Wednesday, of course, dawned chilly but clear, and not as cold as the ill-fated Tuesday evening. Having arranged for Mom to drive both boys into town (since I usually take one to school), I was left alone by about eight o’clock with my once-again flat tire. In my pajamas, slip-ons and a sweater, I sallied forth to apply myself to the problem.
Of first concern was the fact that, in order to actually find my spare, I would have to dig through the miscelaneous clutter that has collected in my trunk since the last time I cleaned it out to get to the spare. Experience has taught me that, if I would avoid a lot of hassle and embarrassment (ever had to dump a trunk’s-worth of junk in the ditch on the side of the road in front of every person passing by?), I would keep it tidy. Apparently I have not been embarrased quite enough to heed the voice of Experience.
So I cleaned out my trunk, and the rest of my car, for good measure. Then I hauled out the spare tire, lug nut wrench, and the heavy-duty car jack that used to reside in my grandparents’ suburban, but which I have now requisitioned for my own use. Experience has taught me more than one thing.
I placed the jack in front of the driver’s side rear tire, locked in the handle and began pumping. Up-down, up-down, up-down… and somewhere around eight inches or so, my pumping became ineffective. The jack refused to raise the car any higher. Oh well. I stood up, grabbed the x-shaped lug-nut weapon, and had a go at them.
I don’t know who put those lug nuts on last, maybe Popeye, but I have never run up against lug nuts that hard to unscrew. My goodness, they were on tight. I pushed, I pulled, I pushed with my foot while pulling with my hands. I built a tower of bricks to support the end opposite the car, and with the wrench suspended between a lug nut and my support structure, I jumped on the near leg of the wrench with both feet. I recited, “I can do all things through Christ who STRENGTHENS me!!!” I prayed for strength, literally. And somehow, with sore hands, a lot of elbow grease, and prayer, I got all five nuts off. Hurrah!
Now to remove the tire… which wouldn’t budge. Obviously, I hadn’t got the car up high enough. Time for some ingenuity. If only I could raise the car, hold it there with something, deflate the jack and stack a brick or two under it, I might be able to gain enough height. I pulled out my car’s issued jack, but I couldn’t remember how in the world the little thing works, so I put it back, and headed once again for the stack of bricks. Three fit nicely beside the jack, and I found that they would hold the weight of the car while I removed and repositioned the jack atop another one. Up-down, up-down, and I was in business. Off came the flat, on went the spare, and… the lug nuts? I scrambled in the grass at the driveway’s edge, and finally came up with four. On they went, and back onto all fours I went, running my hands through the grass and praying. Aha! There was the last one. On it went. Only once in all this did I scurry inside, hearing our neighbor’s truck start up and having a sudden conviction that he might have spotted me and be coming to my rescue… in my pajamas and all. Thankfully he was not. I dumped the tire, wrench, jack and several bricks (just in case) into my trunk and went inside to dress.
It only took me a little longer to get into town driving fifteen miles under the speed limit on my donut spare. I arrived at Discount Tire Company about nine o’clock (which just happened to be the time I was scheduled to arrive at a cleaning job), and struck up a conversation with another waiting customer while the gents in red shirts patched me up. I had a few more errands to run in town before I could head off for the cleaning job, and as I had to be back by two to pick up a friend’s little girl from mother’s day out, I put in a call to the lady and left a message requesting permission to clean tomorrow. She didn’t return my call, so I ran my errands and reluctantly headed for her house to speed-clean.
On the way I called into the antique shop and chatted with Shirley, who works my off days. As I drove up to the house, her subdued voice informed me, “Hey, my check was off. By $300. Mama’s was off too.” Oh. No.
Monday morning I had added up the sales sheets for all our vendors and written out checks, some of which had been picked up and cashed by Wednesday morning. I had been having a problem with the adding machine, and finally, somewhere in the middle of running all those totals, I’d discovered that I wasn’t pressing down the 2 key when I entered in “12”. I ten-key pretty fast, and am generally quite accurate, but either my finger was getting lazy or my 2 key was wearing out. However, I didn’t realize that I hadn’t corrected all my mistakes. Oh dear. How many checks were wrong? Regardless, I would have to explain to my boss what happened and he would have to reissue checks. Oh dear. There have been several times of late when I’ve either missed something, or done something I couldn’t explain to his satisfaction, and with each issue I can feel his confidence in me waning. Man oh man. Why today???
After I hung up with Shirley I sat for a few moments. I decided to go back into town to see what i could do about fixing the mess I’d made, and left another message for the lady of the house so she would know I hadn’t finished the job, then turned my sights south again.
The farm-to-market road curves in wide arcs between her house and town, and as I swooped through the surrounding cow pastures and wide-open spaces, I had another little conversation, this time with the good Lord Who I knew was ready to open my eyes to something. I could face this challenge, I could humble myself (ahem… yet again, Lord?) in the face of my mistakes, I could handle flat tires and schedule upsets and rejoice. Jesus redeemed those bad things and was turning them around for good. Would I decide to recognise that God is good, and what He plans for me good, no matter how it looks through human eyes?