Thursday, October 2, 2008

Under Pressure

I've got my eye on something shiny, but it's not what you're thinking. I want a Troy-Bilt 3000 MAX PSI / 2.7 MAX GPM Pressure Washer. It's red, it's powerful, and someday I will wield its wand.

It started innocently enough. I had invited my parents for a visit with the ulterior motive of securing free babysitters so the hubby and I could go out for our anniversary. At the last second, I asked my mom to bring along their pressure washer. It had been a while since we had done our house and it needed a good scrub-down. But what I didn't know is that I had sparked a fire within my mother that would not be easily extingished.

Before I knew it, I was in the middle of a military-style logistical meeting held via email with my mom. We would need bleach, at least two gallons. We would need gasoline. To maximize our time, the materials should be purchased ahead of time and ready when she arrived. I wondered what all the fuss was about and got back to sitting around doing nothing.

When my parents arrived, she couldn't hide the disappointment that her instructions had not been carried out. "Don't worry," I said. "We can get all of that stuff after we go to the farmer's market tomorrow." Her eyes darted around and she seeemd anxious. I offered her some wine.

The next day, after the farmer's market, we sat around the table eating sandwiches. My mom brushed her hands together and pushed back from the table. "Okay," she announced. "I am going to change into my work clothes and then we can get started!"

My dad looked at her, perplexed. "To do what?"

"To pressure wash!" Her eyes gleamed with the anticipation of a child on Christmas Eve.

Within 15 minutes we were on the driveway. Our role could best be summed up as, "supervisory." There really wasn't much for us to do, but we felt guilty going inside to watch football when she was outside doing manual labor. But when we suggested trading off for turns, she ignored us. When my dad finally wrestled the pressure washer from her iron grip, she had a vigor and energy I had only previously witnessed when she realized she could combine her coupons at Chico's. I had literally never seen my mom so happy.

It was easy to see why pressure washing was so addictive: instant results. Don't like that drop of paint on the driveway? Blast it away. The green mildew on the windowsills? Gone. Even the gutters looked like new. I was a little embarassed that there was so much to wash, but I was glad to no longer feel like the Boo Radley of my cul-de-sac. Well, once we take care of the weed garden growing alongside the house and fix the part of the fence that fell down. Yeah, we're those neighbors.

It's hard to describe the intoxicating, trance-inducing element that pressure washing provides, mostly because I have not experienced it first-hand. I never got a turn. Between my mom, dad, and husband, I was left with the task of chief cook and bottle-washer. At one point, I went inside and put the fall duvet on the bed. I folded a load of laundry.

And that night, after our date, we returned home to find my parents on the couch, my dad snoring with his mouth hanging open and my mom coming down from her buzz. We convinced her to let us keep the pressure washer for a month. I am still waiting for my turn.

To clean is mundane, but to pressure wash is divine. At least, that's what I hear. :)