October 30, 2012


nail in tireFrankenstorm Superstorm Sandy brought days of rain and wind. Because we're in Toronto, we've been spared the brunt. We were still affected in ways we didn't expect.


On Friday night, we lost electricity from 8:30 PM to 10:30 PM. Imagine the terror of talking to family members for two whole hours! Our neighbors were without power until the next morning.

Because of that outage, we had our flashlights and candles ready.

De-lighted Again

Sunday was uneventful apart from rain and wind. On Monday afternoon, we were without power from 2:30 PM for 3-5 hours.

We thought we were better prepared. Both our vehicles had less than half a tank of gas. I could not get mine from the garage. We had work done recently and the workers locked the door. We couldn’t open it because we don't have a key ... because we never lock that door.

Luckily one vehicle was in the driveway. We went out for cash, gas and dinner.


When we got back, the electricity was back. I took my SUV for fuel. On the way, the Check Tire Pressure warning light came on. Strange. I stopped but didn't see a tire that was obviously low. When we got home, I checked the air pressure. The rear driver side tire was down from 32 psi to 20 psi.

I used a 12V electric pump (once we found it). That's when I noticed a big nail or screw deep in the tread. I decided to call Mercedes-Benz Roadside Assistance. That's when I realized that I didn't have their phone number or the vehicle’s VIN number on my phone. Poor preparation.

I got through around 10:15 PM and spent a few minutes on hold. The friendly roadside assistance operator  asked if I had a spare tire. I don't. Because I have Bluetec diesel, there's a tank for fluid in that spot. A tow truck was dispatched to take my vehicle to the nearest MB dealer for service in the morning. The truck was supposed to arrive within 30 minutes --- faster than a pizza. It didn't.
towed away
I called back at about 11:19 PM. I learned that the tow truck broke down. Another one had been dispatched and should arrive in 10-15 minutes. I backed my vehicle from the garage to the driveway to help simplify the towing. The tow truck left at 12:20 AM.


We were less prepared than we thought. That's an important (and recurring) lesson.
There's also the issue of unmet expectations. The tow truck operator could have phoned when delayed. Imagine if you were stranded on a desolate road instead of at home. Yet, I couldn’t blame him. He was out working on a bad night while I was safe at home.

Overall, the service was satisfactory but there could have been more communication.

Blessings Uncounted

Bad storms may affect others but what matters most are the little things that affect us directly — in this case, the inconvenience caused by a nail.

If I hadn't gone to get gas, I wouldn't have known about the nail until driving today. I might have stopped, visually noted no problems and continued. What would have happened? Maybe nothing. Maybe a blowout on the highway and an accident. I'm lucky but don't feel lucky. It’s sunny outside right now. I’m wishing Sandy blew all the leaves off our lawn before leaving.

Once our electricity returned, we started taking it for granted again. The next time it disappears for more than a few minutes, we'll be annoyed again. We are fickle and forgetful. Your clients are too.


PS I'm reminded of the poem in which a lost nail results in a lost battle (see For Want Of A Nail). I had a nail too many.

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