Sometimes I think, ”Well, Wendy you can’t win for trying.”
My dad taught me a few important things in life: take care of your car, use your money wisely and never get upset over things you can’t control. I do #1 very well, #2 I’m always trying to improve and #3 I gave up a long time ago. I take care of my car and try to make it last 10 years. Wipe down and vacuum the inside, change the oil, rotate the tires and keep it clean. After weeks of traveling across the world (I mean Texas) and then a weekend at the deer camp, the car was begging for a good cleaning.
You know the convenient little car washes where the man scrubs the back of your car for you before sending you through the huge wipers and foam spray? The price for those places range from $8-$12. Twelve dollars for a car wash. You’d think your car would come out on the other side as a Porsche…
But we Americans pay for luxury, right? Seriously when we went shopping for our large family car we found out that the vehicles with captains chairs as a second row actually cost about $7,000 more than a traditional bench row seat. You’re paying more money for one less seat was all I was thinking.
”You’re paying for luxury,” the car dealer told us. What he didn’t tell us as we signed the papers for an 8-passenger, bench seat suburban is that black upholstered seats are not ideal for a family car. Probably why it was a ‘new’ car sold at a ‘used’ price after sitting on the lot for over a year.
Back to this story, I decided after several luxurious car washes ending with brown dirt still caked on to the back of my car (and no Porsche in sight) I was going to save money and go to the quarters-only, $1.25, do-it-yourself spray n wash. I remember my mom going to these when I was a kid. I always wondered why she ran around like a crazy person spraying and yanking and spraying and running some more. Now I know! That woman would some how wash our entire car before the time ran out without adding any more money. Talk about a display of coordination and agility!
This day’s endeavor was well planned out and happened after my every-2-week grocery trip where I’d get $5 worth in quarters at the cash register. I left the small town grocery store feeling already successful and eager to move to my next item on my productive list. CL fell asleep in her car seat right as scheduled for her nap time and the car wash was in my sight. Rarely have I ever been to one of these self-service washes where the change machine worked, so I victoriously drove passed it into the cleanest looking vacant slot. I was so ready to prove to the world (myself) that I can make my car cleaner for much cheaper all by myself. Insert Katy Perry’s Roar in the background.
I neatly stacked my quarters in $1 increments on the little ledge next to the operating dial, put in about $1 more than needed to give me some added time and started my soap-water rinse. Sleeping toddler, woman on a mission, this was going to end well. After the total car-soap rinse, I put in another dollar to add some comfort time to my next step of car beautification: the soap scrub. I turned the dial, heard the bubbles start to foam and quickly grabbed the long rod and brush connected to the hose from the ceiling. The brush was still dry. That’s weird I thought. Then I saw it. There was a tear in the hose right where it met the brush handle and all of the soap foam was squirting out in all directions.
Think Wendy. You have to make this work. You’ve already started this and spent $3! I pointed the broken end of the handle toward the side of my car to spray the foam that way, then I turned the handle and brushed it with the dry brush as the soap sprayed all over me and in my eye. IN MY EYE. The burning pain made both eyes start to water but this small mishap wasn’t going to deter my goal of a cheaply cleaned car. I kept running around my car quickly changing from the brush end of the pole then to the torn hose end spraying my car then spraying my self. As I brushed my car, of course the hose end was swinging all around me spraying the soap from my head to my shoes, all over the ground, the walls, my hair.
What could people driving by possibly have been thinking when they saw this show? And the lady in the stall next to me as I repeatedly yelled ‘Are you serious?! Really?! You’ve got to be kidding me!’ She poked her head around the wall at one point quickly dodging flying soap foam. But I finished brushing that entire car including the tires. Then quickly ran over to the operation knob again knowing I had lost precious time with the slight problem. Great. Plenty of quarters left in time to fully rinse. I started the rinsing and easily got all the way finished, but without the spot-free. Have you seen that joke of a water pressure? Drip, drip. I grabbed my quarters, wiped my completely soaked hands on my soapy shirt and climbed in my car to a still peacefully sleeping baby girl.
Seriously that just happened. Was it worth saving the $7? Well, I think so! I got home and closely inspected my car to find very little dirt on the back, bottom, and around the tires. I won!
So my answer to this question: Sometimes if you want it done right you just have to do it yourself. It may not be luxurious or pretty at the time, but you’ll have more quarters in your pocket in the end. And hey maybe I’m getting a little better at Dad lesson #3.
When I got home and was unloading all those groceries, I told Daddo about my car washing experience.
His response? ”Did this happen before or after you went to the store?”