Bunker Mentality: Bling for the Yard Sale Queen


My significant other, the Yard Sale Queen, and I have been together for more than 12 years.

We own a house and cars together. We are joined at the hip.

When Christmas grew near, I asked what she wanted for Christmas. She was coy and really didn’t offer a definitive answer.

She has hinted in the past that she wanted fancy chrome rims for her 2015 Chevy Trax. She loves shiny bling.

Finally, 10 days before Christmas she settled on rims. Now, being the dutiful partner, I set out trying to find real chrome rims – the Environmental Protection Agency made manufacturers take out some sort of chemical compound used to make real chrome rims some time ago. Chrome rims were almost extinct, so we were told by numerous dealers.

Real chrome for the Yard Sale Queen, not polished silver, aluminum, painted on rims. In other words, no faux rims.

The Yard Sale Queen, occasionally with me in tow, visited every wheel shop she could find in Culpeper, Warrenton, Fredericksburg and Charlottesville. Beside difficulty finding real chrome, finding wheels to fit tiny 16-inch tires proved even more problematic.

Undeterred, we forged ahead in search of those elusive rims that matched what she wanted.

Google became my best buddy. For days, I searched and searched.

One night, while doing what I do best, watching men’s college basketball, I stumbled across a website that advertised chrome rims matching the size tires on the car.

She looked at the selection, and we used the tool that allowed us to see how they look like on a Chevy Trax.

We were making progress, sort of.

But further searching showed the only dealership for those rims in Virginia was located in Harrisonburg. The others closest to Culpeper were in North Carolina. The Yard Sale Queen is a sweetheart but driving to North Carolina was pushing it. (wink)

I drove Jan. 27 to Durham for the Duke-UVA men’s basketball game, but that is a story for another day.

So it was off to Harrisonburg to purchase the rims. Naturally, the company that manufactures the rims is located on the Left Coast in California. At that point, I knew the rims would never arrive by Christmas.

In early January, the FedEx man rang the doorbell. He had one box in his hands. I asked if he wanted to meet me at the garage so we could put the other three boxes in there. He said he only had one box.

What? How do you deliver one box when three others theoretically made the same trip?

The next day the same FedEx guy dropped off the other three.

Time to get the rims installed, but with my luck, it wouldn’t be so easy.

The shop installing them discovered issues. The right front tire of the Yard Sale Queen’s car had a deep gash that was dangerous to drive on, needing to be replaced. The lug nuts that came with the car wouldn’t fit and the hub needed some sort of rings.

When I told the Yard Sale Queen she needed rings, her eyes lit up. Rings! Like a blingy diamond? She was ready to run to the jewelry store to size rings.

No. Hubcentric rings – four of them – that fit on the hub to give the rim support beside the wheel studs.

She was crushed.

Finally, with two new tires, plastic rings and lugs, it was time to install the rims.

The recent snow left the roads covered with white salt. I spent an hour waxing the new rims to protect them from salt. Anyone know what it is like trying to wax cold metal in subfreezing temperatures? Guess.

Anything for the Yard Sale Queen.

“You asked what I wanted for Christmas,” she said, smiling sweetly.

“I’ll never do that again,” I said, with a straight face.

“You dog,” she replied.


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