I thought the day was going well when I headed home early from work to wait for Washington Gas to come install a new meter reader and they actually came on time. You know how all utilities like to seize control of your life and schedule by giving you a three hour window? Well, my window was 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. and the guy actually came at 4:30. And was in and out in less than 10 minutes! You heard that right: a serviceman showed up on the early-side of the window and actually came and left without any trouble or trying to up-sell me anything.
Like I said, the afternoon was going mighty fine.
Then, at 6:45 when I went to pick up Blake from the metro and then head to dinner with friends, everything took a turn for the worse. It is probably a three minute drive from our house to the metro kiss-and-ride, but somehow in that three minutes I managed to get a flat (VERY FLAT) tire on the front driver's side.
As I turned onto the main road to cross the intersection by our house, I started to feel a horrible shuddering/scraping and hear a screeching/scratching/rumbling coming from the car. I felt like I was driving the space shuttle circa 1970. It was that loud and bumpy.
Pedestrians walking home from the metro were turning to watch me cross the intersection as sparks were flying from under the car and a sound akin to a jackhammer assaulted their ears.
I felt trapped. There's nowhere to pull over (unless I wanted to block an entire lane of traffic). The next block felt like an eternity, but I had no choice.
I pulled into the kiss-and-ride as quickly as I could into the spot nearest the road, stopped the car, jumped out, and investigated.
Flat as a pancake. And giving off a rubbery-smelling smoke.
I had been driving on my rims for the last block. I hate to think of the ruts I must have left in the street along the way.
As I frantically called Blake, I noticed a man walking towards me. It was the young, clean-cut driver of the temple shuttle. He ran up to see if I needed help and told me he could hear me coming all the way down the street. Perfect. (And that, my friends, proves that Mormons really are the nicest!)
I told Mr. Temple Van Driver that we'd be fine and my husband would be there momentarily. Well, turns out that we probably should have used his help.
The bolts on the wheel were so tight that we couldn't get them to budge.
We tried for 15 minutes, called our friends to reschedule dinner, and then called AAA.
They routed us first through Northern California, then, when we explained we were in Washington DC, they routed us through Washington State (of course), and then finally to Maryland. It took about 15 minutes just to talk to the right person. We were told that it would be another 45 minutes before someone could get to us.
So we went back out into the 20 degree weather to have another go at it. (Did I mention that I'd left my gloves at home because I didn't think I'd be outside. Perfect. Frozen claw hands.) No luck for another 5 minutes.
Then, the heavens parted and two men that were meeting up at the metro took pity on us and came over to investigate. Turns out they were mechanics. Big, all-knowing mechanics. What are the odds?
With some finagling, they had the offending tire off and replaced with our spare with ease. Our spare that also turned out to be rather flat.
Luckily it was not quite flat enough that we couldn't drive on it. We made it around the corner to the nearest gas station and filled the spare before crossing our fingers and heading for home.
We were cold, stressed and tired. So, after telling Blake that I was never driving alone, anywhere, ever again, we ended tried to mend what was left of the evening by ordering Chinese. Takeout is always a good consolation prize.