Weekly Woot & Grumble: Guests We’d Never Met (Plus A Flat)

Woot

Frugal Hound monitors the beans

Frugal Hound monitors the beans

Frugal Hound is a champ with babies! We had the distinct honor of hosting Cat from Budget Blonde, her awesome husband, and their adorable (beyond adorable, really) 1-year-old twins, Bean and Beannette, for several days last weekend.

I confess I was a tad apprehensive as the babies and Frugal Hound scouted each other out for the first time, but, turns out that our dog is a natural born nanny. That might be slightly overstating it, but she didn’t even lick them, which I consider a serious plus.

Frugal Hound did, however, manage to destroy not one, but two soft little baby toys. She nabbed them with her fangs when we weren’t looking, absconded with them into the other room, and savagely ripped them apart. The babies, for their part, were incredibly understanding and only put her tail in their mouths a few times. I’ll give it to them that her tail is right at baby-mouth level.

That tail right there

That tail right there

What made the Budget Blonde family’s visit so unique is that we’d never met them before in person. Cat and I connected online a few months back and, as she’s a seasoned and successful veteran of the personal finance blogging world, she has been extremely supportive and helpful to me in my journey of writing Frugalwoods. I’m so thankful for her friendship–online and now offline too!

Cat's excellent idea for our portrait: a pillow in front of my face

Pillow face for me!

The wonder of the internet never ceases to amaze me. We had a family of perfect strangers come stay with us for the weekend and it was perfectly delightful. It’s such a warm feeling to connect with another couple that’s so very similar to Mr. Frugalwoods and me. They’re frugal, smart, funny, and totally on board with spending mindfully and on the things in life that actually matter. Plus, we had a fabulous time with the babies! Watching Frugal Hound stand over them and paw their little baby heads reassured us that she’ll do just fine with any future mini-Frugalwoods.

If that glorious weekend wasn’t enough, a very dear friend of mine came to visit me last week! I felt lucky to have her all to myself so I took a few days off work. She cooked us her famous chicken spiedini for dinner and I baked a cake from scratch (never using a box mix again I tell you!). Old friends bring such a soothing presence.

BFFs chilling on the dog bed

BFFs chilling on the dog bed

Grumble (but not really)

Frugalwoods-mobile sprung a flat tire the other morning on my drive to work. Poor old Frugalwoods-mobile has occupied a spate of grumbles of late, for which I am bereft. She’s such a brilliant 19-year-old minivan and I hope her days are not numbered.

Frugal Hound got very interested in Cat's book reading time

Frugal Hound got very interested in story time

I feared the noise I heard might be the engine literally falling out of the car, but fortunately, twas merely a flat. I called my trusty flat tire crew–consisting solely of Mr. Frugalwoods–and minutes later, he pedaled up. My knight on shining bike. We proceeded to pull Frugalwoods-mobile into a nearby parking lot and get down to business.

This was an epic frugal weirdo moment and an ideal distillation of how we approach life. I think most people would’ve called Triple A and waited for them to arrive and take care of everything for them. But not us. Not only do we not have Triple A, we probably wouldn’t even call them if we did. Why, you might ask? Because to do things yourself is to learn, to grow, and to become increasingly self-reliant. And before you heckle me for calling Mr. FW, I do, for the record, know how to change a flat tire myself. But since he was home, I much preferred to involve him. Good thing too, as this turned out to be no simple tire change.

Getting the jack into position

Getting the jack into position

We loosened the lug nuts, positioned the jack and started hoisting the ‘mobile upwards. All was going swimmingly. It was a warm (by our standards) morning in the low 40s and the sun was shining. We were both terrifically late for work at this point, but completely unbothered by it. We were spending time together solving a problem–our favorite thing to do!

I was also deriving no small amount of pleasure from the fact that the parking lot we were in happens to be for a chic design firm, filled with the lifestyle-inflation vehicles of every paycheck-to-paycheck schlub’s dreams: BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, some other cars I don’t know the names of… And, it was circa 9am, so the fancy employees were parking their debt-mobiles and strolling into the office with their mouths agape at us. I am positive they were thinking “check out those poor people changing their own tire! schmucks!” I was seriously reveling in this and started taking photos for Frugalwoods to just, you know, add to the atmosphere of hilarity. Life is more fun when you just don’t care what other people think.

Mr. FW's club solution

Mr. FW’s club solution

Ok back to the ‘mobile’s wheel. The car was jacked up, the lug nuts were off, and Mr. FW went in to seal the deal by taking the wheel off. However, it didn’t budge. Tried again, same non-result. He then began to slightly jostle the wheel to knock it loose. No dice.

So, we hit up the internet on our phones and discovered that you can gently roll the car back and forth to loosen a tight wheel. Obviously we did just that. Nothing. We did it again. Zippo. Mr. FW then resorted to a clever endeavor of prying the wheel off using none other than our anti-theft club (yes, I labor under the delusion that maniacs want to steal my sweet ride).

I've ALWAYS wanted to do this

I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do this

Time was elapsing and the wheel remained steadfast. While Mr. FW first kicked the wheel (yes, backwards like a donkey) and then flung his entire body at the car in vain attempts to disengage the wheel from its socket, I mapped out the nearest auto body shop. We were too far afield from our favorite mechanic and we certainly didn’t want to pay for a tow truck. I mean, it’s just a flat tire!

So, I went on an exploratory trot around the neighborhood and lo and behold, not two blocks away I was greeted by the miraculous sight of none other than… the Good News Garage! Yes indeed NPR fans, this is THE garage of the famed Car Talk guys. This was some good news. I scurried back to the parking lot to find Mr. FW gamely trying to lever the wheel off with the lug nut wrench. We had a quick conference and determined we’d drive reallllllllllyy sllooooooowly over to Good News Garage.

Frugal Hound, Beanette, and Cat have a moment

Frugal Hound, Beanette, and Cat have a moment

In case you’re not familiar with the intricacies of driving on a flat, suffice it to say it’s not a smart idea for long distances. The tire can rip off and destroy the wheel in the process, resulting in a much costlier situation. But we were desperate. An hour of efforting hadn’t pried the wheel loose and we were resolute in our desire not to pay for a lousy tow truck. I voted for Mr. FW to drive (’cause I’m no dummy) and he crept the ‘mobile down the street and right into the garage.

The excellent folks at Good News Garage lived up to their reputation and immediately jacked the ‘mobile up and proceeded to use a 3 lb sledgehammer to shake the wheel loose. They assured Mr. FW there was no way he could’ve gotten it off (which I know made him feel better). They popped the spare on for us and we were on our way. Best of all? They didn’t charge us a dime. We tried to pay them, but they said it was no big deal. What an amazingly kind thing to do!

Frugal Hound trying to climb into Cat's lap for story time

Frugal Hound trying to climb into Cat’s lap for story time

We’ve had a number of encounters with mechanics who didn’t charge us for work on Frugalwoods-mobile. I don’t know if it’s because she’s an ancient, dilapidated beast of a vehicle, or if Mr. FW and I look that scraggly/homeless. But either way, it was definitely the universe telling us that we need to pay it forward as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

We’re off for a date to the junkyard later today where we’ll be scoping out a good used tire to replace the dead one. We’ve had great luck at this particular junkyard in the past (plus it’s walking distance from our house!), so we’re hopeful for a winner.

This scenario isn’t really a grumble for us because it wasn’t a dreadful experience. We laughed, we enjoyed each other’s company, and we got to spend time outside in the sun during an hour when we’d normally be apart at our respective jobs. The joy of insourcing strikes again!

Have you ever hosted someone you’d never met? What’s your tire changing technique?

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110 Responses

  1. My husband and I had a flat tire from terrible potholes that befall the northeast after a long winter of salt and snow plows destroying asphalt roads. We tried very hard to get the tire off, but like in your situation, I think it was on way too tight. We do have AAA, but it’s a Christmas gift from my mom every year so it’s free for us. After trying for about half an hour in 25 degree temps with strong winds, we had to call AAA and he was able to change to our spare. Afterwards, my husband and I have driven that car oh so carefully over any thing that even looks like it could be a pothole. Congrats on your free spare replacement!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah, we learned a couple of things from this scenario:

      1) We need a longer lug nut wrench. I was able to get the nuts off, but Mrs. FW didn’t have the mass to break them.
      2) A 3lb sledge (or something of similar heft) would be nice to have to knock off a wheel that’s fused to a hub.

      But all in all, it was a fine day for bumbling around.

      • Thegoblinchief says:

        Instead of a longer lug nut wrench, just get a cheat bar (length of metal pipe that slips over it) to gain leverage. I’ve also used careful stomping kicks on frozen bolts.

        For the wheels being frozen to the hub, been there. The technique my dad taught me is to sit on the ground, brace your back, and kick from that position. You can generate a lot more force that way.

        If you get a hammer, get a rubber mallet OR a small board to use between the metal sledge and the wheel. Metal to metal hammering is not good for your rims.

  2. D says:

    Good luck with the search for a new tire! Rolling a used junkyard tire home through the streets of Cambridge will certainly qualify as one of the more epic Frugal Weirdo moments ever.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      This will actually be our second time buying a used tire in Cambridge! Thankfully we live near-ish to a junkyard.

  3. Amy@DebtGal says:

    The pictures of FH and babies are so sweet! She’ll definitely be a good big sister, if called upon one day!

    I’m a little embarrassed to admit that my flat-tire-fixing trick is indeed calling AAA. I know some people think the membership is a waste of money, but it hasn’t been for us. Just last month they came not once, but twice, in the same week to tow our cars out of our driveway. (Husband tried to leave for work without snow-blowing five inches of snow from the driveway first, and two days later I backed into a snow bank. Note to self: Run rear defroster before attempting maneuvers in reverse.) And we got a $15 discount on the hotel we stayed at in Worcester, after our ill-fated attempt at driving home from Boston in a blizzard.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Thankfully in the ~5 years we’ve had the ole Frugalwoodsmobile we’ve never actually needed a tow. A couple of times it would have been convenient… and maybe we’ve gotten lucky, but hopefully the streak will stay alive!

  4. grsing says:

    If it’s only a puncture in the tread, rather than the sidewall, a tire patch is cheap and quick. It’s probably even possible to do it yourself, although I paid a mechanic $20 the time I needed it. Certainly cheaper than a new tire, and probably cheaper than used.

  5. How dare you change a tire in a fancy design firm parking lot! Who do you think you are? *wink* It would have been interesting to hear what they said about you two. Likely, lots of inaccurate assumptions!
    We’ve had a few flat tires lately. Hubs got a nail in his tire last fall. We probably paid too much at Tires Plus to have it patched. He took it off all by himself and put it back on all by himself. So proud! Our other flat tyres were in Northern Scotland (Tyres because they are Scottish Tyres). I popped 2 wheels in a rental car. What do you know, those car rental jerks lock the lug nuts so we had to call for help. We had to get a Lorry to drive us 30 minutes to the next town to get the tyres replaced. Amazingly, the rental company only charged us ~$100 for the whole ordeal.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Hah! We definitely got some looks from commuters parking their fancymobiles. Funny enough, no one stopped to offer help or even a word of encouragement as they walked within 10 feet of us. Thankfully we didn’t need help, but still interesting to note the lack of it offered.

      Sounds like you had a good rental agency! I would have guessed that would cost 4x that amount!

  6. Laura says:

    Sounds like a great visit with Budget Blonde and her family. So great that FrugalHound was a hit with the babies. You just never know with some dogs.

    I have never hosted a family I didn’t know, but I was recently in DC and emailed a blog friend and we went for lunch. We got along famously – you would never know we hadn’t met before! 😉

    Too bad about the flat tire – but how awesome that the garage helped for free. Gotta love that…!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I was so glad that Frugal Hound did well with the babies! She hasn’t had much exposure to little kids so it was nice to see her interact with them in a loving manner.

      That’s great that you met up with a blog friend! I love it when the internet brings people together in real life 🙂

  7. Glad to hear you had a fun weekend!

  8. Tarynkay says:

    I remember my first flat tire. It was July of 1999 in Florida and I was driving a 1987 Nissan Maxima. The tire went flat about a mile from my parent’s house. I pulled to the side of the road. It was 1999 so I did not have a cell phone. It was Florida in July, so all of the houses were vacant, the owners up spending the summer in their native Michingan or wherever. So I walked the mile to my parent’s house in the 100 degree heat, 100% humidity. When I got there, I told my dad that I had a flat tire, fully expecting him to rush to my rescue. Nope. He just looked at me and said, “Well, change it then. You have a spare and a Jack in the trunk.”

    Did you think he gave me a ride back or helped me change it? Nope. He poured me a nice glass of iced tea and sent me on my way. I walked a mile back to the car, got the Jack out and figured it out. In my memory, this took at least six hours and lots of cussing. I did have to stand on the lug nut remover tool and jump up and down in order to get it off, but thankfully, it was not on as tightly as the Frugalwoods Mobile tire evidently was.

    You know what is funny? I have never had a flat tire since. It has been so long that I will probably have to figure it out from scratch if I ever have one again. But I did wisely secure a very helpful husband in 2001, so I will just call him next time.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s an absolutely epic flat tire story! But hey, it’s pretty awesome that you changed it yourself. The walking back and forth is what really seals the deal–your dad is hardcore!

      Good call on netting a helpful husband, they’re useful for all sorts of things 🙂

  9. Clara & Eddie says:

    Mechanics who don’t charge for small jobs are worth their weight in gold. I ‘m not averse to playing the ‘girl card’ to my advantage either… I recently went to buy a headlight bulb from a garage and asked (sweetly, in a slightly dim voice) “how does it work? Is it like changing a bulb at home?” Needless to say the guy changed it without further ado, and no charge, and to be fair it was more complicated than I imagined. Not very Frugalwoods/DIY I know, but sometimes, needs must…

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      It really is thoughtful of them not to charge for these small jobs. Glad you got your headlight for free! And, for us, it built loyalty with our mechanic–we’re happy to take them business we do pay for too ;)!

  10. Mrs SSC says:

    Ah flat tires! My dad made me demonstrate to him that I could change a flat tire by myself before I was allowed to drive a car. A skill I treasure! I even keep a metal pipe in my car to slide over the lug wrench to get extra torque. My favorite story is when I got a flat on the interstate in Arkansas in the dead heat and humidity of summer. Well, a nice older couple saw me changing the tire and pulled over to help. Being a southern gentleman, he refused to let me do it myself, despite the fact I don’t think he had changed a tire before, or was as physically capable as I. But, I decided to not throw my feminism and youth in his face and I talked him through the process… its the thought that counts – and he learned how to change a tire that day!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Good call on the metal pipe–I definitely need more leverage with the lug nut wrench. I have a hard time putting enough weight onto it! That’s pretty funny about the guy changing your tire… hah :).

  11. I had all the faith in the world with Frugal Hound and babies! 🙂

  12. So jealous of you guys getting to hang out! Sounds like you had a great time 🙂 And you’re not alone on the car tire troubles – we had almost the exact same thing happen to us a few weeks ago. Thankfully we were able to call a friend to take us to Home Depot, where we got a longer lug nut wrench thingy (technical term). The shorter one didn’t provide enough leverage to get the nuts loose, but they popped right off with the larger one. Annoying but simple lesson learned.. make sure all tools in your car are tested for usability before you need them! Glad the NPR car shop was able to help you out and for free!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Ahh, yes, we need a longer lug nut wrench thingy as well (wasn’t the problem with this flat, but it is my problem with being able to exert enough force on them). Glad you got yours sorted fairly easily too!

      And, we’d love to host YOU here in Boston too :)! Come anytime, Frugal Hound is ready.

  13. Sounds like a great visit! We owned an Odyssey for over 10 years and never had that much trouble with a tire.

  14. I love the phrase ‘debt-mobile’ and I can totally see myself stealing that phrase in the near future. Can’t believe they didn’t charge you. Awesome!

  15. ThriftyD says:

    “I was also deriving no small amount of pleasure from the fact that the parking lot we were in happens to be for a chic design firm, filled with the lifestyle-inflation vehicles of every paycheck-to-paycheck schlub’s dreams: BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, some other cars I don’t know the names of… And, it was circa 9am, so the fancy employees were parking their debt-mobiles and strolling into the office with their mouths agape at us.”

    I absolutely enjoy your writing style. The above comment made my morning lol. I work as a tax accountant so I know what our clients make/how they’re doing and sometimes I can’t help but shake my head when I can’t seem to reconcile their AGI with the car they choose to drive.

    Fun read!

    • Sarah says:

      This was actually the first time a line from Frugalwoods has rubbed me the wrong way. Who are we to judge and call people names just because they make different lifestyle choices? I’m sure there was a hefty amount of judging from the “paycheck-to-paycheck schlubs” directed towards the Frugalwoods, but it sounds like there was just as much heading back their way.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Touche, Sarah ;)! As ThriftyD alluded, I wrote that more in a humorous spirit than a judgmental one. I try to take humor from situations without being judgy, but, I can see how that line could come across the wrong way. I like how you guys are always keeping me on my frugal toes!

  16. Awe, Beans! It warms my heart to see internet folks meeting in real life. I haven’t had an opportunity to meet very many people (yet) but it’s always been fun.
    I didn’t even know that AAA was a thing until late in high school. My parents bought it as a Christmas present for my grandparents because they were getting worried about them traveling and trying to deal with things like flats on the side of the road!
    I’m glad that you had a lovely day out in the sun and it’s so awesome that the garage wouldn’t let you pay!

  17. It sounds like your family and Cat’s family had a wonderful weekend! I’m so glad you were also able to solve the tire issue without any cost. Way to go!

  18. Thankfully, I’ve never had to deal with changing a tire on my own- I would be a mess if I did. Meeting bloggers in person is so much fun 🙂 You’ll have to come to FinCon!

  19. Love the pics of Frugal Hound & the beans. If asked, I know darn well our Cat wouldn’t have the same appreciation for all things kiddo…not that ours necessarily make it easy on him. 🙂

  20. Kirsten says:

    NASCAR fan that I am, I too, know how to change a tire but it’s never paid off for me. The first time I got a flat, it was TWO! No way a spare would solve that and I had to be at class and work that day. I called a tow truck. The next time, it happened while I was moving myself cross country. My car was completely packed, so I stood on the side of the road, unpacking all my belongings to access the spare. Before I got done, some kind men stopped and assisted me with putting on a spare. I let them because it was on a mountain grade and I was a little worried about the car staying on the jack. My tire was also a lost cause 🙁

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Ooo, those are both rough flat tire stories! I’d be terrified of being on a mountain grade with a jack. I would’ve taken the help too!

      I felt so lucky that mine happened on a nice day, on flat land, and that my bike knight showed up 🙂

  21. Aw these pics are so cute!!! The beans just loved Frugal Hound’s tail. I think they miss her and would prefer her over Julep face licks.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hahah, yeah, for whatever reason, Frugal Hound is a sniffer but not a licker :). And, her tail really is right at their height!

  22. That’s so awesome that you got to spend time with Cat and her precious little family! Sounds like the Frugal Hound was super great with them 🙂 Despite the toy eating and all! Hah very fun.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      It really was a wonderful weekend! And, I was so relieved that Frugal Hound was such a good girl (toy destroying aside… 😉 )

  23. I bought a longer tire iron because the one in my wife’s car was about 3″ long. Stupid Mazda’s. Had to get an extra socket too, but it works well enough. Having the extendable wrench really helps get you some leverage!

    And even with these issues, the car is still paying for itself. It’s like that commercial where nickels are flying out and hitting the driver in the face!

  24. Fiby says:

    “My knight on shining bike.” Only frugal weirdos would say that with a straight face! It put a smile on mine.

    That’s quite a stubborn wheel you had. Never had to change a flat myself, but I’ve only driven about 1300 miles since I got my car late July last year (650 miles to drive it here from my parents place, and 650 miles driving it around my city).

  25. Lauren says:

    I love that you stumbled upon the Good News Garage! That would have made my day, for sure.

  26. That’s so fun that you got to host Cat and her husband! I have also had the pleasure of meeting Cat in real life when she was still in Baton Rouge and she’s a swell lady 🙂

    I too find the benefit of changing your own tire. I learned how to when I first learned how to drive and I popped two tires by driving up onto a curb. Luckily I had a cell phone and called my dad to walk me through it and a nice neighbor stopped to help me. Now that I know how to do it, I appreciate that people want to help a poor woman change her tire (seriously guys, you’re not saving me…I can do it myself!), but I love the feeling of accomplishment of doing it myself!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Cat is such a swell lady, I agree :)! And, I’m with you on that feeling of accomplishment when you’re able to just do stuff yourself. Nothing better!

  27. mike says:

    This is a precious classic article with so much to teach the “unfrugals” ! If you had a plain basic steel rim you would have done the swap easily.
    Fancy stuff like alloy rims your cheap vehicle came with makes life more complicated !! Happy motoring.

  28. Now I’m embarrassed to admit that I did call a tow truck the last time I had a flat tire. Except I don’t find AAA cost effective and I had not gotten my smartphone yet, so I actually called my brother-in-law 1700 miles away, and he looked one up for me on the Interwebs. It would have been slightly cheaper to have them put on the spare tire instead of towing me, but would have taken much longer.

    Circa 1997, when I was first driving, I asked my father (an ASE master tech) to teach me how to change a tire, but he said I would not have the upper body strength to loosen the lug nuts (probably true). So I never learned. And Mr. FP is traumatized every time he has to put air in his tires :-).

    Never occurred to me to to look for junkyard tires. Might be worth trying as I seem to have bad luck with tires! I buy new ones and they always just get holes.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Junkyard tires are awesome, I highly recommend them! We picked one up today for $40 and they mounted it on the wheel for free. We then put the tire on the car ourselves, but it was a glorious savings over the $100 tires we saw at Costco later in the day.

  29. Sounds like you had a great time as a host! As for your grumble, if that’s all you have to grumble about, it seems like it was a great week!

  30. That’s cool that you got to meet up with Cat aka a stranger from the internet. I’ve done that a few times like with a MMM meetup here in Raleigh and it was surprisingly cordial. I also meet with random young strangers who follow my blog and it always reinforces that yes, the next generation really will be able to carry the world on their shoulders and they aren’t all complete total F up Millennials like the media might have you think.

    As for the tire, I feel your pain there. We got a catastrophic flat in the middle of the Adirondacks (while on our 3000 mile road trip last summer) . My problem was the spare was fused to the trunk compartment and I had to literally smash the brackets holding it in place with the tire iron. After an hour of bashing I got it free. The whole time, Mrs. RoG and our three young children hung out on the grassy slope watching me git ‘er done as they say in the South. We eventually made it to Canada (then bought 4 new tires and an alignment so we wouldn’t have the same problem on the way home).

    I packed a small tool kit and a tire inflator for exactly this contingency and made sure the spare was properly inflated. We don’t have triple A either so we’re DIY or pay tons of money for a tow truck (which hasn’t happened in our 15 years of car ownership).

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I really am cheered every time I meet internet people in real life–it’s been such a wonderful way for us to get to know fellow frugal folks.

      That flat of yours was intense–I remember reading about it and thinking what a hassle. At least you had a loving audience for your labors 🙂

      And, that’s great you haven’t had to call a tow truck at all in 15 years! We haven’t either, but we’ve only had a car for 5 years, so, fingers crossed our streak continues…

  31. I’m so jealous of you getting to meet Cat and her family! Cat used to write weekly at Young Adult Money and I hope I get the opportunity to meet her in-person down the road. I’ve actually “met” a lot of great people through blogging and social media and it’s unfortunate that only a handful have I been able to meet in person (mainly Minnesota PF bloggers at our Minnesota fincon meetups). On other thing I find interesting is how long you’ve managed to go anonymous. I wouldn’t have lasted that long, that’s for sure!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Cat + family are awesome people! I’m really looking forward to meeting so many more online buddies at FinCon this year–hope you’ll be there!

      The anonymous thing is just second nature for us at this point. I sort of forget about it most of the time because everything I write is so genuinely me that it doesn’t feel anonymous, if that makes sense.

  32. How cool to have a Car Talk interaction. And with Cat, too! You’re lousy with celebrities, I tell you.

  33. Awwww … so jealous you got to meet Cat and the Beans in person! 🙂 I’m glad you all had a wonderful time together that Frugal Hound was such a good babysitter. Perhaps you found a new side hustle for him! 🙂 I’m glad your adventure with a flat tire turned out well. It’s always scary when they pop!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, now THAT would be a side hustle–Frugal Hound as babysitter! She’s pretty patient, but I don’t think she understands the whole diapers or feeding thing quite yet ;).

  34. Jana says:

    Why do they make them so tight?? Is it really so likely the wheel will loosen up enough to roll away otherwise? I know how to change a flat in theory, but the one time it happened–on the interstate, miles away from any towns–no one, not I nor the volunteer members of Team Middle-Aged Heavyset Male Farmers and Factory-Workers could get the lug nuts off. That was despite the Team scrounging for the biggest wrench they could find and each of them literally jumping on the end of it to try to get some leverage. That was the first AAA call. Since then it’s paid for itself in late-night deer strike tows alone.

    When you move, are you planning on keeping a car or will you being going car-free?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh those lug nuts! Sounds like yours were seriously on there!

      To answer your question–we’ll definitely be keeping a car when we move to the homestead. Since we’ll be living in a fairly rural part of Vermont, a car will be a necessity. Not sure if it’ll be Frugalwoods-mobile though, she may have expired by that point… TBD :).

  35. Love that you got to meet the Beans and love all of the pictures from the trip!! We have hosted the Beans and their parents but only for dinner and not a sleepover. I haven’t hosted anyone for a night that I hadn’t met before, but since I started blogging and meeting my blog friends in real life, I would totally do it. Many of my blog friends have become real life friends and they are just as wonderful online as they are offline.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      It’s such a wonderful thing to create these relationships online and then meet in person! It’s funny, I had to just remind myself that you and I haven’t actually met in person before :). Looking forward to having that opportunity soon, I hope!

  36. Tawcan says:

    Sounds like the two families had a great time. So you’re now pillowcase face instead of cupcake face? I think I like cupcake face better. 😀

  37. Glad to hear it was nice out when you had your flat tire. Would have been a grumble to be changing it in the snow and cold. Good luck searching for a new used tire in the junk yard. Sure you’ll be successful putting your trash finding skills to good use.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Indeed we were! Found a great used tire and put it on ourselves. Frugalwoods-mobile is back in action 🙂

  38. Mrs. PoP says:

    Our $5/6 months roadside assistance add-on to our insurance policy is worth every penny to avoid stuff like this. One call and they come right out in a jiffy!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, I know we’re bizarre to enjoy doing these types of things… we just can’t help it, we love doing this stuff ourselves 🙂

  39. How fun to introduce Frugal Hound to the Beans! I can’t say we’ve ever hosted someone we didn’t know in real life. Well, unless you count when I was a kid and my Pastor dad would bring home homeless people to use our shower and get a good night’s rest. He even ‘stored’ their weapons for them overnight. Lol! I like your kind of guest much better;0)

    I remember having one flat tire during rush hour traffic. My dad had taught me what to do and I was in the process when a kind young man stopped and helped! Thank goodness for kind strangers!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s very kind that someone stopped to help you with your tire! And, Frugal Hound did very well with the beans–she was such a good girl (for the most part 😉 ).

  40. I’m impressed that you know how to change a tire. I always wanted to learn, but Jay always assured me that I wouldn’t be able to because they put the tires on with machines, not hand tools. After reading this, I’m thinking he may be right!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, thanks! Under normal conditions it is indeed possible to change a tire yourself. It’s just that ours was cemented on thanks to our winter of excessive ice, salt, and snow. So if you ever get that hankering to change a tire, it can be done ;)!

  41. MM says:

    I love your positive, funny writing style. But part of this post stuck out like a sore thumb – are you sure you don’t care what others think, because you devoted a chunk of time in that parking lot and in this post to theorizing what they might think. Also, a little less judgement of others and assumptions about what they are thinking would be nice. Sure, some people with the BMWs, Audis and Mercedes had those cars in a fashion that hurt them financially or was mindless. But I’m sure others can afford them without a second thought, and maybe some bought them mindfully because those cars bring them as much pleasure as your homestead will bring you. Why judge based entirely on assumptions of strangers in a parking lot?

    How are you “positive” that everyone else in the parking lot was thinking, “check out those poor people changing their own tire! schmucks!” And if you don’t care what others think, why spend your life and blog space theorizing about their thoughts anyway. I’m sure some people were thinking what you assume. I imagine others were thinking, “I hope those people aren’t too cold,” or “I really should help them, but I’m torn because I’ll be late for work,” or “How annoying for them to deal with a flat tire. I hate when that happens to me.”

    You came across a little ugly today, which tarnished an otherwise useful and interesting story.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, MM. For Mr. FW and me, the juxtaposition of us changing our tire in the parking lot alongside very expensive cars was a really humorous situation. I wrote that line more in a humorous spirit than a judgmental one.

      Mr. FW and I take humor from many of our frugal weirdo situations, which keeps life entertaining for us :). That being said, I can see how that line could come across the wrong way.

  42. Maverick says:

    OK, frugal car person here. I do all my repairs except for mounting new tires / balancing / wheel alignment. I own multiple cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers and tractors. Check your tire pressure monthly including the spare (at least every other month), pressure changes with temperature. I see many other vehicles with under iinflated tires. Rotate tires per manufacturer’s manual. Always use a torque wrench when tightening lug nuts. If you do all these steps wheels won’t fuse in place. I’ve never had a flat on a major road for decades, but if I did, I would NOT repair on the side of the road. Its way too dangerous today. (My insurance plan has towing included…just a cell call)

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks for the tips, Maverick! We check our tire pressure quite often and air the tires with regularity–I agree, those are key aspects of maintaining a healthy ‘mobile. I wouldn’t change a flat on a busy road either! Thankfully, we were able to pull into a parking lot to deal with this one.

  43. Norm says:

    I don’t care how hard you spin it, that still sounds like a shitty day to me. Glad I have AAA for ~$4.25 a month. I like doing things myself, it’s just that I absolutely hate cars. They are built to break and car know-how is a load of knowldge I don’t want taking up space in my brain.
    Maybe time to shell out for a new(er) car? This one sure seems to be giving you a bunch of problems. I felt no shame selling my 1989 Accord in 2005. At least new tires instead of more used ones? You can get decent ones for not much more than $40. I think mine now were in the $70-80 range

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I know we’re weird, but, we truly enjoy figuring stuff out together–it’s just one of the things we like doing in life :).

      A newer car is on the horizon for us for sure. Sadly, Frugalwoods-mobile won’t run forever :). Thankfully, all of her repairs have been super cheap, otherwise we would’ve already thrown in the towel.

  44. That’s cool you hosted them at your place! FH is so cute with the babies. My tire changing technique is AAA. So worth every penny. My mechanic told me I need some new tires (and showed me why). I’m surprised you feel confident enough to go to a junkyard. I would have never thought of that because is it easy to find at least two matching good tires? My brakes are squealing too so that’s first on my list when I get back from my trip. Letting that go too long could mean trouble. BTW, Kim from Eyes on the Dollar is letting me and my friend stay at her house (for our Utah trip) while they are on vacation. How amazing is that? This is where blogging is such an amazing tool. I’ve never had a blogger friend stay here, but I have had them visit the area and we’ve hung out.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Frugal Hound was totally adorable with the beans! We’ve had great luck with our junkyard tires–and, it is possible to find full matching sets if you need 4 tires. Since they’re all coded by size, it’s easy to find matches.

      That’s awesome you’re staying at Kim’s house! I love this community of people :). Have a fabulous trip!

  45. Mrs. FI says:

    What a busy week/weekend you had! I especially loved your “woot!” After seeing pics of Frugalhound and the Budget Blonde Babes on Instagram I knew your readers (and hers) would be in for a treat soon in the form of a blog post 😉 I remember the first time Russell interacted with his first baby. It was when he was still a little puppy and it was scary and adorable all at the same time because we, too, did not know what to expect. But a puppy and a baby…you can’t pass that kind of cuteness up. He still loves kids and keeps our neighborhood kiddos occupied on the sunny days when we sit on our front steps. Yay for dogs and babies (especially when they’re someone else’s babies if you’re not ready for that kind of thing like Mr. FI and I)! Thanks for the cute post and glad you were able to meet your supportive, frugal friend!

  46. I just realized how big and healthy your dog is, Frugalwoods. It’s beyond bigger than those two babies combined.

  47. Michelle says:

    Wow! You’ve had a fun week 😉 Flat tires are the worst. I’m usually prone to getting a nail in the tire, it’s happened four times in the past ten years, which I suppose is not all that bad. But in Canada, they have laws for repairing a tire. They’re not allowed to use only plugs so you have to pay for a tire patch too. I had the joy of experiencing the tire pressure monitor going off in my car last week for the first time while driving highway speeds. Thankfully, nothing was wrong, er, maybe I should say yet?
    Cat is super awesome to be around! I was able to meet her at Fincon last year for the first time. The beans are soooo adorable! Glad that FH was so attentive…some pets don’t react well to kids.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Cat is indeed super awesome :)! We had such a great time getting to know her and her lovely family. I really was proud of Frugal Hound’s ability to interact well with the babies 🙂

  48. Greypaws says:

    Aww, Frugal Hound & babies is too cute for words. You seriously can’t blame FH for claiming the baby toys. I’m betting she’s been taught that ‘all’ the stuffies are her’s, who said anything about sharing 🙂 I too enjoy meeting up with cyberfriends. By the time we get together in person it is like meeting a very good friend after a long absence.

    FWIW, hang onto Frugal Mobile as long as possible. If you can, give her the primo star treatment from bumper to bumper & under the hood before you head to the homestead & get good tires on her too. Honestly from experience, I’d vote for great junk yard tires before purchasing new at Costco or any other discount retailer. If you choose to buy new, go to a for real tire shop instead. As you will be rural, it won’t hurt to have a back up car incase #1 is laid up or gone with Mr FW and you have an emergency or one is gone and can’t get back in time for the other person to make their appointment or whatever. Most things can be planned in advance but stuff happens which keeps Mr. Murphy’s law in business.

    Do you have road side assistance or towing thru your insurance? Most companies offer this as part of the package. It’s worth checking into, should it be needed when you aren’t near favorite garage & heading up to the homestead.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      We definitely plan to keep the old Frugalwoods-mobile for as long as possible! And, we’re all about the junkyard tires too :). We were able to find a great used tire last week and the ‘mobile is now good as new.

  49. Hannah says:

    This is so funny! Our greyhounds are TERRIFIED of babies!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hahah, oh no! I wasn’t sure how Frugal Hound would react–I was so pleased that she did well 🙂

  50. The real question is whether or not the presence of the babies engendered the “oh I want my own now” that led to our now 4 days overdue little one?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, we shall see. Cat’s kiddos are awfully cute :). Congrats on your upcoming bundle of joy!

  51. Caitlin says:

    I think you have to evaluate it individually, but AAA can definitely be worth it and not just for towing. Once when I had a flat tire the AAA guy was able to patch it. The savings of not having to buy a new tire paid for the AAA membership right there. I also have an old car with issues (only 11 years old to your 19, but a less reliable brand), and it has saved me a number of times. I had a strange issue last year where my excellent mechanic couldn’t figure out why sometimes my car just wouldn’t start. It happened several times and I figured out that if I waited half an hour it would start, but it was very handy to have those free tows. It also makes me feel more comfortable having an older car with issues to have the membership. I like to figure things out and do things on my own too, but I’m not in a city like Cambridge and it’s pretty important that I get to work on time. So I think it depends on the situation.

  52. NZ Muse says:

    Allll the time! Had a phase with Couchsurfing. It’s great fun 🙂 Hope to Airbnb when we buy a place. Some of my best memories from the US was meeting and staying with blog buddies.

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