Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We're gonna need a bigger boat

We've all known the feeling--some describe it as bringing a knife to a gun fight. You're overwhelmed because you know you're not up to the task. It's like a little leaguer facing CC Sabathia.

For me, this feeling was most poignant the time when I was a college sophomore and made a remark to my roommate about a very attractive girl, a senior, I had seen at the gym. Little did I know, but she happened to be his lifelong friend. Unbeknownst to me, at least until I picked her up, he set me up on a blind date with her. The date, which I didn't plan and didn't even know I was going on until a couple hours before, was to go to some dance. I hate to dance. She, on the other hand, was part of a fairly popular Southern California pop trio and was comfortable dancing on stage. In front of thousands of people. There was no second date.

Yesterday I was reacquainted with that feeling in a completely different way. I drove up to what will be my new neighborhood to drop something off at Dug's house. It had been snowing all day, but not too heavily. At least not in the valley. On the way up the hill, it got worse. Visibility decreased. The snow got deeper. At one point, I was ready to turn around, but I was 1000 feet up the 1500 foot hill, and as bad as the 10% grade was going up, I knew it would be worse going down.

Eventually I made it to Dug's house. I stayed and chatted for an hour or less. By the time I went back out to my car, there was no sign that I'd even been there--the snow had covered my tracks.

On the way back to my sister's place, I called my wife to inform her that there was going to be a change of plans. Not about moving. But my brother, who is also our real estate agent, is going to kick back a bit of his commission. Since I'm his brother and all. The plan was to use that money to buy a piece of furniture or two or otherwise decorate the house.

As of last night, we have a new set of priorities: new tires for both vehicles and a bigger snowblower. I already bought a snowblower, knowing it would be necessary. But the one I bought was small and inexpensive. For example, this is comparable to the one I have but still much nicer, since I bought mine used:

But if you drive around the neighborhood, this is what you'll find in many garages:

We'll also need tires for both vehicles. Both have all-season tires, which do the job pretty much year-round in Idaho. Unfortunately, both vehicles' tires are worn to the point that they're almost due to be replaced anyway. If it were spring, I would drive on them until the fall. But since it's winter, the wife's 4Runner is getting new all terrain tires, and my subaru is getting a set of snow tires. In fact, I need to get mine this week, as there's a big storm coming this weekend, and I'm supposed to drive to Idaho and back.

Here's my dilemma. I want to put winter tires on my car, but I'll switch back to a summer tire in the spring. I'd like to get a dedicated wheel, so I don't have to remount tires twice a year. But I don't want to spend the money on wheels, at least not right now (maybe I'll feel more flush in the spring, but I kinda doubt it since ski stuff will be on clearance and I'll certainly want some stuff for one or more of the bikes). However, I found some tires WITH rims (Bridgestone Blizzak) that have never been used and are almost the right size for my car* on KSL.com for $450 obo, which means I'd pay no more than $400. But I'd have to drive all the way to Heber just to look at them. Or I can just go to Costco and get a new set of Michelin X-Ice for $395 + tax, not including rims. Leave a comment and let me know what you would do. I'll be interested to see if the advice is as extensive as Mark N. got about MTB tires.

*For anyone wanting to get geeky about tire sizing, my Subaru takes a 205/60 15 tire. But for snow tires, a bit narrower is better, so I'm looking for a 195/65 15. The Blizzaks are a 195/60 15, which means they're a bit smaller diameter (24.3" versus 25") than what I want, so less clearance on a vehicle that already rides pretty low. I also don't know the offset of the wheels they're mounted on. My Subaru takes a 48 mm offset, and I don't want to end up with anything that deviates too much from that (they were originally for a VW something or other). I'm not too worried about not buying a tire from a dealer, since tires are so reliable anymore that if by chance something happens to the tire, I'll just deal with it.


  1. Mark,

    SO funny! Even in this crapo economy we bought new tires for me and snowthrowe # 2 in your blog!

    Love the snow!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Bummer it didn't work out with the girl. :)

    I'm disappointed that we haven't watched Jaws as a family yet. It's definitely been too long. Do you know most kids today find sharks interesting rather than frightening? I think there should be a remake. Harrison Ford could take it on...maybe. He might be too old. Will Smith? Keanu Reeves? Matt Damon?

  3. Mark give me a call. I have a tire hookup for you in the SLC. Just put 4 new ones on my truck today for $140.