Sunday, September 20, 2009

“Oh, God! He’s got the Power Washer Going Again”

I know when “Power Washing Day” is approaching. My husband, Fred, opens the garage
door and starts lining things up on the drive-way. Once he has the power washer going, “POWER WASHER FEVER” overtakes him, and he wants to spray everything in sight. Toys, dumpsters, grills...nothing is off-limits.
For Fred, the power washer I got from him for Father’s Day is one of his most beloved possessions. I’m quite sure if I presented Fred with an ultimatum—“It’s either ME or that power washer,” I’d be sleeping on the sofa, while ‘PW’ spooned up next to him in bed.
I have several problems with Fred’s Water Spewing Tool. First, I object to the word “wash.” Assaulting household items with high-pressure water does not “clean” them...not really. It’s like telling a kid to take a shower, but then adding, “You don’t have to use soap—the water will do it all.” A more appropriate name for the device would be “Power Rinser."
Second, of the few things I would like to have “Power Rinsed,” not many of them were engineered to withstand 20 megatons of water being sprayed at them. My refrigerator, for instance, could stand a good “Power Rinsing,” but the meat drawer would no doubt invert, lights would dim and the back-spray would gauge Fred’s eyes out. Our dog, Jasmine, needs a good POWER RINSING, but unless I want to go pick her up in...Nevada---I’ll use the garden hose. Anything “rickety” that’s given a power-wash gets annihilated. Fred power washed our deck once, and all the paint peeled off of it. He power washed his bicycle and took it for a ride and the rear rim “mysteriously” bent. Coincidence? I think NOT.
Final irritant? The unspoken contest among the 99 percent male power washer owners; the “mine’s bigger than yours” show. Each man knows his own machine’s vital statistics--horsepower, amps and its ability to heat and/or dispense detergent...and those of his adversaries. A man could be made to feel small if his machine didn’t measure up.
It all starts with the pull of the rip-cord and the VRUUMMM of the engine. Once the power washer is running, it signals other men down the street...who stop what they’re doing, cock their heads to the side and stagger out to their garages. A chain reaction has been set off. Soon, men are blasting furniture across driveways, “water brooming” the crevices in their sidewalks and insisting that their houses are dirty. Innocent bystanders, children and dogs duck to avoid being knocked unconscious by the debris sailing through the air like frisbees.
“Is Daddy using the power washer?” my daughter Krista asks.
“You heard it too?”
“I’m gonna make sure he’s not power washing my bike,” she said, starting towards the garage.
“Just don’t sneak up on him—you’ll end up in Nevada.”
Post-wash, Fred leaves the “tenderized” items out to air-dry where he can sit in his chair and admire his work...while avoiding the, “What did you power wash THIS TIME?” questioning waiting for him inside.

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