Tantrum on the Highway of Life

Linking up with The Lounge this week for the topic of “adult Tantrums”

Initially I thought this was going to be a tough topic to write about. Although I do plenty of run-of-the-mill shouting, carping, whining and complaining I’m not really a tantrum thrower.

Sure, I get frustrated by various aspects of work, kids, relationships and family but it takes a lot to really piss me off. And in times of extreme stress I’m more likely to go quiet and clam up rather than get my shouty on.

So there I was – feeling pleasantly sanctimonious about my zen-like composure, but without any material for a post. At my wits end I turned to my two older sons Jack and Oscar.

Me: “Boys,” I said, “can you think of a time that Mummy has ever really, really lost her temper about something?”

Jack: *puzzled* “Uhh yeah sure I can”

Oscar: “You did this morning when I threw a pair of novelty teeth at Max and got him in the eye”

The novelty "hill-billy" teeth that were the subject of this morning's dispute. Why would anyone fight over these?

The novelty “hill-billy” teeth that were the subject of this morning’s dispute. Why would anyone fight over these?

Me: “Why were you arguing about those anyway? Actually, no don’t answer that – I don’t want to know why you and Max (my youngest son) were arguing to the death about a pair of revolting, hill-billy style novelty teeth”

*pause while I marvel at the truly inconsequential crap the boys will argue about*

Me: “Anyway that wasn’t what I meant. What I meant was has Mummy ever had a TANTRUM? You know, really chucked a nana about something”

They considered for a second and then Oscar’s face lit up. For he had remembered the two words that was guaranteed to trigger a massive tantrum

Oscar: “Remember when we had the Kia Mum?

Creators of my  nemesis, the Kia Carnival.

Creators of my nemesis, the Kia Carnival.

Me: *in a fugue state* Oh no. I’d almost managed to block he memories from my mind. It’s all coming back to me.

Oscar, blithely unaware of my mental distress, continues…

Oscar: “Remember that time when it broke down Mum? You were REALLY mad that time”

If only it was that simple.

You see in the brief but tumultuous stint as owners of a Kia Carnival there were SO MANY breakdowns he could have been referring to.

We’d bought our 2003 Kia Carnival in 2007, after our trusty Pajero had died inconveniently close to Christmas. Add to that the fact that we’d started a business earlier that year and that I was also 6 months pregnant and I’m sure you can see that needing to buy a new car at short notice was a bit of a strain.

So we were after something a couple of levels above “rusty old bomb” while not venturing into the realms of “ooh that’s really nice”. A solid family car that wasn’t more than a few years and didn’t have too many miles on the clock.

And – here’s the kicker – it had to have 7 seats

This was essential so that we could fit my stepson and step daughter every second weekend when they stayed with us.

Now the Pajero had 7 seats and I quite enjoyed barrelling around it. Being a 4WD it made me feel slightly intrepid which gelled quite nicely with my image – or at least MY idea of what my image was.

The Kia did NOT fit in at all with my the self image I had in mind. It was a people mover – pure and simple. No style whatsoever. But it fit our price range and seat criteria so we bought it.

Don't be deceived by it's benign outward appearance. This car has a death wish and is determined to self-destruct!

Don’t be deceived by it’s benign outward appearance. This car has a death wish and is determined to self-destruct!

The problems started almost immediately.

First there was the blown radiator hose two weeks after we bought it.

Then within a few months the air-con went and we had to replace that. For some reason after this the radio never worked again. I could have put a new stereo in but a growing sense of doom made me resistant to the idea.

And then the engine blew up. Apparently it got so hot that it actually melted the thermostat. So we replaced it. At great expense and maximum inconvenience. The car was now way over-capitalised, but because we had finance we were looking down the barrel of 5 years of repayments for a car we didn’t have.

Two out of the 4 door handles snapped off at some point after this.

And then it happened.

I was driving down the freeway on 20 minute journey to visit my mum. The journey had been uneventful by standards at the time. Max, only a baby at the time had mercifully fallen asleep.

Jack and Oscar, aged 5 and 4 respectively, had engaged me in their favourite topic of conversation at the time which was “Let’s name ALL the dinosaurs and discuss what they ate and which ones were big ones and which ones were small ones”.

Suddenly I felt the car losing power. I tried to accelerate – no dice. I was of course in the far right hand lane so immediately made tracks to the left hand lane so I could pull over. By some stroke of enormous god luck there was an emergency breakdown area only meters ahead. The car was crawling by this time but we made it – just.

Jack and Oscar immediately unleashed a barrage of shrill questions… .

“Mummy why did we have to stop?”
“Mummy what’s wrong with the car?”
“Mummy are we still going to Nanny’s house?”
“Mummy was a stegosaurus a meat-eater or a plant-eater?”

They woke Max up, who immediately started to wail for a feed.

I got out of the car. I called Brook and let him know where we were. Gave him few choice words on my opinion of the car and Kia as a manufacturer of motor vehicles.

Then I checked to make sure all the windows on the car were closed. Yep good all shut.

And then I let rip.

Safely out of earshot of the boys I called down every vile curse in repertoire while kicking the tires repeatedly…

” You fucking fucker! All I wanted was to go to my Mum’s for the afternoon. Was that too much to fucking ask? Why are you doing this to me you fucking piece of shit excuse for a car. I HATE YOU!!!!”

God knows if anyone was watching. I sincerely hope not. To say this was not my finest hour is an understatement.

But the stress and the constant insecurity of wondering what was going to go wrong with it next had taken it’s toll and I was at the end of my rope.

I got back in the car. The boys hadn’t heard but they’d definitely seen.

Jack: “Mummy why were you kicking the car?”

Me: “Oh… well I was just… you know, making sure the tires were pumped up enough”

So that was my best dummy spit! What about you? Ever gotten to the end of your rope and just ha to let rip?

Linking up with The Lounge because it’s the kind of place where you can let it ALL hang out!

The Lounge <


17 comments on “Tantrum on the Highway of Life

  1. I think the Charades bonnet flying up on the freeway and 4 teenagers screaming Waynes World style upon realising deserves an honorable mention here 😉

  2. Me says:

    LOL – even though I know it wasn’t funny at the time. When I was on maternity leave 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after my due date, we had a golf that would cut out in the middle of anywhere – no rhyme or reason that anyone could find. Turns out there was an electrical problem but everytime we broke down and got towed to a mechanic whatever it was had cooled down and was working fine again. I had a few choice words to say on more than one occasion.
    I have lost it once, really badly, with K – so much so when we were having Christmas drinks with our neighbours that year, she commented on it !!!!! Clearly my rant was a lot louder than I realised – totally lost the plot were words that come to mind about that episode.
    Have the best day !
    PS – we have had a Kia Rio since 2008 and haven’t had a spot of trouble with her (I hope I haven’t jinxed her with this comment !!!)

  3. SlapdashMama says:

    Oh my god what a disaster. Rachel I think you were very RESTRAINED! I would have commited, I don’t know, auto-icide or something. Car troubles are SO ENRAGING OMG I HAVE TO GO AND KICK A KITTEN NOW!

  4. Tegan says:

    Car troubles can go suck a dick. They are so painful and always do it at the most inconvenient time fuckers

  5. katyberry says:

    Ha – that is just an everyday-kind of dummy spit for me! My linkup post focuses on work, where I am calm as calm can be, but at home I have a vile, horrific temper. I do not do up the windows and leave the car to have my tantrum, I sit in the driveway in the car and rant and swear and scream and hit the steering wheel and cry, all the while the girls are in the back. And I’m hardpressed to identify what the trigger is – being late, things going wrong, girls fighting…
    I have got a lot better over the past year or so. Giving myself some priority time, some balance back in my life. But I still swear and shout A LOT. And when I lose it, it can be quite scary for family. Walking away is an important strategy for me.

  6. Ness says:

    Oh Good Lord Rach, don’t blame you for this one. Would have been so scary on a motorway with all your kids as well.

    Hope you have a more reliable car these days. xo

  7. Georgie Lee says:

    I think I would have had the same reaction in your situation.

  8. Oculus Mundi says:

    Heheh. I suppose the wrong response is, oh is that the best you got?! Truthfully though I feel your pain with cars in general. It’s why I am driving around in a shitty car, but it’s (was) a new car. I didn’t trust us to to buy a second hand car that wouldn’t just fall apart at the seams, as has happened a time or two before. At least with the flatpack Ikea car it comes with 3 yr warranty. Le sigh.

  9. robomum says:

    Yours is not the first Kia rant I’ve heard but you had me laughing out loud!! We have two reputable vehicles but we have so MUCH bad luck with them!! i hope you never have a motorway episode again XXX

  10. Sarah Mac says:

    Motorway tantys are the best – I had a mega one last year when we had a blow out on the motorway whilst towing a beach buggy – the damned tyre exploded scaring the crap out of me and then when I got out i trod on a beautiful butterfly sunning itself on the verge – I hopped around with the bloody thing stuck to my foot swearing and crying at the same time …

    • Rachel says:

      Oh God the exploding tyre has always been my greatest fear! I can’t believe you managed to stay in control of the car let alone drive it to the side of the road. And that poor butterfly – just the worst!

  11. Oh I can just picture this! Actually it reminds me a lot of an incident I had awhile back (which I should have written about today but didn’t…) Car troubles are unbelievably frustrating – they leave you so powerless and sometimes in dangerous situations, especially with kids the mix. Hope you felt a little bit better after the outburst!

  12. Wendy Parks says:

    Love it how the kids seem to remember the things we would rather forget! Great story 🙂

    • Rachel says:

      Hey Wendy! Yes they always seem to be watching when you mess up or lose it. Why can’t they ignore these moments like they ignore me when I ask the to clean their room?!

  13. Oh I know that frustration. We have had bad luck with cars here just recently and I am so over it!

  14. […] For those of you who are startled by my animosity toward KIAs you can get the back story here […]

  15. Frank codispoti says:

    We r in the same fuckin boat. All the way down to the bottom of the ocean. Our pile of crap 2003 carnival is exactly cursed like yours. Its at the moment sitting in the garage. It cut out in peak hour traffic on Friday on the freeway after picking up kids from school. Don’t know whether to fix it or piss it off to a dealer. I’d like to push it off a cliff and watch it burn then burst out in fits of laughter like tom hanks did in the money pit when the bathtub broke through the top story floor while he was filling it and straight down to the basement.

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