In my house, there are no ‘pink’ jobs or ‘blue’ jobs. They tend to fall into the following categories:
1. “Blow-It-Off Jobs.” Things that can wait until the next time Tanner is home. These are non-time sensitive tasks that I either cannot do alone, or just don’t want to do. Like mowing the lawn. And vacuuming.
2. “Whack Jobs.” Tasks (also usually non-time sensitive) that I have no business attempting, but do anyway out of spite and ignorance. Usually moving furniture or tackling unnecessary home improvement. (“I can’t possibly find time to vacuum, but of course I can re-route the dryer vent, with time to wire up a light or two!”)
3. “Blow Jobs.” Just kidding – I’m married. [And hilarious!]
4. “Get Shit Done Jobs.” Tasks that leave me no choice. I must get off my ass and figure it out.
The other day, I had to replace the spare tire on the truck. In any other relationship, that would be a blue job. For me, it was a “Get Shit Done Job.” And an easy one at that, thanks in part to a rather complicated history with tires.
Nearly five years ago, Tanner was working in Texas – four weeks on, two weeks off. He had just left when I noticed the tire in the Yukon was flat.
No problem, I thought. I got this shit covered. I’m a rig wife. (Well, rig fiancée.) In fact, this is going to be so easy, I can do it in shorts and wedge sandals. Because walking the 15 feet into the house to get real shoes would make me a pussy.
And the wedges really helped to tighten my glutes and perk up my ass, which is important when you’re wearing shorts. Particularly if you are going to be crawling around in the dirt underneath a truck.
I had never actually changed a tire on the Yukon, so I grabbed the manual and gathered up all the necessary tools – except a jack. Apparently the Denali package forgoes a jack for the backseat television.
Once again, no problem - I’m handy. I would just use the jack from the Explorer.
In hindsight, I think that particular jack would have struggled to lift a PowerWheels car, much less a Yukon XL. Life lesson number one: make sure you have the appropriate tools to do the job.
I set up the flimsy jack in the right spot and got cranking. I should point out that the Yukon was on uneven ground in a tiny parking area scarred by potholes. Life lesson number two: try to avoid jacking up anything on uneven ground. Particularly when you don’t actually know what you’re doing.
With the Yukon perched precariously on the jack of death, I grabbed a wrench and started to loosen the nuts. Thanks to my complete lack of upper body strength, this took much grunting and eventually ended with me essentially jumping (still sporting four inch wedges) to get them to turn.
Now, someone else would have probably noticed how much the truck was swaying on the tiny little jack at this point. But I was absorbed – obsessed – with getting the damn nuts loosened.
Life lesson number three: don’t actually lift the car until after you’ve waged battle with the lug nuts.
This took an embarrassing amount of time and I was a sweating, gasping mess. But finally, the tire was free. Victorious, I reached out and started to take the tire off.
Just in time for the jack to fail, and the truck to fall.
It narrowly messed taking off my left foot. I jumped back, tripping over my inappropriate wedges and hit the ground. Now I had road rash to match my profuse sweating and red face.
I threw an epic tantrum, complete with angry tears and kicking of the tire. I stormed into the house to get rid of “these stupid fucking shoes.” Looking out the window on the other side of the house, I realized that there was a tire shop literally across the street.
In a blind rage, I stomped across the road (which was actually Glenmore Trail, making my appearance even more striking) and into the store. The poor guy at the counter couldn’t hid the shock, confusion and partial disgust in his face as I started ranting about needing to borrow a jack. Finally I took a breath and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror behind the counter.
I was filthy. Caked in dirt and sweat. My hair looked like a small family of squirrels had taking up residence and I was bleeding from the gravel burn on my leg and arm. And I was still wearing the wedges.
I looked insane.
The man had clearly seen a woman on the edge before, and rushed to send a shop lackey back to the house with me to finish my failure. I ended up driving the Yukon back to the shop and putting on four new tires that I probably didn’t need, but felt would reduce the risk of future flats.
Obviously rational behaviour. I also threw in a new windshield for good measure.
The good news is that what doesn’t kill you certainly provides teachable moments, and I can now change a tire with minimal drama and injury. Something that I think all woman should be able to do, rig widow or not.
The truth is, the more shit I’m forced to figure out on my own, the handier I get.
But I still don’t have time to vacuum.