If you were to express my life in terms of a mathematical equation, it would be x = (y-1) where x is equal to the number of plates I'm able to keep spinning at any given time and y is equal to the number of plates. There's always that -1 plate that stops spinning and falls to the floor, shattering to pieces. ~ I was in Syracuse for Christmas, and my parents kept telling me to get on the road because a storm was coming. I had my my eye on the storm, but I wasn't really worried. Up to a foot of snow over the course of 24 hours didn't seem all that bad, especially since I'd be home an hour or so into the snow window. Unfortunately, I was forgetting something very important... my tires. I had a vague knowledge that my tires weren't in good shape, in the sort of "I should get new tires one of these days" kind of way. I'm pretty good about checking my tire inflation before a trip, but it had been a long time since I'd checked the tread. Big mistake. Bald may be beautiful, but not when it comes to your front tires in late December. ~ I hit the Thruway and all was well until I hit the Finger Lakes, and suddenly snow was swirling everywhere and visibility was poor. No big deal. I slowed down and mentally added an hour to my arrival time. But there was more than just the poor visibility... my car was handling strangely despite the fact that there was hardly any snow on the road. I was worried, and without really thinking my options through I got off the Thruway at Geneva. I don't know what I was planning... maybe to pick up Route 5 and take the long (but stress-free) way home. ~ I soon realized I was in more trouble than I thought as I navigated the slightly hilly terrain of Geneva. Despite there only being a dusting of snow on the roads, I got stuck no less than seven times in Geneva without even making it to Route 5 or anything resembling a highway. Each time, I managed to get loose after a few minutes of rocking the car, but I realized even the slightest incline was more than I would be able to handle, and there was no way I was getting anywhere without an incline. I really started to worry. ~ A pick-up truck with a plow pulled up next to me, and the driver asked if I was ok. I said I was trying to get to Buffalo and he laughed... "you are not going to Buffalo tonight." He offered to plow me a space, and I said thank you even though the idea of leaving my car on the road in a strange city overnight wasn't very appealing. But I didn't really have much choice, did I? Except that it turns out I heard him wrong. He was offering to plow me a path to a Days Inn a couple of blocks away, a route that was thankfully incline-free. And that's what he did... he plowed me a path to the Inn and then cleared out a parking spot for me right by the door. I fumbled through my pockets and rustled up $14 dollars in crumpled bills. I offered him the cash, wishing I had more, and he refused. "Merry Christmas" he said and drove away. If my nerves weren't already stretched to the limit I'd have gotten his license number to at least try and send him a thank you card, but instead I just stood there watching him drive away and thinking how wonderful people can be just when you need them the most. ~ I must have been a sight when I walked into the Days Inn lobby, coming in out of a blizzard in shorts and a turtleneck, with no luggage and a slightly maniacal look on my face. "I guess I need a room." The clerk gave me a fantastic deal on a room, and after hearing my plight pointed out the Monroe Muffler (and TIRE!) store just across the street. I'm pretty sure I head angels singing as she mentioned that they can come get my car and drop it off when they're done. I went to my room, turned on cable, called work to tell them I wasn't going to be in the next morning, and buried myself in the warm pile of pillows and sheets and blankets. It was actually a pleasant way to spend an evening. ~ The next morning brought a good news / bad news mix of information. The bad news was that Monroe Muffler (and TIRE!) is really Monroe Muffler (and TIRE except for the size I need), but the good news was that the sky - and the roads - were clear as a bell. And the kicker? I was actually on Route 5. With cautious optimism I set out on Route 5 for home, keeping my eyes peeled for a tire store. The three I found all gave me the same story - we don't have your size in stock. I kept driving and made it to Buffalo in the early afternoon. ~ So far my story has been one of making the absolute wrong choice at nearly every opportunity, and my run of poor decisions was alas not yet ended. Instead of heading right to a tire store I went to work, got a few projects done, and went home. Turning onto my street, in just about an eighth inch of slush, I got stuck again. No incline, no ice, just an eighth inch of slush on a curve, and it was too much for me. I rocked and shoveled and rocked again, and finally made it out of the curve. I parked in front of my house, wondering if I'd be able to get out of the spot the next day to buy tires. ~ For the second time, the morning brought good news and bad. The good news was that it was a clear, sunny day and the roads were excellent. The bad news was that Dunn Tire didn't have my size (what the hell is it with my car?). The man called another store, which did have my size, and I set out for the Main and Transit location. An hour and a half later, I had new tires that 1. had treads and 2. didn't cost an arm and a leg. The great Christmas Fiasco of 2012 had finally come to a close.
Brought to You by John Carocci at 3:21 AM