Like most car owners in the continental US, my van has picked up a few months worth of salt and dirt. Two weeks ago when we had the first warm-up, I happily said “Yes” to the automated gas station machine that asked if I wanted a car wash.
Then I turned around and saw the line of 18 cars ahead of me, at which point I pulled into a parking spot and went inside to ask how long my code was good for. They told me a week. No problem. They also mentioned that since the car wash is open 24 hours, that late evenings and early mornings were the best times.
I checked back four times over the next few days. There were always at least three cars in line, so I figured I’d come back.
One time I went by and saw no cars in line and swooped in for my turn only to find a repair van working on the car wash.
One evening after a dinner out with the family, I thought about trying to go through the car wash, but both kids had drunk two milks each at dinner (my husband is a big fan of free refills) and I was afraid one of them would pee with all that water. Getting the outside of the car washed wouldn’t really help if the inside was a puddle.
Finally, one day when I had 20 minutes to spare before meeting Nick’s bus I got in line to wait behind only one car. I punched in my code and waited for my turn.
The car in front of me somehow forgot to leave when his car wash was over and ended up staying in for mine too. Grrrr. I called inside the gas station with the number that was posted on the car wash machine. Much to my relief, they kindly gave me another code so that I could stay in line. Except when I pulled in, the machine kept telling me to pull forward. I pulled forward and then back and then forward and then back. After 3 minutes of driving in the car wash I pulled around the front and went it.
I explained that the car wash wasn’t working and that my code hadn’t worked and that the I had been trying to get my car washed for a week and I was losing my patience. She asked if I wanted another code or my money back. I took my money and no one got hurt.
The next time I got gas, I pushed the “No” button with a little too much glee. By then I had decided to wash the damn car in my drive way with a bucket and the hose.
It ended up being too cold to bucket wash and the dirt and salt were now taunting me every time I looked at the van. Nick and I ran errands today and ended up with 30 minutes to kill. I decided to give the car wash one more shot. I pulled up to the machine to enter my debit card. Ha ha ha ha. The machine only takes cash or a code. So I get my wallet out. I am lucky enough to find a $20. Ha ha ha ha. The machine takes quarters, dollars, fives and tens. But not twenties.
So I pull though the car wash AGAIN and pull up to a gas pump. I just got gas a few days ago, but didn’t fill it all the way up because it was cold and windy. So I pumped my 8 gallon minimum (barely), got my dollar discount and a new code.
Nick and I pulled around, punched in the code (after the car in front of us LEFT) and got the freaking car washed.
So yeah, I haven’t felt very productive for the last few weeks. Between being a touch stressed, having a sick kiddo and spending two weeks of my life on a 3-minute car wash, I’m ready for March.