Tag Archives: Car wash

Happy Valentine’s Day

I pulled into the driveway and blinked at the glare of the bright light coming from the open garage door. I glanced over to the front door of our home to see my Hubby and our two Norwegian Elkhound pups sitting in the glow of the front entry lights.

Hubby looks up from his smart phone, “Where have you been? You said you were about a minute away when we spoke on the phone and that was a long time ago!”

This was the not so perfect ending to a disastrous day. Most women’s expectations for Valentine’s Day are filled with lovely greeting cards, boxes of chocolates and red roses. Today was the stellar opposite.

On Thursday evening, I’d already been warned not to look for a card the next morning at the breakfast table.  Hubby came home complaining that evening; “There are just not any good cards this year!” He’d stopped at the grocery on his way home; “They had no selection at all!” He remarked that he saw the same guys in the aisle, when he’d circled back around a second time.  “The Hallmark section had the same stupid cards as the regular stationery aisle and none of us were having any luck.”

“Well gee, wait another day and you could have purchased at half price!” I voiced aloud the chagrin that more than one woman has experienced when the man of their dreams doesn’t exactly plan ahead for the biggest card and chocolate holiday of the year!

“And no one could deliver any flowers tomorrow either”. Hubby reported how shocked he’d been, when he’d phoned the local florist.  “They said that the soonest they could deliver an arrangement to our home was Saturday afternoon!”  Clearly other men in our locale had similar luck. The grocery where Hubby was shopping for a card must have been completely sold out of flowers suitable for a Valentine’s Day bouquet.

Valentine’s Day this year was clearly not going to be the swirls and curly accents atop premium truffles nestled in a satin ribbon wrapped box. Nope, not even the cello Red Heart overwrap on a box of Russell Stover’s was likely to appear on Friday morning with my name on it!

Lucky for my Hubby I wash my car frequently! The folks at the Pink Elephant Car Wash are extremely retail savvy and know their customers well. Women who patronize deluxe car wash businesses will undoubtedly browse and purchase from the wonderful selections of gifts and cards displayed in the lobby. On the rare occasion that men visit the car wash, they will be checking Fantasy Football scores on their I-Phones. Just in case the car wash gift center also stocks green pine tree shaped air fresheners and rotate through various “holiday” shapes too. This time of year they featured red hearts scented with vanilla or cinnamon.

Giving idle women opportunity and access to tempting goods is always great retail strategy. What better way to spend the time while waiting in the lobby? By the time the shiny clean and waxed cars with sparkling windows arrive at the other end, I have added to my stash on hand of Birthday Card. In fact I have loads of cute greetings for various holidays and just about any occasion, due to my penchant for a clean car! Hubby did thank me for the pretty card I left by his computer that morning. He finished off the box of 16 truffles by noon the next day too! Unfortunately my planning and execution, delivering on time only highlighted his lack and clearly did not score any points, despite the efforts I’d made.

To say the day had not gone well was the understatement of the year. In an attempt to make up for no card or flowers, Hubby had decided he’d take me to lunch. He was working from home today, so it would be convenient to do lunch. He had phoned our local favorite restaurant only to discover that they were completely booked. “Shocking that so early in the afternoon, on Valentine’s Day they would not have a table for two!”

We’d settled on a quick bowl of Udon soup and the Sushi special at our favorite local spot, Sushi Moto. I managed to coax the pups into the car and promised them an outing to the Off Leash Park if they were well behaved while we had our lunch.  I pushed the button on my Prius and nothing happened!

“What is wrong?”  Hubby has now joined the pups in the rear seat and is peering over at the dash which is now displaying a series of flashing warning lights.  He likes to ride in the back with the pups to reassure them during a car ride and keep them calm.

“This has never happened before” I explain. “It was just fine when I came home last night!”  I am now searching for the little tag that has the phone number of Toyota Care.  Hubby tries in vain to convince the pups to leave the car and get into his Volkswagen Jetta.  Nothing doing… they were promised a trip to the Doggie Park and were not going to be short changed!

I walked into the house to be able to hear the options being presented by the automatic voice answering system on the line that would provide me with “excellent service at Toyota Care today.”  Several selections later I finally was speaking with a real person.  After repeating back the VIN for my Prius, she assured me that someone would be calling me, “within the next hour” to schedule a local tow to the nearest Toyota dealership, where they would of course “provide me with excellent customer care.”

I relayed al of this to Hubby who finally picked up the 50 pounders and lugged them into his back seat. He was not happy to have lunch further delayed by the wait for a call from the local towing company. We agreed that in the essence of getting some food anytime soon, that he would drive over to Sushi Moto and order takeout. The pups were clearly not going to get out of his car willingly, so they went along for the ride.

By the time he returned with Styrofoam cups filled with hot noodles and plastic trays of salmon rolls, I had yet to hear from the folks at the “local” towing company.  But finally as I was slurping the last of my Udon, the phone rang and help was only a few blocks away.

In the midst of all of the car chaos, a DART bus appeared at the curb in front of our home, bearing our son Nick.  Nick is returning from his first of three gigs for Valentines’ Day this year. Nick is totally blind and so blissfully unaware of the presence of the paralyzed Prius parked in the garage.  My vehicle was not actually needed until his last engagement around 7:00pm. With an individual who is “on the spectrum” it is wise to sometimes not share details that will not impact them. Rather than introduce a new worry into his day, I decided not to burden him with the knowledge of the current motor malfunction until we’d determined a cause and an outcome for transporting the needed equipment later that evening.  His ride to the 2:00pm performance was on schedule and hopefully by the time he returned we’d be all set with either a functioning automobile or a loaner from the Toyota dealer, suitable in size to hold his keyboard and sound equipment.

As luck would have it the tow company’s truck arrived at the exact time as Nick’s driver for gig number two. Fortunately we were able to convince Nick that the best use of his time was to quickly get into the driver’s car and get onto his next engagement. We promised to fill him in upon his return home later that afternoon and assured him that this would not cause any problems for him at his last gig.

Toyota did turn around the car repair in record time. I returned home in less than two hours which was amazing for a Friday afternoon, going into Presidents Day holiday weekend! This was a good omen that the day was not a total loss after all.

The Elkhound Pups were still shortchanged on their outing and Hubby volunteered to walk them before dark. He mentioned a quick walk to our town’s center… coincidentally the location of a new local brewery and pub!  I had some errands left to do and while they were on their stroll I had a brilliant idea which might just salvage the day. The brewery only served their various ales, but no food permits were completed just yet. They graciously allowed patrons to bring in food to go along with their quaffs.  I phoned Hubby and when he didn’t answer, left a message that I could drive by our local Pagliacci’s Pizza which now featured “by the slice” servings.  “No longer do we need to wait to get our teeth into gooey cheese and crispy crusts to go with that Porter you are probably slurping down about now,” I said playfully.   I drove on and waited for a callback. After a few more minutes I redialed.

“Where are you?” I asked, wondering if he’d taken a different route that went into the dead zone of no cell signals.  “Did you get my message?  I am almost to the Pizza place.”

“No, I didn’t hear the phone and where are you anyway?  I am at the front door of the house. It’s locked! I don’t have my key.”

“I am literally just around the corner. I was headed to get your car filled with gas, but I can swing by and open the door. I will be there in just a second.”  I make a quick turn back into our neighborhood. As I slowdown in the front of the house, I spied my Hubby sitting on the porch, both pups at his feet.  I waved and hit the garage door button. Seeing the light come on as the door started rolling up, I drove off to fill Hubby’s almost empty tank and complete the last of my errands.

Turns out that Hubby had not actually seen me wave and was oblivious to the noise from the garage door opening. Whatever he was viewing on his Droid-RazorX, had completely captured his attention.

About 40 minutes later I returned to see Hubby still seated at the front door, oblivious to the gaping garage door and the bright lights piercing the darkness. From his seated position at the front door, he could not see the light beaming out from the garage and did not realize that the door had opened.

I was astonished and amazed! He knew from my phone call that I would be there in less than a minute, yet here he sat.  My first reaction was “Oh my gosh! I am so sorry that you are still stranded at the front door!”

Almost an hour had passed. I started to think aloud, never a good idea in this sort of situation… “Why,” I asked Hubby “Did you not call me back to ask where I was?” In a similar situation, I would have been frantic with worry, but he was remarkably calm as a cucumber!  “Were you not worried about me at all?”  This incited guilt and angry comments of denial ensued.  “Whose fault was it that he’d been stuck out front?”

Continuing on my collision course of discord, I pointed the obvious. He’d been so glued to his Droid that he hadn’t walked around to the rear patio and let himself into the house via that unlocked door. In fact he’d surely have noticed the gleaming lights from the garage door which was of course still wide open.

Yikes! This was a doomed day and I was pouring gasoline on the fire and fanning the flames!  Each time I opened my mouth to comment on the situation only increased the air supply to what was becoming a 3 alarm fire.

I took a breath, stopped talking and went into the kitchen to see what I could put together for a quick dinner. Hubby went to the rec room to watch his favorite Friday night program, which started right at 7:00pm. He was a bit anxious about missing the opening monologue, but I soon heard laughter floating up the stairs. After a bit he returned to the kitchen with a container of frozen Spinach Ravioli as a peace offering. He asked if I’d like help with preparation to complete the meal.  I was in the midst of making our favorite Dijon Vinaigrette recipe. I let him off the hook by saying I’d take it from there.

By now our son had returned from gig number three, slightly miffed that he and his performance partner had not been offered any of the special goodies served top residents during their performance at the deluxe residential facility for retirees. He may be blind but his nose is amazing at detecting all the wonderful aromas that swirl around in the air.

I let him know what we were having for our dinner. Vegetarian fare is not his favorite. He chose a leftover entrée containing sausage from the night before instead. He was still worried about his favorite part of any meal…dessert. I let him know that I had saved him a slice of the special cake I’d made earlier in the week. His smile lit up the entire kitchen.  “I love you Mom!”

I am sure glad that one of the men in my life felt kindly toward me on Valentine’s Day!

Readers… how did you fare this year?

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Girl Cars

Girl Cars vs. Boy Cars

“Girl cars always have great stuff.” This comment came from my youngest son while a passenger in my car after his simple request for a tissue was immediately fulfilled.

“What do you mean by Girl Cars?” I asked, trying to decipher his label. He is the owner and driver of a vehicle too, so I was intrigued by his comment. “Do you mean a particular color or model of car? Or just a car owned by female verses an auto owned and driven by a guy?”

“I mean when girls drive cars, their’s or even someone’s they borrow. Girls always have stuff that you might need while on the road.” He explained: “Girls always have Chap-stick and Kleenex. Girls have something to drink, like  water bottles in their cars.”

I laugh: “The Kleenex box actually has some fresh, unused tissues in it too, right?”

 The back seat of my Hubby’s car typically has so much tissue litter that one cannot see the floor! If we are going to use his vehicle to transport our two Elk hound pups, a major clean up of the back seat has to occur before they are allowed access.

“Well being a Mom myself I can attest to the fact that my car is usually well stocked with emergency items.”  I sigh about the fact that my kids are grown but the old habits still persist.

“Yeah, kind of like a Diaper Bag on wheels!” He snickered.

“These days I would call it a Mobile Emergency Kit.  My childcare days are long gone. Even the grandchildren are passengers these days! They are old enough to drive themselves.

“Not true! Your puppies are your new grand kids!” He chuckled pointing to a small bag of Maggie’s Yummy dog treats nestled in the center console of my Prius. To further drive home the point he opened the glove box and pulled out some of my “extra” plastic bags.

“Hey… Poop Happens!   A good dog owner must anticipate the need for picking up the waste that occurs on walks or at the Off Leash Park.” I am proud of the fact that I have never knowingly left dog shit lurking at the edge of a sidewalk like an organic I.E.D. for waiting to blow on some unsuspecting pedestrian’s foot wear.

“Guilty as charged!” I guess he is right. “The stock is still on hand, only the nature of the merchandise has changed”.

“But not just in Moms’ cars.” He clarifies “Most females have well stocked and clean cars too.”

“When Girl Cars get cleaned, their female owners actually use the vacuum devices at the Car Wash.”

Remembering the one time I actually saw the floor mats in my Hubby’s car in the dating phase of our relationship; “Yeah, guys mostly clean their cars to impress girls on first dates!”

“Or if they have to pick up a female relative up at the airport.” My son chuckles about his Dad trying to convince Grandma that a ride home on the Shuttle would be more convenient. “Yes, the Shuttle saved him major time… by not having to clean the car, not the 2 hour round trip to get her at SeaTac.”

My son continued to lavish praise; “Girls’ cars usually something to eat in the glove box besides a very old and crumbly package of saltines. There is almost always a water bottle in their cars.”

“The Water Bottle is actually full of potable liquid, not some cloudy murk that has probably passed the expiration date?” I laugh out loud. “I’ve seen seeing water in bottles that I would not even use to clean my windshield, let alone drink!  By the way, are you hungry? There is a bag of organic raw almonds in the glove box.”

I remember opening the passenger door on a City Utility work truck to a wave of water bottles and soda cans crashing onto the driveway. Granted this was after a road trip for Hubby’s work in the field.  “I certainly would not want the job of managing the Motor Pool fleet at the City!”

“At least the motor pool has electric vehicles.” I reminisce, “When was the last time you borrowed any guy’s car that had more than a quarter of a tank of gasoline?”

I recall the starving student days of our early marriage when we had little cash. “It was a luxury if we could fill the tank with more than five dollars worth of gasoline at the pump at any given time.”

I certainly have shaken off that practice. “Most women I know would rather spend an extra five minutes to completely fill the tank than go back every few days to partially do the job.”

I could totally relate to a recent conversation. A female friend stated; “I always have to build extra time into the schedule if using my Hubby’s car.”  Inevitably she’d need time for a stop at the gas station before traveling very far!

I have a much bigger list to go over before an outing involving the use of my  Hubby’s car! Well before the scheduled departure time,  I check not only the gas gauge but also tire pressures. I do that little “walk around ” one sees at the Car Rental places, before they turn you loose in their cars.  I glance at the little clear plastic sticker that indicates the date of the last oil change too! Thank God for those stickers! I am sure a woman must have invented these… otherwise how would we ever know? I do draw the line at popping the hood and pulling the oil stick.

I have  been known to stealth his car out of the drive way for a quick spin.  Better to hear those unusual noises, like the squeal of a loose belt or the screech of metal on metal from the brakes, before a trip begins for real!

All of this data suggests a few things that we women could do to “help out” our guys with cars. Gifts could be so simple. Here is my suggestion list for the coming birthdays and holidays.

1)      An Eddie Bauer car kit! These Olive Green canvas bags are totally geeked out with everything that one could ever possibly need in the event of a breakdown! I’ve seen Red Cross Emergency Medical kits that pale in comparison! Another product surely developed by a female! Maybe Eddie’s Mom?

2)      Gift Card from the local car wash! Bonus if they have “vacuum interior” as part of the deal.

3)      Gift Card from the Oil and Lube place! Love those little stickers!

4)      Gift Card from the guys favorite FAST-GAS Station!  (…and that would be the one on their way to work! Right next to the Drive-Thru Coffee kiosk with girls in Bikinis!)

5)      Flashlight / Key chain embossed with the TOWING COMPANY phone number. Bonus if you can get one that is approved by your Auto insurance company!

6)      If you are really feeling generous… spring for a membership to AAA! Remember that AAA covers the member, regardless of whose car they are traveling in… and it might be yours!

Happy Motoring!

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