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!

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