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Posts Tagged ‘The Star Wagon’

Here’s a little advice for you: check your vehicle’s height before entering a multi-storey carpark – you know, in case it’s grown… You might end up peeling your new roofracks off like the top of a sardine can. For example.

Not that anything like that has ever happened to me, mind. Oh, no. It’s not like I drove The Star Wagon into a car park that I’d been in a hundred times before and totally forgot about the roof racks my husband had recently installed and subsequently found myself in a predicament a little like Winnie-The-Pooh’s when he got stuck in Rabbit’s hole. (Uh, that’d be the entrance to Rabbit’s house, people. Sheesh!). And it’s not like the sound of metal against concrete is imprinted forever more on my brain or that I blushed so deeply that four days later I’d still be glowing a deep shade of Amaranth. No. None of that.

Anyway, the point is that if something like that did happen to me, I’d really hope that there was a really nice man working in the little booth at the exit boom gate to help me get ‘unstuck’. And I’d hope this man wouldn’t get even a tiny bit flustered by the growing queue of cars in both directions and that he would remain so cheerful and friendly that I’d feel compelled to go and buy him a box of chocolates to express some small part of my gratitude. Such a man – were he to exist, of course – would forever have a special place in my heart.

I’d also like to think that had these events happened on my watch, that I would have remained calm and collected and not, say, started howling like a baby and alarm my three year old so much that he, too, would burst into tears, saying “Mummy! I’s crying ’cause you broked the car!!”. And it goes without saying that if I were to ring my husband under such circumstances that I would like to have had (but probably wouldn’t have had) the forethought to stress that “We’re okay. Nobody’s hurt!” before incoherently sobbing “Aruunnnnghhhhhhhh sorrrrrrrrrrrrry! The caarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” for two minutes so that I could’ve saved my husband from almost having a Fart Plus Occasion in his pants.

Anyway, if – and only if – any of this had happened to me, I’d also like to hope that the car would mostly be okay and that any damage incurred would look kind of cool, like it had taken some serious heat in a bank-heist-gone-wrong. A bit like this, for example:

Gangstaaaaaaaa!

And I’d certainly hope that my husband would later admit that he would’ve forgotten about the roof racks and done exactly the same thing, but then he’d probably immediately request I didn’t include that in any blog post that I might write about the incident because he wouldn’t like people to think he was a complete idiot.

Luckily none of the above happened to me or my car. Because do you honestly think I’d put it in a blog post if it did?

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My husband once told me that the ninety-ninth push-up feels extra hard when you are doing a hundred push-ups. But if you’re doing two hundred, it’s a breeze. His wisdom was, of course, a little lost on me because the closest I’ve ever been to a push-up is the wonderbra range in David Jones, and even then I’m only walking past them on my way to the Mama-jug Scaffolding Solution bras.

Still, last Wednesday, I felt the full strain of my ninety-ninth push-up of one hundred. Last Wednesday was the second last day of a five week stint of looking after my dear friend KT’s two children three days a week (see “And Then There Were Five“). It also happened to be my second last day ever helping KT and her husband Uncle B out in this particular way.

Strangely enough, having five kids on a part-time basis hasn’t been too bad – as proven by a distinct lack of blogs on the subject.

Some might say I’ve even developed a certain knack for dealing with five children. For example, I have learnt never to ask the question “Would anyone like something to drink?” because it only turns me into the kiddie-equivalent of James Bond’s drinks waiter, taking orders for everything from “half-lemon half-orange cordial with cold water and ice in a big cup with a twisty straw” to “milk at room temperature in a drinky pot with a lid, but not the one with the orange lid, the one that used to have a clown on it”. Now, I just fill five similar-sized cups with tap water, plonk them on the table and then flee the room screaming before anyone can complain.

And then there came the day I managed to gain two EXTRA-extra children. Yes, I ferried seven children home in the Star Wagon from school – they don’t call it a People Mover for nothing.

“Look, kids. Let’s watch the crazy lady put all the kids in the car,” one school mother whispered to her children as I got the kids to line their school bags along the fence and got them to form an orderly queue.

So it’s little wonder that I had gotten a little cocky by the time my ninety-ninth push-up came around.

Turns out I needed to take The Pixie to a doctor’s appointment and,with my husband unexpectedly out of town on a business trip, I decided I should just take all five kids along with me.

When I made this decision of course, I imagined them in my mind’s eye, all standing in a row, like the Von Trapps in crisp sailor suits, their arms by their side, silently waiting for me to give my orders. And while, in reality, it didn’t turn out exactly like that, they weren’t too bad. Of course, the doctor and I had to use our night-club voices to make ourselves heard, but it was okay.

And that, as they say, might have been that – except I then had to go to the pharmacist to get a prescription filled, which involved getting the kids in and out of the car a second time.

“No problem,” I said to myself. “The fish and chip shop is just next door. After we’ve got the medicine, we’ll make the most of our second car stop and get fish and chips for dinner. That way I won’t have to cook under pressure when we get home at shit o’clock.”

If I wasn’t carrying two pre-schoolers over a hole in the footpath at that moment, I might even have patted myself on the back.

The pharmacy was a little harder than the doctor’s, mostly because there were more things to break and pay for. But it was fine. Fine. It wasn’t until we went to the Fish And Chip shop that I realised I’d gone one shop too far with them. It also was at this point that the E102-saturated Barbeque Shapes I’d fed them all in the car came into their own.

All of a sudden, I was like a juggler losing control of  my super-dooper-bouncing balls, that once dropped, start bouncing everywhere, leaving me to desperately clamber about trying to gather them all up again. And by “clamber about”, I mean shouting “SIT! DOWN!” and giving my fiercest looks, while the children, completely oblivious to me, rolled around on the floor, jumped off chairs, threw the newspaper around the room, opened and closed the fridge and the icecream freezer and tried to crawl along the front window to get behind the counter.

By the time our food was ready, I was close to tears. And then it turned out I didn’t have enough money to pay for the fish and chips – I was fifty cents short. The lady, sensing my delicate state, told me not to worry, at which point, my tears began to flow.

I wept openly as I tried to herd the kids back to the car. They were still all bouncing around, whacking each other with found objects, and, while trying to strap the final child into the car, I reached the Snapping Point. You know, that point where the ‘Scary Voice’ emerges  – the voice that in no way resembles your normal voice and you suspect was sampled and used in The Exorcist – and I uttered the dreaded words “THAT’S IT! NOBODY – AND I MEAN NOBODY – IS GETTING DESERT TONIGHT!”

Judging from the response, I may as well have said “The tooth fairy doesn’t exist” or “Santa hates your guts”. The older boys went pale and the girls and Tiddles McGee started wailing like banshees who’d been told by Santa that the tooth fairy didn’t exist.

And I realised at that moment that the ninety-ninth push-up was a complete and utter bitch.

Of course, if my husband came up to tell me at that point that I wasn’t doing a hundred push-ups, I was actually doing two hundred and that KT wasn’t due back for another five weeks, it all would have been okay again, right? RIGHT?

Yeah, right.

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And so it’s come to pass. After twenty months of blogging, I have woken up this morning with absolutely nothing to post.

Why have I let this happen? How could I let my readership down like this? What the fuck have I been doing that is so damn important to cause me to neglect my blog??

Well, before you people judge me as harshly as I’ve been judging myself, I thought it best to share a little of what I’ve been dealing with in the past week or so since I’ve taken charge of my friend KT’s children again (see “And Then There Were Five“).

Put simply: Cyclone Bella (aged almost four) is a “Why Child”.

While The Pixie has been known to philosophise on the toilet from time to time and randomly asked strangers on the street “Does God bexist?” at the tender age of three, none of my children have ever particularly been Why Children. I have therefore never developed the skills required to navigate quickly through a conversation such as the following one –  which, it should be noted, I have Every. Single. Time. we go anywhere in the car.

BELLA: Are we going in the Star Wagon?

NDM: Yes.

BELLA: We’re not going in the Love Bus?

NDM: No.

BELLA: But I want to go in the Love Bus.

NDM: Sorry, sweetheart. We can’t go in the Love Bus.

BELLA: Why?

NDM: Because there are no child seats in the Love Bus.

BELLA: Why?

NDM: Because all the child seats are in the Star Wagon.

BELLA: Why?

NDM: Because that’s where [my husband] put them.

BELLA: Why?

NDM: Because he did.

BELLA: Is the Love Bus broken?

NDM: No. (adds, under breath:) For once. It’s just that the Star Wagon works better.

BELLA: Why?

NDM: It’s a newer car and…(thinks of all the times the Love Bus has broken down in the middle of frickin’ nowhere)…  it’s just better.

BELLA: So we can’t go in the Love Bus?

NDM: No.

BELLA: Why?

NDM: (gives up completely) Because it’s broken. The Love Bus is broken.

BELLA: (sadly) We can’t go in the Love Bus because it’s broken.

NDM: Yes. Yes, it is. Very very broken.

(Pause)

BELLA: Why?

Luckily for me, Cyclone Bella doles out plenty of hugs and kisses and joyful-skippety-boos in between such conversations, bringing relief to my aching brain.

But still, every time I’ve sat down and tried to write a single sentence for my blog, all I can hear is this echo in my head asking “Why?”.

Sheesh! No wonder I’ve got nothing to post this morning.

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So, it’s official. We have a NEW CAR to replace The Love Bus, now dearly departed (see “The Long Journey Home“). This is the first time I have ever experienced this NEW CAR feeling. By the time I got my license to drive in the winter of 2007, The Love Bus had already been with us for over a year, and around for at least 20 years previous to that. This NEW CAR is not only NEW to us, it’s also NEW within this decade. That’s worth the capitalisation of NEW CAR, wouldn’t you say?

My NEW CAR joy, however, has been somewhat dampened by the extreme pain I’ve been experiencing following my little oral surgery “holiday” (see “Result“). Some holiday that turned out to be. I can bet, though, that my oral surgeon is thanking his lucky stars that I have had that NEW CAR feeling to distract me. So, instead of marching into his office and kicking him where it hurts so he can experience just a small taste of the pain I’ve been in, all I’ve done has been to mutter vaguely on twitter about dropping the words “fuck” and “arse clown” into my next exchange with him (as in “I’m in fucking pain, you arse clown”).

[For the record, when I did actually ring “Dr Nick”, he was extremely dismissive about my complaints. “Oh, that’s just muscular,” he said, after I’d explained how I felt like I’d had to squint directly into harsh sunlight while being forced to smile for the camera and repeatedly slapped on my right cheek for 24 hours straight.]

[Also: I have a theory that while I was sedated, Dr Nick and his anaesthetist made me their Ventriloquist Bitch and video-taped me for hours doing a testimonial for their upcoming late-night infomercial by squeezing my cheeks together repeatedly and making me appear to say stuff like “Even when I’m heavily sedated, I am extremely happy with the services of Dr Nick and Associates”. Or that they tried to fit a whole basketball in my mouth as part of some kind of sick bet and then posted their results on YouTube. Either way, I really can’t explain the “muscular” pain, otherwise. Or why people keep recognising me on the street.]

Anyway, the NEW CAR came to us with its own name. Because it is a Mitsubishi “Starwagon”, we have rather imaginatively named it “The Star Wagon”. 

Other than being NEW, The Star Wagon has other some other qualities to recommend it:

For one thing, it is white. Just like the A-Team Van. Except that the A-Team van was actually black. Whatever.  From certain angles, it might even be taken for a “light commercial” vehicle. The Mild-Mannered Lawyer, in particular, was impressed with its “loading zone potential” and my husband and I are currently looking into buying some magnetised Australia Post signage to slap on its side when we need a handy parking spot. But don’t tell anyone. 

Also, it has “walk-through” from the front seats through to the back. I think this particularly excites my husband because the next time the kids won’t quit their jibba jabba, he can shout at them “Don’t make me come back there!” and it will actually mean something. Because he can. Go back there. Using the power of the walk-through.

It has a “vacation stripe” down both sides. 

It hasn’t broken down (yet). 

It is NEW.

On the downside, it lacks a certain “personality”. When Mistress M first saw it, she exclaimed “It looks great! But it’s not very ‘you’…”. Which suggested that The Love Bus had been “me” and made me wonder what part of “unreliable 80s throw-back champagne-coloured rust-bucket on wheels” she was referring to. And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t say anything right now. 

Anyway, as wise friend LSK pointed out, “too much personality in a car can be a bad thing.” Just as Dr Nick is about to find that too much personality in a patient can also a bad thing, if my pain doesn’t disappear by our appointment on Monday. Which, also for the record, I will be driving to in my NEW CAR.

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