Happiness is washing the car, together
I don’t mind sitting at my desk and writing stories until late into the evening. I can sit quietly and read for hours as well. But outside chores, such as raking leaves, pulling weeds, or washing the car, I simply dislike. Recently, I finished reading a magazine article on how married couples, who cooperate in sharing household chores, have a closer, more meaningful relationship. So, when my husband declared, “I’m on the way to the car wash,” I, in the spirit of closeness, offered to help.
Surprised at my announcement, yet elated, my hubby hugged me and said, “I’d love your help. Let’s go!”
Arriving at the car wash, the car was driven inside a garage-type building, with large open doors. My husband took on the task of spraying the car with soapy water from the hose. I followed him, sponge rinsing the car with clear water from a bucket. At intervals, my hubby just looked at me and smiled. I knew he was happy with my new found enthusiasm.
As my hubby worked ahead of me, I stepped backwards, slipping on the rambling hose. Falling sideways, I managed to brace myself with my right hand. I pulled my left hand out of the cold water it had landed in, water dripping from each finger. As I surveyed my gloved hand, my husband turned the corner of the car, “What on earth are you doing with gloves on to clean the car?”
“It happens to be winter,” I stated, “and it happens to be darn cold in this building.”
“You’re right,” he said apologetically. “I gave you the coldest job. Let’s switch places. You hose the car and I’ll sponge from the bucket.”
After gaining my composure, I noticed the ends of my scarf were soaked from being submerged in the bucket of cold water. Not wanting my husband to see another blunder, without thinking, I quickly wrought the water out of the scarf and tucked the ends inside my sweatshirt. The sweatshirt, acting like an undernourished sponge, soaked up the excess water from the scarf. I suffered in silence.
Determined to continue my part of the job in an atmosphere of joy, I filled the bucket with water before holding the nozzle in the bucket. It sprayed out, and proceeded to wander up my husband’s pant legs as he turned the corner again.
He screamed, “Watch what you’re doing!”
This time I said, “I’m sorry.”
“Let’s switch jobs,” my husband offered for the second time.
“Fine with me,” I snapped.
We finally finished, or so I thought, when my husband announced, “One more task and we’re done. I’ll drive the car outside. You vacuum the upholstery inside while I dry the outside of the car.” I complied willingly.
Since the towels for drying were on my side of the car, I threw the towel across the roof of the car to my husband. Because I hadn’t warned him, the towel landed in his face. His once happy face now scowled back at me.
I pretended I hadn’t noticed and proceeded to place a quarter in the slot of the vacuum, not realizing the hose was kinked. While I was trying to unravel the knot, the hose flew into the air, landing behind the car. I hastened to retrieve it when I heard hubby, who hadn’t seen what happened, yelling, “Why are you wasting suction outside the car? Get over here and sweep your side. When you’re done, I’ll do my side.”
I smiled at him and quickly buried myself inside the front of the car. I was about to pick myself up, from a stooped position when our heads collided.
“Ouch!” we both screeched, glaring at each other.
On the drive home my husband teased, “Before next weekend, let’s take your car to the car wash. OK?”
I didn’t answer. I knew before next weekend arrived, I was going to the nearest car wash center and pay someone for my “happiness is…”
Reprint (First Use to Highway News 2011)