Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Frightened Pups and Sticky Nuts

You may recall that I was supposed to go to New Jersey over the weekend. Again.

But I didn’t!

Instead, I stayed home with the dog.

I begged M to tell his relatives that I was sick. I could imagine the talk, the rolling eyes and the “Do they know that dog is not a REAL CHILD?” But the man cannot tell a lie. Within hours, people up and down the East coast knew that Liz was skipping the event because she was going to stay home and baby-sit a dog.

I didn’t have second thoughts about our decision, not at all. Thunderstorms were expected to continue all weekend, and in our minds, leaving our storm-phobic dog alone in the house (with periodic walks and feedings with the girls next door) would be downright cruel. So I volunteered to stay home, comfort, and administer sedatives.

Which I did.

Saturday morning I woke up, saw M off, and jumped in the car to head to the gym. My old school hip-hop compilation CD was playing, and my personal fave, Bust a Move, was on.

It was on my favorite part (She’s dressed in yellow, she says hello, ‘Come sit next to me, you fine fellow!’) when I heard something funny going on with my car. I pulled off and got out to take a look.

Flat tire.

Since my house was nearby, I turned the car around and drove back.

I was feeling quite capable. With the emergency brake in position and the car in park, I got out the extra tire, the jack, and the lug wrench. I even got the gloves out of the 50-pound roadside emergency kit that M bought me. My dad would have been so proud! (this is the man who regularly requested 200-count boxes of lightly powdered latex gloves for Christmas. Apparently wearing gloves is a sign that you are SERIOUS about fixing stuff. Which I am. Obviously.)

I briefly considered lighting a flare, since I’ve always wanted to light a flare. But that might have been overkill. Instead, I pulled out the miniature orange cones and placed them strategically on the driveway. WATCH OUT, they screamed, PROFESSIONAL TIRE-CHANGER AT WORK!

I put on my gloves, grabbed my lug wrench, and positioned it on one of the lug nuts. Yep! I’ll just pop these babies off and we’ll be on our way.

I strained and grunted. The nut did not move.

I tried again.


It wouldn’t budge. Okay. I moved on to the next one, singing You’re the Best from the Karate Kid soundtrack.


The second one didn’t move, either. Neither did the third, or the fourth. As I grunted and strained my face turned a very plummy shade of purple. Singing quickly gave way to “You little fucking fuckers... get the fuck OFF!”

Twenty minutes later, I had to admit defeat. I collapsed on the driveway and stared up at my car. I wasn’t Daniel-san. I was just a person who didn’t have enough upper body strength to remove a few measly lug nuts. I scowled at my inadequate biceps.

My eyes scanned the car and came to rest on a clear sticker on the window.


Oh, for Pete’s sake.

They sent someone to my house within 30 minutes. I ran out to meet him when he arrived. He was a nice, fatherly sort named Ed. He took one look at the spread on the driveway and drawled, “Honey! Yew didn’t trah to chaynge that tahr yoself, did yew?"

I nodded feebly. “I couldn’t get the lug nuts off.”

Ed glanced at my lug wrench. “Well, that’s because they give yew that tiny wreynch! You can’t get no lev’rage with that. Look, here’s what yew need!”

He pulled out his big, man-sized wrench and had those nuts off in one minute flat. Just in time, as the thunder was booming once again.

“Yew could do it, I can tell,” he said. “Yew jus need the right tool, is all.”

I wanted to hug Ed, but he was kind of sweaty. Instead, I scowled at my inadequate lug wrench.

After the new tire was on, I said goodbye to Ed and went inside. By that time I was too tired to go to the gym.

There was also the small matter of coaxing my dog out from his hiding spot, which took twice as long as the whole tire ordeal.


Hello, you've reached the Phobic Dog Assistance hotline! Press one if your dog is hiding behind the washing machine.


Your dog is behind the washing machine! Please listen to the following instructions!

Take one vet-prescribed sedative from the pill bottle. Stick the pill in a little peanut butter on the end of a long wooden spoon. Extend spoon behind washing machine and get a little peanut butter on the dog's nose. When he starts licking, gently insert the spoon handle into his mouth. Make sure he doesn't spit the pill out.

Wait 30 minutes. Remove dog from behind washing machine. Promise to kick the thunder's ass if necessary.

(Don't tell your dog you couldn't get your lug nuts off, or he might not believe that last part)


Blogger His suzy said...

I don't even know how to change a tire, so you're a step ahead of me. Oh, how I love me some AAA!

Did the peanut butter work? We tried that once with the cat. It still didn't get the pill down and then he just hated peanut butter. lol

11:19 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

hehe. that wouldn't be millennium hip-hop, would it? with a purple cover?

the guy who sings "bust a move" went to d's high school ;) d didn't know him, though - he was a few years ahead.

11:22 AM  
Blogger verniciousknids said...

"So I pop over there without a second to lose, and what comes next? Hey, Bust a Move..."

"Bust a Move" is one of my all-time fave songs...and you totally quoted the best line :D

I think if you'd "waxed on, waxed off" you would've got those lug nuts off no problem!

11:52 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

VK- one of my finest achievements was learning all the words to that song. :)

Bearette- I can't recall the name of it right now, but it's not purple. Other greats on the CD: The Humpty Dance, Whoomp There It Is, and Baby Got Back. ;)

12:15 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

Did you actually have the orange cones out? That's too funny! I'm sure you gave that hick tow truck guy a good story to tell his buddies.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I used them proudly, Roxanne.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Good for you for trying! I would have been on the phone to AAA.

And I would have done the same thing for my puppy---there's no shame in taking good care of your baby.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Sometimes I am convinced the only "right tool" for tire changing and such is a penis.

I think staying home with a terrified dog makes perfect sense.0.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

And how in heck I put a Zero and en extra period at the end of the last sentence is beyond me.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

And I can't even spell "an."

Yeesh, I'll go away now and leave you in peace.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

c - i was wondering if it was some kind of new emoticon ;)

6:45 PM  
Blogger Elsa said...

Good for you for staying with your doggie. I can totally relate and my ex-husband and I used to do that with our 2 dogs. One of them had such bad separation anxiety that we would feel bad when we left.

And I tried changing a flat many years ago and the same thing happened to me - I couldn't get the lug nuts off - no matter how much I tried. I was at work and a couple of fellow "guy" co-workers helped and were able to get the lug nuts off, but not with some difficulty, so I didn't feel bad. Now I have the same service as you - roadside assistance from the car manufacturer and you better believe I'll be calling them if I get a flat!

BTW, I love you phobic dog assistance hot line! :)

9:07 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Suzy- Alex loves peanut butter. Almost more than life itself.

Carolyn-- Aw, go on and leave a few more comments. We don't mind! :)

Elsa- my car's warranty expires in about 5,000 miles, at which point I can kiss my free roadside assistance goodbye. The whole experience has made me somewhat sorry that I've shredded about 15 offers from Subaru to extend my warranty for five more years... I'm Donna Cheapo. I CAN'T HELP IT.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Elsa said...

I'm guessing that getting a AAA membership is cheaper than extending the warranty. I'm sure you were thinking that as you shred the extended warranty offers ;)

10:45 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

AAA is a good deal. We always get our money's worth in the free maps. Well, they're not exactly free, but unlimited at least.

Sorry I made fun of your cone use. The mental picture just cracked me up. :)
It sounds like something that I would do also.

12:17 AM  
Blogger His suzy said...

AAA has changed my tire, jumped my car, and provided many maps, guide books, and triptiks. I would definitely recommend it! It's nice when you're stuck on the road somewhere to not have to worry about paying someone once they're finished.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Rude Cactus said...

Roadside assistance that was actually helpful? I'm impressed. Sticky nuts can ruin the best of days.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

RC- I didn't have high hopes when I called, but they were great! Might've helped that it was Saturday, and not during a week day rush hour.

8:37 AM  

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