Tire Pressure Seems Important, but What Do I know?

The fancy truck I drive tells me the pressure of each tire. Which is good, because tire pressure is not on my priority list…ever…
When the tire “map,” as it were, popped up the other day, it told me all the tires were low by about five pounds.
So I gunned it to warm the air and gain some pressure.
I wish I were kidding.
But the owner’s manual seated within the car pocket subliminally told me I was acting like an irresponsible beginning driver.
“Don’t ignore my warnings. I’m high-tech; you’re not; you’ll lose,” the truck announced to my chagrin, because it’s right. It’s always right.
Besides. I needed gas. And an Icy Drink.
Under the guise of Adult Vehicle Maintenance, I pulled into a prairie 7-11, one so busy that it’s hazardous. But it has the best Icy Drinks: just the right juice/ice combination so important when enjoying a frozen beverage.
“Bubs,” I said, as I pulled up to the air compressor. “I’m going to leave the key on, and you’re going to read the gauge,” which I displayed with my best parade wave at the dashboard control, “And tell me when the pressure number reaches 41. Okay?”
(Note that I was so proud of myself for using correct vernacular instead of pointing and using nonsensical words ending with “-icky” or “-ingie,” as in: “I’m going to push a button to get  air to squirt into the wheel…valve…thingie.”)
“Okay,” he proudly respond as the driver door slammed shut behind me at the precise moment the radio volume escalated to a level left behind with high school and days of “cruising.”
“Turn it down!” I barked, indeed using a pointer finger to enunciate my point. And I frowned; it was All Mom there for a minute, though I really like Imagine Dragons and my toes betrayed me. They were thankfully hidden by the enormous truck body so I could retain my Mom Status and get away with a wiggle in my butt.
At the first tire, the one most perilously close to empty though not low enough to have caused any true alarm, I unscrewed the valve cap and proceeded to push air through the stem. Down about five pounds? I’ll count to…10…
“What’s it read?” I yelled in to my child, ever vigilant to his mother’s voice.
(Yeah, right.)
“Turn down the radio!” I repeated atop a window bang. Things were getting heated.
“What?” came the reply over the stilled air.
“The gauge, on the dashboard, what does it read now?”
“Still 36.”
I waited a beat.
“Okay, what about now?”
“What?”
“It’s been two seconds!” I yell, rising to stroll quickly to the open window and wave my rubber hose dealie in my son’s perplexed face. “What does the gauge read now?”
“36,” he said, his eyes wide but sparkly, because, hey, I was waving a hose in his face, and yeah, that’s pretty funny, but fortunately he didn’t laugh. Smart kid. Mostly.
“You didn’t even turn your head and look!” I noted loudly.
“Oh,” he mumbled, then turned to read the number. “38.”
I paused. I’d counted to 10 and only gained 2 pounds.
“Alright,” I muttered, more to myself and the guzzintas in my head than to my boy. “Fine. I’ll count to 20 then, sucker.”
And I did.
And after a similar verbal exchange as previously, I heard my boy say, “It says 45.”
“45?”
“Yeah. 45…is that good?”
“Yes,” I answered. “If I were going pontooning in this thing.”
“What’s a…”
“Never mind, never mind,” I said, canceling the ensuing conversation post haste.
Did I want to air the others up to 45, stay balanced, would that work??
No, no…I’m kidding. I knew the situation was overinflated, never fear.
With a fingernail, I proceeded to release some of my hard-won air.
“What’s it say now?”
“Uuummm…”
Silence.
“Son?”
“Yeah, uuuummm…I’m looking…”
“I don’t believe the gauges have moved.” My spirits were low. It was a hot day. I’d been at work all day. I had no Icy with which to cool my ire. Things were dicey, I’ll admit.
“Still says 45.”
“But I let out so much air,” I said to no one in particular, because of course my son had found a Big Nate book in the previous half second and cared not one whit for my predicament.
“Fine,” I said, again surly. “I’ll show you how to let it out, ya stupid ol’ stupid ol’…” (Insert any swearing you like in there; I’m sure it’s as accurate as any illustration would be.)
“Okay,” I said after letting the tire relieve itself. “Howzabout now?”
“What?”
Oh, sweet Lord in Heaven, he’s so cute…don’t let me use this air hose inappropriately, I prayed as I stomped my unhappy self toward the driver window and popped my head to check for myself.
“It looks like a big red butt,” my son whispered in my ear.
And sure enough, I’d lowered the pressure so much that now the tire map glowed rouge and indicated with a decidedly butt-like icon that indeed, the tire was low, low, low.
“What now?” Bubs asked.
“I get rid of the butt.”
I stomped back into place, shot air into the air like I knew what I was doing — all the while relying on my bird like instincts to tell me when air pressure was optimal — and released the hose when any good bird would.
“What’s it say now?” I called for what I hoped was the final time.
“Um…36.”
“Perfect!” I screamed at anyone within listening range. “Mama earned an Icy Drink.”
I wrapped the hose around the waist of that delightfully inexpensive air dispensing machine, stormed into the store toward the frozen concoction dispenser and filled two cups to the brim.
“I got no trouble until the butt glows red.” I’m gonna print it on a bumper sticker.

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A Hundred and Fifty+ Years Later…

This has been a lonely couple of weeks, and I don’t know why.
Bent on curing loneliness, I turned, of course, to watching sad documentaries on Netflix, where I can binge watch from bed amongst puppies and Oreo cookies and no one is the wiser.
I’m a huge fan of Ken Burns and his Prohibition and Roosevelt documentaries; his is a vision I trust to tell me a million historical things I never learned in the many snooze-worthy classes I endured in school, and to portray the players honestly, with great respect. While searching for my new binge-worthy subject, and in my current mood, I touched, literally, on the icon for his series about the Civil War.

Episode one was grueling. About six minutes before I reached the end, I hit repeat twice to be certain I caught everything. So many details, so much information; so many characters to mentally locate. Granted, some of the details were missed because of all the Oreos and the crunching.
Finally ready to proceed, flat out of milk and thus no longer smacking on Oreos, I hit Play for the episode’s last few minutes in which I was caught short and teary-eyed by an if-I don’t-come-back letter from a volunteer Union soldier — Sullivan Ballou — to his wife, Sarah, at home in Smithfield, Rhode Island with their two sons.
Here’s the video reading of the letter.
Tears gushed in ignominious rivers down my face. Who doesn’t want to be loved like that? Who wouldn’t want a letter so beautiful, so dear, so crushing because of its finality?
As with all of Burns’ videos — well after I’d poured more milk, ingested even more cookies, and stopped with the ugly, lip-quaking, nose runny sobbing — I turned to the internet for even more information.
Ballou’s letter, as lovely and gorgeous as it sang then, holds water still. And has since 1861, in fact.
For a tidbit about the branching tree of Sullivan’s impact, read the tale at this Washington Post site.
Tears, tears, tears.

 

 

Watching the Clock

Sunday morning I woke bored.
I’m not sure that’s a thing, waking up bored…must have been a stellar lack of dreamscape Saturday night, but once my eyeglasses were upon my face, I fell back on the bed, bored.
What did I do? I watched the clock. I have one of those analog things, the kids nowadays don’t recognize as timepieces. It has hands, even, I mean, how old school can I be?
And lo and behold, I watched time go by. For three minutes, I watched clock hands creep along incrementally until I’d given them up. Gone forever, those three minutes.
It made me think. When I’m conscious of time, it goes slowly. When I’m fractured, trying to get eight things done at once, I never have enough of the fluffy stuff, time.
It’s kind of like when Bubs was a baby. Watching him was blissful, of course, unless I was exhausted and desperately in need of dark to come early so little man could go to his crib, leaving me to fall onto my own bed for the tiny two hours he gave me to recover between feedings/diapers/gas/lonely-so-hold-me moments. But these eleven years zipped by so quickly  that I must not have been watching…but I feel like I was watching…and now mostly, I feel cheated. And depressed. And sad. And tired.
The Moral: Don’t wake up Bored.
So have better Dreams.
And watch every single precious second of this blindingly swift life. Live within each one. And rue its passing while relishing the memory within.
And maybe scrapbook a lot. So that when you’re old and can’t remember the things you should remember but somehow lost hold upon, you’ll at least have a visual diary with Cricut cutouts and fancy borders to remind you what you’ve seen.
Now, I’m going back to sleep…even though it’s Monday.