Thanksgiving morning I was driving our minivan out to pick up some breakfast from the only fast food restaurant open that morning (Bojangles). Turning onto a section of the main road in my hometown, I felt a strange rumble in the ride. At first I thought it was a bad section of the road, but after a few seconds, I realized it wasn’t the road.
I pulled off the street and into a gravel parking lot. I got out, walked around the van looking at the tires, and found the front passenger side completely flat. Well hell.
The morning was cold, and I was in just a long-sleeve t-shirt with no coat. This was not going to be fun. Changing a tire in the cold, in a gravel parking lot. Yeah, it had “blog whine” written all over it.
We had just driven into town the night before, so our travel junk was still scattered about the inside of the van. The trunk area was full of two scooters (with helmets), a bag of books that had spilt its contents, a folded stroller (Why do we still have a stroller in the van?), and various other family van crap that just gets in my way all the freakin’ time.
I started pulling the junk out of the back of the van and moving it to the middle area so I could get to the spare tire. After clearing the back, I discovered that the spare tire is not in the back. Well where the hell is it?
I pulled the owner’s manual out of the glove compartment. Reading the relevant section, I found that the spare tire is under the floor in the middle of the van — where I had just moved all the back junk to. Son of a bitch!
I moved all the junk back and cleared out the middle of the van to get to the spare tire under the floor. After moving all the first junk, I then had to move the box of toys, the sundry other scattered debris that boys leave in their wake, and the extra floor mats (’cause we have messy children).
I opened the floor section and unscrewed the bolts holding things in place, and at last tugged and pulled the spare tire out of the car. But there was no jack or lug wrench. What the hell?
I went back to the owner’s manual. According to the book, the tools are kept secured in a secret compartment in the trunk area — where I had just moved everything back to after moving them out of the way at first. Oh for fuck’s sake!
I moved everything out of the trunk again, and found the secret tool compartment. I pulled out the lug wrench, but then I couldn’t get out the jack. It was in its slot very tight; it wouldn’t even budge or wiggle. I checked the owner’s manual. I’m supposed to turn the jack screw to loosen it (contract it) in its position.
I stuck the back end of the lug wrench into the jack screw to turn it, but in its position, I could only turn it a quarter turn — not enough to loosen it. I tried turning the screw with my fingers, but it was too tight (or my hands were too cold). Damn this whole mess straight to hell!
I thought for a moment and figured, OK, I can call my mom to bring out her car. I can use her car’s jack to raise up this van and put on my spare tire.
To be continued . . .