Friday, November 26, 2010

Manly Men

This weekend I am biting the bullet and being the fully licensed driver for my learner daughter.  We are whizzing around the burbs with a friend of hers in their search for an apartment. 
I will freely admit that my nerve levels are already not great for this mission.  Even if it didn’t concern me that this is my kid driving, there is the added issue of the damned car reliability – or lack thereof.  We have had some issues, to say the least!
I will pause to point out that in the relationship I have with the squeeze; I am the man.
I don’t see anything wrong with that.  I’m as girly as the next person and have a bathroom full of products; however,  I’m also prepared to lie on the ground and crawl under a car to see what’s wrong while he stands about, wringing his hands. 
My garage has way better tools than his.  When his kid broke a drawer at home, he was surprised when I returned it – fixed.  We both accept who we are and at the end of the day, I can’t play the guitar – and he will quite often sit and play for me.
As with any good relationship, there are a whole host of things you do that you know you really don’t want to do.  Like me doing lunch with the wife last weekend; when I’d rather have swallowed that glass full of spider legs.  For the squeeze, it was us hiring a one tonne van, heading down the coast, moving furniture and then heading back to Melbourne to store it in my garage.
He didn’t want to drive the 1 tonne so in my manly role; I took over as the truckie.  The upside was that we were also to pick up my daughter’s car.  I’m afraid I’d rather drive a one tonne truck packed to the rafters with furniture than drive up the highway with my kid in the driver’s seat.  That is the reality of it.
In case she reads this, I’ll say that she is a good driver.  It’s not about that.  I panic with any of them.  I have no idea why really, but understanding they are good drivers doesn’t lessen the panic any.
So we head off back to Melbourne and I’m zooming along in the truck, singing my head off since I managed to snag the squeezes iPod and iTrip, even if the sound system was crap.  They stop for petrol and I’m not waiting.  I want to get home and get this unloaded so I can pour a glass of red and have a shower!
I get about 10 minutes from home when I get the call.  The car has broken down.  On the Westgate Bridge.  Where else would a car break down except on the damned Westgate?  Although this was definitely outside the squeeze’s comfort zone; I believe the daughter was not anywhere near as fazed by it.  Quite simply, she was immersed in relief that it wasn’t me sitting in the passenger seat.
I should point out that the reason we were picking the car up is because her brother had given it to her for her birthday.  After a week, it had died.  God bless him.  Best intensions and all that… Another couple of weeks with a mechanic and about 2k later; we finally get to pick it up.  The bill started at $700 but after they towed it away it was like Alice down the rabbit hole – and I got phone call after phone call with “but wait! There’s more!”
As you can imagine, 2k and not even being able to get the damned thing home left me feeling less than impressed.
I’m on speaker via mobile and I can hear the “out of my comfort zone” tone in the squeeze’s voice and this combines with my escalating anger at getting ripped off by some jerk who has now, put my daughter and squeeze in a dangerous situation.  Of course running through possible/probable car issues with the squeeze is like him asking me to grab a guitar and whack out something ‘Brian May’ style.  It isn’t happening.
Fury mounting, I zoom around the corner into my street and proceed to hit a tree branch with the truck.  The rental truck.  The truck that I figure is now going to cost me at least a grand – although I’m too scared to climb on top and check out the damage, the tree branch is about the size of a mini.  Pulling it off the roof was a struggle.  The sheer size of it is an indication of what I’m going to see if I do climb up there…  And although I managed to drag it off, there are little branches and leaves in every nook and cranny I can see.
Instead of the shower and glass of red, I had to leave the now camouflaged truck, drive back to the Westgate, scream at the mechanic company, climb under a car to watch the oil flowing out like a hose and then take the two little Missy’s back home where they proceeded to laugh at the size of the branch I had knocked down.
As it turned out, the company put a new engine in the car (not that there hasn’t been and continues to be drama) and I played “little ole’ me…” at the rental place and they didn’t both to check the roof.
By comparison, I guess tomorrow’s joy riding will be easy.

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Thanks. Better check it out but it should be up today!