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.

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.

Danger, Will Robinson

Prompted by some memorable moments from films and TV series, I found myself thinking about our childhood cinematic experiences and how easily amused we were.

It began with some classic lines from one of my favourite films, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off  – a 1986 film which I initially thought was going to be one of those god-awful Russian communist propaganda films – how wrong I was!!! “Anyone? Bueller. Anyone? Bueller.”  –  never ceases to bring a smile to my face.

Then my brother quipped: “Danger, Will Robinson, danger!”  which lead me to thinking about this space age family Robinson, with their groovy clothes, flying about in their “state of the art” space ship.  Lost In Space  was created in 1965 and set in the future age of space travel – 1997! There was the  glamorous Judy with her long, coiffed blonde hair and the dark and surly boyfriend Major Don West; the sensible mother Maureen and the handsome father, Professor John Robinson with his tight polo tops and pants. They were the height of cool. Penny (Angela Cartwright), the younger sister was the sensible counterpart to her brother Will’s (Billy Mummy) adventurous escapades.  And of course, Dr Zachary Smith the simpering, cowardly, saboteur (“Oh, the pain, the pain.”)

But the real star was the robot, whose arms (made out of concertinaed pipes would wave about and his glass domed head spin as he would warn Will Robinson of danger. And of course: “Aliens approaching”.


Lost in Space consisted of adventures/escapades in alien worlds created with some very basic set design.  It was all too obvious, but we didn’t care, we were still captivated, glued to the screen waiting to see what would happen. How easily pleased we were.  Essentially the premise was that while Major Don West and Professor John Robinson were busy trying to fix the space ship and Judy and her mother involved in household tasks (!) Will and the robot would go on adventures. Sometimes Penny would join them but more often she was left playing with her little pet.  Often the adventures involved Dr Smith attempting to orchestrate his departure by whatever dastardly means he could and then Will and the robot having to deal with the resultant dangerous situations.   We knew the plot, we knew the outcomes but still we watched.  Mesmerised.  Gullible.  I don’t think much has changed – only the sets have become more sophisticated.

Lost in Space_pics


It is what it is – apologies to Rumi.

it is what it is

(and it ain’t what it ain’t)

Forgive me while I rant:  “It is what it is”. I can’t bear to hear that statement. It’s loathsome, trivial, trite, vacuous and incredibly enfeebling.  There is no come-back from that remark.  I don’t even think that people have any idea of what they mean by it, they’re simply mouthing a statement that’s being bandied about by all and sundry.

I have two problems with this.  Firstly: It’s vacuous because it’s a tautology.  It’s like saying: a tree is a tree.  Duh.  It’s not deep and meaningful, it’s just facile. It’s not a new-age 21st century reworking of Zen, because it crops up in the weirdest contexts that have nothing to do with spiritualism or philosophy. The phrase not only puts my teeth on edge but I also have to refrain from emitting a low growl at the same time.  Idiots! If you asked the person who made the statement to explain what they meant, they would no doubt say:  “exactly what I said”  and repeat “it is what it is”.  Trust me, I have heard this.

The first time I heard people use this phrase I was perplexed:  what did they mean?  But when I asked they couldn’t answer or clarify.  The closest they came was  “its just the way it is”. Hm.

Secondly, and perhaps more worrisome is that “It is what it is” ”abdicates responsibility, shuts down creative problem solving, and concedes defeat. At its best it’s used as a means of inferring that it was an obstacle that couldn’t be overcome; that it was a force of nature, inevitable and unavoidable and beyond the scope and capability of the individual.  In short: defeat.  At worst, it is used to frame a response, setting up a situation where there is no point in addressing the problem because nothing can be done:  “Don’t worry about figuring out a Plan B or Plan C, because ‘it is what it is’.”  It’s not only an admission that the problem is too hard but also impedes any creative solutions.  Is this really where we’re heading?  Is this the new zeitgeist?

And then one day I came across this same phrase in a book I was reading about a group of displaced Iranian refugees who find solace in weekly poetry meetings. The words they share inspire each to turn inward and discover beauty long buried. A very different interpretation of the phrase, which I discovered, was attributed to that great Persian poet and Sufi mystic, Rumi.  The term in Farsi, “Fihi Ma Fihi”,  is literally translated to “In it what is in it” but  Rumi scholars concur that the meaning  is more aptly translated to “It is what it is”. Rumi asks, “What more is there to say”? Rumi is trying to move us beyond the need for explanations. He describes that moment when truth reveals itself directly to us like an open book. His tales and metaphors are luminous, beckoning us to new states of consciousness. “These words are for the sake of those who need words to understand. As for those who understand without words, what use do they have for speech? The heavens and earth are words to them. . . . Whoever hears a whisper, what need do they have for shouting?”[1]

A far cry from the  trite, overused and infuriatingly meaningless cliche adopted by people who think they are adding some deep, meaningful insight. Poor Rumi; for his insights to have come to this.