Times Like These

Okay… it’s definitely winter now. A mere week ago, I was all like, this isn’t so bad. Sure, it’s chilly and all, but this level of freakish cold that people go on about? They just need to knuckle down and get themselves a half-decent coat. Well, I’m about to eat my hat on all that. It’s as cold as a witch’s earlobe, and I’m feeling it. 

I’m feeling it all the more because my car’s heating system has dodged out on me, just as winter has finally decided to kick in with a vengeance. It’s my own fault for forgetting to book a car air conditioning service. Near Moorabbin, where I normally go to work, there are plenty of places that could probably do it on my lunch break. But I’m doing that project way out in the sticks for the next month, so it’s going to be really hard to get it dealt with now.

To make matters worse, I have to leave at 6 o’clock in the morning, which is basically the middle of the night at this time of year, and it’s frosty as all get out. So, not only am I on the verge of frostbite, but I also can’t see out of the windscreen. The demister is powered by the heater, you see. Today I resorted to wiping the glass down manually with my scarf, which then became too wet to wear. And the windscreen got all smudged. Good times. 

I’m just going to have to look around out here for a local mechanic workshop. Bentleigh might be easy enough to get to on the weekend… but are garages even open on the weekend? Probably not. What’s a guy to do, then? Maybe there’s some kind of portable heater I can rig up in the car, and position under the windscreen to act as a demister.

That’s a thing, right? Otherwise, what are those of us who forget to schedule our car maintenance supposed to do at times like these?

New No More

Disclosure: I don’t understand how people can be into that acrid ‘new car’ smell. If car air freshener manufacturers are to be believed, there are those who like it so much they’ll actually go out of their way to buy products to create it – apparently, they’re big sellers. As for me, it makes me want to retch. That’s why I’m thrilled to say that my car has finally stopped smelling that way.

Unfortunately for my wallet, this coincides with it being time to take my no-longer-so-new car for the first of many annual services. This is the first new car I’ve ever had, so I’m on a mission to hook myself up with the best mechanic Northcote has to offer. It can’t be that hard, can it? A lot of garages these days do servicing and repairs by the manufacturer’s logbook, I’m told, and are just as good as going through a dealership.

Still, there’s always that slight bit of trepidation around mechanics that we all carry around. You know – that fear stemming from that one time we had to get an unexpected transmission service four hours inland from Byron Bay, shattering both our bank account and our self-confidence in our ability to adult.

Trust me, this concern can be overcome – it’s just a matter of reminding yourself that you’ve lived and learned, and you’re no longer driving a van that you bought from your mate’s older brother for $400. You’re not driving across the desert on a whim, entirely unprepared. You might not be driving a new car, or even a reliable one, but at least you’re have an awareness of limits when it comes to your ride’s capabilities. You understand the value of a current roadworthy certificate.

To be truthful, I never even wanted a new car – partly because I hate that smell, and partly because the stakes are higher when it comes to maintaining the thing. I like stuff that’s a little bit beaten up – just enough to not have to cringe for days when you put a scratch in it. Anyway, my car’s officially no longer new… yay!

Tender Loving Car

Cars: so convenient, yet such a pain in the rear end. Honestly, sometimes it’s like having a temperamental child – granted, one that you can leave out in the driveway and only wash when you feel like it. That’s been my experience, anyway, up until now. I’m super grateful to have a car that’s dependable, resilient, and up to the task of everything my lifestyle throws at it.

The poor thing has had a couple of injuries in the past week, though. First, I discovered a big scrape in the paintwork after parking in a narrow street, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t my doing. Then, I somehow managed to clip the left side mirror on a pole, causing the glass to smash. I guess it’s time for a trip to see a mechanic. Ringwood people, tell me who’s good for getting this sorted in a hurry.

That’s the thing about cars. You become reliant on them, and then your whole schedule gets thrown out of whack when you don’t have access to one. Things stop running like clockwork when you’re exposed to the realities of public transport, which I suppose is kind of healthy. It’s not my style to be utterly dependent on a machine to run my life, and it’s good to remember that there are other ways of managing things.

I might as well think about if there’s anything else that needs doing on the car if I’m going to take it in to Ringwood. Automotive services aren’t something I’m great at keeping track of, and it’s possible that I’m due for one right about now. If so, that’d actually be pretty handy – gotta love a bit of efficiency. 

My elderly neighbour did ask me if I could talk to someone about RACV inspections and roadworthy certificates, although I’m not totally sure what he has in mind. I assume he’s looking to sell his ute. But I think looking out for one car child is about all I can deal with right now.

The Royal Wheels

You want to know why there are more wizards getting banished to Earth than witches? Because witches don’t think they’re better. Sorceresses just aren’t powerful enough to cause much trouble, but witches go about their daily business, roaming the land and just keeping to our own business.

Alright, that’s a straight lie- meddling is literally our job- but we don’t make big screw ups in front of the king and his courtiers, so we can get away with it. Well…most of us don’t. I just had to challenge the status quo. Bet the king was pretty surprised when a witch came in front of him and promised him a horse that could outstrip all other horses!

See, I’ve been coming to Melbourne for years. Got myself a nice apartment and I go out for brunch on Thursdays. The other day I had some car problems so I booked myself in for a car repair. Malvern isn’t too far from home so I ricked driving over.

I had a stray thought on the way over. I could use this knowledge. No one I know has ever even seen a car, let alone them being aware of how one of them works. And here’s me having passed my test, gotten through my P-plates, and I can even sometimes fix minor electrical faults. I only need proper auto services when something really goes wrong, or my car needs a roadworthy certificate. Paying insurance is kind of annoying, particularly when I can prevent myself from having accidents with a few simple spells and potions, but police are a thing…

Anyway, thought I’d conjure up one for the king, an automatic so nothing could go wrong, and finally gain a place as the first official court witch.

So yeah. He…kind of reversed into the lake, through a wall, even with me telling him to take his foot off the gas. His aids pulled him out, sopping wet and with the ducks fighting over his crown, and I knew where I was going. Guess I’m booking in some intensive auto repairs, in Malvern maybe. At least I know how to do that.

We Wish You A Merry Mechanic

Argh! It’s getting to that time of year when my organisational abilities go flying out the window and I begin to resemble a stressed-out chicken on a mission to avoid having its head cut off. Basically, I start putting off essential tasks that I’d normally be quite diligent about. In their place, I begin to prioritise things like explaining to my son why he can’t glitter-bomb the front lawn, and coming up with excuses to get out of going to my in-laws’ house on Christmas Eve.

One of the many things I’ve been putting off is organising an RWC inspection for the hatchback we’re giving Cassie to celebrate her finally finishing that seemingly endless BA degree of hers. It’s a used car, and we’ve had to do a bit of work on it, but I reckon it’s good to go now. It’s just a matter of getting it out of the garage and over to the mechanic without Cass catching wind of it. I might have to wait til she’s in the city with her mates on the weekend, and not at home in Croydon.

I’ll line it up with my next trip into Ringwood. Roadworthy certificates are starting to appear in the slightly stressful dreams I’ve been having lately, which is clearly a sign that I need to cross this item off my neglected to-do list. We can’t get the car re-registered in Cass’s name until we have the RWC, which means we also can’t pick up the new number plates from VicRoads. Note to self: track down an auto service centre in Ringwood.

I hope she appreciates all the running around that’s gone into this gift, although I don’t expect that she will – 22 year-olds in south-east Melbourne tend to be pretty low in the department of understanding the hoop-jumping their parents go through on their behalf. Luckily, I’m high on the spirit of Christmas right now (if I wasn’t, I’d have been to the mechanic already rather than shopping for decorative marzipan balls).