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Waxing Poetic September 18, 2014

Filed under: Automotive — acgheen @ 12:00 am
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Last night, a miracle happened. For the first time in two years, I washed my truck. I confess that I think about washing the little gray vehicle on a regular basis. Unfortunately, there is a distinct difference between thinking and doing. I promise myself that someday, when I have some time, I’ll get out there with a hose and sponge. But someday never comes. So with each gust of wind, my truck gets a little grayer. With each rain storm that “flame job” created by the rust streaks grows more vivid.

Truth be told, I will never have enough “free time”. While my schedule changes semi-regularly, it seems that just as soon as a block of several hours has opened up, they’re filled again. Work, school, family, recreation – all vie for my attention, creating a delightful tug-of-war between priorities and hobbies, a palpable tension between what I need to do and what I want to do.

I admit that I’m usually pretty good at maintaining the requisite balance. (Though there are a few who would argue that the line between work and hobbies is, in my case, rather a thin one.) In the case of housework, however… let’s just say that anything involving the removal of dust doesn’t top the charts. After all, dust is a recurring enemy and, after years of watching my mother’s perpetual battle against it, I have determined that any concerted effort to remove it is really just an exercise in futility.

So washing the little vehicle (which I once christened “Poetic”) gets pushed to the background. The “free time” fills up once more with new subjects to study, new opportunities to serve or volunteer, new friends, and new adventures. And the old truck that gets me there gets ignored.

Last night, however, all of that changed. Despite the wind and the heat, I gathered up my courage, a bottle of soap, and my shower shoes and headed not-so-gaily into the driveway.

I admit that I had hoped to find a good set of speakers to plug my iPod into. The idea of blasting Renee Fleming singing opera at about the same volume as the neighbor’s rock music seemed appealing. (If I have to listen to them, why shouldn’t they have to listen to me?) And it would have been a nice distraction as well. But there were none, so I plugged in some ear buds and set to work.

For an hour, I scrubbed each surface, working hard to remove the rust streaks and filth. (I discovered that my gray pickup is actually white!) I cleaned the interior and vacuumed the seats. And for a finishing touch, I applied a layer of protective wax. In theory, I believe that my actions will serve to prevent any damage to the rust which I was unable to remove. In reality, it justified the name of my little vehicle. Yes, for the first time in two years, I waxed “Poetic”.


Vehicle Maintenance Day August 28, 2014

Filed under: Automotive — acgheen @ 12:00 am
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I am writing this post on a Wednesday. It’s last Wednesday of the month, to be precise. And since it is both a Wednesday and the final Wednesday of the month, it is also “Vehicle Maintenance Day”. I established the day specifically to meet the needs of my rusty, somewhat neglected old pickup truck. I know it needs a bath and that the fluids need to be checked. It probably wouldn’t hurt to vacuum the seats or Armorall the cracked dashboard either. And all of this will be accomplished today – on my newly established, monthly “holiday”.

The need for this special day is evidenced by the fact that for me, vehicle maintenance is a bit like flossing my teeth; it’s something that I know ought to be done (and probably needs to be done), but is so frequently crowded out by things which, quite frankly, are just more interesting. Given the choice between cooking a gourmet meal and waxing my truck, dinner wins out. Faced with the choice between a bicycle ride or vacuuming the interior of the cab – well, who doesn’t want to be peddling along a pathway on a sunny day like this? Offered the option to play my guitar or get my hands greasy… you get the idea.

Of course, I justify my vehicular neglect by pointing out that as soon as I wash my truck, a good gust of wind will blow bits of a farmer’s field all over it. And those growing rust spots are as good as an alarm system! After all, who’s going to steal a vehicle that looks like the engine may drop out at any moment? It’s all part of a plan: a very well calculated plan that usually results in my sitting on the couch with a good book rather than actually standing in the driveway holding a sponge.

I admit that I’ve been able to assuage some of the guilt I feel by ensuring that, at least once a month, I read a good book about auto maintenance. (Or something similar. Today it was a bicycle repair manual.) This gives me the sense that I have some expertise in the neglected matter without actually demanding that I do anything about the problem. I may not take the time to tighten those squealing belts, but at least I know that the belts are the source of the obnoxious noise.

Still, there it sits in the driveway. My little white “baby” pickup, its bright white paint marred by the orange rust colonies building around the wheel wells. It’s a bit windy today, but I won’t let that stop me. After all, I planned for this. It’s a monthly holiday and I will soon begin celebrating with a bucket of soapy water, a garden hose, and the latest episode of Car Talk. Long live “Vehicle Maintenance Day”!


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