project: Marah

project management for the things that really matter

Oh, roadside assistance, how I love thee…

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This week, you get two posts. I slacked off last week on my goal of writing weekly, but there was good reason.

I had a tire blowout. I would have blogged about it, but honestly, I was too busy counting lucky stars last week to share.

Here’s what happened. I went to deliver food to a friend who lives 30 minutes north. It’s really good, rather yummy health food.

Why would I deliver food 30 minutes north you ask? Well, for starters, I’ll have you know that I grew up with sprouts, blue green algae, sulfur free dried fruits, and so on. I believe in eating healthy. At the time, it also meant, in most cases, eating bland.

Enter my neighbor, Adam and his company. They have changed my idea of health food. Their weekly menu is filled with raw, organic and delicious foods.

I have been introducing everyone to this stuff. My friend loves it, wanted a pick me up, and so I made the trek.

We had dinner. It was delightful. There were cajun spices, stuffed peppers. wilted greens, and pumpkin pie that was to die for. I’ve always been a foodie, and now I’m a believer.

Anyway, on the way home, headed toward the highway, I noticed my car was running sluggish. Immediately alarmed by the sudden drop in performance quality, I turned off the radio, and heard a funny noise that increased when the car sped up, and decreased when the car slowed down. My assessment led me to choose to pull the car over as quickly as possible.

I had a set of requirements for the place to pull over.

  • well lit
  • safe from oncoming traffic and secondary accidents
  • easy to find for a tow if needed
  • near civilization/people for personal safety
  • extra points for WARM, as it was about 19F and about 8:30pm

These are not always easy things to find near highway entrances. However, with my requirements written I thought quickly about my surroundings.
my options:

  • volunteer firehouse (well lit, safe, easy to find, but volunteer, which also meant empty, and not warm)
  • post office (same as firehouse)
  • office building (likely the same)

Unfortunately, in my immediate surroundings, there were no police stations or open strip malls.

From my last visit, I recalled a safe, well lit, easy to find 24hour market. This was a place that fit my needs, but it was a little out of the way.

Not really understanding fully what was wrong with the car, and expecting that it was a branch or some such stuck on the under carriage, I chose to take the risk and go the extra 1/4 mile past the post office/fire house/office to to the market.

Eureka, shining in the distance, a well lit parking lot, an open store and a big tall sign to serve as a landmark.

(This is a real sign somewhere else in America, but seemed appropriate here)

I parked the car, and surveyed around and under the vehicle – nothing stuck to the undercarriage, but my rear right wheel was flat.

I’m glad I have an air compressor, figuring I could get it to a service station (5 miles away) and get it patched.

No such luck. I went to plug the sucker in and there’s a hole on the exterior sidewall about as large as my thumb.

A nice perk of the American Express Gold Card is Roadside assistance, up to $50 covered 4x a year. Not as great as AAA, but pretty nice. I know, it’s just changing a tire, which I’d gladly attempt in warmer weather, but it was quite cold, and I can be a wimp sometimes.

I went inside, called AMEX, they dispatched, and told me to sit tight for about an hour.

I got hot chocolate. They called it Mayan Hot Chocolate, and it was just a little spicy and sweet.

The service truck arrived, 30 minutes later. When he took the tire off, we were both fairly amazed to see this:

I’m glad that the tire decided to go right there and then, instead of 5 minutes down the road at 65MPH. I can’t even imagine what that would be like. Oh, wait, I can. On a family road trip when I was 10, mom had a tire blow out on the Buick. That was pretty horrible. Plus, we were surrounded by cornfields in the heart of America.

At least this time around, I had a hot beverage.

As much as I or anyone can manage or plan anything, sometimes life throws you a curveball. This time the curveball came in the form of a tire blowout, just as I was about to get on the highway, and was followed up with a consolation prize of spicy hot chocolate.


Written by marahrosenberg

29 January 2009 at 5:49 pm

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