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September 2018



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Adventures in Failing at Adulthood.

Friday I planned to drive down to Song's house and bake some sweet beer bread and get some laundry done in preparation for having dinner with my Mom and my sister Gina at a fancy restaurant for Mother's Day.

It started out fine. I did some grocery shopping and I wasn't too late getting on the road.

Then just outside of Richford on Rt79 the van begins to shake and then smoke starts coming out the back. I pulled over and the woman behind me pulls up and tells me my right rear tire is flat, and do I need help, or do I have a phone? I have a phone so I said I was Ok and she drove off. I pulled out my phone and discovered I had No Bars and No Service. Now I have a real problem. I thought about trying to wave someone down, but I have a real problem about asking for help sometimes. After a few minutes of sitting there and having cars drive by I decided to try to drive very slowly around the bend (that was a large rock face)and see if the phone reception was better there. That was a bit scary, but I finally reached a spot where my phone beeped with a voice mail notification. I still didn't have any bars but I tried texting Song to ask for help. She called me and her call came through.

By this time I had been sitting by the side of the road for about 20 minutes. I had been pretty calm waiting to see what would happen. When I heard Song's voice and started to explain what had happened I burst into tears.

The thing is, if I had been in Ithaca I would have been much more calm. I have Hunt's auto in my phone and they can advise me or give me the number of a tow truck. (although they would have been closed by then anyway) But when I am close to home I feel safer. I was half an hour away from home, and not really sure where I was. My phone's Google maps wasn't functioning probably because of the poor reception. And without knowing where I was I couldn't really search for a tow truck or a service station.

Song suggested that I get out my insurance card and call the insurance company. That was another problem. This is still my sister's van. We haven't transferred it yet. The insurance is out of Philadelphia. But since my phone was making calls again I called my sister. Her husband David looked up the number for the gas station in Richford and I called them and asked for the number of a local towing company. Unfortunately the local towing company wasn't answering. So I called the gas station back, and they weren't answering. So I called Song back and asked her to come rescue me and the groceries.

About that time two men in a red pickup pulled up and asked me if I was Ok. I said "No, not really." and I explained the problem. David had told me the spare tire was under the floor between the front and back seats. I had started to excavate the back seats. The two men helped me and got the spare out.

They also got out my walker, so I had a place to sit while they worked on changing the tire. I showed them where the jack was (behind a panel in the back of the van). And they had it fixed in a few minutes.

They were concerned that the spare was a little soft so they told me they would follow me into Richford and pump it up for me there.

I am really blessed. It is wonderful that strangers are willing to help me when I have these problems. I didn't have any money but I had bought some hard cider to share with Song and gave them each a bottle as thanks.

I let Song, and David, know I didn't need rescuing anymore. And drove to Binghamton.

I really needed some snake time. And I didn't get any baking done.

Saturday Song called the local Firestone she uses for her car to made sure they had the right size tires for my car, and made an appointment for us to come in. We did some errands then headed over to the tire place.

The flat tire wasn't just flat it was shredded. But it also looked like it was almost worn flat on the edge. So I asked them to check the other tires. They thought the other back tire was getting thin enough that it should be changed and recommended rotating the tires as well. Since I had no desire to go through this again anytime soon I said that two new tires was a good idea. When they removed the second tire they discovered that it was also damaged on the inside and would probably have gone very soon. So that was a good decision.

I have two new tires and they said there was no other damage to the van. I'm glad Song was there to hold my hand through the process.