As you remember from a few weeks ago, (click here for Part 1 of the story) my hubby and I had a disastrous trip to the car wash. We’d tried using the car wash vacuum cleaner, which failed to suck up the dirt in our SUV and instead spit out trash from the vacuum’s other end. And then I thought I noticed some movement at the optometrist’s window next door ….
[Flashback: We stood in the hot sun, staring at the machine for five minutes more, debating whether it really sucked or not, and then I noticed a slight movement at Dr. Brian’s window. I peered through my sunglasses—which unfortunately do not fit over the new glasses Dr. Brian sold me—and wondered if we were being watched. But since my new glasses were not sitting on my nose and instead were hooked into the top button of my blouse so I wouldn’t lose them, everything looked blurry. I chalked up the feeling to paranoia.
Still … just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean someone isn’t watching you.]
I gave up trying to figure it out, climbed back into the car, and we drove to the car wash tunnel’s entrance. After three failed attempts on a Visa card—one with enough credit to buy a car dealership—we put in cash and the tunnel gave the green light. We moved forward, hitting the little thingy at the end that's designed to stop a person from driving through the car wash and into the wall on the other side. Not that I would know from experience about driving into cement walls.
With a whir and a clang, the machine started chunk-a-chunking its way toward its first cleaning location, our rear bumper. Suddenly, the car started rocking like a boat in a poorly directed, B movie.
“Earthquake!” I yelled, wondering how you flee a car wash when it's falling on your head.
Clunk! The machine stopped. Mysteriously enough, so did the rocking. I looked through the back window to see colorful strips of whirly-washer cloth still clinging to the rear glass, and the machine now seemed a little too intimate with the SUV’s rear bumper.
Panic set in. The whirly-washer had us by the bumper in back and the metal thingy held us in its grasp in front. How were we going to get out?
Before I had a chance to hyperventilate, Russ said, “The car wash seems broken.”
Duh. Do ya think? Those weren’t the most helpful words he’d ever spoken, and I decided I was glad we’d never taken a trip on the Titanic. He’d have been the kind to say, “Oh look, an iceberg. Is it possible we’ll hit it?”
Russ paused, and rather than wait for more words of wisdom to come pouring forth from his lips, I searched under the seat, hoping to find a paper bag to breathe into. Instead I found a stale chocolate chip cookie and a rubber band. Starvation seemed a real possibility so I ate the cookie for sustenance, and then put the rubber band around my head and snapped it a few times.
Russ started laughing. “What are you doing? You have red marks all over your forehead.”
“It's a distraction technique. I'm doing it so I won’t hyperventilate, because in case you haven't noticed ...." I paused for emphasis. "We’re trapped in a car wash!”
At that moment, a sign on the wall caught my attention: If car wash breaks down, push this button to release your vehicle’s tires.
I couldn’t believe it—an escape button! I jumped out of the car; water drizzled onto me but I managed to make it over to the button without slipping on the wet concrete and breaking my cumber-bum.
Once … twice … three times I jabbed at the button, but nothing happened. As I was about to scream for help, I noticed another button, just below it. “Don’t worry,” I yelled to Russ, as soapsuds from the machine plopped onto my head. “I was pushing the wrong button. This one will do it!”
Knowing our dilemma was solved, I hit the second button. A hydraulic burst of air—strong enough to blow the hair off my head—blasted through the tunnel, along with a loud whoosh, as the Plexiglas door at the end slid down, closing the exit.
Russ rolled down his window and looked at me. “I’m glad you and I were never on the Titanic together.” He opened the passenger’s side for me. “The whirly-washer moved out of the way when the door came down. Climb in and I’ll back the car out.”
As we did, I looked over toward Dr. Brian’s office, and there on the concrete retaining wall—not more than 5 feet away—stood Dr. Brian and his assistant, Mr. Kevin. I ripped the rubber band off, hoping they hadn't noticed.
“Hi there,” I said, doing my best to look nonchalant despite the fact that I had red streaks all over my forehead, and we were backing the car out of the car wash.
“Do you need any help?” Dr. Brian offered. Then he looked over at Mr. Kevin, and I swear I saw a trace of a grin as he continued, “We’ve been sitting in the office watching you, and now we’re wondering why your car is wet, but still dirty, and why you’re backing it out.”
I didn’t know quite how to explain, so finally said, “The vacuum cleaner didn’t suck, then the car wash tried to eat our SUV, then I pushed the wrong button and it closed the door, then—”
Dr. Brian said, “You know what? Never mind; don’t try to explain.”
And as they walked away, I'm pretty certain I heard Dr. Brian whisper to Mr. Kevin, “Remind me never to go on a cruise with them. I’m afraid it would end up like the Titanic.”
The air is cooling, the hay's been cut, the grain has been threshed, and it's time for the kiddos to get back to reading, writin' and 'rithmetic. In honor of the occasion, Sam's Club, General Mills, and MyBlogSpark are holding a back-to-school event.
And I'm holding a fun giveaway!
The Giveaway (August 23-Sep 3, 2010): A $25 Sam's Club Gift Card. Ooo-ha, you can't lose with that!
Sam's Club, General Mills and MyBlogSpark's Thoughts: As your family starts to think about the new school year, you may be wondering how you can collect the most Box Tops to help support participating schools in your area.
For an easy solution, head over to your local Sam´s Club from Aug. 11 through Aug. 31 and earn more cash for your school. At the Sam´s Club Back-to-School Event, you can get a head start on your collection and find 6 Box Tops on participating General Mills products. With your favorite Box Tops for Education brands at a great value, Sam´s Club is your one-stop destination for all the back-to-school supplies you need to send your kids off to school with confidence!
In addition, Sam´s Club is giving you the opportunity to earn even more Box Tops when you upgrade to a "Plus Membership." From Aug. 6 - Aug. 13, or while supplies last, visit the Member Services Desk of your local Sam´s Club and upon payment for your Plus Membership, you will receive a certificate for 150 Bonus Box Tops! For more information on how you can take advantage of the Back-to-School Event at Sam´s Club, visit www.samsclub.com today!
[Note from Cindy: I was at Sam's Club on Aug 16 and they still had the 150 Bonus Box Tops Gift Certificates available, so it's worth looking into when you're there.]
My Opinion: This is a great opportunity to earn money for your favorite school. Sam's Club has a multitude of products from General Mills that carry box top points. I bought a two-pack of Romano's Macaroni Grill Fettuccine Alfredo for a great price and got 6 box tops on each package. If you enjoy New England clam chowder, Progresso offered 14 box tops. And if you're looking for fruit snacks to send in school lunches, Scooby Doo Fruit Snacks offered 6 box tops.
HOW TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this article before midnight, MDT, Sep 3, 2010. Subscribe to my newsletter (on the right sidebar) and tell me you did it, OR mention that you're a newsletter follower to receive an extra entry. If you're not a regular follower, be sure to leave your email address so you can be contacted should you win.
Can't think of anything to say in a comment? Tell me which General Mills products you enjoy the most, or to which school you plan to donate box tops.
(Thanks for entering! This $25 gift card giveaway sponsored by Sam's Club, General Mills, and MyBlogSparkTM . All information, plus the compensation I received in the form of a Sam's Club Plus Membership and a $25 gift card, came from Sam's Club/General Mills through MyBlogSpark. However, my opinions of the event, of the companies involved, and the quality of the products mentioned are my own. If for some reason there is no winner, or I can not get in contact with the winner, I will redraw or give the prize to charity, at MyBlogSpark's and my discretion.)
Today we're discussing the vastly important topic of dwindling planetary food supplies and the need to have a year's food storage in order to survive the upcoming famine. But first, let's talk about something of even greater impact ... washing cars!
Most days my SUV looks like it was born in a mud hole and raised by the three little pigs. However, a week ago I decided to bite the bullet and take on the onerous task of washing the Nighthawk.
No, I wasn't planning on hosing down those little birds that fly overhead in the evening. "Nighthawk" is the nickname for our black SUV. Black being a relative term, since the car was so covered in dust it looked more like a large lump of burned out charcoal.
At any rate, I pondered the logistics of the event. Get out a bucket of soapy water; drag out the hose; battle Corky Porky Pie, the dog, who thinks a jet of water is a demon; chase off the resident bees by spraying a stream of water at them; take Corky Porky to the vet to have the hose disentangled from his teeth; take myself to the emergency room for multiple bee stings ... or ... (tiny trumpets herald in the distance) ....
Ta-da! Take the car to the car wash!
Now I know that one does not have to be a Harvard graduate nor a genius the caliber of Nancy Pelosi to drive a car through the car wash. However, I've always found it's better to have a second person in attendance in case the car bucks and throws its transmission out of whack on that metal thingy. You know—the one that's designed to stop a person from driving totally through the car wash and into the wall on the other side. Not that I would know from experience about driving into a cement wall.
For that reason, I invited along my husband, Russ, who is neither a Harvard graduate nor resembles Nancy Pelosi. Well, except maybe for that wild-eyed, "I'm almost ready for the state mental institution" look that they both have in common. But ... that's a topic for another time.
We drove to the car wash. It’s conveniently located just outside my optometrist's office, should one ever need a car wash and an eye exam at the same time. After nearly sideswiping the metal vacuum cleaners—yes, those ones that resemble something from the old TV show, Lost in Space—Russ stopped the SUV. I thought about asking him if he wanted to step over for a visit with Dr. Brian but when I opened my mouth to speak, Russ gave me that wild-eyed Nancy Pelosi look.
Russ stepped out of the Nighthawk and plunked 75¢ into the vacuum canister to start it. I opened the door, clapped my hands on my ears, and over a roar rivaling that of a C-130 military transport yelled, "How much time do you get for 75¢?"
“At least five or ten …”
The rest of Russ’s words were drowned out as the vacuum cleaner’s pitch and volume rose. Dust swirled around us and the machine started blowing bits of bubble gum and cigarette butts out its other end. I ran over to see if I could help—just in time for the vacuum cleaner to end its cycle.
“That’s it?” I looked at Russ in disbelief. “We got thirty seconds for 75¢? That sucks!”
“You don’t need to yell anymore,” Russ said, holding his head as if I’d broken his eardrums. “And, no, it didn’t really suck. All it did was spit out someone else’s previously vacuumed dirt.”
We stood in the hot sun, staring at the machine for five minutes more, debating whether it really sucked or not, and then I noticed a slight movement at Dr. Brian’s window. I peered through my sunglasses—which unfortunately did not fit over the new glasses Dr. Brian sold me—and considered whether we were being watched. But since my new glasses were hooked into the top button of my shirt so I wouldn’t lose them, rather than sitting on my nose so I could see, everything looked blurry.
Calling over my shoulder to Russ, I said, "Do you think Dr. Brian can see us over here?"
"Naw. And even if he could, why would he want to spend time watching people at the car wash? You're just being paranoid."
I stared at the blurry windows and wondered—just because a person is paranoid, does it mean that someone isn't watching? I wasn't so sure ....
[Stay tuned for the rest of the story in two weeks. In the meantime, drop off a comment and tell me if you’ve ever encountered a vacuum that sucked—or didn’t as the case may be—and whether or not you’ve had that prickly-feeling-on-the-back-of-the-neck that tells you someone is watching.]
Ever wanted to kill your spouse because he/she keeps interrupting something you're trying to do? If so, you'll get a charge out of Cindy's latest published story, "Texting on Ice" in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey.