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Car Washes and Christmas

I changed jobs last August with the intent of being closer to home. The first construction project, I was assigned to was a car wash in North Denver. I quit a job in South Denver that paid more money to get closer to home. Still an hour and a half (one-way) commute every day, but somehow it made sense.

The first month on the project worked quite well for me. We had to demolish a parking lot and process the dirt. I arranged my schedule to avoid the heavy highway traffic times by arriving on the job at 10:00 AM and leaving by 2:30. (Yes, you can judge me harshly should you see fit, but watching trucks and tractors driving in circles will numb your mind.) Anyway, we did not have our building permit, so we could not officially start the project.

The car wash owner was a guy in his twenties who had won the marriage lotto. (Incidentally, when I was a child, I hoped I to win the marriage lotto. Turns out, I was wrong in a big way, I met Elaine. Love is better than money. Man, that hurts to say. I was slapped into reality, when I learned Elaine and I were paying for Elaine’s last year of college. No loans, no debt forgiveness, just pay for it. OK, My in-laws did plenty for Elaine and I, let’s not get upset over words on a page.) Sheez, where was I? I lost myself there for a minute.

Oh, yeah, Wayne won the marriage lotto. His father-in-law (and Wayne) owned a bunch of car washes in Texas. The decided they could be just as profitable in Colorado. They decided to build the kind of car wash that drags your car through a tunnel filled with brushes and pieces of towels that rub your car, break your radio antennas and windshield wipers while telling you it was not their fault. (Oh, Sorry.)

By the way, don’t teenagers’ wash their neighbors cars in the driveway, anymore? When I was in my early teens, the quarterback and I washed neighbors’ cars in the driveway for money. We had quite a little business going there. Thinking back, we didn’t break any antennas or wipers. We did have one small mishap. We decided to speed up the process. The quarterback would vacuum while I washed. I moved the vacuum, while standing in water. If he had not shoved me, I would still be hanging on to that vacuum. Funny, I’ve never liked electricity since.

Sorry, I’m having trouble focusing today. I was talking about Wayne.

One day, while Wayne and I were watching tractors driving in circles, Wayne said to me, I’m really excited. I just love watching cars being washed. I could watch that all day.” As you can see the marriage lotto can be a good thing.

As time went on, Wayne was not able to secure a building permit. After the first month, my employers told me to inform Wayne, I was being pulled off the project until Wayne had a building permit. I would return when the permit was in hand.

Lucky for me, I was transferred to an office remodel project for a company with enough funds to have a professional football stadium named after them. (That has absolutely nothing to do with this story.) I finished the office remodel. Wayne, still did not have a building permit. It was now going on five months. My employers told Wayne he needed to find someone different to build the carwash, we would not be coming back.

I was elated. It was getting close to Christmas. I had Christmas stuff to do. I would not be spending three hours driving to the car wash. AND then! I received a weird text that I needed to go to a job in Loveland the next day.

The next day I received another weird text from the site manager of the project in Loveland. “THANKS FOR EVERYTHING. I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU.” Arriving in Loveland I found out that I was now in charge of two restaurants. I hate restaurants! I’ve built many and I hate them. My Christmas elation went away. It turn to sorrow. The only good restaurant is the one you’re eating in and that’s not guaranteed.

Christmas is a time for peace and family. Sadly, there are people struggling out there. Put your anger aside. Does it really matter that some dude cut you off? Smile at people. Drop some cash in the red buckets. Just be nice and hug someone.

Merry Christmas. You still have time to buy Christmas yarn. (that was for Ivy.) Trevor, I hope you are OK!

Our crazy lives!


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