Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Helicopter Story

Ok Amy, I said we always laughed that Amy is a little crazy and it's for reasons like this. A couple of years ago on Mother's Day, Amy had went to pick up Olivia from her Dad's house in Winston-Salem, which is about 90 minutes away. Well she is on the way back and gives me a call. Mind you, I am about 8 months pregnant at the time. So she calls and asks if I can come and pick her and Olivia up, she has a flat tire. It's 6:00 pm on Mother's Day so just about every thing is closed. I ask her where she is at on I-85 and tell her I'll be there in about 45 minutes. She said she was at the bottom of an exit ramp and she'll meet me at the top of the ramp at the Waffle House. She had already called a tow truck and it was on the way.

I got in my minivan and headed out. So I find the exit she was talking about and had to go up to the next exit since they were doing construction and I couldn't get off the highway at her exit. As I am coming back to her exit I notice just how much construction they are doing there. It is very dangerous area just to be driving. So I see Amy's car in the absolute worst possible place for a tow truck to get to. She could have pulled over half a dozen places that would have been better. She had passed the exit and stopped in between the exit sign and the pillars for the over-bridge. But with the construction stopped for the holiday, her car barely fit between the machinery, sign and bridge pillar. Not even considering a tow truck will have to fit in there on a major highway!

So I go up to the Waffle House and find her and Olivia. On the way back this was our conversation.

Me: What happened, how'd you get the flat? Could you not get it up the exit ramp to the Firestone there on the corner?
Amy: No I was afraid to drive on it any longer.
Me: How long did you drive on it?
Amy: Maybe just a few miles.
Me: WHAT?! Amy, you could've ruined your rim! Why did you drive on it so long?
Amy: Well, I didn't know I had a flat.
Me: How could you NOT know that you had a flat? Did you not feel the car shimmy?
Amy: No the wheels shake a lot when I'm going 75, plus all the construction, you know...
Olivia: It's true, the whole car shakes! It scares me riding with her!
Amy: Olivia! Not all the time. It's not that bad.
Me: OK! If the car is shaking at 75, you shouldn't be driving that fast. (Sigh) So you didn't feel it, how could you not hear it?
Amy: Well, we heard the thump-thump-thump, but I thought a helicopter was following us. Olivia and I kept looking up to see if we could find it.
(At this point she puts her head to the glass and was looking up into the sky to show me how she and Olivia were looking around)
Me: Are you serious? Are you just pulling my leg? Why would a helicopter be following you?
Amy: I don't know, maybe because we were speeding or something. I don't know, it just sounded like it. So I asked Olivia to look for it too.
Me: Well why did you park it at the bottom of the ramp?
Amy: Well, once I realized I had a flat I was afraid to drive on it anymore.
Me: So you couldn't make it up the ramp to the Firestone? Ok, so is that where the tow-truck is taking it? Your going to pay $75 for a tow up the ramp?
Amy: NO! I was too embarrassed to have them tow it there. When I talked to the driver and he asked where I wanted it towed, he mentioned a friend of his that has a station, so he is towing it there.
Me: Do you know where this place is at?
Amy: Not exactly, I'll have to call and get directions tomorrow. I know it's about 15 miles North of here.
Me: WHAT???

So the next day, Alex and I took off work so we could take her up there. It had so many turns getting off the highway, I still don't know how we didn't get lost. Dumb luck, I guess. We had to stop at the dealership before leaving Charlotte to get one of those special tools because one of her lug nuts on each tire is a locking lug nut and something happened to her old one. I think it had gotten stripped being used with one of the guns. It was a special order item and luckily she had ordered it about a month earlier and just forgot to pick it up.

So we get there, and it was a scene straight out of Deliverance! I was so glad Alex was there. I have never seen a place so filthy, grimy and disgusting! It was just on old run-down gas station. There was no waiting room, there was just an old car bench seat out front. I really would never had believed there were places like that in North Carolina. So here it is a hot sunny day in May, I am 8 months pregnant and it just took us an hour to get there. We have to sit outside in the sun on an old car bench and their restroom hadn't been cleaned in probably about 20 years, no exaggeration. I was not a happy camper! The whole time I was thinking about the Firestone, with the AC, clean waiting room and restroom and a Waffle House across the street.

The guy gets to work on removing the flat, her tire was shredded so it couldn't just be repaired. He realizes he doesn't have that size at his place. So he tells her, he has these used tires that are really close in size to her current tires and he could put it on the both back wheels for a $100. She says she doesn't want to pay for 2 tires and could he just do the one. Alex tells the guy to go ahead, and then spends the next few minutes explaining the physics of the wheel diameter needing to be the same size on both sides. So the guy uses the lug nut key on the first tire and strips it on the second tire. Luckily enough he was at least able to get the tire off. So all said and done, she ended up spending a total of $175 on 2 tires that were nearly bald and would just be enough to get her back home. Since the guy stripped the key, again, she would have to order a new one before she could get her tires replaced, again.

1 comment:

  1. I've got to comment on this one... I didn't know there was a Firestone less than 1/4 of a mile away when I pulled off the highway, otherwise I would have just tried to "coast" there. I don't remember why I didn't just let the tow truck guy tow it to Firestone, that makes no sense. I think I was trying to save money at the time, and the tow truck driver said his "friend" wouldn't charge as much. Yeah, whatever! But that garage really was so disgusting, it did feel like a scene out of "Deliverance"!!! Yuck! And in my defense the car wasn't shaking any harder than it usually did, what a glamorous life I lead!!!