Allow me to start at the beginning. My father has a touch of the OCD, which he kindly passed down to me. His OCD is manifest in many ways, but nowhere is it as prominent as in the way he cares for his car. It is his most prized possession. He loves his cars ALMOST as much as he loves his Krispy Kreme donuts — another passion he has passed down. Thank goodness ours went out of business before I went gluten free!
I liken his car to a museum. He keeps it in impeccable condition. He bathes it regularly, by hand of course. No commercial carwash will do — not even the brushless ones that claim no foreign object will come in contact with your car.
The car lives in the garage (which is also pristine — the floors of my dad’s garage are cleaner than my kitchen counters. For realz.) He goes to great lengths not to drive it once it has been bathed.
The inside is as immaculate as the out. There is never so much as a spare Kleenex or a speck of cookie crumb on the floor. He even places the rear middle seatbelt so it lays in a straight line, perpendicular to the seat back. To insure that it stays in place, he uses a paperclip to attach the two pieces together.
No, I’m not exaggerating. Not one iota.
Everyone steers clear of Dad’s car. No one would dream of asking to drive it. If it’s been washed within the last 48 hours, good luck trying to get him to take you anywhere in it. And if it’s supposed to rain? Forgetaboutit. That car is not emerging from the garage until all paved surfaces are completely dry.
Then I came along. My parents generously bought me a car when I was 17 — a cute little white compact sedan with four wheel drive and blue cloth interior. I loved that car, but I was a typical college student. I used to come home with my car trashed. My dad would grumble, “I didn’t raise you to take care of a car like this.” But he would usually spend an afternoon cleaning it out for me and getting it back to its original condition.
Then I got married. My husband was no help — he is no more particular about the state of his car than I. If it gets us where we need to go, that’s good enough for him. Our cars remained in an almost constant state of pigsty.
We eventually gave the faithful little white car away, and I got a minivan. I am sure I was good to it at first. But then life took over. And also? I have three kids. The van was almost always trashed.
My dad used to wash and detail my car every time he came to visit. I would always swear I was going to keep up with it, but no matter what I did, it seemed to collect trash like the side of the highway. Somewhere along the way, he just gave up and stopped cleaning my car. I can’t say that I blame him. It was pathetic.
I got a new car.
This one was mine, all mine. I saved for the down payment. I proved to my husband that I could support the monthly payments. I researched. I test drove. I debated. This time it was my turn. After ten years driving a practical mom-mobile, I bought my dream car.
Okay, well . . . I got my dream mom car, anyway. Some day when my kids are grown and gone, I’ll have my Miata. For now, this is my baby.
Now granted, it is still just two months old . . . to me. It was built in 2007, but for me it’s a new car. I mean, hello, I drove my last car for ten years.
So far my new car remains pristine. I am diligent about washing it and vacuuming it out. Granted, I don’t hand wash it very often, but I do run it through the brushless car wash about once a week. (Sorry, Dad! But they are so convenient!!) I keep a stash of quarters so I can vacuum it out regularly. I strictly enforce a “no eating rule” with the kids, and I make them clear their crap out daily. I even keep a stash of baby wipes in the glove compartment so I can dust off the insides at a moment’s notice. I KNOW!
Isn’t it funny how life comes full circle?
The other night, my husband was getting ready to drive my son to his baseball game. My son asked, “Which car are we taking?”
I automatically responded, “I just washed my car today. If you take the Volvo, make sure you don’t park in that dusty lot. Park along the grass.”
My husband slowly swiveled his head to look at me. “What did you just say?”
I giggled and shrugged. What can I say? That was $7 I could have spent at Starbucks. Let’s try to keep it clean for at least 24 hours.
My husband turned back to adjust the sprinkler that was watering our grass, and as he moved it over an inch closer to my car, I said, “Oh, and if that water splatters on my car, it’s gonna leave spots, and I’m not going to be happy.”
He paused for a moment and then he said, “And what if it rains while I’m gone?”
“It won’t. I checked the weather,” I promptly replied.
He shook his head and started walking away (but not until he carefully positioned the sprinkler out of the way of my car.)
“I am my father’s daughter, after all!” I called after him, still chuckling to myself.
There are worse people to take after, I suppose.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! Here’s to clean cars and Krispy Kreme — not at the same time, though!!!