My title is a quote from the 1934 Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers classic, “Gay Divorcee.”  Or rather, it is a muffed attempt by one of its characters, Rodolpho Tonetti (played with impish glee by Erik Rhodes who is NOT Italian) to repeat the code phrase “Chance is a fool’s name for fate”  so that Mimi Glossup (Ginger Rogers) will know that Tonetti is playing her co-respondent in a staged  infidelity ploy to get a divorce from her geologist husband Cyril (William Austin).

One of my fave movies – but that’s another story – today’s post is about a potentially disastrous occurrence  that fortunately turned out to be just a big pain in the butt.  Ironically, Tonetti’s botched quote more accurately describes what happened to me this past weekend than the real pass code. I could have also included this post in the series entitled, “When Things Don’t Go As Planned” but this way feels right.

Jackson my Yorkie and I were on our way to my daughter’s house to have a sun/pool/fun – filled day with my granddaughter while my daughter and her hubby did a round of graduation parties.  Jax (or “Axie” as he is called by my granddaughter) particularly looks forward to our visits as, unlike most Yorkshire terriers, he appears to be a waterdog, happily splashing in the big pool as well as the kiddie pool.  In fact, the little guy whined/cried all the way home after our previous visit when he was forcibly taken by me out of the water to get dried off for our car ride – just like a kid!

So we are on our way on the parkway, although traffic is only nudging along. As we finally get near to the exit for the expressway, I notice that my car is riding rough – not listing in any direction, but its usual smooth gait was missing (Insert title quote here) Fortuitously the exit to the expressway also has a secondary exit into a shopping mall so I turned into the lot and got out to take a look.  Sure enough, my front left tire had not flattened, but rather had disintegrated:


“Triple A? Come get me!”

Jax/Axie is always excited on a trip but now he is beginning to hyperventilate as he can smell both the unfamiliar surroundings as well as my growing anxiety and pique, but Triple A sends a local mechanic within 15 minutes so levels of anger are kept at bay.  But now this:

Mechanic: “I will replace your tire with your spare doughnut so we can drive to the station (about 5 minutes away) and get a new tire for you.  Where are your wheel locks?”

HUH?  I guess I am lucky not to have had this experience before, but say wha?  What is a wheel lock?  Are you, my readers familiar with these devices?  I am honest – no other choice – and tell the mechanic I don’t have a clue what he is talking about, but he says no worries, they are usually in the wheel bay – and finds this package in my car’s trunk:


Did you notice that big gaping hole in the middle?  That is where the MASTER WHEEL LOCK is supposed to reside – without it there is no way to get the wheel off.  Again, say wha?  I am curious – are any of you out there aware of this contraption?  Send me a note – I am genuinely baffled  to feel so out of the loop.

After giving Jax/Axie a brief walk and some water from a bottle I always keep in the car (warm but sufficient to slake his thirst and mine) I set about looking for places where perhaps this mysterious tool relocated – the glove box, the coin holder, the ashtrays, the door pockets, the cup holders – to no avail.  Now things are starting to look desperate my daughter has found temporary babysitting replacements but the day is moving on and I am beginning to feel it may be a complete washout.  On a whim, I take a look at the floor in the back of the car – and EUREKA:



But it’s not over yet.  While  I was on my wheel lock quest, the mechanic thankfully took  a look at my other tires – since mine was not a blowout, but rather an implosion, he smartly surmised that the front tire was not alone in its weakness – and he was right:



Two of the remaining three tires appeared to have some sort of rubber rot so their viability was also  vastly compromised.  At this point (again insert post title  here) I can take no chances – I will have to replace all 4 tires.  Given that my car is ony 4 years old this seems bizarre – but our weather has been pretty severe of late so maybe that contributed to this mayhem.

The mechanic quickly used the MASTER WHEEL LOCK and replaced my front tire with the doughnut spare:



After calling the warehouse  for 4 new tires we slowly made our way to the gas station.  By this time we were “family” so rather than sit with poor exhausted Jax/Axie in the station’s office – the mechanic drove us home in his car – only minutes away – and promised to call as soon as the car was ready,  at which point he would pick us up.

Glad to be home for the moment – but really feeling bummed about the wonderfully planned day I was missing – I gave Jax/Axie his delayed lunch and called my daughter with the latest status.  By about 2:30 the car was ready – and after paying an obscene amount of money for the new tires/labor (hard to negotiate in this circumstance) as well as a bonus for the mechanic – Jax/Axie and I finally made it to my daughter’s house.

And it wasn’t too late for all to take some dips in the pool  (and a nice cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc for me  once the baby was asleep later) – we were happy to have made it through this day in relative safety:




One last Tonetti misquote:  “Chances are that fate is foolish.”  Yep.


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