Hap­pi­ness is wash­ing the car, to­gether

The Boyertown Area Times - - LOCAL NEWS - Ca­role Christ­man Koch Wel­come To My World

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)

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