Sunday, August 19, 2012

15 Local Cats Fixed Today Despite Flat Tire en Route to Clinic

15 more local cats got fixed today, so it was a good day for cats in the mid valley.

It was also a good day for me, because I'm still alive.

I was up until after midnight, trying to catch cats at an Albany complex.  But, I didn't have to be at the Portland FCCO clinic until 9:30, so I left at 8:00, heading north.  I knew about the north bound I5 closure, but figured on a Sunday morning, it would not be a big issue.

Just south of Wilsonville, I was making good time in the middle lane of the three lanes of freeway when I ran over something in the lane of traffic.

Immediately I heard the flapping terrible noise of a flat tire and felt the car try to pull miserably to one side.  I hung on and tried to move over to the right lane, but traffic would not let me.  You'd think if you see someone struggling with a flapping flattened tire and car control, people would give ground.

Apparently not.

I ended up between the right side of I5 north and the on ramp from Canby.  Not a nice place to be.  Trucks roared by a couple feet from me.  I tried calling people, but really, who would one call?  I have no tow or roadside assistance insurance.  I'm not that kind of moneyed.

I'm the bottom half of the bottom half, if you want my social/financial class nailed down.

I call a Forest Grove woman I know, ask her to call the FCCO, since I can't find their number, to tell them what happened and that I will be late.  I want those cats done, and not sitting unfixed in my garage.
15 Local cats wait in a grassy area beside I5 north as I change a flat tire.

Donut finally on!  I5 is only feet away, but the slope where I pulled off prevents it from appearing in the photo.

Deer carcass added an aroma to the tire changing scene. 

The ruined tire.

Ruined tire as passenger!

Warbled bubbled sidewall of ruined tire.

Then I call various people who don't answer, trying to figure out what to do, but I know I have to unload the cats and get the donut out and on.  Had to be done.  I was tired and I didn't want to do it.

I wait for a break in on ramp traffic and roll over to the very edge of all lanes.  But there's a rotting stinking dead deer carcass right there.  I roll forward ten feet from it, trying to get a little distance between that smell and me.

I unload the cats, and carry the carriers and traps one by one down a slight slope, potted in gopher and mole mounds, setting them in a grassy area.   One by one, speed increasing.  I fling the board I cut to lay in the back of my car, to carry loads easier, out, and pull out the donut, lug wrench and door jack.

The door jack is a flimsy thing.  Scary to think of it holding the weight of my car, on dirt, sloped dirt at that.  I have nothing to block it up with either.  I look around for anything to block wheels with and also to drive that wheel up onto, to give it a little height.  Due to the slope, I don't even know if I can get the door jack under it.

I finally get it under it, by backing the car partially down the slope to put that tire on a slightly higher piece of real estate.  Then it's just a matter of getting the ruined tire off and the donut on, which takes very little time.  Thank you to Dan of Highway 34 Towing in Corvallis, whom I called, wanting to know where the notch was for the door jack, because I couldn't feel it with my hand and the slope was so bad, there was only four inches clearance between ground and the bottom of my car.  He's the one who told me also to maneuver the car into a better position to make it safer and easier to get the jack under.

The detour for I5 north was poorly marked once you took the 405 split.  I was lost, but finally I ran into a sign pointing to an exit to take.  It came just in time, as I didn't know what to do or where to go.

On the Fremont Bridge, I began to smell rubber and sensed trouble in donut land.  The donut was flat by the time I got to the clinic.  I registered the cats, told them I'd taken photos so I would have proof it happened and they wouldn't think the flat story was an excuse to be late, and that I'd really been sleeping in and lounging in my pjs.

A volunteer there offered to call AAA, for me and did.  They came, pumped up my donut and told me the tire I'd taken off was ruined.  I then took off for Firestone, where I was told the same thing and that the reason my tire went flat was that whatever I hit destroyed the extra long valve stem, causing instant air loss from that location.  It was Firestone who put those valve stems on when I bought those tires back in February.  Firestone in Tigard.  This Firestone replaced all the valve stems with ones of proper length.  The guy who brought me back my car, once a new tire was on it, told me I would not have had a flat, had the proper length valve stems been installed when I bought those tires.

Back to the clinic I go.  I try to sleep in my car, but heat has set in, and it's darn hot to safely sleep in a car.  So I stare vacantly into space for an hour.  Then I came home,

15 more local cats fixed.  And I survived another day.

Three of the cats, two girls and a boy, come from Lebanon.
Six of the cats, a mom and her five boy kittens, hail from the outskirts of Albany.
Six more, four boys and two girls, I trapped at an Albany complex.

Yay.

Miller Time.

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