Details (193rd new thing).

October 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

I bought a Groupon-like deal for a car detailing months ago and finally redeemed it on Day One Hundred Ninety-Three. I headed over to Fairway Carwash, just down the street from work, and handed over my car, but not before first riding through the automated car wash. I forget how much FUN those are. It’s like a theme park ride, being sloshed about from behind the protection of sealed windows and doors. I wanted a second go round afterwards. Could I use the excuse that my car was extra dirty?

I passed along my Civic to the waiting attendants and headed inside to “pay.” The interior of the building was comfortable, with complimentary water bottles embossed with the company’s logo along the label. Don’t mind if I do. After I settled up, adding tip on my credit card, I headed outdoors to the rows of rocking chairs where customers sit and watch from afar as their vehicles are polished to a shiny glow.

Besides rolling through the automated car wash, sitting in a rocking chair is another past-time I enjoy immensely. As I sipped my bottle of water, I was really beginning to enjoy the whole car detailing experience.

I watched as my car sat among the Lexuses and BMWs and two men got to work scrubbing the exterior, vacuuming the inside, and polishing everything. It took about a half hour before they pulled Lucy (my car’s name which I hardly ever use) up to the waiting area. She really looked even better than when I first bought her, and much better than my own wash job back on Day 42. I thanked the guys wiping down the car, tempted to explain that I left a tip on my card inside, and hopped in before I had a moment to take a picture of the shimmering Honda.

It was like a whole new car, and I could definitely get used to this detailing thing. Although I would probably wait for another half-off deal. I love my car, but it’s not an $80/month kind of admiration.

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The All-New Ford Focus (148th new thing).

August 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

After hitting the hunk of tire driving on I-85 north a day earlier, it was time to take my red Honda Civic into the Progressive concierge service center to exchange it for a rental. I ended up with a 2011 Ford Focus, a car I had never driven before.

Getting a rental is always kind of fun. You get to drive a new car without actually paying the monthly bill on it. When I was car shopping back in January I never even thought about a Ford. I had specifically narrowed down my choice to a Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, or maybe a Hyundai. I hadn’t heard good things about the American made Focus, especially compared to the Japanese cars. The Hyundai was a wild card.

What I liked most about driving the Focus was certainly the extras. I had never driven a car with a sunroof for any real length of time. The dashboard display also let you know the temperatures outside (hot) and you could set the a/c by degrees instead of a dial that wavers somewhere between red and blue.

I didn’t care for the tiny cup holders or the  lack of cups and divots into which I could throw loose change, receipts, or pens. The aux cable for our mp3 player was plugged into the center console, so in order to see your music playing device you had to squash the cord with the lid of the armrest. And then there was no cup or divot in which to rest the machine. I also thought the car wasn’t as powerful as expected, but overall the Focus was a sweet ride. It was nice not having to add hundreds of miles to my own vehicle when we went to the beach. Plus, sunroofs go well with saltwater air. Patrick really enjoyed the car and was surprised when I told him I preferred my own Honda Civic. We spend a lot of time together, me and my Civic.

Day Forty-Two. Car Care.

May 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

Early in 2011, a big (for Atlanta) snow storm hit the city and stranded us in our house for three days. On the fourth day, I attempted to drive the forty miles up I-85 to work, and wrecked my lovely 2000 Honda Accord. I was trying to change lanes to get away from the snow and ice packed on the highway and instead spiraled out of control, turning one way to face oncoming traffic then back around full circle, my back passenger wheel crashing into the median. It was probably my lack of skill at driving in such conditions that caused me to total my car. I was completely fine, apart from the embarrassment of not knowing how to drive that hung over me like a raincloud.

So, for the first time ever, I went shopping for a new (to me) car. I finally settled on a cute red 2007 Honda Civic that an old friend of my dad had for sale at his dealership a hundred miles away. I love it. The color probably wouldn’t be my first choice, but it is very much a “Laura” car. And on Day Forty-Two, for the first time, I properly cleaned it.

The car (I named her Lucy, but sort of forgot about that until writing this) was not in super pristine condition when I purchased it. It ran well and everything, but the interior cleaning job was lacking. And the car smelled funny when the AC or heater was on. This, I found out was due to a disgustingly unclean air filter behind the glove compartment that had probably never been changed. So I got an oil change, new filter, and stopped off to purchase some generic floor mats that did not come included with the vehicle purchase.

Then I took Lucy to the new car wash down the street from my house. I didn’t skimp; I got the $14 automatic rub down instead of the one for five. I’m still not sure what the difference would actually be, but the tires did look nice. Then I thoroughly vacuumed her, and attempted to install the floor mats. They didn’t fit. So that was a bust, but I vowed to try again soon.

I shined the interior surfaces and sprayed some febreeze, and the car was good as new. Better even. So until the pollen coats everything again, I have the cleanest car on my street!

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