Car wash – DYI

Today I washed my car. By hand. That’s a first for me. Not to say my car has not been washed but that this was the first time I washed it in the driveway with a bucket of soapy water and a sponge an one of those chammi cloths that d5y up all the rain. In Sydney I used to have my car washed (and vacuumed) while I did my grocery shopping. Excellent service, bonus being you didn’t need to search for a car park – just drive straight in to the carwash, leave your car, sop and return to a nice clean vehicle.. It was good value too – $25 and they would make it all spark-a-lark-a-lark-a-ling clean: windows cleaned inside and out, all the inside surfaces cleaned, vacuumed throughout, including the boot and for a bit extra, the tires (or is that the wheels?) cleaned too.

Here in Noosa there are such car wash places, only those coin operated self-serve ones – not even those that you just drive through and freak you out when the big brushes descend over your car. Lacking any real facilities I opted for the self-serve coin-operated place. It wasn’t good. Firstly, I didn’t really know what to do and ended up soaked; secondly, it was expensive – I seemed to be forever putting in dollar coins.

First time I visited I drove in, read the instructions went to use the machine only to find I didn’t have enough gold coins. Dejected (I had psyched myself up for this), I drove off not realising that there is a machine there that converts your small silver coins to gold ones. Next time, prepared with an abundance of coins (or so I thought) I started feeding my coins into the machine, unaware that once the coins drop the water starts gushing out of the long hose/pipe that’s attached to the wall. By the time I figured out what to do my coin was used up. So, standing with the hose/pipe thing at the ready I insert my nextccoin: bam. Doing it.

I seemed to spend a long time watering as I waited for the next phase. I thought it was automatic and just seamlessly flowed from one cycle to the next. Wrong. So back I went to the instructions and realised I had to use the soapy scrub brush (though this is an option). I got the brush from the other wall, fed in my coin and began scrubbing. Then I noticed all this water gushing out on the floor. Apparently, you’re meant to scrub before you insert your coin and remove the previously usedchose/pipe from the wall attachment in order to rinse the soap away. More gold coins later my car is clean but not dry or polished or vacuumed. By then I gave up trying to figure out what to do with the various cycles on the so-called automatic wash and drove my car to the vacuum point to experience yet another round of frustration with the power running out before I could properly vacuum all the surfaces in the car. My vacuum cleaner at home has ore suction that the supposedly heavy duty one there. I drove off vowing to never set foot on the site again.

Subsequently I have found there is a serviced car wash place at the Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore. The Sunshine Plaza* is pitched as the “Sunshine Coast’s largest retail mall/centre”. I was rather excited the first time I went there, looking forward to being able to make all the usual purchases (Sydney style). Alas. What can I say? The Myer store there (the main attraction) is smaller than the one in Hobart. The Plaza’s only saving grace is that it has a skin clinic that I use, a good sized supermarket, Howard’s Storage, First Choice Liquor store and nearby, an Asian grocery store. But really, that’s it.

Last week, having an appointment at the Plaza I determined to have my car cleaned. The Plaza has an incredible paucity of parking – it’s not unusual to be driving around for at least 15 minutes searching for an elusive spot. It’s also not unusual to stalk people coming out with with their shopping and slowly following them to their car (usually only to discover some one else is already waiting with blinkers on). Grrrr. Getting my car washed seemed like an ideal solution to the parking problem as well as a much needed clean. And yet. I drove in only to be asked if I had a booking!!? They were fully booked. Deep breath. Search for car spot.

On the positive side (and one must always look for the bright side of things when you live outside a big city), I did discover the joys of manually washing my own car. And I vacuumed too. So now, adept at this new enterprise I shall endeavour to keep my car shiny clean for much longer (and make a booking for the real car wash place next time I’m in Maroochydore).

* ‘Plaza’ is a term favoured by all shopping malls, large and small, it is quintessentially, Queenlsandish.

Did you know: The start of the history of car washing dates back to 1914. People used to manually push or move the cars through stages of the process. Eventually, manual car wash operations peaked at 32 drive-through facilities in the United States. The first semi-automatic car wash was active for the first time in Detroit, Michigan using automatic pulley systems and manual brushing.

Pachydermal therapy

My brain’s tired.  More specifically, my right brain is tired. I’ve been overusing it. Too much computer work, thinking work, analysing and problem-solving. So today I’m going to give it a rest and be free of thinking.  I’m going sit in the sun and read my book, go for a walk along the beach and then I’m going to crochet an elephant. Ha? Really. I am in fact, crocheting a baby elephant.  Well, a soft, cuddly toy version of a baby elephant.

It all began when I decided to knit a beanie. I live in Noosa where the weather is never really cold enough for winter woolies but for some reason I decided I wanted to knit a beanie. I went to extraordinary lengths to purchase my pattern and wool (finding places to buy yarn here is an exerBeaniescise in logistics).  I managed to find the perfect pattern on-line but the wool that was recommended was impossibly expensive to send (it was from Germany and the shipping costs were $55).  A trip to Brisbane resolved the problem, though there too it was a bit hit and miss.  Long story short I knitted my beanie and proudly wore it on a visit to frigidly cold Melbourne.  Both my daughter and my gf loved the beanie; I left it with my gf and resolved to knit my  daughter another one.   Which I did.  By then I had become quite enamoured of knitting – especially beanies because they require knitting on 5 kneedles, which is both challenging (keeping the stitches from dropping off not just one end of the needle but two – or in this case 8!!) and fun.  It was a good thing to do in front of the telly – less drinking too (you can’t very well knit and drink).
 
However four beanies later, I’d had enough.  But I still wanted to knit something.  I came across some very cute toys and things on Pinterest and then I found a photo of a crocheted elephant.  I was sold.  I used to crochet way back when (remember back in the early 70’s crocheted ponchos?) so I knew that it was something I could do.

crocheted elephantOnce more I went in search of yarn. I couldn’t find the specified yarn but figured something approximating it would do – the most important thing being the colour. It didn’t take long for my brain and fingers to remember how to crochet and all was going well until I suddenly realised that this cute little cuddly toy was going to end up being rather big.  I had envisaged something that was maybe 15-20cm but the head of this elephant is looking more like an elephant cow than a baby one and I suspect the entire thing is going to be the size of a toy poodle – the real ones, not the stuffed toy variety.

What to do?  I wondered if it was the yarn I was using – I had purchased 8ply but perhaps it needed to be 4ply.  As I’ve said, I can’t leave problems alone – I have to fix them, so once more I went in search of yarn.  I did manage to find some 4ply but it wasn’t in the right colour (too pale) but never mind, I figured I could dye it a darker grey later.  Turns out that it doesn’t really make much difference and that the pattern is indeed for a somewhat larger toy elephant.  I’m going to persevere because once I’ve started something I’m determined to finish it.  Perhaps I can stuff it with something a bit sturdier than fluffy toy stuffing and use it as a door stop.  Not sure quite what that stuffing would be – maybe poured concrete? Or perhaps I could just donate it to a creche.

I have to admit that I really had no idea of what I was going to do with this little elephant – I don’t know anyone with babies.  It was just a cute project to keep me occupied.  And keep me occupied it has.

Now I think I’ll move on to my linguine doll.

linguini doll

Thwarted by a spider

I had intentions of setting my house to rights this morning.  Unpacking the remains of the boxes and tidying the spare rooms.  All was going well; I began on the first of the spare rooms, where I was using the built in robe as a linen press.  Sorting through the sheets and pillow cases and organising onto shelves when I came across a spider.  It looked nasty, though truth be told, all spiders look nasty to me – even the pretty ones.  This one had no redeeming features except for the fact it was dark brown and unfamiliar.  We live in a sub-tropical environment where spiders of all types are common.  They’re on trees and plants and lurk in hidden places.  Some of them bite.

My strategy to deal with this arechnid was to vacuum it up.  I fetched the vacuum cleaner and plugged it in and pointed it at the spider.  My plan seemed straight forward enough:  turn on the vacuum, suck the spider in, turn off the vacuum and continue sorting in a spider-free environment.  Thwarted.  The spider scurried.  I pursued it with suction at full blast.  Alas, the spider escaped while the vacuum consumed the tissue paper I had lined the shelves with.  Now I’m left with a pile of tumbled linen, torn tissue paper, vacuum cleaner clogged and a spider running rampant, hiding who knows where.  My solution is to shut the door on the spare room and pretend the mess doesn’t exist.  Somehow I have lost enthusiasm for tidying and sorting. Sigh.