For weeks, I have been paranoid about my tires. I have no reason to suspect that I would have a tire problem. After all, they have all been replaced within the past 12 months, and I just had my car inspected less than one month ago. However, I have a small child in the car with me at all times, and sometimes I have two. This makes me worry about highway safety in general, but for some reason, I was fixated on my tires.
On Friday, I made arrangements to go see my friend Sophie and her brand new daughter, Elise. Details of the visit are on her blog, so I won't repeat them here. But I will share the story of what happened on my way home.
I was really nervous about making this trip. I was originally going to drive the three hours to Charlotte about two weeks ago, but Marcus got the sniffles after his sister coughed on him (she's such a good sharer) and Sophie felt it best that he not in turn cough on her one-week old. Even then, I was nervous that I couldn't drive there and back in one day with such a small baby in tow. I thought I would just be too tired, but I also worried that if I had car trouble driving back at night, what on Earth would I do? I just felt too vulnerable. So I was going to stay at Jason and Bernie's place (since they didn't already have a newborn in the house) and Chris and Athena were going to take the train down the next day (a Saturday) to drive back with me.
Anyway, this past Friday, after Sophie invited me to stay the night (it's amazing the difference a couple of weeks make to the mom of a newborn), I decided I could make the trip. After all, I've carted Marcus all over town and I've taken him on the one-hour-each-way trip to Greensboro TWICE, so surely he could weather three hours. And I was dying to get down to see Sophie, who has been hesitant to take her little one out and about, and drag her out of the house to go somewhere... ANYWHERE... so she could get used to running errands with a little one.
The drive down was uneventful. There was some traffic due to construction and Marcus screamed for twenty minutes before I could get to the next town and find a safe parking lot to pull into in order to feed him. But overall, I felt that the trip was a raging success, and I praised my motherly skills in getting both of us to Sophie's house alive.
We both had a glorious time (Marcus slept better than he ever has before) and I was sad to leave Saturday morning. But Chris was already cleaning out the pantry in search of "The Mouse" and I needed to get home to help him put it back together. Before I left, I glanced at all four tires, following up on that nagging feeling that a flat tire was in my near future.
The trip home was going well, except I neglected to stop for food in one town when I was hungry, and then there wasn't anything else until Asheboro (home of the NC Zoo). In Asheboro, I decided I would stop at a cash machine before hitting a drivethru, just in case the one fast food joint I chose still didn't take credit cards (I had a whole two dollars in my purse). As I approached the cash machine (a drive-up), I heard a sort of thumping coming from my left rear tire. It wasn't the thump of loose rubber though... it was more of a clicking sound.
I got my cash and pulled forward with the window still open. There was the sound again... a regular click, click, click that sped up as I sped up. I pulled into a parking space and got out. And that's when I heard the hissing.
Lo and behold, there was a rock the size of a golfball (with a sharp pointy bit jabbed into my tire) sticking out at me as if to say... "You knew it, didn't you!?" I had apparently just picked it up, because the tire was still full of air, but losing it rapidly. I made a quick decision to see if there was an Auto Zone or some sort of repair shop up the road. After a mile, I didn't see one, so I pulled into Burger King -- the first restaurant I came upon -- and went right to the back of the lot so that there would be empty spaces around me to facilitate changing a tire. I got out to check, and indeed, I had a very flat tire. I called AAA and did my best to give them good information about where I was while Marcus was expressing his extreme displeasure strapped in his car seat.
The tow truck arrived within ten minutes and the guy was SO nice... he unloaded all the junk from the back of the SUV, including the stroller, to get to my donut tire, then loaded it all back in when he was done. He then told me where the nearest shop was (only another mile up the road) and sent me on my way. I grabbed food and headed to the Merchant's Tire.
Again, a VERY nice man in the store made me feel right at home and they patched my car quickly. Nothing says "damsel in distress" like a woman with her six-week-old, I suppose. They said they had to use the biggest patch they had, and they still were a little unsure about it holding. I am checking on it frequently, and if needed, I'll replace the tire. (It's practically brand new, of course... I bought it in October).
So how did I know the tire was going to go? As a Mommy, do I get a new psychic connection? Or have we just proven the adage, "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean I won't get a flat tire?"