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Back, Jack, Ack

Reason #4671251 Why I Need This Vacation

This entry is dedicated to Cathy at the Subaru Roadside Assistance call center.

Yeah, so I had a tire blowout on the way home from work yesterday.


I was hoping by waiting a day or so to write about it I'd find a way to make it funny.

It's still not funny.

After it took my very slow brain to comprehend what had happened (What's up with the highway surface all of a sudden? Is that noise coming from MY car? That noise is not coming from my car. Oh wait, yes it is.), I pulled over to the center breakdown lane and timidly crept around to the right side of the car, praying that no insane driver (you know, like me) would clip my protruding belly and kill me while I inspected the tire.

Which was in shreds! Pop!

As I was trying to call Jason, a cop pulled up on the other side of the median and stared at me, like, WELL?  I calmly explained that I'd had a blowout and was trying to call my husband, and was also fairly sure I had some kind of roadside assistance card thing somewhere.

Cop: (looking fairly and clearly disgusted that actually changing the tire my damn self was not on my list of options) Okay, let me know if you can't reach anyone.

And then he drove off, leaving me to wonder, How the hell am I supposed to let him know that? By sending up flares? Smoke signals?

Now, at this point in the story I wish I could tell you that I do indeed know how to change a flat tire, and that I was dependent on help merely because I didn't think jacking up a car is an appropriate activity for a pregnant woman, particularly while crouched in a narrow breakdown lane with cars whizzing behind her in the far left lane that all probably deserve $150 speeding tickets.

But the sad, sad fact is that I do not know how to change a tire. I've had it demonstrated to me many times but lo, I do not know. Am girl. (To be fair, all demonstrations occurred on the quiet safety of a residential street while replacing a tire with a damn "slow leak" or something, not quite the same high-pressure whizzing-car situation I was in yesterday.)

And dudes, I'm PREGNANT.

I couldn't get a hold of Jason (but left a slightly frantic and crying-ish message on his voicemail that he would later MAKE ME LISTEN TO, the heartless bastard), but I did find my glorious Subaru Roadside Assistance card, which is how Cathy came into my life.

Blah blah blah Cathy very calming and helpful and DEEPLY concerned about poor small pregnant woman stranded on highway and not judgemental AT ALL as I tried to explain that I was indeed small and pregnant and didn't feel safe changing the tire from this spot on the highway and actually, Cathy, I can't lie to you, I don't even know how anyway.

Blah. Help would be there within an hour.

Blink. An hour? During which I just...sit here?

And so I sat. And I tried very, very hard not to think about my small, pregnant bladder. Or about the creepy pregnancy fetishist who emailed me the other day. Or about murderers or kidnappers in general.

I counted eight (8) cop cars and three (3) tow trucks that passed me by, and noticed an SUV pulled over in the breakdown lane about a quarter-mile ahead of me. I wondered if Sullen Cop would ever come back to check on me, or if my calmness meant he had alerted all over cops that I was fine, move along.

Like, what if each stranded motorist get ONE SHOT with a cop and unless you're really hysterical or cellphone-less or in the middle of giving birth your car gets marked as "Had her shot. Lame story."? What if that's the system?

(Did I mention that I was doing ANYTHING to keep my mind off my bladder?)

I finally got a hold of Jason by calling one of his other assorted work-only cellphones.

(By the way, this story would have been WAY more suspensful if, you know, my cellphone battery was about to die, which it totally was when I first called for help.)

(But then I found my car charger. So yawn.)

Jason: Hey! What's up?


Jason: Are you kidding?


Despite what I bitch I was being, and the fact that help was on its way, Jason still decided to come out and get me.

Amy's Phone: RING RING!

Amy: Hello? Tow truck man?

Amy's Phone: Hello! This is the. Subaru! Roadside Assistance Automated. System! Your service. Is estimated to arrive in Four. Tea. Five. Minutes!

Amy's Brain: You know, I really like when the UPS guys start wearing shorts again.

Cop car #9 drove by and immediately turned on his lights, which, yay! Company! But he was there to protect and serve the SUV ahead of me, whose driver, I assume, had the good mind to appear hysterical during their one shot with the cop, as the cop stayed with them until tow truck #4 arrived.

Amy's Brain: So not fair! I could not be okay for all they know! I could be having contractions! Or kidnapped by pregnancy fetishists!

Finally, in a burst of excitement, Jason showed up right at the same time that I realized that the SUV's tow-truck driver was walking towards me, jack in hand, multi-tasking.

And that's basically, you know, the end. Jason handed me the keys to the other car so I could go home and pee while he waited for the tire to be changed. (He can change a tire, by the way, and could also probably do it while pregnant.)

Tomorrow we leave for Aruba. At 4 fucking a.m. I am not packed, I have not even begun to pack.

Except for this, of course.


The little preciousnesses are going to a super-nice pet "resort," yet because of their delicate little constitutionesses, I'm sending them each with individually-labeled meals for their entire stay. (Ceiba's meals are fortified with the extra power of Metamucil, which we hope will prevent another week of the infamous Puppy Projectile Diarrhea upon our return.)

Behave yo'selves while I'm gone. I'm leaving a babysitter in charge of comments and I promise to bring you all back something pretty. And that something will probably be me, and many pictures for you to be jealous of.

And for the love of God, keep your tires properly inflated.



i know how to change a tire but i would not because why should i do it if someone else can. i mean, if i were alone in the universe i could do it but it'd be slow and with lots of swearing. how unpleasant would that be? very.

the small pregnant bladder would have sent me over the edge in tears.


How scary. That'd be scary for me if I was pregnant. You're so brave. I know how to change a flat tire but that's only because I'm one of three daughters in my family of NO BOYS. So it just had to be done, twice in fact.

Have fun in Aruba and take lots of pictures of the belly in the sunset! Aw, crap. No likker right? Crap.

Fraulein N

I can't believe he made you listen to it. Wait, yes I do, as that sounds like something the mister would do as well. I can't believe the cop just left you hanging like that though.


UGH. My dh, who I didn't think was so dear at the time, made me go out in the driveway one night around... oh 9:30-sometime entirely too close to dark and told me that I was to take off one of the tires and replace it with the donut.

My response was "I don't know how"

He told me "This is where you learn."

When I asked him if he was coming out to walk me through it, he told me no, and proceeded to sit inside and watch TV while I struggled for an hour.

I got it done, went inside and told him so. He came out, checked it, told me I did it right, and then told me to change it back to the regular tire.

I hated him at the time. A month ago when my tire blew 14 miles from where I was supposed to be working as the sun was setting and it was 40 degrees F outside, I was really kind of happy I knew what I was doing... because I DIDN'T have a cellphone, and NO ONE stopped to see if I was ok.


The cars whizzing past would have me so scared, pregnant or not!

We LOVE Cathy!


Oh, I would have totally been hysterical, even with a cell phone and help on the way. ;) So you get props for keeping it collected. Still, damn that stupid cop for just LEAVING YOU THERE.

So glad you're okay! And have a great time in Aruba!


I don't know how to change a tire either. And you know what? Fuck it. What the hell do I have roadside assistance/24 hour towing/husband for?


i probably would not have handled that well at all. i would have broken down and started crying.

have fun in aruba!!! i'm jealous :(

be nice and tan and buy lots of pretty things, too!!


i do not know how to change a tire. though my husband is trying to make me learn. i refuse. don't know why, just do.

also? i love that you portioned out ceiba's food. awww...


That's what husbands are for... killing bugs and changing tires.

type a

bring me back a frozen margarita and a tan, please.


Have a great trip! Love that you typed out the automated message. I couldn't have changed the tire either. Off to go make my husband check our tires, see you in a week...


This comment is being made a little late because you're already IN Aruba. But still... so sorry about your car trouble! They shouldn't make tiny pregnant women suffer like that, it's just inhumane! But you really made me think, I SHOULD learn how to change a tyre sooner or later, I am a complete girl in these situations.

I hope you have a fabulous time in Aruba - though I'll be slightly lost without your guidance for the time that you're there. I shall have to keep myself occupied reading older posts...

Sarcastic Journalist

Ceiba has a last name. Cute!


Full bladder + baby sitting on top of full bladder + blowout = no good. For future non-preggy situations, please learn to change a tire. There should be instructions next to the jack and spare. It would suck to have it happen with a 10 month old or on a dark creepy street in DC or (insert dramatic gasp) along a hot desert highway with no water and a 10 month old who is potty training and has a full bladder herself... Teach the gorgeous girl in your belly eventually too, okay?


I want to know about the crazy baby e-mailer!


I won't learn how to change a tire for the same reason my mom wouldn't learn how to type: If you CAN do it, you will eventually be expected TO do it.

Her Ladyship

gah! you have definitely earned your vacay. enjoy the sun and surf.


OMG, the cop just LEFT you there????

So not right.

Pregnancy fetishist??? Don't even wanna know. Enjoy your trip; can't wait to see the pics.


I can't even change a tire and am hulking giant nearly-six-foot person.

Also, have a blast. Bring me back a gorgeous tan.


I cannot believe a cop left a pregnant woman stranded in the CENTER of the highway. Not restoring my faith in the men in blue.

And though I do know how to change a tire, I certainly wouldn't have attempted it even at the mere 16wks pg that I am with cars whizzing by.

Maybe next time you'll be lucky enough to have a couple of migrant workers pick you up. That happenned to me when I broke down on I-4 while on crutches.


Enviously awaiting your return! Have fun!


Don't tell me your ubercool Aruba hotel does not have high speed internet? Where are you, vacationing goddess?

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