Monday, May 30, 2011

Morphing into The Griswolds - The Conclusion

It is surprisingly difficult to launch a recovery mission when you are travelling in a car, you are almost two hours away from your place of residence, your broken car is in one location, the keys to the broken car are in yet another location and you are trying to accommodate an elderly relative from interstate and two young children.

As you might well imagine, The Coach and I were busy racking our brains for a solution. Our usual first port of call for a broken down vehicle, the RACQ, generally assumes that you and your broken down vehicle are in the same place. Clearly our circumstances fell into the unusual category. We made a list of local friends who owed us favours (0). We made another list of friends we could potentially bribe with the lure of alcohol and/or chocolate (many). We tried contacting the first of our friends on our Bribe List and discovered (most inconveniently) that Wilderness Man, who also happens to be an airline mechanic (plane, car, much of a muchness right ?) had chosen that very morning to take off for a three day fishing and camping trip. Bummer.

It was only as The Coach declared for the sixty-seventh time that he was turning the car around, that I realised fortune was favouring us with a small break. Only one week earlier I had employed the services of a local mobile mechanic to service my car and I suddenly noticed his sticker in the top right corner of my windscreen, with a mobile phone number listed, hallelujah.

Calls were made....many calls....but by the time we arrived in Noosa, plans had been set in motion and we were reasonably confident that everything would turn out okay. Yes, the kids managed to score two days off school whilst the car was getting repaired. Yes, we now had an unexpected extra expense tapped on to the cost of our holiday. But it was a small price to pay.

As we walked into the local pizzeria that evening I discovered that our luck had indeed changed. Mojito night. Bonus. Nothing better then a mojito or five to take your mind off car issues. I embraced holiday mode with such gusto that three hours later I was embracing the toilet bowl after having fertilised the manicured gardens of Noosa with my own special blend of pizza and white rum. It's klarsy with a capital 'K' when you take a bit of Gold Coast magic to Noosa let me tell you.

The next afternoon, after I had managed the enormous trek from the bed to the couch, I decided to check in with Nanny B. Le Artiste answered the phone,

"Hi mum, are you having a nice holiday ?"
"Yes thank-you darling, but we're not talking in tin cans linked by string, if you could yell a little quieter, that would be great. How are things at home ?"
"Good. We're having two days off school and Nanny just finished talking to the policeman about dad's car."
(Oh dear God)
"The policeman ?"
"Yes, the policeman called because people thought that dad's car had been stolen and left in the middle of the road."
(I think I'm ready for another mojito)
"But Nanny sorted it all out."
"Yep, she told him the whole story....oh Nanny...."
"Oh no, what's happened now ?"
*sigh* "Oh dear mum, Nanny just tried to put water in the wrong end of the iron and it's gone all over the kitchen."
"Well I'll let you go and help Nanny out darling. I'll call you again later."
"Okay, bye mum."

"Coach, grab your wallet, I need another ten mojitos stat."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Morphing into The Griswolds - Part Three

The following conversation was recorded between the hours of 2.30 and 3.30pm on Wednesday 30th of March 2011 :

Waffles (W) : (humming happily and ignoring the torrential downpour) Are you feeling relaxed yet Coach ? Yay, we're on holidays. I might just give your mum a quick call and make sure she found the school okay.
The Coach (TC) : (jaw clenched, hunched over steering wheel) Yeah. Great. Very relaxed.
Phone : Ring Ring (a little blast from the past for those of you over the age of thirty-five)
Nanny B (NB) : Hellloooooo
W : (with an inaudible sigh of relief) Oh hi Nanny B, just wanted to check that you didn't get lost on that one road between our house and the school.
NB : Oh hello darling, no no, I didn't get lost but I'm glad you I don't want you to worry but.....
W : (holding breath) *Uh oh*
NB : ....there's been a little bit of a problem....
W : (still holding breath, turning a light shade of red)
NB : ...with the car...
W : (still holding breath, turning a light shade of purple)
NB : It stopped.
TC : Waffles, why are you turning blue ? What's mum saying ?
W : (taking a huge gulp of air to avoid passing out) What exactly do you mean by stopped ?
TC : What stopped ?
NB : just sort of stopped...
W : Aahh, do you mean stopped at the school when you turned it off ?
TC : (knuckles turning white on the steering wheel) You're kidding, the car.
NB : Well no...I got about half way to school..and it was making this terrible noise...and there was this awful burning smell....and then it just wouldn't go anymore..but I managed to get it into reverse.....and I got it off the road..mostly...then it stopped altogether.
TC : I'm turning around.
W : No no hon, keep going...we've already been driving for an hour and a half..
NB : Oh don't come back. We're fine..
W : Oh, the kids, have you got the kids ?
NB : Oh yes, I was going to walk the rest of the way...
W : (blanching at the thought of the kids making the hour long trek home in the rain)
NB : But then I though, that's just plain silly, so I knocked on the door of a house..
W : Whose house ?
NB : Oh I can't remember her name. Lovely lady though. She was just about to leave to go to work and she helped me get the keys out of the ignition..
W : You left the key in the ignition ?
TC : I'm turning around right now.
NB : Well they got stuck. But she got them out. So we locked the car and she drove me to school and we picked up the kids and then she drove us home.
W : So the car is locked..half on the side of the road...half way to school....and you have the keys...and are back at home ? (trying to avoid looking at The Coach and the surprisingly large vein that appears to be throbbing in his temple).
TC : I'm turning around.
NB : Yes. But don't worry about us, we'll be fine. Enjoy your holiday. Relax. Now who do I call ?
W : *with a small sigh* Nanny B, I think I'll have to call you back.
NB : (Cheerily) Okay darling, speak to you soon.

To be continued....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Morphing into the Griswolds - Part Two

My way of dealing with the general state of chaos that life throws at you is to make plans and lists. I loooove lists, especially with tick boxes, tick boxes are great. Prior to Nanny B's arrival plans were made to deal with my growing anxiety over the dodgy car hand over :

PLAN A - Get car serviced and have loose clutch cable tightened.

Foiled by : The Coach could still hear his radio thus the expense and inconvenience of a service was deemed an unnecessary indulgence of my paranoia.

PLAN B - The Coach would take Nanny B on the morning school run which would aid her with directions and prove an invaluable test run allowing us enough time to procure an emergency hire car, if required.

Foiled by : A last minute business meeting which The Coach had to attend on the morning of our departure.

PLAN C - I would take Nanny B on the morning school run which would aid her with directions.

Foiled by : Nanny B loves a chat...I mean really loves a chat, and she forgets to pay attention to directions when involved in a good chat.

PLAN D - The Coach would take Nanny B for a quick drive around the block approximately 2 minutes before she had to depart on the afternoon school run.

Foiled by : Business meeting running overtime. Us running late on our departure time and Nanny B stating confidently "Don't worry darling, I'll be fine."

I won't lie to you, as I stood on our balcony watching The Coach's butt hanging out of the passenger front window as he attempted to take the hand break off for Nanny B, my fears were not allayed. As I took in the light fog rolling into the valley and the dark clouds looming overhead, heavy with the threat of rain, I was thinking, this is not good, not good at all. And as The Coach joined me on the balcony and we waved Nanny B off and an altogether new and ominous sounding grating noise filled the air, I shook my head, turned to my husband and said "I have a really bad feeling about this."

To be continued.....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Morphing into The Griswolds - Part One

Although my last blog post may have appeared to be nothing more then a blatant attempt to get Nissan to loan me a new Murano for twelve months, it actually had another far greater purpose. That was to provide you with a small insight into the differences between my car and The Coach's car. I must admit, I went a little off track when I started daydreaming about a new Murano, but the main point was to help you to understand that while my car receives regular..ish services, water and oil top ups, and even the odd wash, The Coach's car is surviving on a lean diet of neglect.

Sure it gets a clean out perhaps once every twelve months, which interestingly seems to coincide with a relative coming to visit, a relative who The Coach has to collect from the airport. It also receives the odd service, usually around the time that The Coach can no longer hear his talk back radio program over the cars determined protests which present as various grinding and squealing noises. Quite frankly, if that car was Kitt from Knight Rider, I imagine that it would have quite a mouthful of expletives that it would like to share with The Coach before self activating the eject button and launching The Coach through the sun roof.

This brings me to the clutch cable episode. Actually it wasn't so much an episode but more of a trailer. The clutch cable broke and The Coach was forced, no doubt muttering expletives of his own, to take the car to the mechanic to get it repaired. Seems pretty straight forward no ?

Now see, this is where The Coach and I really become polar opposites. The Coach returned home in the evening and I asked how the car was.

"I'm not happy with it," he replied "The clutch cable is too loose and it doesn't feel right."

"So why didn't you tell the mechanic?" I responded curiously.

"Something about the cost of pygmy hippos and the growth cycles of turnips." he answered. Well at least that's what I think he said, as he was sort of muttering and walking into the bathroom shaking his head.

And that is how it came to pass that for the last twelve months The Coach has been driving around in a car with a touchy, loose clutch cable. He is now used to the quirky clutch. He has also mastered the art of peering around the crack in the windscreen. He ignores the rattle and crunch that occurs every time he steers around a corner and he is virtually oblivious to the dings in the front, sides, back and roof (yes, we are all rather mystified by the ding in the roof).

Then recently we decided, after thirteen long years, to take a holiday to Noosa. We would require the use of my car. My Mother-in-Law, Nanny B, was going to need a car to ferry the kids to school in our absence, and although I was almost blinded by the neon warning signs flashing before my eyes, I succumbed to The Coach when he insisted,

"Don't worry about mum. She'll be fine using my car."

Oh ho ho, famous last be continued......

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Car.

I am a car person. I wouldn't go as far as saying that I am a Rev Head, but I appreciate nice cars, I like sitting in nice cars, I notice nice cars and I daydream about one day owning a nice car. The Coach however views cars as a means from getting from Point A to Point B. He doesn't notice that his dream car has just passed us doing 210 kilometres per hour on the M1. He doesn't sigh wistfully when a commercial for a nice car comes on the telly and he doesn't seem particularly fussed about watching Top Gear. I know right, I am married to a freak of nature.

Although our opinions on cars vary drastically, we do have one thing in common, and that is that we like Nissans. I am driving my third Nissan Pulsar and The Coach is also driving a Nissan Pulsar, we are the Pulsar Poster Family. Sadly though, Nissan decided to stop making Pulsars so I have had to move out of my comfort zone and look at other members of the Nissan family and luckily for all concerned (excluding The Coach) I have fallen in love with the Murano *sigh*.

Yes, the Nissan Murano is my dream car, and I am confident in the knowledge that one day I will be the proud owner of a Nissan Murano. Sure I might be eighty-seven with bad hips and mild blindness in one eye. Sure my driving may be limited to reversing down the driveway at the retirement village before I gun it back up to my front door. Sure, getting in and out of the car with the aid of my motorised cart may take five times longer then the actual drive up and down the driveway. But hey, the Murano will be mine and I will be living the dream.

But just in case some important person from Nissan stumbles across my blog post, whilst muttering to themselves how smart those people from Ford were to get a blogger to test drive and report on one of their vehicles for a period of twelve months, *ahem* and realises with a blinding flash of light from the bulb above their head that I would be more than happy to test drive one of their own bad boys for twelve months. Well, I have an extensive list of new rules for my perfect dream car which I am sure will make my children and husband jump for joy :

Rules for Mum's Dream Car

Shoes will be replaced with soft Jiffies before entering vehicle

Drinks will not be consumed in vehicle

Food items will not be eaten in vehicle unless they are NASA approved space meals in a tube

All unidentified sticky residue will be scrubbed from hands before entering vehicle

Le Artiste will either sit inside a garbage bag after footy training or he will return home in Dad's vehicle aka The Old Smelly Car.

Petal, writing messages on the misty windows will be forbidden, no matter how much you love Josh/Tim/Jordan/Jack etc.

Vehicle will not be taken out if it is raining/hailing or snowing (you just never know)

Vehicle will not be taken out if it is overly dry/dusty or windy

Vehicle will be parked at the furthest corner of the shopping centre car park where no other cars park...ever

Cut lunch taken to eat whilst trekking from furthest corner of shopping centre car park to shops will not be consumed until everyone is out of the vehicle

If any of the above rules are broken. Household member will be forced to ride a bicycle at a safe distance behind vehicle for all future expeditions.

Disclaimer - Neither myself nor The Coach works for or is in any way affiliated with Nissan. I mean obviously if we were, I would already be driving a Murano wouldn't I. I have not received any form of payment from Nissan for writing this post, but if they would like to send me a Murano, I wouldn't say no. We really do just genuinely like Nissans.