This past Monday morning the phone rang bright and early. I answered, and after exchanging the usual pleasantries, my friend asked me:
"Does your car have tomato sauce on it?"
I hadn't been asked that one before, but I peeked out the window and sure enough, there was a giant swath of tomato sauce on the back drivers side of the car.
"Why, yes, my car does have tomato sauce on it!"
Turns out, while I had been at my training, John had taken the kids to church for the monthly potluck. He happened to park next to my friend's aunt, who brought a crockpot of meatballs and sauce to the dinner. Unfortunately, when she got out of the car she dropped said crockpot, and meatballs and sauce flew up and out.
"It was like a volcano," she said. "The sauce just spurted straight up. It was in my hair, all over the inside of my car . . . my shoes were covered."
Must have been quite the explosion to so thoroughly sauce two cars and one lady! But no harm done, I was looking for something fun to do with the kids that day, so why not go thru the carwash on our way home from visiting John at work? What a fun and spontaneous mama I am, right?!
I was a little embarrassed when I pulled my sauce-covered car up to the carwash. I had assumed it was the usual un-manned wash where you just swipe your debit card and in you go. Nope. Not one, not two, but three scraggly looking older teen guys working the carwash. Exactly why do you need three attendants at an automatic carwash? I rolled my window down early as I took note of my wash options (bronze, silver, or gold) and heard one of them comment with a snicker "That'll be a gold wash for sure."
At that I started to feel a little white trash with my sauce covered car, because really, who drives around with spaghetti sauce on their car? Never mind that there was a legitimate explanation, if your car is being made fun of by the three carwash dudes it must be bad.
I agreed to the silver wash (for a dollar more they get the underside) and in we went.
The first moment that water started to hit the car I realized this had been a very bad idea. First I heard some little sniffles from Sophia's direction, and then Jude's frightened wails filled the car.
"Isn't this fun, guys?! They're spraying our car with water to clean off the sauce! How FUN!!!"
That's when the water stopped and soap spray started. Not just a few bubbles, no, this was a full-on sudden giant SPLAT of soap that instantaneously covered the entire car with a thick layer of suds. The car grew quiet, and I thought that the kids had caught on to what a great adventure this was.
Nope, it was just the calm in the eye of the storm . . . from there on out the cries just ratcheted up with each new part of the wash.
Next up, the long blue straps that smack the car around, pushing the suds everywhere. Thwack, thwack, thwack! You can't see when they are coming thru the suds, they just hit out of nowhere. THWACK THWACK THWACK!
With the new-ish car seat regulations, Jude is still backward facing, so I couldn't see his face at all. I could hear him, though, and that gave me a good picture of what was going on back there. Tears streaming, screaming bloody murder, mouth wide open and cheeks red. I considered clambering out of my seat into the back, but decided I really should stay behind the wheel.
"It's okay, buddy, we're just cleaning the car, almost done!"
Coinciding with my "almost done" was the start of the giant vertical toilet brush looking things that aggressively hug your car and scrub it for way too long. (Why is everything that bright blue color? How about some pastel scrubbies for the kid's sakes? Or polka dots . . . anything else!) With that the kids went from just frightened to legitimately terrified. I have to give Sophia credit . . . she actually tried to comfort Jude while crying herself.
"It's okay, buddy, it's okay," sniff sniff . . .
As we moved into the rinse/wax spray Jude's cries slowed and he seemed to be getting over his fright. Phew. Longest car wash of my life!
How could I forget the dryer? You know, the five giant blowdryer tubes on each side at the exit that dry your car in three seconds flat. My son doesn't like a normal blowdryer and barely tolerates the vacuum . . . NOT a fan of the carwash dryer that is so powerful it lifts up the windshield wipers.
Finally done, I put the car into gear and peeled rubber. Poor Jude was still shaky when we got home five minutes later, clinging to me like saran wrap when I pulled him out of his carseat. We went inside and all cuddled up together for a little while until the kids had recovered from their terrifying ordeal.
When I told my friend about our experience, her husband had a positive spin on the whole thing . . . "If the kids are naughty, you can tell them to knock it off or you'll go thru the carwash again!"