Monday, February 24, 2014

Car Wash

I guess I have lived in NY long enough, that it seems weird to see shiny cars in the middle of winter. No grime, no road salt. Shiny. I had also forgotten about washing the car in the driveway on a sunny weekend. Every weekend here, I see someone in the neighborhood washing their car. This is something I remember doing as a child, and I know the girls helped me do the same when we lived in Tallahassee.
When we moved to NY, our new home was very different than what we had always known. We moved into a house downtown, and though we did have a driveway, it was very short, and to wash the car meant I would be blocking the sidewalk. Also, that wasn't happening in January, no matter how much room I had! Even in the summer, I was more apt to take the minivan (we called her Hannah, the Montana) and run it through a car wash than wash it at home.
It wasn't until we came here, to south Florida, that I even remembered about washing the car in the drive. I remembered when I was young, with all my brothers, spraying the hose in the bucket, getting the sponges all sudsy and spraying down the family van, everyone taking their section and washing it down. We always ended up soaked, and maybe the van got clean. I remembered doing the same thing with my girls. I remember their pudgy little toddler arms and legs in their brightly colored swimsuits- all oranges, yellows, and pinks- running around the bumpers of the minivan, sudsing themselves as much as the van. I remember their screeches and more running, when I sprayed the hose over the top of the van at them.



So I decided, "When in Rome..." I talked Thia into joining me. By now, our car had grown very dusty, and she really did need a bath. However, living very minimalist here, we don't have a hose. So we used a couple of bathroom sized trash cans, one with the suds and rags, another for rinsing. The nearest place to fill was the kitchen sink, so there were dozens of trips to and from the kitchen.
We used the first bucket to rinse the front end of the car, then we started wiping. I had to explain to Thia how to be sure to wipe every spot on a panel, or it will leave marks. Back to fill up the rinse bucket, and rinse off the windshield and hood. It was a bright, sunny day, so the water (and suds, if we weren't careful) were drying quickly. Eventually, we ended up taking turns, one of us would wipe, while the other filled the bucket, because by the time the bucket was full, it was needed to rinse. We definitely got wet.
So that is how we worked our way around the car, from top to bottom. We didn't even bother with the wheels. With all the bucket filling, we tracked a muddy path through the front hall to the kitchen. By the time we were finished, the car was less dirty, but a far cry from the shiny ones we see on the street. I am going to blame that on the lack of a hose, and the fact that I was not going to even consider using Turtle Wax. Also, the fact that someone, somewhere in the neighborhood, was now burning something, so as we were finishing, all of these little pieces of ash kept fluttering down onto the car.
               I think there is a car wash in our future.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Eye of the Tiger

We were driving back to the house, after an evening of fun in West Palm Beach. The kids were in the back seat, headphones on, listening to their respective favorites on their mp3 players (thank you, grandparents, for the Christmas present). This left the radio dial free for us adults. Whit the jackpot when found a station playing all of the cheesy '80's songs that I haven't heard in ages. The kids kept reminding us that we had the volume too high, as the radio in the car was disturbing their own songs. *Note to self: exercise a little self-control, no matter how good the song is, I am still a parent. Or not. 
A few songs down the road, "The Eye of the Tiger" starts playing, and I see Rocky Balboa running up those steps in Philadelphia. That doesn't last long, soon I am about 10, in a back office room of a house where I grew up, talking one of my best friends into putting on a leotard (shinyroyal blue, with little capped sleeves, like in those Jazzercise videos) and possibly some legwarmers. I want to choreograph a routine to this song, because that would be awesome!  
I was a dancerI loved to dance. All the time, I still do. I move when there is music on, and if I have to be still, I am choreographing in my head (usually there are pointe shoes and a lot of pirouettes involved, I don't know why). 
The thing is, that friend of mine, she was an athlete, a tomboy. She was great at anything competitive. Every sport we played as kids, she excelled at them. She scored the goals on the soccer team, ran all the bases in Little League, she could even pick up a game controller, and hop that frog across the street in no time, without getting flattened by a truck. The strategy, reflexes, cool headed calculating, it seemed to come easily to her. She instinctively knew what to do.  
She was not a dancer. She did not own a leotard, let alone a pair of legwarmers. It is not that she was a bad dancer, but it was last on her list of things to do. Getting her to dance with me, that was a rarity. But she did it. I don't remember any of the moves we did, or even who saw it (our parents? certainly not our brothers! Maybe no one), but I do remember that it was a blast, and as I was driving down the road, "The Eye of the Tiger" not really blaring from the car speakers, I kept seeing the look on her face, both of us laughing, as she humored me. A very good memory.
In many ways, this trip has been a trip down memory lane for me. With all of the new things we have done and learned, there are still things that jump up and remind me of days past, that I haven't remembered for such a long time. Though we are in a very different area here than where I grew up, being in Florida again, I realize there are things here I had forgotten, and now am having a good time remembering 
Though that friend and I do not keep in daily contact, our lives have taken us in different directions, we do keep in touch, and I hope she knows she is one who I will cherish, wherever we are, and I am always happy to see her again. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Phys. Ed.

It was a beautiful day, and the tide was right, so we cut our school day short to exercise our SCUBA skills. Considering the time it takes to pack up our gear, get to a dive shop to rent what we don't own, get to the site, then assemble our gear, we left the house at 11:30, so we could be in the water by 1:45.

Some of us have a better grasp of buoyancy and trim than others, so there were some difficulties getting started. We didn't get to the wrecks we wanted to see, as we were timing ourselves so we weren't swimming against the current as the tide was rushing out. We did get to see one wreck, a small boat, motor and all resting under about 20 feet of water. There were plants, and barnacles all over it, and a lot of fish. We saw starfish bigger than my hand, some barracuda, and a conch, crawling along the bottom. Next time, perhaps one of us will find the underwater camera and snap some photos of us down there!