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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Fair Weather, Foul Tires

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 6/20/2024
Posted: 9/13/2007
Page Views: 5315
Topics: #Arizona #Photography #Zachary
Against a backdrop of dramatic skies, Zach changes his first tire.

A song in the forties used to begin, "It's always fair weather when hep cats get together." Here in Arizona, it's always fair weather even when storms approach, because they provide such beautifully spectacular examples of rainbows and sun-hearted clouds that there's just no element of depression about them. (As opposed to, say, Manchester, New Hampshire, where the entire winter is one gray mudball.)

This time of year, especially, yields some amazing photos, even when taken with no more than a cellphone camera.

For example, a few days ago the family went to dinner and, as we got out of the restaurant, were faced with an exquisitely brilliant rainbow. My daughter Jenny caught it with her cellphone:

Rainbow off Signal Butte Road, Mesa, Arizona.

We get a lot of these rainbows (not always this nice) this time of year because storms hit our area from the East in the late afternoon, when the sun is low and, of course, in the West. Thus, whether the rain actually hits us or not, we often get to see the rainbow.

Even when we don't it can be quite a show. Two nights ago, on the way home from work, the Eastern sky sported a perfectly shaped cloud dumping a load of rain. The sun was just setting so the cloud seemed to glow of its own light. The spectacle was too wide to catch with just one picture, so I took two and used panoramic photo-stitching software to put them together:

Rainstorm beyond Crismon Road, Mesa, Arizona. Zachary rolls a donut.

On a completely different topic, when I got home last night, instead of weather I found Mary, Karen and Zachary trying to change the rear tire on Karen's car. Mary and Karen were stressing; Zachary was excited. He really wanted to help; and it's never too early to learn how to change a tire. (Well, maybe if there are diapers and a bottle involved.)

I showed Zach how to use his weight to loosen the bolts and which direction to use when loosening them (with the warning that, on some cars, this is reversed!). We got the flat tire off the car and replaced it with the donut.

After putting the bolts back on (I helped), Zach carefully lowered the jack—a much easier task than it used to be when I was a kid, or even a young adult (putting on grumpy old man hat). When I was young, jacks were dangerous. They easily slipped, and we all heard horror stories about people crushed by cars that "fell off the jack". Now, the entire mechanism has changed. The jack fits into a slot; it turns instead of being cranked up and down; and, given a solid surface and the jack's being put into the correct position, that car ain't goin' no place. The only remaining downside of changing a tire is actually having to bend down and get on the ground and get dirty.

Which is what grandsons are for!