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.