Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

Posts tagged ‘cars’

A Clean Car Is A Happy Car

Growing up with the parents I had was very interesting.  Especially when it came to riding in their vehicles.  My Mama’s car, no matter how new or old, ugly or pretty was always, always clean.  It didn’t matter that she had three kids, two of which were born five years apart.  Her car was never, ever dirty.  Even on the rare occasion that the outside had a little dirt or salt on it, the inside was as clean as any new car on a dealer’s lot.  Now, Daddy’s cars and trucks, not so much.

Daddy never worried about washing the outside of his vehicles, let alone ever cleaning up the inside.  Not only was there always a thick layer of dust and dirt on the dashboard, the console, the doors and any other plastic surface of the interior, there was always trash.  Everywhere.  Trash in the door pockets, in the cup holders, and in the floorboards.  Needless to say, Mama hated going anywhere in Daddy’s vehicles and she avoided it like the plague.

My sisters and I each have very different personalities and live very different lives, so naturally, our stance on vehicle cleanliness and detailing are just as different.  My baby sister washes her car pretty regularly and she wipes the inside down occasionally to keep the dust at bay.  However, she carries everything but the kitchen sink with her everywhere she goes.  I’m talking clothes, shoes, jackets, pictures, clothes baskets, purses, a book bag, school books and notebooks, tampons, pizza boxes, dishes, and the list goes on and on.  She used to have her retainer in one of the little compartments in one of her cars!  God love her, she’s always prepared and I don’t ever worry about her freezing too death or going hungry if she were to ever break down or be stranded in a storm.  And let me add that her car isn’t nasty, it’s just full… of everything.

My other sister, the middle child, now her vehicles remind me a lot of my Daddy’s.  At least they used to.  I haven’t seen the inside of her car in a really long time so I’m not entirely sure what her car looks like nowadays.  Anyway, her car contained all the things that my baby sister’s car did, with the exception of the retainer, but there was much more trash in hers.  There was always a various assortment of food containers, drive thru wrappers, and cups.  I can remember getting in the back of her car once to go somewhere with her and Mama and the trash in the back floorboards was level with the seats.  I really thought my poor Mama was gonna have a stroke when she saw it.  She used to swear that rats were gonna carry my sister’s car off in the night.

I guess now that I think about it, my sisters are pretty similar in the way they keep their cars.  They both have tendencies like Daddy.  Now me, on the other hand, I took after my Mama.  God help me.

I’ve always tried to keep my car clean.  Both outside and in.  I wore the paint on the hood off the first car I ever bought from washing and waxing it so much.  Who knew two or three times a week was too much?  After that heartbreaking lesson, I decided once a week was enough.

So, once a week for the next fifteen years, give or take a few months, I detailed whatever vehicle I happened to be driving, no matter how new or old, ugly or pretty.  Even with two boys, I always kept my car looking pretty decent.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I had no illusions of keeping my car immaculate like my Mama did.  We ate and drank in my cars.  We got in with muddy shoes and dirty clothes.  We hauled fishing poles and tackle boxes around, as well as stray turtles, iguanas, goldfish, the dog and anything else that just happened to need a ride.  Getting the car dirty never really bothered me because I knew it’d be cleaned back up again by that weekend.

Now, I’ve lived up here at the cabin for almost two years now.  On a steep, windy, gravel covered, always dusty, sometimes muddy, mountain road.  When I first moved up here, I still tried to keep my car washed and vacuumed out at least once a week.  I’d roll thru the car wash and hit the floorboards with the vacuum and I’d swipe the dash with a little Armor All.  It’d look real good till I got back to the house after driving up the mountain.  It didn’t take long for me to give up on keeping the outside looking shiny and new.  But, I still tried to keep the inside as clean as I could.

After being here a while, it didn’t take me long to veer from my once a week schedule.  It didn’t take me long at all to figure out that when you live out in the woods, you’re not gonna be able to keep leaves and dirt outta your car for very long.  So, I started shooting for once a month.  Once a month, I’d vacuum everything and I’d clean the windows and wipe down the dash and all the other plastic surfaces of the interior.  I’d hang a new air freshener and call it good enough.

Well, I’m ashamed to say, that today was the first time I’ve cleaned my car out in probably four or five months.  My Mama would die if she knew this!  There was enough dust on my dash for an artist to do a rendition of a Rembrandt painting.  There were cobwebs in the corners of my doors!  And I found where all the leaves of Fall went.  Right in my floorboard, that’s where!  It was awful.  This just might’ve been the dirtiest my car has ever been.

Unlike my sisters and my Daddy, this bothered me.  Bothered me to the point of making me hate to drive, or ride, in my own car.  I’m thinking this kind of bother can only be experienced by people like myself who absolutely cannot relax in a room with a crooked rug on the floor, or a picture that’s hanging cock-eyed on the wall, or blinds that are messed up.  I’ve told y’all before, there’s something seriously wrong with me.  I just could not stand my car anymore.

So, today, I cleaned the inside of my little bright yellow car.  Not perfectly, but good enough.  And I must say, when I was finished and I climbed inside to move it back to its space in the driveway, I felt a calmness and a peace that only a clean car can bring.

A clean car is a happy car.

I still didn’t wash it, though.  Perhaps next week.



What Does Your Ride Say About You?

I did something today that I haven’t done in a while now.  Something, that I used to do once a week, minimum.  Something, that I probably should do more often, but when you live on the side of a mountain and have to travel two miles on a gravel road just to get home, it kinda seems pointless when you really think about the logic involved with it.

Are you ready for it?

Okay.  Here it is…

I washed my car.  I’m not talking about running it through a car wash, either.  I mean, I got the water hose out, filled a bucket with soapy water, and proceeded to hand wash my vehicle.  Now, to some of you, this may seem like a completely normal thing to do and you might engage in this kind of clean up with your car once a week or more, like I, myself, used to do, as previously stated.  For others, you may think I’ve lost my mind entirely and are now wondering why on earth I would hand wash my vehicle.  After all, you probably live in an area where there’s a 24 hour car wash always open and you’re probably one of those people who always just happens to have some quarters lying around your car somewhere for this very purpose.  Well, kudos to you!

I, on the other hand, do not have this luxury.  Yeah, there’s a car wash in the little town I’m closest to, but honestly, I think that thing’s probably older than I am and I’m not real sure there’s enough water pressure there to hose a gnat off my front bumper, let alone wash away the other 2.3 million bug corpses, dirt, dust, road grime, bird poop, and whatever else just happens to be out there, clinging to the paint, bumpers, grill, headlights, and any other part they can grab onto.

So, anyway, as I was scrubbing and hosing off my car, I was taken back to an article I read somewhere a few years back that was comparing our personalities to the type of ride we drive.  I just happened to be cruising around in a silver Subaru Outback station wagon at the time.  Wooooooo!!!  And not the shorter, sporty looking one, but the full on station wagon model.  Oh, and mine was missing the Subaru emblem on the front grill, too!  You can just imagine what my personality was described as in this lovely little piece that somebody with waaaaaaay too  much time on their hands had come up with.

I’m sure a lot of you out there won’t be able to relate, but I’ve never really set out to buy a car based solely on what it looks like.  And by that, I mean, I’ve never owned a brand spanking new car that I was able to sit down and pick the color, style, interior, etc.  My vehicle purchases have always been more on a need basis and a “are we sure this thing’s gonna run for at least a year or ’till I can afford to get another one?”  I know, I know… the very epitome of class all the way!

I have driven some really cool cars and some reeeeeeeaaaaaaaly ugly ones, too.  But, by gosh, they’ve all gotten me from point A to point B.  Well, most of the time, anyway.

Back to my point here.  I had driven a 4 wheel drive car for about four or five years when I met Mountain Man, but my poor little ‘ol decrepit silver Subaru Outback wagon was on it’s last legs.  God bless it.  I couldn’t really afford to get another vehicle at the time so Mountain Man started letting me drive his truck back and forth to work.  God love him!  I had never had a man let me drive his truck before!!!  This was huge!  But, that’s a story for another time.

Anyway, after a few months of me taking his truck to work at night, I was able to finally buy another car.  We searched and looked on the internet and we searched and looked some more.  By the way, I hate car shopping!!!  Hate, hate, hate it!  Almost as much as I hate clothes shopping!

After a few weeks, we found what seemed like a pretty good deal on a real cute little white sporty Mazda.  However, it was not 4 wheel drive and there was no way I’d be able to drive that thing in a bad snow storm or up to the cabin.  We were still living in both places at the time.  My town house through the week and the cabin on the weekends.  But, I knew Mountain Man would let me drive the truck if it was too bad outside and I didn’t figure I’d need a separate vehicle to get up the mountain.

Little did I know just how life was fixing to change on me.  Not two months after I bought the little white sporty Mazda, that was just the cutest little car I think I’d ever owned, we decided to move up to the cabin and say goodbye to pavement as far as the eye could see and life in town.  Mountain Man was not the least bit fazed by this, but I, having lived in town for the better part of 13 years, almost half my life, was a little freaked out, but excited at the same time.  And the fact that I’d just (stupidly) bought a 2wheel drive car that would never on the best day of the year, under the best circumstances, ever make it up these two miles of windy, gravel covered mountain roads, just added to this freaking out I was doing.

Mountain Man assured me that everything would be fine and things would work themselves out, and of course, he was right.  They did.  I settled into a peaceful groove once we said goodbye to my house in town and started commuting up here to God’s country everyday.

The first month was a little tricky ’cause Mountain Man had to meet me at the bottom of the mountain every morning to pick me up when I finally got here after working 3rd shift and he had to take me back down to the car every night for me to go in to work.  That lasted for about a week and then I just started riding one of the 4 wheelers down to my car every night and then back up the mountain every morning.  One key point to this story… this was April… in the mountains of Western NC… and let me assure you, it was cold!!!

Needless to say, it didn’t take long to start looking for another vehicle.  A 4 wheel drive vehicle.  And just like all my vehicles in the past, my current ride was bought out of necessity, rather than want.  

But, this latest vehicle I’m driving, is by far one of the coolest cars I’ve ever had.  And any of y’all that know me personally know that I’m not a real materialistic gal, but I do love bright colors.  Well this bright, cute little canary yellow Chevy Tracker just happened to be sitting on the side of the road on my way home from work and Mountain Man and I had both saw it.  Heck, everybody saw it!  You couldn’t help but see it!  Now, he does not share my love of bright, flashy colors.  Far from it!   He’s more of an earth tone, neutral shades kinda guy.  So, I wasn’t real sure how he’d react to my little yellow car I’d found.  But, I simply adored this thing!

We stopped to look at it and drive it and check it out, and the inside was a little disappointing.  It was really dirty and really smelly.  Someone had not been nice to this cute little yellow car.  It would take some major cleaning and lovin’ to get this thing up to my standards as far as cleanliness goes.  However, everything mechanical checked out on it and I think we ended up buying it the next day.

I had to wait for my cute little white sporty Mazda to sell before I could buy the cute little yellow Tracker!  One day.  One. Day.  I parked the Mazda in a shopping center parking lot on a Friday afternoon and it sold the very next day!  Just like Mountain Man had said, everything worked out just fine.

So, I’ve been driving my cute little yellow Suzukiolet for a little over a year now.  Mountain Man calls it a Suzukiolet because all the inside parts, the motor, the lights, etc., have Suzuki stamped on them, but it’s got Chevrolet stamped all over the outside of it.  Best of both worlds, I guess!  We’ve put almost 25,000 miles on that little thing in about 15 months.  We drive it everywhere!!!!

I tried and tried to recall certain points from that article I read so long ago, but alas, I’ve slept since then and the particulars just didn’t make it into long term storage.  Go figure.  But I’d be willing to bet that my current ride comes pretty dang close to matching my personality!

So how ’bout you?  What does your ride say about you?

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