Then I walked out to the parking lot and saw R2 had a flat tire. Not low. Flat. I've seen thicker pieces of paper.
I said a lot of very bad words and called the roadside assistance number from my auto insurance. That didn't start well because I spent about five minutes with an automated voice system before I got to talk to a real live person.
I secretly think there was a real live person listening the whole time anyway, because when the system asked for my policy number I said a lot MORE very bad words. Who in the hell knows what their auto insurance policy number is without rooting through their glove box to find it?
Anyway, a very nice woman apparently got tired of listening to me swear and came on the line. Within 30 minutes, a guy in a tow truck arrived to change my tire and put the spare on. Yeah, I'm a weenie. I don't change my own tires. They put lug nuts on with air wrenches and I'm not brawny enough to get them loosened.
I was sure I had a spare tire. I had no idea where it was. I'd never needed it before.
Which was a good thing.
Because it was tucked neatly away in a little compartment UNDERNEATH ALL THE F***ING DOG CRATES!
Oh yeah. Saw that coming.
Every other vehicle I've ever owned (except my Mustang) has had the spare tire mounted underneath the vehicle.
R2 had to be different.
Thank doG Liz was still there. She helped me haul the crates out and held Phoenix while I signed papers and kept an eye on the the tow truck guy as he did his thing. He was the absolute stereotype of tow truck guys: greasy and surly with a big beer belly. Phoenix did not approve of him. Wow, it took 5 years but he finally met someone he didn't like.
Soon I was on the road, bumping along on the 45 mph max "donut." We went to a local farm store that does tire repair. No way was I driving all the way home on the donut.
Some days I wonder if my speech is impaired or people just don't listen.
Me: I need to have a flat tire repaired and put back on my car.
Tire Service Desk: You need a remount?
Me: Um, yeah, I need a tire re-mounted after it's been repaired.
TSD: Is it on the vehicle now?
Me: Um, no, it's flat, so I had it taken off and put on the spare.
TSD: So the spare is on your vehicle?
TSD: And you want it taken off?
Silly me. I assumed that would be part of the process.
Me, grinding teeth: You got it. (Wonder if I need to supervise this operation myself. I wasn't totally convinced they weren't going to put the flat tire back on without repairing it first.)
TSD: Okay, you can pull your vehicle up to the service bay door.
Me: I have my dog with me. I don't want to leave him in the car.
TSD: Oh, no, you can't leave him in the car.
Me: Is it okay if I bring him into the store and wait right here?
TSD: OH NO! NO DOGS IN THE STORE! NO DOGS! (This was followed by a treatise on health department regulations. We were surrounded by tires, motor oil and batteries. I didn't think we were a big risk to the foodstuffs on the other side of the store but didn't point that out.)
Me: So I can't leave him in the car and I can't bring him in the store. What do you suggest I do?
TSD: Um . . . . you could sit outside.
Me (giving the MAJOR hairy eyeball): It's 28 degrees outside and you want me to just sit there for 30 minutes?
TSD: Um . . . I guess you could bring him in. If you sit right here and don't go into the store.
Me: Thank you. I think we can manage that.
Things went well after that. The tire got fixed. Phoenix did not wreak any havoc in the store. I paid my bill and down the road we went.
About three minutes after I'd turned onto 1st Avenue and was accelerating out of town, there was a huge WHOOMP CRASH BANG BOOM from the back. I nearly peed my pants.
A quick check revealed the rocket scientists at the tire department had not put the spare tire back in its compartment. Instead, they'd tossed it atop the crates that I'd folded up in order to get the spare out. Do you know what a spare tire sliding off a metal crate and crashing into the rear liftgate sounds like? It's not reassuring.
When we got home, the Farmer just raised his eyebrows when he saw me drag the spare tire out of the back. It was clearly one of those "I can't wait to hear this story" moments. Poor guy. He has a lot of those.