on for me? Nope, but he could tell me how to put it on. He asked me if I had certain tools - a jack, a star bar, and something else that I can't remember. I found the jack - yeah! - but couldn't find the star bar to save my life. I later discovered that my boss's son likes to play with that, too. Sigh. When I couldn't find anything to remove the lug nuts, I looked at Dan and asked what I should do. He looked at me painfully, shook his head, and said he didn't know, repeating that he could get fired for taking a tire off a trailer. I started to cry (yes - I'm not proud, but I couldn't help it!). I called my boss - theoretically so he could tell me where the star bar was, but mostly because I didn't know what else to do. I started to cry during the message, so I kept it short, Hi, it's Julie. Call me as soon as possible. The shortness of the message and my teary voice caused him quite a bit of concern - he thought I was dead or dying or dreadfully maimed.

This phone call and my subsequent emotional break-down occured on the other side of the trailer, because I didn't want Dan to see me cry again. I composed myself the best I could, then walked around the other side to face him. To my surprise, he had grabbed some tools and had started to jack up the trailer. He changed the tire for me! For that, I will be eternally grateful to him. And, as the saying goes, "Change a girl's tire for her, and she drives 'til it flattens again. Teach her how to change it herself, and she drives 'til she's too old to climb into the truck." Or something like that. Anyhoo, he gave me step-by-step instructions for changing the tires for the trailer (which are the hardest to change), which I wrote down in my handy-dandy planner. When the task was finished, he shook my hand, said "nice to meet you, drive safe, etc." and wouldn't let me pay, saying it was his good deed for the day. I objected strongly but to no avail. So I thanked him with all my heart, wished many blessing upon him (nonverbally, I had already made a fool of myself), and left.

Dan told me I hadn't run over a thin piece of metal, the metal was from the inside of my tire (who knew???)! The tire had become so worn that the metal was sticking out around the entire circumference of the tire! He said it was a miracle that the tire hadn't exploded and shed (like a semi's does) enroute. According to him, that could have been disasterous because the length and weight of the trailer could have caused me to lose control of the vehicles, possibly leading to a bad accident. He'd never seen a tire as bad as mine that hadn't come apart.

Makes me glad that I said my customary pre-trip prayer, asking Heavenly Father to bless the truck and trailer to work well.


Framed said...

There is nothing like a problem with my car to totally immobilize me. I become helpless. I am so glad that nothing worse happened to you besides crying in front of Dan. And I still swear by Fix-a-Flat for my own tire woes.

Cardine said...

Oh, Julie! I am so glad that Dan helped you! I probably would have cried, too.

Madman said...

I'm glad you're safe!

Hooray for Dan!

Melissa said...

Oh I am so sorry for you! Horray for Dan, what a nice guy, even though he could have gotten fired over it. I am sad to say that I don't know how to change a tire either. I rely too much on my husband for those kids of things. I really should learn though. Have a safe return!

Cassie said...

You didn't tell me the whole drama! Wow, that is quite the ordeal. I think I could figure out how to change a tire but I'm not entirely certain. Glad the tire didn't explode and cause an accident.

julie said...

Framed, I've never heard of Fix-a-Flat. Is it foamy stuff, because if it is, I'm not sure my tires would like it. If it isn't, I'm interested to learn more!

Cardine, thank you for saying that, it makes me feel a little better about crying. I hate crying.

Madman, thanks!

Melissa, I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't know how to change a tire. At least you have someone who can show you how without you having to have a breakdown first! :)

Cassie, I knew the theory of changing a tire, but when it got time to do it, I didn't know how to use the jack or where to put it, how high to lift the trailer, when to loosen the lug nuts and when to take them off, how to screw them on (not as simple as you'd think), etc. Whew, I'm getting tired just thinking about it. Get it??? Tired!!! I kill me! :)

Booklogged said...

You 'tire' me out! Teehee! Thank goodness you are okay.

Mellissa said...

See, in this situation you definitely had an advantage over us other girls who don't know how to change a tire. That advantage is the fact that you can flirt your way out of or into any situation. You might not have know how to use a star bar, but apparently you sure know how to use those baby blues to get your tired change - at no charge, might I add. You and your womanly wiles.

tearese said...

O I'm so glad you're safe! That would be my worst fears coming true. Yes, we have had to get our tires changed at Wal-Mart...on the fourth of July and on other trips.
I'm so glad you had a spare too.
I would have totally freaked out, I think you did well.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry about your break-down (I'm referring to the emotional part of it). I feel your pain. At least I think I do. It's what I felt recently with my water situation... "This is on my shoulders. I have to fix this. And I don't know a thing I can do to fix it. Waaaa!!!"

I truly feel like God lets us have "fun" times like these to help us turn to Him.

julie said...

Book, thanks. I'm glad you like the 'tire' joke, too! :)

Missy, I think you overrate my womanly wiles. I didn't even flirt with him, I promise! Hmmmm. Or maybe I really am just that darn attractive....hahahahahahahahah!

Tearese, I'm usually not a fan of Wal-Mart, but thank heavens for their auto center! Who else is open on a Sunday or the 4th of July? Bless them.

Sarah, I think you're right about Him giving us these "fun" times. I also believe that He helps us through them. He was certainly looking after me.