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  • Writer's pictureJason Weening


HEY DADS!  Have you participated in this semi-annual ritual?

Here in southern Ontario we have an annual tradition most of us participate in whether we like it or not.  In the fall it’s called “putting snow tires on” and in the spring it’s called “taking snow tires off”.  I’m a late adopter to these sorts of fads so usually at some point mid-July I realize there probably won’t be any more snow so I can put the summer tires on.  

I used to just drive around all year with my all-season tires until someone told me I might be able to save some money on car insurance if I put snows on.  Saving money really resonates with those of us of dutch decent.  Especially those of us with more than eight kids.  Snow tires it was!  Following the same line of thought about saving money, I wasn’t going to dish out dozens of dollars to some certified professional mechanic to put my snow tires on.  It’s just a few wheel nuts for crying out loud!

The first time I swapped my tires I literally just used the tools in the trunk of my car.  The ones that after five years still have the zip-ties holding them together.  It took a bit longer doing it by hand but time I had.  Money not so much.  I even used the dinky jack in the trunk.  One day I was using it on my small Honda Civic on a slight angle in my gravel driveway which I don’t recommend. Suddenly the jack twisted and crumpled into a tangled mess.  I suspect this method was also not very safe.

So despite my cheap dutch-ness I dished out the dolla’s to Canadian Tire and went home with a snazzy new jack and some axle stands.  No more Civics collapsing in the driveway for me!  By this time the kids were getting older and it was time to get the apprentices in action!  Plus I had learned how to do the job safely and that is always important to moms.  I mean moms and dads.

I wasn’t surprised last July when again the risk of snow was significantly reduced. It was time for me and the kids to head out to the driveway, change tires and donate blood to the mosquitoes.  Four of the younger kids were all excited to help.  The older ones were nowhere to be found.  I’m not sure why.

Two vehicles equates to eight tires which equates to 52 wheel nuts.  I gave a ratchet to the twins, Pearl and Emerald (age 5), who started loosening the plastic nuts on the hubcaps.  

“Which way do we turn it?”  “This way?”  “This way?” “This way?”

“Rightey-tightey.  Lefty-loosey.”  “Yes.”  “No.”  “Yes.”

After two tires the girls were gone to ride their bikes.

Arrow (age 2) helped me get the wheel nuts off.  Like most men, he enjoyed revving the impact gun unnecessarily in between tires.   Brrrtttt!  Brrrtttt!  As the nuts came off I passed them to him.  We got the summer tires on and he handed them back.  But that didn’t satisfy him enough so I let him push the trigger and get them tightened up real good.  After two tires he was gone chasing caterpillars.  There was a disturbing trend developing as the apprentices moved on to bigger and better things.  

The older boys Justice (age 7) and Sterling (age 9) must have been observing closely from the house.  As I was finishing the last tires the boys suddenly showed up to help, as if from thin air.  Lucky for them we still had to mark the snow tires for rotation – DF, DR, PF, PR or is it RF, RR, LF, LR?  I’m never sure.  Good thing I’m the one interpreting where they go back on.  A difficult task suitable for the big boys.  Because in December or January, after 10-12 snowfalls, we’ll have to rotate the tires when we put them back on.  The boys enjoyed rolling the tires away for storage.  Until the tires started to fall over.  Too heavy to lift back up but I was there to help.  

After a few hours the job was done.  Snow tires off.  Summer tires on.  No collapsing jacks.  

The kids helped.  Hopefully they learned about using tools, tire rotation, and the great sound of a revving impact gun.   Brrrttt!  Brrrttt!  We invested time together, I didn’t yell at anyone, and now I’ll hear “Rightey-tightey, lefty-loosey” around the house on a regular basis.  That’s a win!

Dad, are there little jobs your kids can help with?  You’ve got what it takes.  Time flies!  

Make every moment count!

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