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Five equals six

This article, by Justin Baiocchi, was originally published in The Northern Daily Leader on 29 August 2015.

Life is full of challenges, some serious and some less so. A challenge of the less serious form arose recently, prompted by the discovery that my wife and I would be having our third child. It wasn’t how would we cope with another attention-demanding little bundle of love, when we already had two of those, or how would we manage with a family of five in a three bedroom house, an intolerable situation almost unheard of in the 21st century; no, it was much more challenging than that: how would we fit three children’s car seats in the back of the car? Obviously other families have faced and dealt with the same challenge, but it seemed impossible to me that we could fit a third car seat in there. Each car seat looked about two feet wide, while the width of the car was around five feet – fitting six feet of car seats into a five foot wide car was clearly some form of higher mathematics I had not encountered before. I must have been absent that day at school or university or wherever it is where they teach you that five equals six.

Undaunted by the apparent impossibility of the task, Liz and I ordered the new car seat online and awaited its arrival (choosing the car seat itself took the best part of a week – my main criteria was price, whereas Liz wanted a nuclear-bunker protection rating, the ability to withstand a direct meteorite hit on planet Earth and built-in video surveillance). When the new car seat finally arrived, we set aside an entire weekend to try and fit it in the car. Now, let me first say that I had always thought that Liz and I were both reasonably intelligent people. We had made it through life without been tripped up by some of the more tricky events, like poking your eye out with a stick or setting your hair on fire. Between us we also had over twenty years’ worth of tertiary and post-graduate education: that is, two Bachelor degrees, three Masters degrees, a PhD and a number of other qualifications thrown in for good measure. And could we make five equal six? Not on your life. After two days of wrestling with car seats, seat belts, clips, armrests and headrests, we gave up and took the car into town where some guy did the job in ten minutes for thirty dollars.

The same rule applies to managing your finances as it does to car seat installation – if you don’t have the right skills or experience, the best approach is to get help. Unless you already know how five equals six, in which case, go for it!