September 26, 2013 by Dadinator
No, it wasn’t the day my voice broke, the day of my first kiss or the day I became a dad. It was Monday. Here’s what happened.
Monday morning, and we had a day ahead of us. A hearing screening test, a meet up with Castlemaine folk, a doctor’s appointment, a stack of library books to return. We anticipated a long day of baby transporting. To get one ready and moving for a day of errands was a challenge. To get two ready is a nightmare. I think it stems from having one person being “en-babied” which renders them useless for most tasks. I’m sure we’ll hit a groove one day and it’ll stop being difficult, or it will break us and we won’t care anymore, but at the moment it is an ordeal.
So, we got our shizzle together in the end. Kids were loaded and strapped in. Bags were packed. We were good to go. I turned the key. The car didn’t rumble into life. I tried again, no good. I tried a third time, and the inertia of the car became even more evident.
We are a two car family. We have an older car that basically never breaks down. It is small, its main drawback. The other is a station wagon, which easily takes two kids and all the trimmings. It also is a dedicated LPG, which makes it quite cheap to run. However, it has trouble starting in the cold, and it hadn’t been run for about 2 days.
Now, I am useless when it comes to cars. I can change a tyre, I know where the fluids go and I can use jumper cables. That’s about it though. I picked up a couple of tricks from listening to our mechanic and watching RACV men over the years.
I got to work. I asked The Mamanator to sit in the drivers seat while I popped the bonnet and tried trick one: tapping the solenoid. I don’t know what a solenoid is or does. Its this sliver thingy that sits to the left of the main engine bit. When it wouldn’t start at the hospital the second day after The Lass was born, the RACV man hit it with a spanner while I turned the key and the car started. So I tried that first. I used a screwdriver first up, but decided that was a bit whussy and switched to a shifter before trying again.
Nothing. I also knew that the battery could get drained while all of this was going on, so I didn’t have many more opportunities to try and start the car. So I got The Mamanator to put the kettle on. Not for tea, but to literally warm up the engine. Last service the mechanic had shown me where a well placed splash of boiling water might help the car get started on a cold morning. I couldn’t remember where to pour it exactly, so I just sploshed it all over the place. It was my last chance before I flattened the battery. I turned the car. “Click click click” went the engine. “Oh #£**-&+%! went me. I put the kettle on to roof of the car.
Throughout this ordeal Lad and Lass had been strapped in their car seats. I was constantly aware of their boundedness(is that a word?). The poor things, I thought. Watching their flailing and increasingly frustrated father struggle against the machine. It increased my sense of urgency and made me feel fumbly and cumbersome at the same time. In reality they were both perfectly content. The Lad was patiently sitting in the car, minding his own business. The Lass was sleeping. Do you think I let that calm me down though? Of course not!
Anyway, battery flat. “Should I call the RACV?” The Mamanator asked. Keen to avoid emasculation, I protested I had one more thing to try. “But they take ages, should I just book them now?” I wanted to say “nay! Have faith my fair maid! I shall fix the car and protect my family!” In fact I said “well…. Alright then”. I took my key out of the ignition to make sure I was not further draining the battery, and got a move on.
I was on the clock. There was a countdown on my manhood. I had to act. I had to recharge the battery and try again. So that’s what I did, I moved the small car around to link up jumper leads and hooked them up. I started the small car and let it run for a while. Meanwhile a friend turned up dropping off food for us to use for dinner (newborns attract sympathy especially from fellow parents). It was lovely, but I was absorbed in my car things, so may have come across a shade brusque…. Apologies if so.
Anyway the moment of truth arrives. Small car had been running for a few minutes, charging big cars battery. Hopefully it was enough to get the starter motor going. I reached into my pocket. No key. No problem, I checked my other pocket, not there. The shorts I was wearing have 5 pockets, so I wasn’t even halfway through yet, and the search continued…. Crap. No key. “Mamanator…… Can you go get your keys?”
“I can’t find my keys”
“I know. Sorry”
While The Lad was still placid, The Lass had grown sick of waiting. So I went in search of the keys while The Mamanator calmed her back down. A few minutes later I finally I had a chance to get the car running. I banged the solenoid some more while the starter motor was going for good measure. And finally, it bubbled into life.
VICTORY! “So I’ll cancel the RACV then?” Asked The Mamanator rhetorically. I almost burst with manly pride as she said down the line ” Yes, he got it started, we don’t need them anymore. Thanks.”
A victory so sweet it was worth the angst. I re-parked the small car and we piled in to set off, only 20 minutes later than we planned. About 10 minutes down the road I voiced a thought. “Is the kettle still on top of the car?” I started to pull over. “I put it away, don’t worry” said the ever mindful Mamanator. Crisis averted.