Welcome to another edition of Road Tested Reviews. This week I’m deviating from the script a bit to tell you about an adventure with my brand new vehicle and my psychotic dog. I will cover all the mistakes made, absurdities experienced and opportunities missed so you can learn from them. Lesson number one is this: I should not attempt to do nice things for man or beast. My good deeds never seem to go unpunished.


“Every day I don’t get into a car accident is a miracle!”

I said this to my husband for a better part of a year, while driving my Toyota Sequoia. If you’re not familiar, the Sequoia is aptly named and someone of my ahem…stature, should not be driving something with the moniker of the most humongous tree on the planet.

A tiny woman and her massive SUV.

So I got a new, smaller, more expensive SUV.

One month later my new, smaller, more expensive SUV broke down while I had my two boys and the dog in it. I had to wait for over an hour for the tow truck and my husband to show up, on the side of a busy two lane highway, 30 minutes from home. I was not happy.

The new, smaller and more expensive SUV was fixed and returned to me within 24 hours. We decided to name her Claire. #thatsafatgirlsname

Here’s something you don’t see everyday in my neighborhood.

Fast forward to a few days before Christmas.

I’m off with the boys to pick up and then deliver three massive trays of Italian cookies because sometimes I try to convince myself I’m a good person. I decide to take “the beast” (aka my one year old Weimaraner StarFire) with me since I don’t want to crate her for the few hours we will be gone. Like her owner, she suffers from anxiety and hates to be left behind. I take only her leash and not her harness thinking she will never even get out of the back of the car.

This is mistake number one. Or possibly two. Who’s counting when there were so many made?

We make it to the Italian cookie bakery without incident. The problem begins when exiting the parking lot. I have to make a left and cross over two very busy lanes of traffic. I zip out, misjudge the curb on the other side of my destination lane a bit and hit it, but make the turn and the light. Boom. Mission accomplished.

I get about a quarter mile down the road and my new, smaller and more expensive SUV display tells me the pressure in my right front tire should be checked. Great. Ok, whatever.

Luckily, my first cookie delivery destination is to my dear friends at Fleet Feet just about two miles away. I park, get out of the car, and that’s when I hear it.


That my friends is the sound of air pouring out of my right front tire. I could actually hear it when I got out of the car.

I freak out.

I declare Claire cursed.

I seriously cannot believe that by hitting a curb I could slash a tire.

Claire is a princess car and I am NOT a princess.

This would never have happened in my Sequoia. I know because I hit curbs all the time.

My kids are freaking out because I am, so I stop. I tell them not to say a word about the tire to my friends at Fleet Feet because I don’t want them to have to worry about me. We deliver the cookies and head back out to cursed Claire.

The roadside assistance number is now in my “favorites” so I dial and order up AAA, and then we wait. This is when I decide to bring the psycho dog out to relieve herself. This may be a good time to mention that StarFire hates strangers and we are in a strip mall filled with strangers, right before Christmas, at night. Basically, this is her worst nightmare and it turns into mine.

This is Star at the vet because the vet is a stranger and she will bite her. Maybe. Obviously we should have named her Hanibal.  Also note the harness.

I don’t have the harness and she is a 55 pound mass of sheer muscle. She is a hunting dog by nature and is scared of anything she cannot run up to and bite.

It’s about 20 degrees out and I’m pulling her with all my might across the parking lot to a grassy area in the back alleyway. At this point my kids roll down the window and start yelling at me to “stay where we can see you” as I wrestle with the beast who is lunging and barking at every.single.person who has the audacity to step out of their car and out into her world.

I need a drink.

I wrestle StarFire back into the trunk of my new, smaller, more expensive SUV and that’s when I realize the spare tire is in the trunk just underneath the beast. She  will need to be removed while the AAA guy changes the tire.


When he arrives I wrestle her out. She lunges and barks at him and I have to literally wrap her leash around her neck to keep her head from exploding. I yell apologies over the din of the dog and my children and yank Star back into the dark alleyway as far as possible from people, and that’s when I see them. Tiny little lights, the glow of headlamps and the unmistakable footfalls of…runners!

Apparently Fleet Feet is having their holiday run and some of the participants are warming up, right in the path of myself and the beast.

I want to cry.

I spend the better part of the next 20 minutes pulling and petting and coaxing and yelling at my Star while desperately trying to keep her from my people, the runners. How is this even happening?

Mercifully the tire is finally changed, I get my now exhausted dog into the back once again, calm the boys’ wrestling match in the back seat and start up cursed Claire to head home.

I call my husband and say I’m having a bottle of wine and one of the trays of cookies for dinner and most of me wants to actually do it.

Since this is technically a review post, here is my summary:

A dog harness is fantastic but only when you actually have one.

I obviously need to be driven to places via Uber and my dog should never go anywhere in public. We are each, in our own way, menaces to society.

Cookies should always be delivered to me and not by me, Christmas or otherwise.

My next vehicle will be a used, bigger, less expensive 4 x 4.

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What was the last good deed you did that was punished?

When was the last time you needed roadside assistance?