If you've been reading my journal for a long time, you may be familiar with my wheels. My little 2003 Civic has served me well since I bought her three years ago, but she has a tough time keeping her wheels on the axels. At my old apartment in the Pocket, my shiny rims were all too attractive to the local ruffians. On two occasions I found my car teetering on blocks. Each time I defiantly upgraded to fancier rims.
Sadly, wheel number nine very nearly met a premature end. Unfortunately, I can't blame the loss on the iniquitous elements of Elk Grove. This time my own inattentive driving is to blame. Last Monday I drove directly into a monster pothole and severely bent the front-right rim. Mike was with me at the time, and I'm completely sure he distracted me somehow. You know how he is.
I didn't think much of it when it happened, except, "Geez, last time I hit a pothole that hard, I ended up with a flat tire." That was ten years ago, when I drove my Cavalier on the cheapest, bald used tires that my uncle would sell me for $10 each. Back then, I used to get flats all the time. I got to be pretty good at changing a tire.
This time, though, I didn't even bother to inspect the wheel until the tire had finally gone entirely flat two days later. It wasn't pretty. The edge of the rim is so utterly deformed that I'm not sure how the tire managed to keep pressure at all. I actually jacked up the car and tried to put on the spare, but I couldn't get the lugs loose. I have one of those miniature tire irons that doesn't provide much leverage. Plus I have to use a lug key adapter thingy for the locking nuts. Plus the body shop probably used a pneumatic wrench to put the lugs on, and they were just too damn tight. Maybe I'm just a weakling. Anyway, they wouldn't budge. I considered calling for a tow, but then I figured, heck, if the wheel is already ruined, I might as well drive the car to the wheel shop. It's only three blocks away.
So that's what I did. It was kind of a bumpy ride, but the tire still had a few pounds of air pressure, so it wasn't like metal on asphalt.
The fella at Big-O Tires was very helpful. I learned that my fancy wheels are discontinued. Replacing one is impossible. On the other hand, the wheel can be repaired "just like new", or so they claim. They sent my wheel away to some specialty place that does this sort of thing. They said it would take four days. It's been nine so far.
Then I got some really interesting news. The spare tire I was attempting to put on my car does not actually belong to my car. So, had I managed to loosen the lugs, I would have been surprised to find that my proxy spare doesn't fit. This is all the fault of the body shop that took care of my previous wheel incident. All in all it's hard to get mad at them for this oversight, being that their previous oversight was to install my brakes in self-destruct-on-the-freeway mode, which already places those idiots very high on my shit list.
Lucky for me, the guy helping me at Big-O drives a Civic very similar to mine, and he installed his very own almost-full-sized spare tire so I could roll around in the interim.
Sadly, although the wheel can be repaired, the tire was ruined only because I drove on it for several blocks. Also, the rear-right tire has a giant gash in it from the same pothole, and needs to be replaced. On top of all that, of course, I need to buy myself a new spare.
Yesterday I noticed the hub cap was missing from my rear-left wheel. Lord knows how that happened. I'm hoping that Big-O decided to take it off for some reason I can't imagine. Maybe it's gone forever, and there's likely no way to replace it. It's probably Mike's fault somehow.