Monday, January 05, 2009

Life in the North

One thing about living in North Dakota is that the weather is predictably cold this time of year. No worries about global warming here; no sirree! We decided to take a trip to Grand Forks today so that the kids could spend all of that Christmas money and we could restock the pantry and such. It was expected to be below zero all day, but we were prepared to dress warmly. I even packed coveralls in case something should happen, which I don't do very often. Amelia wasn't sure if she wanted to deal with the trip today, but I decided we would just get it over with. All in all the trip was uneventful until we started north on Hwy 1. As I was passing a car the light that indicates one of the tires pressure is off came on. I checked the tires a few miles up the road and one of them did indeed look low, but it seemed to be OK. About 30 miles further on the trip, and just a few miles south of town, we heard the unmistakable sound of a tire that wasn't going to go any further. But it's OK, we have a can of Fix-a-flat in the van. The only problem is that Fix-a-flat doesn't respond well to below zero temps apparently. By the time I could screw the nozzle onto the tire valve the can was so cold that I don't think it ever had a chance.
With that option unavailable, I called one of our church deacons who has an air tank and asked if he would be willing to bring it and try to air up the tire so we could hobble into town. Thankfully, he didn't mind a bit and managed to get down to us in about 20 minutes or so. Unfortunately, the air tank only managed to reseat the bead on the tire before it gave out, so we didn't get too far with that. I asked if he would run the family into town to the house while I stayed and changed the tire and also if he would be willing to put the stuff from the back of the van into the back of his truck so I could get at the spare. Amelia didn't want me out there all by myself and he volunteered instead to let her drive his truck into town and stay and help me change the tire. I use the word help here liberally, because he didn't about 85% of the work I think. I was trying to put on the aforementioned coveralls (I had inadvertently picked up Amelia's before we left the house) to get some protection from the wind. By the time I got that done, he had already gotten the jack under the back quarter and jacked the van up part of the way. My main contribution was in getting the spare tire on the ground while he warmed up a bit in the van(did I mention it was really cold? -25 or so wind chill at least). At one point I was reminded of the scene in "Christmas Story" where Ralphie is helping his dad change their tire in the snow and cold. I think we had them beat for temp although we didn't spill the lug nuts. Anyway, we eventually got the whole thing done and he rode into town with me as we could finally laugh about how tough a job that is in this kind of weather.


IamGinaBob said...

Was there cursing involved? Because really that is the only pertinent Christmas Story comparison. Sorry to hear of the troubles. Must have happened not too long after I talked to you! :(

Jeff said...

There was no cursing, but I did mention the Christmas Story scene right after Darrell bumped the hubcap and rattled the lug nuts. At that time I remember saying Oh Fuuuudge! Does that count?