Wednesday, December 7, 2016
The Nutcracker and The Flat Tire
This past Sunday was the second annual girl cousin outing to the Boston Ballet's presentation of The Nutcracker. Sparkly coordinating outfits and logistics were all set up and ready to go. The kids were excited for an adventure in the city. I, however, never, ever expected one of the tires on the van, a new tire, to go flat as I was cruising down the highway. Yeah, that's a problem.
Before we get to that, let's talk about the good stuff.
How adorably awesome are these outfits? I love, love, love the touch of ballet. Those skirts leave a trail of glitter and our home is covered in it. We went out to eat dinner later that night and Emily was still wearing her skirt. I brought her to the bathroom in the restaurant and as we were washing our hands, a little girl, who went into the stall after Emily, exclaimed, "Oh, look! Sparkles!"
I brought my camera with me because you are allowed to take photos inside the Opera House, no photos of the performance though. I'm kind of bummed that I didn't have a wider lens in my bag because the 50mm was just too tight. Plus, the lobby was always packed and I didn't have time to wander around and take photos. I sort of had to walk and snap with one hand. The Opera House is simply amazing inside - a must see if you live in the Boston area.
Soooo the tire. The second week in November I ran over a bolt. I believe it happened right after I left the school parking lot one morning but it didn't flatten the tire and a few days went by before we were able to figure what had actually happened. The van needed/(needs) new tires so it wasn't that big of a deal except that when we discovered the bolt, we wanted to take care of that tire asap. We brought the van to a nearby chain tire store and replaced that tire and another one that had a bubble on it.
The roads around here are full of potholes and I've hit little ones and some big ones for twenty+ years now and never, ever had a tire blow out because of it. I've also hit my fair share of curbs (blaming my depth perception issues on that) over the years and again, never had an issue. I drove around with these new tires for three weeks and hadn't hit anything. No potholes, no curbs. Three weeks.
Our plan for The Nutcracker was for Grammy to drive to our house so she could drive into Boston with me and the girls. Along the way, we would pick up my brother's girls while my sister-in-law was meeting us in Boston with her two girls. So I'm driving down the highway telling Grammy about the new tires. The highway was about to split and I needed to stay to the right so I moved into the far right lane as no one was over there. Right after I changed lanes, I heard a loud PFFFFTTTT sound. At first I thought I was driving on the rumble strip because there's a section along another highway I frequent where the rumble strip is a bit messed up and extends over into the driving lane. Nope, wasn't the rumble strip. Then the tire pressure gauge lit up. Because I was in the right lane, moving over to the breakdown lane was no problem and I actually drove up a tiny bit more as there was a gravel area off of the highway.
One of my new tires was flat.
The girls were slightly freaking out for a variety of reasons but mainly because they were afraid and they thought that we were going to miss the ballet and honestly, I was a bit concerned. I was able to get Rich on the phone and he jumped into his car and headed out to find us. We were about 20 minutes from home. If I hadn't caught him before he went outside to do yard work, we most likely would have missed some of the performance. We switched cars with him and he waited with the van for AAA. My brother drove into Boston to drop off my nieces because I could no longer fit two more people in Rich's car. We made it into our seats with 10 minutes to spare.
I couldn't understand how that tire had gone flat and assumed that there must have been a bolt or something small in the road that I hadn't seen. What are the odds of that happening again? Rich had quite the experience with AAA - which Allie kept referring to as AARP (ha ha). The guy was brand new and broke a lug nut and under AAA policy, he couldn't place the spare tire on the car with a broken lug nut. Rich was told that he (Rich) could either do it himself or they would call for a tow truck. Rich went with the second option because he didn't want to be driving on the highway with a sketchy tire. He ended up back at the chain tire store where he was told that tire went flat because of a gash in the sidewall. "Your wife must have hit a pothole or a curb." Think again, buddy.
I spent the night researching these tires and I'm not the only one who's had a flat and been told it's due to hitting a pothole or curb. I paid a visit to the store and told them that I don't feel safe driving my car with their tires on it because I hadn't hit anything and that I will be returning their tires and expect a refund. I received no argument.
If you're going to get a flat tire on the highway, what happened to us is the best you could wish for. It's still a bit frightening to think of what could have happened though.