Hitting the highway
with Uncle Sam's help
Rock on, Roy

This is why you need an emergency fund

In anticipation of the coming filing season, I signed up for a tax class (more on this in a future post). The first meeting was this morning.

Last night I carefully plotted out the route to the class, including post-class plans to run several errands up that direction.

Things started out fine. Even though the class began at 9 a.m. on a Saturday (what in the heck was I thinking?!), I got up early enough to eat breakfast and still have plenty of time to go through a Starbucks drive-through on the way.

Ah, the best laid plans.

In the parking lot of the meeting place, I drove through a puddle. Not a good move.

Under what had appeared to be a thin layer of water -- And where did that come from anyway? We haven't had a drop of rain this week at our house! -- there was a pothole the size of Palo Duro Canyon.

My poor little Chevy lurched into the hole. The pop that followed was horrendous. I thought the engine had fallen out or exploded.

Blowout_sidewall_2I crept to a parking spot. The motor held, but the right front tire sidewall was blown.

Now the hubby has admonished me before about being more careful to avoid dinks in the road. In my defense, I couldn't steer clear of this puddle because of where I turned into the lot. At least I was in a parking lot going only 10-15 mph instead of on a highway at six times that speed.

I was not happy, but went on into class. I mean, I had paid for the session and I certainly wasn't about to change the tire right then.

Auto club vs. hubby duty: During our first break, I debated whether to call AAA or the hubby. The hubby won (or lost, depending on your point of view), primarily because we aren't signed up for the super-duper, gold-plated AAA membership which requires the auto club operator (and any assistance crew) to put up with a stranded motorist's whining.

I knew the dear hubby, though, would let me wallow in my bad fortune and then come fix the problem. He was true to his vows; didn't you other husbands agree to "take care of automotive emergencies" during your ceremonies?

As the class was wrapping up, he was putting the jack and ruptured tire in the trunk.

Tiny tire tale: Of course, my spare is one of those teeny temporary ones that comes with the warning not to drive more than 5 miles on it and not to exceed 10 mph.

OK, maybe the warning gives you a bit more leeway, but when I have to resort to that spare, I feel like I've got 2,500 pounds riding on a bicycle tire.

So instead of planned errands, we headed directly to the tire store. My Cavalier is now the proud owner of four new Goodyear shoes. Lamb's Automotive Center is now the proud owner of $700 more of our dollars.

As I mentioned at the start, it's days like this that make it so clear why you've got to have an emergency fund.

Hubby's perpetual tire tending: This was not the first time I've had to call on the hubby for tire help.

When we were in Florida, driving down I-95 to work one morning I lost a chunk of rubber. Although I was going 55 and the sound of the material hitting the wheel well was awful, it came from the rear of the car and I just thought I had run over something, especially since the car's handling didn't seem different.

Tire_troubles_2Just to be sure, I took the next exit, two before my usual one, and pulled over to take a look. Nothing. So I headed to the office.

When I parked there, though, the damage to the wheel was visible. A 2-x-5 inch of outer cord was gone. Luckily, the inner liner held and at lunch, I met hubby at a nearby tire store.

Just a few months ago, we had another wheel issue.

Shortly before I left for a week-long West Texas road trip with my cousin, the hubby noticed another of my car's tires was going down. We contemplated putting four new ones on then, but decided instead to patch the nail-damaged one and spend the money instead on a general automotive tune-up before I hit the road. So at least the tire that blew today had seen its share of wear.

And while the hubby's automotive attention is welcome and reasurring, this recurring real-life road rescue of a me as a damsel in distress is getting a bit tiring.

We've simply got to find some rendezvous spots that are a bit more romantic to liven up our marriage!


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For Texans' love of cars, roads here in Austin suck. There's a bond issue Tuesday to fund improvements on the worst ones, but I'm not sure it will pass. And out in our suburban neighorhood there's a lot of construction (the population is moving out this direction), so lots of nails and other debris in areas you wouldn't normally find. I hope these new tires are tough!


Sounds like what you need is a bulldozer. At least it won't blow any tires.

Binary Dollar

Wow what a ridiculous sized hole. Nothing a little patch can't handle :)

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