Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nothing says "Romance" like a tire repair kit for Christmas

I debated what I should get Leila for Christmas this year.  I had told her that her trip to Abu Dhabi was her Christmas present when I booked the tickets, but it seemed kinda cold to not have something to unwrap.  Her bike has been broken for a long time and I thought I would put new tires on it and fix it up for her present. So on Christmas Eve, because I procrastinate everything, I went to Ames to get supplies and planned on finishing the job before she got back from visiting her friend in Des Moines.

I had visions of wheeling the fixed bike inside before she got up with a bow on it.  Then, in my mind, we all went for a ride on Christmas morning to exercise off gorging on cinnamon rolls and candy before we devoured Swedish meatballs and mash potatoes.

I stopped first at Kmart, because Kmart would be open on Christmas Eve.  I was in the store for 5 minutes and came out to the car and saw my back tire was almost completely flat.  I must have hit a nail or something.  I could here the air hissing out from a puncture.  No problem, I could fix this.  I went to the trunk and couldn't see where the spare tire was hiding.  I looked under the car.  No spare.  Then I took a deep breath, and got out the manual in the jockey box.  According to the manual the spare was between the seats and under the floor.  Of course.  I got it out and found the tiny jack and started turning it so that it would jack up the car.

That is when I realized I had no way to remove the security lug nuts. Leila told me there was a tool for that in the jockey box later, and that the proper name for them were "security lug nuts." In my mind they were the "@#@#@#$*(&#$&$^^^ nut-with-the-crazy top." I looked in the manual and there was no mention of "@#@#@#$*(&#$&$^^^ nut-with-the-crazy top."

A couple of people stopped and offered to help.  None of them knew how to get the "@#@#@#$*(&#$&$^^^ nut-with-the-crazy top" off either.  It was getting dark.  I went back into the store and went to the automotive section.  No tool for "@#@#@#$*(&#$&$^^^ nut-with-the-crazy top." But there was a tire repair kit with a sealant and an air compressor that ran off of the cigarette lighter.  That could work I thought.

I went out, put the spare and jack away.  Poured in the Fix-a-Flat, plugged in the little air compressor, and waited.  Sure enough, it did blow up the tire.  The instructions said to drive around to spread the goop around inside to plug the holes.  I made it downtown and checked the hole.  It was still losing air somewhat. I thought I could make it back home, so I turned around to go home.

I made it to Target before I realized the tire was not holding.  At Ag, one of the production guys had fixed my lawnmower tire with a kit like this one.  I had seen the same kit used on tractor tires and for 2 dollars I bought one at Target. I also bought a small tool kit, just in case.

To fix the tire, you are supposed to clean it out with the awl/rasp and then coat the rubber plug with glue, plunge it into the tire with the needle-like tool and then pull out the needle leaving the plug in the tire.  I pushed and strained.  I could not get the needle with the rubber plug into the hole.  I tried to make it wider with the rasp and by pushing as hard as I could I got it finally in and plugged.  I filled the tire up again and drove straight home.

The tire has held air since then.  Amazing.  I was impressed by the number of people that offered to help me out on Christmas eve.  I was rather irritable when I got home finally, but since Leila looked so forlorn, I couldn't stay mad.  I did give her tire repair supplies for Christmas.  And she had the good manners to pretend to be surprised and to appreciate her gift.

That is why I married her.

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