“A flat white, extra shot and the fuel please. Sorry, I don’t know the number,” I said to the console operator at the service station we topped up at in Bowen as I pulled out my card. “It’s the diesel.”
This was the fifth time I’ve put fuel in our bus since we left Gympie, which is a mere 1000kms or 11 hours down the road. Because my father-in-law started to explain what’s involved if you run out of fuel with a diesel engine I’ve been treating a half empty tank as the sort of crisis Zeus would have assigned a god to.
Still, the actual process of filling the tank is pleasant enough. For one thing I get a break from driving and the kids, who aren’t allowed out of their seats at a service station unless they need to use the loo. Tracey will usually take them while I clean the windscreen or tell the bloke on the other side of the bowser how great my bus is.
But on this occasion the windscreen was clean and the only other person attending their car was too far away for polite conversation.
In general I was just drifting off a bit and not paying as much attention to the world as perhaps I should have been. As I picked up a nozzle I distinctly remember thinking, ‘Premium Diesel? I’ve never heard of that before.’
Which is probably why, standing at the checkout five minutes later to pay for fuel, the next thing out of the lady’s mouth made my blood run cold.
“I don’t have any diesel owing,” she said. “Do you mean the premium unleaded?”
I wasn’t hooked up to any diagnostic machines so I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure my blood pressure hit a personal high score at this point. Words started to back up in my constricted throat, and then came pouring out.
“OMG! I bloody hope not,” I blurted while wondering how much this was going to cost to put right in the week before Christmas and who I was going to get to tell Tracey. “Y0u must have another bowser on the screen. Shit! Tell me there’s such a thing as premium diesel. Please!”
“It’s okay,” said a voice from the kitchen: the gravelly, grill-jockey voice of an angel. “His wife paid for it on her way to the toilets with their kids.”
Maybe going forward I should order the coffee before I attempt to fill up the bus. I better drink it too.
Some home video of the kids being super excited because after two big days (8am to 7pm & 8am to 4pm) we arrived at our Christmas destination – Wonga Beach, north of Port Douglas. Now to relax and enjoy this tiny bit of paradise which my sister, Kez, and her hunka-hunka burning love, Daz, manage. Try to ignore the sisterly shove in Miss4’s back from Miss6 and try not to notice the mess down the aisle where some stuff had moved out from under beds and our table when I went round corners and over the speed bumps. And if you manage all that, try really hard not to notice how fat I am. Or my chins. Thank you.
Raising a family on little more than laughs