How to Change a Tire and Other Lessons of Marriage

Well yesterday was quite the morning.  About four blocks from home, on the way to drive my boy to school, a flashing red panel came up on the dash board.  Looks like the rear passenger tire had a pressure reading of 6.  Um.  This could not be good, but I was a mom late for school and thought it might be able to wait a few miles.

BUZZ!  Wrong answer.

I called home and was so grateful to hear my husband’s voice.  I explained the situation and he immediately told me to pull over.  “Where are you?” “By the 7-11,” I said.  Mary Tyler Dad gave me clear directions to pull the car over again.  In my head I was all, “Pffffft.  Don’t take that tone with me, Mister.  I need to get this kid to school.  I’ll deal with the tire afterwards. ”  I had driven on a flat tire before and this did not feel like a flat tire.  I honestly thought it could wait until I got to a service station.

By the time he convinced me of the seriousness of the situation, I was a good four blocks from the 7-11.  I asked what needed to be done.  “Change the tire,”  was the answer.  Are you kidding me?  I can write a kick a$$ blog and run a charity and raise money for pediatric cancer research, but change a tire?  Nope.  Not me.  I know my limitations and changing a tire rests on the other side of that line.

Clearly frustrated, my man told me to sit tight and he would come and help me.  Part of me was all, “Damn right, you will.  I do not change tires.  Are you kidding me?”  But the other part of me was holding my head in shame.  I was beholden to a man, reliant on him to get where I needed to go, even if that was our kid’s school, because I did not know how to do something every adult who drives should probably know how to do.

Within minutes, my dear man found us and got to work.  With a few swears, a little sweat, and lots of jumping on the thingamajig to get the lug nuts to budge, we were back in business.  Kisses were exchanged, hugs all around, and we both went our merry ways.

Then I did what any self-respecting mom blogger in the universe would do.  I wrote about it on Facebook.  You know I did.  Bam, that thread took off like the papparazzi chasing the first bump shot of a Kardashian.

Turns out, I am not alone.  Turns out, the vast, vast majority of the 414 folks who responded in the thread also leave it to their man or other such qualified individual (AAA ring a bell, anyone?).


Why, then, do I feel disappointed in myself?  I believe I should be able to change a tire.  I watched it once before, when my Dad and I took a father-daughter trip to Ireland in 2000.  The tire blew on our rental as we were driving up a cold and rainy mountainside.  That blew in more ways than one, but basically, I just stood there and watched my Dad.  Exactly as I did yesterday with my husband.

I hate feeling helpless.  I hate playing the damsel in distress card.  I like to exercise knowledge and skill.  I do.  I like to be independent and self-sufficient.  But I’ll tell ya, ain’t no way in freaking hell I was gonna get those lug nuts off.  And honestly, I didn’t know those thingamajigs were called ‘lug nuts’ until yesterday’s Facebook thread.  And again, another sigh.

The truth is, my marriage looks eerily similar to my parent’s marriage.  They wed in 1958.  There is truth to the adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”  I am home with the kids and my husband earns the money and changes the tires.  And sometimes, I need him to rescue me (and vice versa).  And every time I need it, he is there (and vice versa).  And I am grateful for that.  Shame be damned.

For those wanting to solve the age old mystery, “How do you change a flat tire?” Click here.

Who Knew Car Seats Could Be So Naughty?

Mr. Mary Tyler Mom spoils me.  Next month I will have been a mom for six years and not once in that time have I installed or removed a car seat.  Or clipped a child’s toe or finger nail. 

Don’t hate me, haters.  I love my kids and my man loves me.  He takes care of all of us.

Well tomorrow Mary Tyler Son and I are taking off for the Bigger City, NYC, to visit Mary Tyler Auntie.  Mr. Mary Tyler Mom is staying home to do what husbands do when their wives and kids leave. (Please don’t tell me what that is.  Imma stay in my husband loving fantasy world and assume its things like pay the bills and vacuum the rugs.  Oh, and clean the fridge.  And while you’re at it, deposit the checks in my mail drawer.)  Mary Tyler Auntie is a big shot professor with lots of plants, but no kids.  That means I need to grow the hell up and learn how to deal with things like car seats.

Mary Tyler Son went down to sleep tonight and The Car Seat Lesson commenced.  God.  I did not want to learn.  I reverted to that petulant child, horrible at math, whose teacher had just called him in front of the blackboard to solve fractions, or long division, or whatever the kids call math today.  Heave Ho. Heave the Hell Ho.

The first lesson was in unhooking the latch.  I now know what a fifteen year old boy feels like the first time he tries to get to second base.  Who in the hell designed those things?  Bra hooks are to that awkward boy what the freaking car latches are to this overtired mom.  Sigh.

Second lesson was in . . .  Good God, people, I’ve already forgotten the second lesson.  What I haven’t forgotten was Mr. Mary Tyler Mom saying, “Get it in as tight as you can so it doesn’t slide from side to side.”  “That’s what she said,” I said.  I could not make this up, people.  My husband and I are comedy gold. 

The third lesson ended with me straddling the car seat and Mr. Mary Tyler Mom barking, “Now put all your weight into it and pull.  Pull!” 

Then we shared a cigarette.  Mr. Mary Tyler Mom has rolled over and gone to sleep. 

Was it good for you?

 Don’t forget that I’m on facebook now.  You can like me at:!/pages/Mary-Tyler-Mom/159776680754263