Life in the suburbs: airports, car trouble and lock bolts without keys – part 1

On Sunday morning at 5 am my alarm should have gone off in my new phone.

But it didn’t.

Which was fine, I’m usually awake around that time anyway.

But it was still perplexing. It said right there on my screen the alarm time, the chime I selected and the volume was on as well. 🤷‍♀️

The reason I had to be up on purpose that morning was because my sister and my niece were flying back to the west coast and needed a lift to the airport. All three of us were staying with my mom; me in my room with a door, my sister in the back room and my niece on a mattress in the office. My sister was in town on business but stayed on to help her university child pack up and head home for the summer. It is unbelievable to me that this 19 year old girl has already completed her sophomore year. 🙂

My mom offered to make me a coffee which I wrapped in foil and paper towels so I could sip it in the car. I did not have a portable coffee cup. My sister wanted to drive so I sat next to her and directed her toward the airport.

Well, we missed the first exit because the three of us were chattering away in the car and didn’t pay attention, but the alternate way ended up being 4 minutes shorter so it didn’t matter. 🤪

When we arrived at the airport I switched into the driver seat and said goodbye to the ladies. I decided on a whim to swing by my house which was 20 minutes south of the airport. It was only 6 a.m. and I didn’t expect anyone to be up, but I figured it might be a nice surprise to have coffee or breakfast with at least some of the family…

When I got to the house the driveway was full so I parked on the street in front. That’s when I noticed the rear passenger tire looked very low in air.

I was driving my mom’s car and I knew she had just switched to summer tires maybe a week ago, so I found this kind of unusual.

When I got into the house it was quiet, not even Tucker was up yet. I began to putter around picking up pillows from the floor, folding blankets, wiping counters, I turned on the kettle to brew water for coffee and my French press, when suddenly I felt little dog paws trying to climb my legs. 😀

Tucker, of course heard me come in so he must have woken whomever he was sleeping with to open the door and let him out so he could greet me.

So I went through the whole exuberant greeting spiel with him, had coffee and promised I would to take him down to the lake for a walk.

About an hour later people started getting up. I mentioned the tire. There were some tools and equipment in the garage that could pump air into the tire. The psi was about 15, so he over pumped it just a little and then lifted it up on a crank to see if there was a nail lodged into the treads.

No nail that we could see.

He had to get ready for an appointment and simultaneously took my daughter to a climbing thing.

Meanwhile, I took Tucker for a walk as promised and waited for my son to get up.

By the time I got back from the walk and had collected all the stuff I needed to take back to the suburbs, namely some decorative items I use for staging my photography for my Etsy shop, my son still hadn’t gotten up and no one else was back so I got in the car and tentatively drove home on Lakeshore rather than the highway.

I parked the car in mom’s garage, told her what happened, and that I would check the pressure again later. If needed, we could change the spare tire and drive it to the mechanic after her morning appointment on Monday.

Several hours later I checked the pressure and it was back down to about 15 psi.

“I know how to put the donut on,” I told my mom, referring to the spare tire in her trunk.

“You can’t,” she replied. ” I don’t have a key for the lock bolts.”

And this is where things began to get complicated and a little bit stressful.

First of all, why would we not have keys for the lock bolts? Having a spare tire without the mechanism of unlocking the bolts to get the old tire off seems futile. There was this whole story that maybe we had a key at one time and maybe my dad had put it someplace or maybe it never came with the car or maybe it got lost yada yada yada point is, I could not change the tire without getting the lock bolts off without a key.

“CAA didn’t have a key either last time,” she said, referring to a time in the last year she had to call a tow because there was a nail in her tire. Apparently only Honda has the keys.

I found this weird.

We discussed how to deal with her appointment the next morning.

At first she said she’ll take a cab. Then she said it’s not far, she can bike it. I asked her when the last time was that she had been on a bike and she said oh last year or something. I asked her if she was sure about that because 2.5 years ago she broke her femur and it took her about a year to be 95% back to normal. I spent a lot of time with her over the past year and don’t recall seeing her on a bike at any given time.

Besides, it was still cold enough to have to wear a winter coat and it looked like it was going to rain.

“You’re not biking,” I told her as I looked up the distance in my phone.

4.9 km.

“Oh, I can walk that,” she said next which just had me shaking my head.

“Mom, I know you can walk that distance no problem, but you’ll be fasting for something like 20 hours and it’s not warm or even comfortable out, and it might rain” I reminded her.

She finally agreed to book a cab to take her to her appointment.

Meanwhile, she had called CAA. They sent a really nice very young guy with a pickup truck to help us change the tire, because of course we hoped he would have a key for the lock bolts.

He didn’t but he tried numerous ways to get the lock bolt off. It didn’t work, but he took the spare tire out anyway and pumped it up for us.

“These things are always flat when you need them,” he said and I thought ‘of course they are’.

Next he called us a tow truck and left.

Less than half an hour later the tow truck arrived and he checked the tire and said there’s something wrong with the valve maybe, they have a tendency to crack and then they leak.

He too was quite young and very friendly. We told him about the lock bolts and he said he didn’t have any keys either and he could just tow the car to Honda and drop it off.

Which is what ended up happening.

5 minutes after he left, Mom and I were discussing once again the appointment situation for the next morning when the phone rang.

The neighbour called and wanted to know what all the tow truck shenanigans was about. She always calls when out of the ordinary things happen; she can see what’s going on on half the street and is always well-informed about neighbourhood business. 🙃

Interestingly, she too had similar experiences with those lock bolts and had requested her mechanic take them off completely. Which alerted my mom to contact Honda the following morning to tell them not to put the lock bolts back on after they fix the tire, and to take the other ones off the remaining tires as well.

We went to bed and hoped this whole ordeal wouldn’t cost us too much.

Next morning my mom woke up and fasted. By 9 am she had called and reserved her taxi and contacted Honda to advise them her car was dropped off and to keep the lock bolts off her tires. By 10 am she was gone.

I spent the morning trying to stay distracted by listing old toys and Lego on Facebook Marketplace, update things on my Etsy shop, do some photography, clean the kitchen, etc. I kept an eye on the clock hoping mom would contact me when her appointment was finished so I would have a general idea when she would get home so I could prepare her lunch.

By 12:30 I was getting concerned. I was just about to reach for my phone and text her when she walked in.

“I never saw the taxi drive up the driveway,” I said. “Is everything okay?”

“Oh yes,” she responded. “I walked home.”


This is not where the story ends, but this is where I stop typing for now.

Stay tuned for the next part. 😛


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