I've been talking about getting the interior of my car cleaned since last summer. Even then, my car mats were crusted with decomposing French fries and enough sand from the previous winter to build my own personal beach. Naturally, after leaving the interior untouched for another six months, things just got worse. I actually preferred to drive at night - at least then the dust and crumbs were shrouded in darkness.
I knew Uno's Car Wash on Loudon Road offered an interior cleaning for $30, which isn't too shabby. Getting myself to part with the $30 was another story - Gas prices, my desire to eat three meals a day and paying all of my bills just kept getting in the way in that annoying, have-to-put-my-needs-before-my-desires kind of way. I shake my fist at you, financial responsibility.
Finally, Christmas came, and I had the foresight to add a gift certificate to Uno's Car Wash to my wish list. Mere words cannot describe my joy when I opened the gift that contained my ticket to a clean car. In fact, it tied with the "Cute Overload" page-a-day calendar as my favorite gift.
I considered holding on to the certificate until late spring, when there would be less chance of the car reaching the same level of uncleanliness. But I'm an impatient creature by nature, so that wasn't going to happen. I managed to wait until Jan. 6 to get my car cleaned - conveniently, two days before yet another snow storm.
I brought along Cassie for moral support, and because the cleaning was supposed to take 30 minutes. Seriously, what was I going to do all by myself for that long? Even if the waiting room had a TV, there's nothing good on in the middle of the afternoon, and I hadn't been smart enough to go when "Price Is Right" was on.
We pulled into the Uno's lot and wound our way around the building to where the entrance of the car wash is. Now, I didn't think I was getting a car wash out of the deal, so I parked just before the entrance and got out of the car. A man outside said hello and gave us a confused, "What on earth are you doing?" look. I expected to see an office where I could pay and wait patiently for my car, but that's not how it worked. Cassie eventually noticed a sign that advertised an interior cleaning and car wash. Feeling thoroughly embarrassed, we returned to the car, backed up, and got into the line for the car wash.
Most of the wash was automatic, except for the first part. Two guys were in charge of sudsing up the car and hosing down the tires and undercarriage. I noticed white chunks flying off the car, which had me slightly concerned until I realized it was ice still stuck to the car from the last storm. Relieved that my windshield wipers were finally free from the casing of ice, I settled back to enjoy the rest of the wash, squealing every now and again as the giant scrubbers made their way over the car.
When we exited the wash, someone was outside to direct us to one of the open garages for phase two of the cleaning - the part I had been waiting months for. I could hardly contain my excitement. I pulled in, shut off the engine and gleefully handed over my keys. We were then directed to the customer waiting area around the corner.
The waiting area, we discovered, is actually a small trailer, about the size of the trailers you see transporting horses. The interior featured vintage '80s wood paneling, a table of sorts supported by a file drawer and a giant cupboard with a small TV situated on top of it. There was also an empty white shelf hung up over the "desk." A single phone book, a torn, several-week-old copy of "G," from the Boston Globe, a trash can and three chairs were the only other objects in the room. "Sparse" is probably the most accurate description. It was, however, quite warm, so we made ourselves comfortable and settled in for a wait.
Cassie noted that it would be pretty awkward if anyone else came in, considering the close quarters, but thankfully, no one did. We amused ourselves by poking around and taking photos. There's one of me that Cassie took from outside the trailer. I'm standing in the window with a crazed look on my face - I think I must have been laughing at the time. It was unflattering, in any case, which is probably why Cassie uploaded it to our Facebook page.
In about 20 minutes, someone knocked on the door and said the car was ready, so we left the warm confines of the customer waiting trailer and made our way back to the car.
I don't think I've ever seen my car looking quite so good - I mean, it practically gleamed, inside and out. And the French fries and sand? Totally gone. There was still some stuff that's probably permanently embedded in the mats and upholstery, but overall, I couldn't have been more pleased. Those miracle workers were even able to suck out all of the crumbs wedged in the emergency brake. (next page »)