Apr 21, 2010

How to lose 16 grand, your car and your mind in 3 weeks.

First of all - it's imperative that you start out completely and utterly exhausted. You know. Run a marathon. Stay up until 3am every day for a month, then get up at 6am as usual. Move every single piece of your furniture into a different spot in the house. Work on a 5 million word essay continuously until it's done. Read a pile of text books that brush your ceilings. It is only then that you are in the state of mind to embark on this journey. After all, sleep is for the weak!

When exhaustion is deeply imbeded in your body, it makes the journey all the more exciting. When you are extremely exhausted, then take your planned holiday. Your mind will start to unwind slightly and your body will start to lose the stiffness bought on by stress. A relaxed body is perfect for the whiplash you are going to feel after the whole journey is behind you.

Now, while you start your driving holiday, get a tantilisingly small glimpse of the fun you are about to have, think about how amazing it will be to *sigh* do nothing for the next 4 weeks. Start to feel the tension kinks in your body start to release. Start to get into "holiday mode". Think relatively positive thoughts, because this is the only time this will be allowed.

At about 90% of the journey to your first holiday destination, start to get really excited. You are going to see your best friend really soon. 4 hours left!! Then wait for it. It will come. That noise. Do you hear it?? That terrible deep motor grinding noise? That's it! You are on your way!!!!

Get out of the car and stick your head in the bonnet and pretend to know exactly what you are looking for. Your husband should do the same. Pretending to look for something holds off the inevitable. Peer into the gaps, look at each other and say "It sounds terrible, we better call Roadside assistance."

Roadside assistance will tell you to drive to the local mechanic - which is at the other end of town. Hang your head in embarrassment as the whole entire street filled with shoppers and gasbaggers stop what they are doing and stare at you because the terrible sound from your car has attracted their attention. You can't move too fast, because the car is in awful shape, so that will prolong the humiliation.

Get comfortable in the driveway of the mechanics, and get your kids ready to sit in the sun for the next half a day, because that is where you will be until a tow truck can be organised. Yes. It will need towing, because how would you lose your car if it could be repaired on the spot??

Try and work out how to get your sorry behinds... all five of them to your destination. Bus and then train? Illegally squeezing them in the cab of the tow truck. Uh no. Sit there and stare at each other and pray like mad that something better comes up. Relish the feeling of complete uselessness and the panic you feel when it's out of your control.

Suddenly it's going to look really positive. Things will begin to start looking better, and not as bad as they seem. Grapple at this concept, because it will make the dissapointment later on more crushing. We did this when the tow truck offered to take the car to our destination for repairs. We would be close to the car making it more convenient to pick up when it was repaired. It is going to be ok. Be dillusional. It's ok. Everything will be ok.

Don't worry, someone will show you some compassion and help you get to your destination. For example, in our situation - the mechanic and his wife, had what I call a God sense of compassion - because they lent us their lovely big car to drive the rest of the way to Brisbane, while they towed our car to Brisbane and then tow their car back home again. They also offered to hold our caravan in their yard until the car is repaired to pick up again. What dear people!! A positive moment - embrace and relish in it. Enjoy the warmth that surrounds your heart. Soar on that positive moment. It won't last long. You will crash later on. It's all part of the journey.


Now while your car is being assessed and repaired, try and get a hire vehicle. Now because of the time of year you chose to travel in, nothing will be available except luxury cars that would cost us the same price for a brand new car! Stress over the fact that you are going to be stuck - or battling public transport with 3 kids - and one of those kids is now extremely feral because no therapy has been happening! Embrace the meltdowns, the screaming, the crying, the aggressive behavior. It's all part of the journey.

Now something will come up - another positive - you will manage to organise something. For us, we had at our disposal, my bestie's car, while she and her family went in N's car - which is is his luxury work car. Have an amazing few days looking around at great places all over the general area. Let your mind and body relax again. You need your mind to slow down and the stress start to melt away slowly. You need this false sense of security to make the huge blow at the end more effective.

At this time, your child will get sick and wake up in a pool of vomit. Lovely. He will be off his food for some time, and you will wonder, worry but because they aren't feverish, you just think it's a virus or something and will pass. Then a second child will get sick - except she will projectile vomit all over you, all over your besties carpet and lounge suite. You will hold partly digested watermelon and sausages in your hand as you scream for your husband to come and help you. Your bestie will scream for her husband to come and help. Chaos will reign and you will gag and retch at the stench of this vileness. Now your bestie who is a very good sort will scoop up puking child and take her to the shower while you attempt to clean up the vomit. Child will then be dressed into PJ's and then promptly vomit all over herself again, and will continue to vomit into the night. Assume she has the same stomach bug as son and just get on with life.

Days will pass and the kids are still unwell and irritable and you think that this bug must be particularly nasty - until your husband discovers a worm in the nappy of the youngest. Freak out. It's perfectly normal. Totally freak you. Allow utter and complete humilation run over you. Make a dash to the chemist for some worming stuff. You won't feel better at the reassurance from the chemist and ECN that it's common in kids under the age of 4. Your skin will crawl. Your cheeks will burn. It's going to be hell on earth. But... on the upside, in the morning your kids are going to feel ALOT better and will eat like there is no tomorrow! This will be a small consolation.

Now. The car should be repaired. Go and pick up your car. The mechanic will have drained over $1600 from your account - your holiday spending money. Not to worry. You will bounce back. Keep thinking that way. So the blow at the other end is just as hard.

Go to to a resort of some kind - we went to a lovely apartment on the beach near Noosa and relax in the fact your car is fixed, your kids are well and all is going to be ok. Enjoy the beach, the pool in the back of the apartment and all the wonderful things there are to do. Watch lots of Cosby, because it's funny and because it's cheesy. We all need a little cheese.

Upgrade your roadside assist at this time - because who knows? You might need it again. This is a very very smart move. If you don't do this step, you may want to add how to be completely and utterly stuffed to the title of this manual.

It's now time to leave the place you are at and head to your next destination. But in a major town, an hour away, your car must cark it. The alternator cord will be severed and you will be stuck on the road... again. With three kids on a major highway this will turn your hair grey and make your heart pound so hard you will think you are having a heart attack. Let the stressful nausea sweep over you as you try and keep 3 pairs of legs dashing towards semi-trailers that are hurling past you. You will call roadside assist again - and then proceed to empty out the car and try to quickly pack stuff for a night stay in a motel. Thankfully you upgraded your roadside assist membership eh??


The car will be towed away, leaving you on the road with two of the kids, booster seats and bags that were packed in a hurry. Your husband will be in the tow truck, getting a lift to a car hire place. Feel your cheeks burn as every single person who drives past stares at you with curiosity. I exaggerate not. Feel mortified until your husband comes to rescue you with a nice, WORKING rental car. Sink gratefully into the seat and let your cheeks cool for a moment.

Stay the night in a motel. Eat at Sizzlers. It's all going to be ok, It's not a related problem - everything is going to be ok. Repeat this mantra. It's. Going. To. Be. OK. Your mind is now starting to go. You start laughing at the fact that your car has been towed away... again. Laugh. It is ridiculous. It's funny. Laugh like a half crazed lunatic.

Now in this booming town, phone coverage is going to be a freakin joke. Laugh and persevere. Spend 3 hours in Hungry Jacks, munching on cold fries and sipping watery cokes while the kids play and play and play and think they are having such a marvelous time! Meanwhile, because the phone coverage is such a joke, you will get a message 2 hours AFTER the call has been made, that you have a new voicemail - from the mechanic saying the car is ready! You have just wasted 2 hours in Hungry Jacks. Freezing your backside off because it's so cold and you are wearing tanks and shorts. Smile at your blue lipped husband. Don't mind the hypothermia. It wears off.

Right. Now feel secure in the fact that the car is fixed. You have been just unlucky. It's all going to be ok.

Go pick up your caravan.
And head to your destination.

All is going to be good for 3 days. You have a wonderful time, hang with lovely friends, enjoy lovely activities, the feral boy is no longer feral but happy to be free and running around, throwing sticks at trees. All is going well.... Relax a heap now. Your car is whole. It's going to be an amazing last week of your holiday.

Then. Head out... to a major highway. Yes. It's good for things to go to pot on a major highway, because it's so safe for kids to run in front of semi-trailers and road trains. You will hear that terrible grinding motor sound again. Your normally patient husband will start to get ticked off. Laugh. Ok.. make that TRY to laugh. Let the tears fill your eyes. Force a smile, attempt to pray and then grind your teeth with frustration and anger as the car crawls off at the next exit and rolls into a park at a suburb in Sydney.

Yes. This does suck.
Yes. You will slap your head, grind your teeth and throw up your hands in the air and shout "WHY??" This is all part of losing your mind. Nothing makes sense anymore. There is no rhyme or reason. It's all out of your control now. You are stuffed. Embrace this feeling.


You will be towed away - again. Your caravan will be towed away to a caravan park so you can stay there while you get your car repaired. But of course it's a friday afternoon, so nothing is going to happen before monday - so sit tight. Get another hire car and wait.

It's the waiting that will drive you nuts. Your mind is going. You will crack stupid jokes in an effort to make your stressed out husband smile. You will snap at the kids. You will want to set fire to your vehicle so it can be considered a write-off and insurance can take care of it. Consider hiring someone from the Mafia to take care of it. Consider leaving it in a dodgy part of Sydney with the keys in the ignition. Consider buying a gorilla mask from Cheap as Chips and going to the mechanics and beat the living gajeebers out of the car until it's no longer recognizable. Forget for a moment you are a Christian and start thinking about doing illegal stuff. Jail couldn't be any worse than this could it? You will think crazy thoughts, do crazy things - and you are now ready to receive the whammy.

Your car. That car. THE car that won't move without costing an arm and a leg, CANNOT be fixed for less than the car is worth. And what can you do about it? NOTHING. You have no money left because you spent every cent you have on repairs. You have nothing. You can't drive home. You can't fly home and leave the caravan behind. You can't move.

Cry. It's ok. Cry lots. Let that hot lump, roughly the size of that ruddy car, in your throat be released and howl like a baby. I didn't do this part, instead I swallowed that lump, and it physically hurt me. I let hot tears slide down, but refused to really let loose, just in case I couldn't stop.

Consider it.
You owe a considerable amount on this car. You can't sell it unless you pay that considerable amount. Our considerable amount is 16 grand. We have to come up with 16 grand to pay for a car THAT DOESN'T WORK!!! Sit stunned for a moment. It's ok. Reality will hit you in a moment like a kick in the teeth, guts and balls all in one. No. It's not pleasant.

That car has to go to the wreckers. But you can't sell it to them until the 16 grand is paid in full. Feel at a loss. Feel completely and utterly overwhelmed. It's ok. This feeling won't go away for some time. Then make the call....

Call your parents. You need their wisdom. You need advice. You need someone who is not in the situation and hasn't lost their minds to advise you.

Your mother will be extremely compassionate AND does not favour rash decisions. So. She will offer to truck your caravan home, paid for on her credit card, and you will repay her as you can. The car will be trucked home by roadside assist. And you will have to put your tail between your legs and head to the local airport and fly home.

You will feel dejected, upset, angry, annoyed, and extremely depressed. Now top this with a fear of heights and flying. Have your 7 year old girl grip your hand as your eyes fill with frightened tears "Don't worry Mummy. I'll look after you. It's ok. I'm here." Soil your pants at every bump, crunch and unfamiliar engine noise. Try to read your magazines and ignore the dark mass below you. Ignore the pilot's helpful information about how many 30 thousand feet you are above the ground. Refrain from tackling the happy attendants who say in an ecstatic tone "Coffee Ma'am?" Try not to focus on the front of the plane that seems to be on a 45 degree angle as it descends. Grip your 7 year old's hand as you can see houses, cars and people. Close your eyes and whisper a prayer as the plane bumps noisily to the ground and the engines fire up. Feel completely and utterly exhausted, dejected and ready to cry.

Your mind is gone. Your car is gone. And 16 grand is flying out the door.

Congratulations. No certificate will be issued. You have lost your mind, your car and 16 grand!! What more do you want????

So what do you think?? Will this be a best seller or what? Perhaps it will pay the 16 grand and we can get a car that works.

Not to fear, my next entry will have photos of the things we actually DID do that were not hanging about waiting for our blasted car to be fixed.


alliecat said...

Oh my goodness! I don't know whether to laugh or cry! Very entertaining read, if only it wasn't a true story for your poor selves! I was exhausted just reading it!

I have no other words, I'm sorry about your car, but thank heavens for a kind mechanic and his wife (was that episode number one?), a calm husband and an extra rational and ace mum. Can't wait to hear about the good bits of that holiday, I am sure there were some, you'll remember then after the smoke from the car engine clears!

Hope you can sort out something with the car....

Renata said...

Oh no - what a time you´ve had of it. I´m sorry to hear how it all turned out - what a difficult/frustrating holiday you had. Have you got something to drive around in now?
I hope the next few weeks are more relaxing & less eventful. Praying for you .... I really hate the stress of cars.
Love to you
Renata :)

saira said...

Oh Skip....what a recount, I read all your status updates on FB but didnt realise just how awful it was. I felt every pain and emotion from your blog post. Looking forward to hearing the positives from your time away too.

Anonymous said...

There are some happenings in life that truly defy understanding! Best buried and forgotten, methinks. (probably be the cheapest way to deal with the car, too.)
Lots of Love, Rebekah

Kakka said...

I don't know what to say - one part of me loves the way you have written this - one part of me is nearly in tears for what you have had to suffer and still have to suffer - that is such a lot of money - and one part of me just wants to give you a hug. So HUGS from Perth