Inner Tube Art

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I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them. Pablo Picasso

I've enjoyed this saying from Picasso since I first heard it. A paraphrase I found on the Internet suggested the meaning is "that's how I learn to do them." I prefer the mystique of Picasso's words, but learning is part of the seduction.

Today I installed an inner tube in our wheelbarrow tire. I'm glad to have this completed, because once a tubeless tire goes completely flat, it is very difficult to inflate. You have to wrap a belt or something around the tire and pull it tight so the rubber connects to the rim. Then pump like crazy. I'm glad I learned how to do that, too.

The man at the hardware store told me how to install the tube. Pull one side of the tire outside the rim, pull the valve stem out of the rim, feed the new tube inside the rim as evenly as possible, half inflate it and massage the tire to help the tube find its seat, then finish off the air and reinstall to the barrow.

The step I didn't mention in the above list was getting the tire back into the rim. I wrestled with it for quite awhile, but got it only not quite half way till I called for another pair of hands. I wet the edge of the tire with soapy water, and we used a long-handled screwdriver, a crow bar, a putty knife and a pair of pliers–the latter three to keep the part of the tire we'd already popped back under the rim in place till the rest could be pried over with the long-handled driver. (Mechanic's shops have a nifty compressed air-driven tool for doing this.)

A side benefit to the tire repair effort is that in asking the hardware man whether my air-pump needed a part or replacement, he described to me how to fix it. So we have a good as new wheelbarrow and a good as new (though over 30 years old) air pump.

It is art to complete something worthwhile, something demanding creativity. I'm sure any hardware sales assistant or mechanic would agree.

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