I do occassionally get to leave my house. Yes, without the kids, without the hubby (although this occurs only when he is working). Do I use my time away to go mad? No, alas, my time away usually involves hanging out with other writers for meetings and having my work critiqued.
Yes, a writer’s life is a glamourous one.
I returned home from one such meeting to be welcomed by the dog. As he was getting his lovies, my oldest daughter charges out of her room.
“Did you get my message?”
“Uh, no.” Dutifully I take out my phone . I have a text message that read, “Tire popped on my way home (she was on the freeway going about 65mph) park away from my car I need help getting the tire off.”
Too late, I already parked right next to her vehicle. Although this daughter is a pro at flat tires, I nevertheless make sure she is fine before grabbing my keys. “How did it happen?”
“I think I picked up a nail. They’re doing road construction on the 51.”
I swallow hard. The 51 is a good 10-12 miles from our house, driving on the freeway. “And you say you can’t get the tire off?”
Images of bent rims flood my head. This could be bad. Very, very bad. “Okay, I’ll meet you outside.”
After grabbing my son, because I’m too damn old to wrestle with lugnuts and he’s never experienced the joy of a flat tire before, we go outside. I move the car and I notice it being rather strange that the wheels aren’t blocked and the car isn’t up on the jack. Given my daughter’s experience I sense something is amiss, but dutifully asked if she um, jacked up the car, to try to get the tire off.
Typically, she rolls her eyes and looks at me as if I’m dumber than dirt. “Of course. I took it down because the car was making weird noises.”
O-Kay. Out come the jack and iron and I reach under the car to find the notch, rail or whatever to attach the jack, finally realizing that there’s a ridge on the frame. Now that my hands are all black and gummy, I grab my daughter’s hand and make her touch it too. “This is where the jack must sit so the frame supports the car’s weight, not the door.”
My daughter begins to dutifully jack up her car again (without the noise). Halfway through, I tell my son to finish the job as everyone but me needs those scraped knuckles.
Once the tire is sufficiently raised it falls off. Of course, the spare donut is flat. So number one son (Only have one, but he’s still number one) takes it to the neighbors who pumps it up. (our pump being with my husband at work). That done, daughter tightens the nuts and stomps on them for good measure.
Alas, she is on probation at work, so I must take vacation time to take the car into discount tire. There are people in this world who just annoy the snot out of me, and I happen to get one at the tire store. He was really lucky I didn’t punch him in the face because he pissed me off, not so much what he said but how he said it. And he completely was clueless that I was angry so he kept digging himself in deeper and deeper.
To sum up, my daughter didn’t get a nail in the tire. Her car was out of alignment and caused wear inside which voided the warranty and required two new tires to fix the problem. Oh, and they don’t do alignments anymore but I could go to this place 11 miles away for it. So the warranty that she bought was a waste of money, but oh let me sell you another one. An hour and a half later, I left with the new tires and called up the alignment place.
They couldn’t get me in until tomorrow. yet another day without a car for me. Lovely. Still I make the appointment.
The next day, I drive down and wait. Seems my daughter blew out her struts in the front and there’s no point in aligning the vehicle until the struts are replaced. Fine. Do it. How long?
Fine. Call up hubby to come and pick me up. three hours pass no call. So I call them. Another hour, hour and twenty minutes.
Hubby and I got to lunch then head out to alignment shop.
When we arrive, we learn that while taking off the struts the sensors crumbled and they’ve ordered the parts but it will be another 45 minutes.
We’ll wait. And wait.
The dealer said they had the parts, sent the wrong parts, then decided they didn’t have the parts after all. The alignment shop ordered after market parts but had to order from 2 different places. Another 45 minutes. The sensors were replaced at no cost to us.
So we wait, and wait and wait. Then finally, 6 hours after the appointment time, the car is finished and hubby drives it home. Daughter arrives home a couple hours later.
She takes it to the dealer for an oil change the next day and learns her axle is leaking. $400 later, it’s fixed.
The moral of this story: Your children never stop being your children and if you’re told your struts need to be fix–Fix the damn struts!