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I was looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday morning.  I had nothing particularly pressing to do.  Friday night Judy and I were up late watching a 2 hour episode of Criminal Minds so we turned the lights off around 1:45AM or so…waaaaaaay past my bedtime.  So when the phone rang at a little after 7:00AM you can imagine I was a little chagrined.

Turns out it was my son, Chris, calling.  He has recently moved to Arizona and given the angst of any such move he has had some trials and tribulations.  After listening to his story about a flat tire and the stress coming with it (See above) I had to chuckle a little at the consistency of our family’s history with flat tires.  None of us has been exempt. From my high school days until yesterday morning the Bean family have been the sworn enemies of all things related to tires.  Read on and be amused…..

Judy loves her Land Cruiser.  I don’t know exactly how long she’s had it but it must be close to 12 or 15 years now.  Of all the vehicles we’ve owned in our almost 40 years of marriage this is the one she picked out for herself.  A few months ago I posted on FB a pic of the odometer reading 255255 and it’s going strong still.  But it wasn’t always sunshine and lollipops.  Sometime during the first year we owned it there was an incident on a road trip.  My sister, her husband, and two of my nieces with their families were visiting Colorado and we were invited (or invited ourselves…can’t remember) to accompany them on a day trip to the Royal Gorge near Canon City.  We drove down and spent the night at the same motel in Colorado Springs where they were staying and after a hearty breakfast were on our way to the Gorge.

Just after passing through Canon City and getting out on the highway to Royal Gorge it happened!  Boom!  The right rear tire blew.  No problem…I’ve changed maybe 100 tires in my life and am pretty good at it.  Grabbed the jack, the lug wrench, and…..uh oh.  Where’s the extender to lower the spare tire?  One of the issues involved in buying a used vehicle is that sometimes all the necessary tools are not available and this was the case with the Cruiser.  We simply didn’t have a tool to use to lower the spare tire from it’s carrier under the rear of the vehicle.  My brother in law and I drove back into Canon City to try and find tools but nothing was open except K-Mart.  I had a vision and bought a couple of cans of Fix-a-Flat but upon getting back to the vehicle and using one I discovered a hole in the sidewall of the tire I could put my fist through.

By this time the kids were getting nervous, we had wasted 2 hours of their time so it was decided they would go on and we would deal with the situation.  We ended up calling my daughter who was in Denver and having her go to the house and get the took kit and tire lowering rod from my Nissan pickup then driving the 90 minutes to Canon City so we could change the tire.

A few years later it was Erin’s turn.  She and her then boyfriend, Sean, had made a trip to Dallas to visit friends and see if they wanted to live there.  Around the time they were due to return to Denver I was having lunch in the lunch room at work when my boss paged me and said “Erin is on the phone.”  I picked up the phone and engaged in the following conversation:

Erin: Dad, I have a flat tire.         Me:  Okay, where are you?

Erin:  We just passed Oklahoma City I think. What should I do?

Me:  Well, if it were me I would put on the spare tire and when you get to Wichita you can get your tire fixed.

Erin:  I don’t have a jack

I won’t detail the next part of the conversation regarding why she didn’t have a jack but you can feel free to use your imagination.  Ultimately I helped her come up with a solution.

Me:  Well, you have some choices.  You can stand out on the highway and look pathetic and hope someone with a jack will stop to help you.  Or you can walk to or back to the nearest place to buy a jack.  Or you can call your Uncle Al in Wichita.  He likes you and will probably help but be advised, you will be teased about it till your dying day.

Ultimately, someone did stop and loan them a jack after which they limped into Wichita where Uncle Al helped her get the tire fixed.  I guess it got fixed okay because later that day she got a ticket for 100+ mph in western Kansas.

Then Chris called yesterday.  He was on his way to work when the tire blew.  After moving to AZ last month he figured it was too hot to ride his motorcycle (really?  too hot to ride a motorcycle?) and traded it for a used Ford pickup.  Being in Arizona I’m sure the extreme heat isn’t good for tires and these had a little bit of wear on them so it was no surprise that one of them blew.  What is surprising, or maybe not so surprising given our family’s tire history, is that he had a jack and had the right rod to lower the spare.  The problem is the custom wheels on the truck.  The proper lugnuts for the wheels take a special lug wrench and he didn’t have one of those.  He finally borrowed one but discovered the custom wheel lug nuts didn’t snug up on the steel wheel the spare was on.  Eventually he got it fixed and $1000 later had new tires on the custom wheels.  And the bonus is he has solved the dilemma of what to get him as a birthday gift next month….a lug wrench and a set of steel wheel lug nuts.  Sorry son…it’s genetic.

My family has always had a love/hate relationship with tires.  Will it ever change?  I doubt it…but one can always hope.

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