It's been pretty quiet on here since I got a job... Let me tell you about the Adventures of Ashley. I had a dramatic week right before I moved down to NC. Anyone who has been broke beyond belief can feel my pain. I have been unemployed for what feels like forever. I have been living off of pricy student loan money (I promised my first child to Wells Fargo in exchange for student loans) and have been eeking by after school ended by babysitting and being as cheap as possible. Everytime I thought I was about to run out of money and have to do the dreaded task of calling home for help an opportunity presented itself for me to make some much needed mula. I had planned things perfectly to conincide with the start of my first job and budgeted with out any wiggle room (I couldn't really find any wiggle room) I had just a few weeks left until my first paycheck would grace my bank account, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, I could almost relax. BUT NO! Disaster seems to strike when it's the least convientent time. HEre is my tale of woe.
I'm not sure if I'm the only person who does this but when my Tire Pressure Sensor goes off I usually ignore it and hope it's just the cold weather affecting the uber sensitive sensor. If that annoying light is still on after a couple of days I'll look at the tires and usually stick the air hose on them until the light goes off. Being the frugal Socha that I am, I refuse to pay for air and always go to Mobil gas stations where air is free (WHY PAY FOR AIR?) But Mobil isn't really a popular gas station in the PA area. So if you haven't guessed already my light went off on a Monday. By Tuesday night it was still on so I looked at all the tires but they "looked" fine to me, which was good enough. Thursday night I was babysitting in the city and was let go early due to the impending winter blizzard that was going to hit Philadelphia. The family offered to let me stay the night but I said, like a true Vermonter " A couple of inches of snow? Pshhhh, I can drive in just about anything, I will be fine!" This is where I will admit I should have listened to my Dad and Anthony and put my snowtires on while I was home for Christmas but thought I wouldn't need them, it was only a couple of inches of snow... I"M A ROAD WARRIOR (or an ice warrior depending on the precipitation) Driving home on summer tires in 3-5 inches of snow was like driving on butter. Plus everyone around me had no clue how to drive in the snow so the interstate was a mess. People were fish tailing, cars were off the roads, you couldn't even see the lanes. It was every man for himself. Either people were flying like the roads were dry or people were going 10 mph. It was a white knuckle drive and I was relieved to get home. I almost thought I was going to get stuck a couple of times.
The next morning is when things started to go downhill fast... I woke up and realized I needed to get to the bank ASAP to deposit some funds before my car payment was due. This happened to be the morning it was 5 degrees outside, so I bundled up and headed out into the snowy tundra. I must have picked the WORST spot in the parking lot. The plow truck dumped all the snow right next to my car. I couldn't even open my door. Luckily I have a compact shovel in the trunk for emergency purposes. So I had to sweep off my car and shovel a path to get into it. Underneath my car was a sheet of ice. Luckily there was someone nice in the parking lot who helped push me out after several attempts to free myself from the parking space. As I head up the hill to the bank I am sliding all over the place, I know I just need to keep the momentum going until I get to the top of the hill but I am twarted, there is a big ole tractor trailer stuck at the top of the hill. WHY ME!?!?!?! So I turn around, park the car and walk 1/2 mile to the bank and back. By the time I get home my legs are burning from cold.
I spent the rest of the day bundled up in the house but had to leave to babysit for one of my favorite families. I trudged into the city and had to find street parking which was a mess because the all the side streets were sloppy, I don't know how they would fit a plow through most of the one ways. I eventually found a spot that I wouldn't get stuck trying to get in or out and hoped out into the bitter cold. My tire pressure sensor was still on and this is when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my rear driver side tire was basically flat. CRAPOLA! I would have to go to the gas station and fix this after babysitting and hope that it was still open. As I powerwalk against the bitter breeze I arrive at my destination only to discover that there was a miscommunication. I wasn't needed for babysitting afterall. I was happy to go home but I still had to deal with my tire. So I power walked BACK to my car and prayed that i would make it to the Sunoco. It's my worst nightmare to change a flat tire in the bitter cold. I was living the nightmare.
As I pull up to the gas station there is someone already using the airpump. SCORE! Maybe I can jump on after them and not have to pay for air! WRONG! This guy must have been reading my mind, once he was done filling his tires he dilly dallyed for a bit and then left. I ran after the hose and the second I put it up to my tire the meter ran out. Just my luck. I grabbed my handful of change only to discover I needed 4 quarters for the meter. I had 3 quarters and a TON of dimes. So I had to go into the station to get change. I filled my tire and practically got frost burn from holding the snowy/ice metal air pump in the below zero air. Then I went home to tell Nate my tell of despair.
The my horror the next day my tire was flat again. Being the nice guy that he is, Nate helped me to pump up my dead tire and checked all the other tires. One of the other tires was a bit low but it seemed to be holding air so I wasn't concerned and made an appointment to have the flat tire patched. The car shop informed me that I couldn't patch the tire because I drove around too long on the flat. So I had to buy a new tire, rubber isn't cheap. Luckily I could squeeze this into the tight budget. With my reparied tire I felt much relief. I went to work and came home. 2 days later as I was leaving for my last babysitting jobs and my final payday I noticed the tire pressure sensor went off. I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. I stopped immediatly and pulled out Nate's airpump that he so kindly loaned to me. I popped it on the tirestem but something seemed off. The seal wasn't good, I tried to take the hose off to readjust and WHOOOOSH! I snapped something off the tire valve (This happened to me once before) I quickly put the cap on before all the air escaped.
This is where I proceeded to have a mini meltdown. I called the family I was suppose to babysit for and cancled. Luckily they were understanding. I needed a plan. I was suppose to leave for NC in 3 days, I had no money for another repair and I still needed to account for gas money for the first 3 weeks of work where I would be driving 140miles per day. I had to make the call I had been avoiding for months. I called home. The second I heard Mom's familiar voice on the phone I started blubbering incoherntly " mmmwekjlasdjirje Tire Pressurel akjeoiruaoeiwj Wheel klajdo;iureoi NO MONEYl kja;ejrioa I CAN'T kaldjfoaieu" I'm sure Mom must have been alarmed but she couldn't decifer what I was trying to say. Luckily I was able to eek out a couple of words and she calmed me down and told me to call Dad. I thought I had it all together but the second I hear the familir voice of Dad it was the same things all over again "mmmwekjlasdjirje Tire Pressurel akjeoiruaoeiwj Wheel klajdo;iureoi NO MONEYl kja;ejrioa I CAN'T kaldjfoaieu" In true Dad fashion he says very calmly " Ashley, I can't understand you, take a chill pill, what's wrong" Lucky for me Mom and Dad came to the rescue.
I just had to get my car to the shop...
I have been blessed with the knowledge of how to change a spare tire. Really everyone should know how to do this but many people have no idea. When I was dating I would always ask my future suitor if he knew how to change a flat. If he didn't that was essentially the kiss of death. C'MON!
I had a ton of junk in the trunk (That's not a reference to my booty, it's a real statement) I dug the spare and jack out of the trunk and proceeded to pump up my car. As I'm rolling around on the pavement some weirdo stop by my car and says "You look like you're a long way from home, do you need any help?" IF I wasn't so hardened by city living I would have been relieved to have some help but I have watched enough episodes of Law & Order SVU to know that this guy could kidnap me and make me into skin puppet/sex slave/dog chow. "NO, I'm fine, I actually live here" and then I proceeded to stumble with the first couple of cranks of the jack and this guys says "Do you even know how use that thing?" In a shrill half cry/scream I say " YES! I JUST NEED TO PUT MY SPARE TIRE ON!" That got rid of him quick. I finally get the car jacked up and get ready to take the lug nuts off. This is when I try to crank them off but lack the strength to do it. Here comes meltdown #2 where I throw myself a pity party. MY CAR IS BROKEN, I'M BROKE, I SCRAPPED MY HANDS, I CAN"T EVEN CHANGE A TIRE, I CAN"T DO ANYTHING BY MYSELF. I stormed up to my apartment and cried and cleaned until Nate got home. He must have know something was up. "Is everything okay?" Yep....Yep....Yep.....In comes the bear hug. NO!!!!!! Meltdown #3.
Nate pointed out the silver lining to this whole disaster which was that it happened in my apartment building where I could get help and not on my way to work or in the middle of nowhere. I am fortunate enough to have family and friends to bail me out when I'm in a pinch and Nate showed me surefire way to get the lug nuts off all by myself.
Now I just need the car to last me until I get my first paycheck (FINGERS CROSSED)