One day the oldest boy and I were driving north on Highway 18 from Auburn, Washington to Kent, Washington where we lived when the right rear tire on the car decided to go flat. The Boy was about 13 at the time. My first thought was (bad word, bad word, and really bad word!): "What a perfect opportunity to teach the Boy how to change a tire."
I pulled to the side of the road then proceeded to pull out all the stuff needed to change a tire. After, I shifted all the crap that I had in the back of the car. You know, the assorted junk, plastic men, computer parts, and food wrappers, that accumulates in the back of a station wagon (shut up, it was just after minivan became the vehicle of choice for SAHMs).
The Boy stood next to me, looking all interested when he really wasn't, as I took off the hub cap. Our lesson went something like this:
Me: Now Honey, get down here and take a look at what I'm doing. (as I scoot under the car trying to find the best place to place the jack.)
Him: Grunt, grunt, sigh. (13 is the age where boys become cavemen. They only communicate in grunts and head movements. Don't even try to talk to them on the phone. It is a lesson in futility. If you can't see the shakes and nods of their heads you'll never know what they are talking about.)
Me: You need to start by loosening the lug nuts just a little before you jack the car up otherwise the stupid tire just spins. And, that's just annoying.
Him: Uh, Uh (my head was down so I had to assume that this was confirmation of my profound statement.)
Me: You have to put the jack in the right place. Get it wrong and something will break. Don't ask me what but grandpa said it would when he taught me to change tires like a hundred years ago. (my father refused to let us girls get our driver's license until we could change a tire and the oil, including the air filter thank you very much)
Him: humf, growl (his head may or may not have been moving but I wouldn't have been able to see. I was still laying with my head and shoulders under the car.)
Me: Where are the state patrol when you need them? Hmmmmm? (jack now in place, car up in the air, me huffing and puffing through the tire change) Damn it go 3 miles over the speed limit and without fail there will be a policeman there to stop you but when you have a real problem where are they? Huh, HUH?
Him: Uh mom? (this should have been my first clue that I was in trouble. The kid hadn't called me anything but Ugh for a year or I think I was Ugh it might have been humf, it was really hard to know.)
Me: Christ, all those cops are probably hanging around some effing donut shop scarfing donuts and coffee. (head down trying fight with the tire)
Him: Uh mom? MOM! (another clue here that I completely ignored)
Me: They are never ever around when you really need them. This is a major highway for Christ sakes. You would think they could patrol it better. I have half a mind to write a nasty letter.
Him: MOM (yelling politely, you know, that half desperate scream that we all do when we want someone to look at us without being too obvious).
Me: WHAT? Can't you see I'm busy here? (finally looking up at him)
There standing behind the Boy was a Washington State Patrolman silently laughing his head off. The jerk just stood there while I ranted, raved, and pretty much made a fool of myself.