If you think your Tire is Falling off…( A.K.A. I love me some Les Schwab)

So, I’m driving home tonight, “la de da”( I am singing, because I don’t have my stereo installed yet. ) and my left front tire makes this strange noise. OK, whatever. “La-de- dee, la-da-da-…, what the F@*#?” There it is. A rumble? A wobble? A definite wumble. My seriously suspicious- and rarely accurate- paranoid little voice whispers to my conscious, “Ya know what? Sounds like the damn tire is falling off, that’s what it sounds like!”  “No”, my ‘it- couldn’t- be- that- serious- you- are- overreacting- AGAIN”, little voice counters. This banter goes on for a bit and then the sound gets louder, and the suspicious voice smirks. OK, I pull over. I figure it’s a slowly leaking tire, because everyone knows that tires don’t just fall off…

It’s not going flat. I get back in and keep going. I have to pick up my mother in law who’s patiently waiting for me at the bowling alley. I keep the speed on the cautious side. Doesn’t seem too bad. I speed up to fifty. Bad idea. The noise is now accompanied by a most definite little shimmy shake that I find disturbing. I slow, and put on my hazards, then fumble around for thirty seconds trying to turn off the dome light that I managed to find to help me see the location of the hazard lights. Yeah. Anyway, I  decide I will investigate this entire phenomenon at the Deer Island store. There is light, safety from the highway, and of course- I call Captain Amazing, my husband, because he knows what is UP about cars and all other mechanical contrivances.

Captain Amazing: “OK, well pull of the highway.” Me” Yes, I am pulling into Deer Island store in just a few minutes”. Capt.” “What kind of noise is the car making?” Me: “Well, you know- the left tire started with this low rumble, then it kind of escalated into this wuddle, wuddle, wuddle, wobble- wuddle thing. Thought it was a flat, but that’s not it.” “Well, take a good look at it in the light- or when you pick up Mom, get her to look at it for you.” Me: Thinking to self only: Wow, he thinks I can’t even see if a tire is flat and that I need his mom to determine this for me. Funny… Me, aloud: Nah, I am here now. I’m going to get out and check this.” Captain: “OK, which tire is it again?” Me: Ignoring the huge urge to be sarcastic. “Uh, the left front. Hey, why is the hubcap cracked?” “Oh, don’t worry about that. I cracked it when I took it off to check the lug pattern to see if the new tires and wheels would work. ” Me; thinking to self...could this be a clue? Me, aloud: “So, you took off this tire??” “No, I didn’t. I never touched it. ” “Ok. well…” Captain AMAZING: “Go ahead and just pull it off and take a look at the lugs.” I didn’t know I could just yank it without a tool, so this really was good advice. I pulled it off and lo and behold, THREE out of five of my lug nuts were loose enough to easily turn in my hand!

First, I don’t know whether I was feeling a little bit good that I was actually right about something- but the paranoid little voice was rejoicing, practically jumping for joy and gloating like a maniac. Then I just got mad. The only people who had actually removed that tire was Les Schwab, when they did absolutely the minimum possible of an alignment last week. My steering wheel sits at one o’ clock when I am going absolutely straight, and the car still pulls to the right- but I was assured– once they had my money- that they did the best they could with these old tires of mine, and all. (after all, and by the way, we can get you some nice tires on there for only $240). Never mind the idea that maybe they could have explained to me prior to doing any work that there would not be much improvement in the alignment that I would notice until new tires were put on.  But, is that even true? That was bad enough, but now they have endangered my safety and maybe that of others but forgetting to tighten my lug nuts?? I am PISSED, livid, beyond the pale, angered, hurt, annoyed, and infuriated. That’s just a partial list. All this anger really helped me to get my tire iron out and go to town on those lug nuts. I jumped down on the tire iron to make sure they were good and as tight as I could get them. I really want Captain Amazing to use his pneumatic tool on them all tomorrow just to be sure I don’t go tripod-ing around the town anytime soon. And Les Schwab, I AM coming after you, Mister. You just wait and see.