Well, bugger. Called Triple A, resigned myself to a wasted afternoon at the tire shop.
As I was going through the spiel on the phone, I glanced out the window, and saw--the birds have arrived. ALL of them.
Goldfinches, sparrows, a white-breasted nuthatch, a pine warbler--all mixed in with the juncos and titmice and chickadees.
Into every life, a little rain must fall...
Update: Well, hot damn! Apparently, with unexpected presence of mind, I sprang for the extended road hazard warranty a year ago when I got the tires replaced, which means that since the tire was unpatchable (they aren't sure what I ran over, but it left a very impressive hole.) I got a free replacement. Add to the free AAA tow, and the whole jaunt cost me zilch. Sure, the two hours wasted was annoying, but it could have taken a lot longer and I was steeling for quite a bill.
I love it when I did something in the past that makes life easier in the present, which I don't remember doing. It's like an unexpected breath of competence.
Also, the mergansers were back on the pond this morning, along with a blue heron. So that was really cool.