My 1993 Volvo Station Wagon went through its very last drive-through car wash today. No more, never again, and I’m serious this time.

This is a good car, and we’ve been hard on it, I’ll admit. Sometimes things just break on our cars, and sometimes we buy groceries and pay rent instead of fixing them. Things like the seal around the sunroof, and the plastic thingy on on the top of the car that cuts down wind resistance.

It’s pretty cheap to just not open the sunroof anymore, and after a year of listening to the plastic thingy rattle over 45 mph, and a quote of $300 to fix it, we pulled out some duct tape once on our way out to Terrebonne, and taped that thing down. Not very glamorous, but extremly efficient.

Stopping and taping the car down made us late to dinner with our friends, who have a beautiful house and cars that get fixed regularly by mechanics. They were perplexed when we called from the road and told them we’d be there shortly, as soon as we duct taped up the car. They would never dream of putting duct tape on their Pirus.

I think duct tape is a good long-term solution for many things. Until today.

I’ve been hearing that duct tape rattling for the past week. It stayed put for a good six months, but a corner was coming loose. Still, I figured it had another few weeks, at least. No sense in jumping the gun on applying more duct tape. Plus, we used silver tape last time, and I’d like to use some green duct tape for the “repair” so it will match the car (I’m thinking of resell value, here…)

My car is so dirty from the piles of snow that sat on it for two weeks, and from the red gravel dust on the streets of Bend, now that the big snow has thawed, that I was having a hard time seeing out the windows. Driving was getting a bit dangerous. It was past time for a wash.

My neighbors have been washing their cars in their driveways, but I didn’t really want to get the hose out and all that. Seemed easier to just take a quick $6 run through the car wash on Galveston. Plus, for another $1, I could finally vacuum out the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkins in October. I don’t think I’ve washed the car since October, actually.

Should I be embarrased about that?

Just so you know, I don’t go through the car wash very often, because I don’t want to pay $6, and the sun roof leaks a little. Not a ton, but just enough to drip on the knee of a child sitting in the middle of the back seat. Just a little drip or two, nothing major. But the kids were at school today, so I figured I’d sneak off and do this thing.

So, I drove in, the soap started, and everything was going fine. Ah, my guilty pleasure. Spending $6 to have a machine wash my car while I’m sitting it. I was feeling sort of rich, and spoiled. And then the water problem started.

Apparantly, the duct tape was really, really past its prime. Water started pouring in through the sunroof. I mean, really pouring in. Super cold water. Like a little water fall. And not just on the back seat, but all over me, and my bag and my phone and the floor, and all over the crap accumulated in that hollow space near the emergency break that I should throw away.

Now, we have a rule in our house about the sunroof. We aren’t supposed to touch it, or anything around it. My husband wadded up some plastic bags and strategically placed them between the roof and the sliding sunroof cover a while back, and if we don’t mess with anything, it all stays in place and keeps the sunroof happy. We never open the sunroof, of course, haven’t for years. It’s more like a decoration.

But I was desperate, and rules be dammed. I had a waterfall pouring on my head! I tried to close that sunroof cover. Bags were slipping, things were flying…but it didn’t even matter. The water just poured right through the cover, too.

The water in drive-through car washes is very cold, by the way. So cold, that it sort of took my breath away. My pants were wet, my shirt was wet, my hands and face were wet, and I was stuck. I couldn’t drive out, since the sprayers were now in front of my car. The thought of hypothermia crossed my mind. How long do these car washes run?

But, thank god, in my panic, I remembered I was wearing my gortex shell, and that gortex is water proof. So I grabbed my phone and stuck it under my coat, pulled my hood on, and zipped up my jacket. That mommy instinct to protect the precious things first, and worry about my own safety later kicked in. My phone was safe.

The sprayers eventually stopped, the wash was done, and I drove right over to the vacuums to see how much water they would suck up off the seats and rugs (quite a bit, actually.) I threw away all the wet crap, which was good, since now my car is quite tidy.

And now I don’t have to shampoo the rugs!