A flat tire, but buoyant spirits (eventually)

Yesterday started out really, really well.

It lasted about 20 minutes.

But during those 20 minutes, it felt pretty great to have everyone’s breakfast, backpacks, hairstyles, and varying bathroom needs wrapped up a little earlier than usual. I even had enough time to finish my first cup of coffee and kiss the kids goodbye in time to hear-

“Uh, we have a problem.”

P.J. drives the girls most mornings to their school (due southeast of our ‘hood), so hearing that out of his mouth as he walked into our garage wasn’t the most comforting of phrases.

Rewind: the night before, I casually mentioned to P.J. that the warning light of the minivan had flashed on. This is usually not cause for alarm, as that thing blinks willy nilly for anything from a slow leak in the tire to Feeling Minivan Feelings. So, P.J. responded accordingly. (We went to bed.)

Back to yesterday. I joined him in the garage to see what the “problem” was. The front left tire was completely, utterly, and deflatedly flat.

(“Did it look like this when the warning light blinked on?” “Yes, why? Is that problematic? NO, PHILIP, I WOULD HAVE LED WITH ‘THE FRONT TIRE LOOKS LIKE A GARBAGE BAG.’ “)

“Call Lyndsey.”

“Need me to call AAA?”

“No. I’ve got it.”

(Lyndsey, FYI, has a son who goes to school with the girls and we usually bring him in the mornings. She also happens to teach at Jasper’s preschool, a fact that will end up being super, super important.)

I told Lyndsey that we’d be a little late.

I went back out to check on P.J., who was being a little angry at the spare tire compartment, which was releasing neither the spare nor the jack.

“Call AAA.”

I got on the phone and was told that my wait time was close to an hour. I texted Lyndsey and told her that we were running a wee bit later than expected- like an hour later. Were they super averse to tardy slips? (They were not.)

She told me she’d bring her kid over and I could borrow her car, taking her and Jasper to preschool (due northwest of our home) and keep it, in case the van sitch took longer than needed. I went outside to tell P.J. the good news to find…

…P.J. successfully changing the spare onto the car.

“I should cancel AAA’s roadside assistance, huh?”

“I mean, yeah.”

(I did not throw a tire iron in his direction.)

I called AAA, who thought my canceling was some sort of weird trick. Then, I texted Lyndsey to tell her that, no car needed, we’d come get her kid-

-And then I saw that P.J. was on the phone in the backyard.

“Who’s that?”

“Lyndsey.” (Sorry, Lyndsey.)

So P.J. loaded the car with the girls and backed into the alley and I walked back inside with Jasper (who, frankly, thought this was all exceptional).

Not two minutes later, P.J. walked back out.

“The spare’s flat.”


(I mean…)

“Should I call AAA?”

“Yes please.”

(We were not our best selves in our minds, but outwardly we remained fairly- and impressively- pleasant.)

I called AAA. New wait time: one hour.

I asked P.J. if I should call Lyndsey or… (He was already on the phone, discussing the new plan with her.)

Ten minutes later, Lyndsey pulled up and dropped off her son and picked up my son. (Since she works for the preschool, I had to cobble together some sort of liability waiver for the school which, in my haste, might have been worded in such a way where I actually waived responsibility for anything that happens concerning her, ever. I really hope she doesn’t misuse that one.)

Jasper left with Lyndsey. P.J. took the kids on the train. The former arrived on time. The latter group made it safely as well, clocking in an impressive tardiness of only thirty minutes late. An hour later, my kind roadside assistance tech arrived at my garage, ready to change the spare.

The flat spare did not take air. (<—That one’s a freebie, Dr. Seuss.)

So the minivan took a little (free) ride atop a tow truck’s flat bed and headed all the way east to our mechanic’s garage.

Two blocks east.

(Who has two thumbs, sat in the front seat of a tow truck, and didn’t even try ONCE to “breaker, breaker” the heck out of that two-way radio? THIS GIRL.)

Long, long story short, our divine mechanic found a bolt the size of Rhode Island, patched the tire, fixed the spare, and charged me a whopping ten bucks. (The AAA service was all free n’ clear with my membership.) Everyone within lunging distance received a firm, hearty handshake.

I got back into my car with the bolt-free tires…

…Just in time to pick up Jasper from preschool.


Speaking of people whose problems aren’t solved in really easy ways…

…Here are some really easy ways to help the victims of hurricanes Harvey through Maria.

Direct Relief


American Red Cross




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