Ryan and I have been together for over ten years now. We first met the week before I moved away to college, 150 miles away from our hometown. Then, when he finished college, he moved here to allow me to finish my degree before we decided to stay for good. Therefore, our relationship has almost always involved travel between here and home.
In those ten years, trips have always passed with little excitement to speak of (save the one journey about 8 or 9 years ago when Ryan and his brother came to visit one weekend driving their mom’s minivan, and we ran out of gas on the way home; and a speeding ticket or two, to keep life interesting).
This past weekend, we made our most recent journey into Punxsutawney. Over Groundhog Day weekend, I know, but we did not go for that reason. OK, full disclosure: we had two reasons for going home, neither reason being to freeze half to death in order to see a groundhog predict the weather. Instead, we went for a coal miner’s songs concert featuring my endlessly talented fiddling sister-in-law, organized by a high school acquaintance. The other reason was for Christmas.
My mom’s side of the family is notorious for scheduling our holiday gift-exchange for weeks after the holidays. Last year it was mid-May. This year, we were at least in the right season.
So we spent Groundhog Day/Super Bowl weekend celebrating Christmas. We ate our family’s traditional Christmas meal, a German/Pennsylvania Dutch meal called seimaage or hog maw (literally translated it’s hog stomach, which is far more delicious than it sounds, but that’s how we refer to it, rather than by its German name. It’s the stomach casing of the pig, stuffed with seasoned potatoes, stuffing cubes, and browned sausage, then topped with slices of bacon and baked). Check here if you’re interested in the history of this meal. I tried to find a recipe similar to the one our family uses but Google was less than accommodating tonight.
Anyway, as they always do, the weekend flew by quickly, even despite the fact that we decided to stay and watch the first half of the Super Bowl with Ryan’s parents. Missing Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chiii Peppers, we got into the car and on the road before the halftime show could begin.
About a half hour into our journey, the “1 Tire Low Pressure” warning came on in my car. We pulled into the next gas station to fill the gas tank and check the tires. The light went off after Ryan filled the left front tire, and we were on our way.
Not an hour later, the light came on again. And then, so much like in this post, we soon found ourselves stranded. On the roadside of a busy interstate highway, on a curve, in the dark. Fortunately, a friendly worker of the state highways came to our aid, lit some flares, and shone some lights so my dear husband could see what he was doing. Again, the man’s speed in tire-changing put me to shame. He had the tire off and changed before I could’ve figured out how to get the jack out from under all those Christmas gifts.
Obviously, some of those gifts had to be shifted to the roadside as he accessed the wench to lower the spare. And, when the back hatch was open for the same purpose, I’m sure some of our fellow travelers did a double-take, as they looked on to our over-laden vehicle, with the Christmas-themed gift bags stacked in the back.
Of course, having to tote a now-flat tire home meant that it was easiest on Ryan’s hands to just throw the d… erm, defective thing in the back end of the car. Which left Clohe without the little 1’x3′ hole we had carved out for her to ride home in. Which meant she spent the next 75 miles sharing the front seat with me and the giant blue bouncy-ball our little guy got for Christmas. Cozy.
When I took the flat to get it patched yesterday, I was informed that the side walls were not strong enough to safely repair the tire. The shop does not stock tires in my size, and recommended that I check elsewhere. Finally, today, we were able to get the car in, get the tire replaced… except that, for purposes of even wear, we replaced two.
I blame this all on that groundhog.