Before you start reading this story, I feel compelled to warn you that it may be a bit on the long side and that you may want to set aside anything you might be drinking. Sometimes I appreciate knowing these sorts of things. Don’t say that you haven’t been warned.
I mentioned that last week the girls and I were home alone while Mr. Taleteller and Küster were away at training. By the end of the week, we were feeling pretty good about our chances of surviving while the boys were gone. No major disaster had befallen us. I’d done a pretty good job of managing Flattery and her late night restlessness and we were even getting daily walks in. Morgan was also pretty grounded and calm through the week. Thursday night was our regular nursing home visit and I was feeling pretty energetic.
I hurried home, full of a sense of purpose. I let the girls out, got them all fed, brushed Bunny and Flattery’s teeth, sprayed them with White Dalmations cologne, quickly posed Flattery for my daily photo and loaded the two little divas into the car. On the way there, I got a message from the other lady that still visits with us that she was sick and staying home. That made me even happier that I’d decided to load the girls up and take them over. We had a really nice visit, too. I took Flattery along with me because she tends to get into mischief when I take just Bunny and the crate that I normally put her in was in Tennessee with the boys, but she really did a wonderful job visiting. She has a great knack with people and she proved it Thursday night, definitely earning her place on Team Greyhound.
We left the nursing home and I was feeling the warm glow that comes from doing good deeds and getting over your ennui to get something accomplished. I decided to celebrate with a strawberry banana smoothie and then we headed home. It’s about a forty minute drive from our house to the town where we visit, but it was beautiful weather and we had the moon roof cover open so we could bask in the last rays of the sun. Life was good.
Then, as I drove down the interstate, the light came on that signals low tire pressure. I wasn’t too worried because I knew that one of them sometimes gets a little low. However, soon after that a distinctly bad sound began and I pulled over to the side of the road. I figured I was just being paranoid and a quick survey would assure me that there was nothing to impede our progress home. The front driver’s side tire was good, as well as the back. I went on around and the back passenger tire was good, too. Then I got to the front passenger tire and my heart sank. That thing was flatter than a fritter. There was going to be no carefully moving it down the road. We were stuck where we were and I grumbled and got in the car to think over my options.
My dad didn’t raise some helpless miss as a daughter. He made sure my sister and I had lessons on how to do certain things with the car so that we wouldn’t be totally high and dry if something happened to us. However, I’ve been sick and a call to Mr. Taleteller to try to get instructions on how to get the spare off the back left me informed that the front tire was “airbolted on and you’ll never get it off.” At that point, he became a chatty Cathy, telling me all about his great day and how Küster was finally a certified search and rescue dog. I wanted to be more enthusiastic, but I was trying to think of a way out of my predicament.
stewed over my options. My husband was seven hours away, I had the girls in the car with me without any jackets and it was getting chilly, my dad has Parkinson’s and wouldn’t be able to help me if I called him and I had Flattery in the very back of the car where I needed to access the tools to change the tire and get to the spare. I considered walking to the nearest exit, but that turned out to be to the tiny village of Kappa. Kappa is famous for having a population of twelve people and five operating strip clubs. I need to raise money to get to Vegas, but that wasn’t something I wanted a part of, and it’s not exactly close to the exit, either. Aside from that, I’m pretty sure people would prefer to pay me to keep my clothes on. I sat there feeling mad that my husband had refused to set up the three free months of OnStar service that came with the car before I sucked it up and called my stepdad to come and help me.
My stepdad lives an hour and a half away, so I decided to settle in for the duration and wait for help to arrive. I realized that I was going to have to get Flattery out of the back cargo area and into the back seat with Bunny. I figured I’d better do it sooner rather than later so I could do it in my own time. I’m not going to lie to you, the thought of getting her out of the back on the side of a busy interstate in the dark was extremely scary. Fortunately, she’s been trained to go to one particular corner and wait until she’s told “okay” before she jumps out of the back. I waited for a lull in traffic and then I made my move. In less than a minute, she was leashed and walked over to get into the back seat with Bunny. Bunny wasn’t thrilled about sharing her space with Flattery, who seems to be allergic to laying down for long periods of time, but she moved over and let her in.
Having that little mission accomplished, I settled into my seat with the iPad and waited. I chatted with a few online friends on my phone and tried to wait patiently. That’s not my strong suit, but I think I managed it okay. Of course, after the call to the cavalry, a police car stopped behind me to check on me. He offered to call a tow truck for me, but I could just imagine my husband’s complaints over that bill, so I politely declined and he promised to drive by later to make sure I was still okay.
Finally, my stepdad arrived, with his wonderful hydraulic jack and got to work on taking the flat tire off. That wasn’t too bad, but getting the spare unlocked proved to be a challenge. I looked for the book about the car, but I had a sinking feeling it wasn’t in there. Another call to my husband concluded this and I tried to explain that we needed to figure out how to get the spare off the cable in the back. Fortunately, he was able to look it up online and found out that there is a trick to get the tire unlocked.
Finally, the doughnut tire was in place, the spare was in the trunk and we were on our way home with my stepdad and mom following us in their truck. I drove home on the interstate at old lady speed, and I was relieved when we finally got to the turn off to the less traveled country roads that would take us home. We managed to get home around 10:30, which was earlier than I was expecting to get there when the flat was discovered at 7:00.
I am a homebody by nature, but I can tell you that there have been few times when I was so happy to pull into my own driveway. I did not get out of the car and kiss the ground, but I thought about it. I’m also really thankful that I have family willing to help me out in a pinch. The girls were calm and easygoing while we sat to wait for the most part, and Bunny tolerated Flattery’s restlessness without any grumbling. Morgan was patient inside, too, waiting for us to get in without raising a royal ruckus.
Looking back, I’m still glad that we went and did our nursing home visit. It’s not just because the girls made a lot of people happy. It was also nice for me to feel the love and concern from people who care about me and were concerned for my well-being. The girls had no idea that we were in any kind of danger and I’m glad for that. As the human in the situation, though, I was very aware of the fact. Having my stepdad come and get me and Mr. Taleteller being concerned, along with a lot of good wishes from friends on Facebook definitely made me feel valued for who I am, though. That’s a feeling we all should get from time to time. It’s great when our dogs look at us as if the universe centers on us, but it’s also nice to feel the love from other humans at times, too. I’m thankful that every once in a while, the universe reminds us of how lucky we are. Oh, and to add insult to injury, I got another reminder card in the mail the next day to set up my free OnStar service. I now have my three free months started. I’m pretty sure this guarantees that I will have no car trouble for the next three months.