Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Is my new job doomed?

Or is it just Halloween?

So, I survived my first day and was only 3 minutes late on my very first day. For my second day, they wanted me to go visit one of our other locations in another state and tour there. SO, I was determined not to be late. I left my sister-in-law's house a bit before 6:30 am. I got to the location 70 miles away at about 7:45 am. 15 to 45 minutes early (I said I'd be there between 8 and 8:30). I took the interstate there. Everyone told me there was a better/shorter way, so I dutifully took down the directions and since we were kicking off early, I figured I'd try it out since it would still be light out (begin rant on the end of Daylight Saving Time: I'd like to stay on it year-'round. I don't mind driving to work in the dark, but I'd like at least a few minutes of daylight at home in the evenings...end rant).
The guy I met at the plant said he'd go first and I could follow him. I told him that wouldn't be necessary if his directions were any good. The first line of the directions went like this: Take a right out of the driveway and go to the first stop light (about 26 miles). Dude, I'm a city girl. I have never i my life gone 26 miles on a non-interstate and not hit a stop light. I mean, really. So, let's just say I was in corn. Oh yes, corn.
So, I told the guy I wouldn't follow him. I went first and he fell behind. A couple cars got in between us, but he was still back there for 20 miles. I tried calluing my sister to pass the time, but here in teh corn, I had no cell service. Then....I blew out a freaking TIRE. A g_d-d*amned tire. The guy had turned off about 2 miles back, so he wasn't coming up behind me. It was getting dark. I wasn't entirely sure where I was. I don't have Triple A. My nearest family was my sister-in-law and her husband 50 miles away. I called my husband while I looked for my jack. Thank goodness the cell coverage here was better.
I drive a pick-up truck. A nice, heavy 4WD truck. I had to remove the car seat from the back seat of my truck so that I could flip the seat forward to access my jack. My husband meanwhile was telling me to call roadside assistance and not take help from anyone if they stopped. I don't have roadside assistance. He assured me that I could call them and they would bill me. I have no idea if this is true, but whatever. I told him I would start to change the tire and would call for help if it got dark before I finished.
So, I got the jack.
Then, I realized it was cold and I put on my coat.
Took the crowbar and removed the lug nut caps (and put them in the glove box so I wouldn't lost them). While in the glove box, I got out the flashlight, just in case).
I "broke" the lug nuts to make sure I could.
I inserted the jack into the slot on the frame designed for that purpose.
I blocked the front wheels.
I lowered the spare tire down from its storage location under the bed of the pickup truck. I crawled under the truck to retrieve the spare.
I loosened the lug nuts most of the way.
I jacked the truck up until the tire was off of the ground.
I remvoed the lugnuts and set them carefully on the ground.
I removed the tire and threw it (I have no idea how, but I bet I'm sore tomorrow) in the bed of the truck.
I rolled the spare over to the wheel.
I lifted the spare into place.
The wheel hub was too low.
I jacked teh car more and tried to put the tire on.
Repeat re-jacking.
Repeat placing the wheel on.
Repeat jacking.
Eventually, I lifted the tire onto the hub.
I put each lug nut on finger tight.
I lowered teh truck just until the tire was barely touching the ground.
I tightened a lug.
Then I tightened the lug opposite with the lug wrench.
Then I continued doing that three or four times until they were about as tight as I could get them.
I lowered the truck to the ground, unblocked the wheels, threw the jack, crowbar, lugwrench, flash light, etc into the bed of the truck.
Called my husband to tell him it was done.
He made me go to the nearest gas station ( 6 miles) and call him so he could talk me through checking the tire pressure (please, I don't need to be talked through that). I inspected the other tires with the flashlight (as it was now dark), and continued teh 45 miles on to my destination.

So, I feel like quite the badarse now. Really, I did not cry and I changed my tire and no one helped me. Honestly, refusing the help of strangers was not a problem since no one stopped to offer help and lots of people drove by. Perhaps they didn't stop since i had it under control. Either way, I am high on grrrrl power right now. I changed my tire. Woo Woo. And, did I mention it only took me 25 minutes? Yep. I am bad. OK, really, I was panting when it was over, because I was moving so fast and I am woefully out of shape, but I did it. Yay for me.

Morals of the story: know where your spare is and how to change it. Keep your spare tire properly inflated (check it when you check your other tires). Make sure the lug nuts are not so tight you can't remove them. In fact, my husband rotates my tires periodically, and I made him promise not to put them on too tight. They are supposed to be on with 100 pound-feet of torque. I can remove that. But some guys really lean on them, and then I can't get them off. Or, if you don't rotate your tires, sometimes, they get rusty and hard to move. So, rotating good, snug but not too tight, also good.

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