A large hole in our tire causes an even bigger one in finances

A blowout of a spare that was put on three hours earlier was the final insult to a new year of madness.

Perhaps it’s time to consider resetting the last 10 days, a period encompassing the end of 2022 and the first four days of 2023, a period that has brought chaos to our household and an outright inability to function.

That realization came with a simple attempt to cover the basketball games at Floyd County High School last night that ended with me standing in the rain with my cameras outside Express Mart in Floyd while friend Nick Piazza, for the fourth time in 10 days, came to pick me up after a second blowout of a tire hobbled our SUV and took me home, missing an assignment to cover the game for The Floyd Press.

That evening rescue marked another setback after too many days of spending long hours trying to restore running water into our home after an airlock, followed by a busted pipe left faucets dry and us hauling buckets of water from our pressure tank room to parts of the house to keep toilets and other systems functioning.

To make matters worse, the thaw that turned what used to be the lower part of our steep driveway into a large mudhole that left two of our vehicles stuck, kept us from getting out to obtain the parts we needed to try and the leak in one of the PVC pipes after the air blockage was cleared.

On Tuesday, that blocked driveway kept me from covering Circuit Court and I worked for longer than expected when a frozen lug nut prevented me from replacing a tire on our Jeep Liberty. Finally, Sweeney’s Garage cut off a frozen nut that prevented removing the flat and replacing it with the spare. That helped me use the Liberty to pull one of the two stuck vehicles from the mud, leaving space to use the driveway.

That also, I felt, gave me time to head over to the Floyd Fitness Center to use their shower to clean up and cover the game Tuesday night.

Wrong.

Oh the way over to the gym, with clean clothes in my gym pack and my cameras on the front seat, I turned off U.S. 221 for a shortcut over to the Fitness Center, when the car jerked and began to rattle and wobble. A hole in the side of the tire showed it had exploded, probably because it had been on the back door of the Jeep for more than a decade and was rotten.

At less than five miles an hour with my flashers going, I drove a half-block on the flat to Express Mart, where they let me park the stricken vehicle while I called Nick for help. As he had for the fourth time in two weeks, responded immediately and picket me, and brought me back to our house, with a stop to pick up some items at Dollar General that I had on Amy’s to-do list.

Today, I will probably use Amy’s Can-Am three-wheeler to drive over in the rain to Express Mart and check over the damage of an aging SUV with a blowout tire n the left rear, which replaced the destroyed one that is currently in the back, and see what can be done to get that car back on the road.

Replacing the tire, however, is not our highest priority. Getting our home water system functioning again is, at the top of the list. I was going to use the Liberty to help pull our other car out of the mudhole, but the only functioning vehicle right now is the three-wheeler.

We had hoped to temporarily patch the leak in the PVC pipe long enough until we can call in a plumber to make a more permanent patch, that requires available money to pay the plumber, so that is on hold until our first set of retirement funds arrive on Jan. 18. A replacement tire on a high-mileage backup car that is long in the tooth is not a priority, even though the other car is stuck in the mud.

For the next two weeks, food is also more important.

As we said earlier, this new year needs a reset. The first four days of 2023 have been a royal pain in the ass.

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© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse