The noise and feeling were obvious but I didn’t want to believe it. We had a flat tire. A flat tire even though we were on our way from Griffith Park to Hollywood to go to a screening of The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
I had my 6 and 8 years-old boys in the car with me plus my 15-year-old niece. I pulled over and before I could say AAA, my niece said, “I can change a tire.”
What? But it seemed like just yesterday she was crying about having her diaper changed and now she can change a tire on my giant SUV? In case you missed it, that means I’m really old.
I tried to talk her out of it, but she was determined. She had changed a tire before in her mom’s truck. Not only that, my brother had talked to her about how important it was to know how to change a tire during their drive from Arizona to California to visit us.
My niece is sweet, soft spoken, adorable and also a tough cowgirl who competes in rodeos. A few weeks ago she was riding her horse in a desert wash when a flash flood swept her and her horse away. After having water rush up as high as her neck she managed to get to higher ground and wait for a helicopter rescue. She and her horse were fine minus a gash on my niece’s lip.
But still, the tire was heavy and the car was even heavier. And it was very hot. We had been baking in the sun at the park where my niece and older son had just won their group’s water balloon toss as part of the Frigidaire event to promote the movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green. It would have been better if they’d dropped the balloon and cooled off a little.
It wasn’t hot to her though. It was over 100 when she left Tucson and we had parked the car in the shade. I read to her from the car manual about how to lower the spare tire from underneath the car and then she undid the lug nuts on the tires. It wasn’t easy. She had to stand on the wrench to get the lug nuts off. Then she cranked the jack up and took off the tire.
Everything was perfect and we may have even made the movie if not for the fact that I had parked on a tiny slope. The car was ¼ inch too low to get the spare tire on and the jack was as high as it would go.
We called AAA. We waited for more than an hour (the first mechanic couldn’t find us and then got a flat tire himself and had to send someone else). The cute young guy who came was really nice and complimentary (flirting?) to my niece about what a great job she did.
Soon we were on our way. I kept telling my niece how impressed I was. I like to think of myself as very self sufficient; But in reality, I can read a car manual, make a phone call, and put a picture of my niece changing a tire on Twitter, but actually change a tire? Nope.
I’ve always worried about my niece because she so sweet and so kind. Now I know the truth. She’s the toughest girl on the block.
Yvonne Condes is the Editor and co-Founder of MomsLA, a Community of the Top Mom Bloggers in Los Angeles.