Flashback Friday – $80 Car Wash: It’s Not Just Me

Flashback Friday

I’m doubling up this week’s Flashback Friday due to last week’s schedule interruption.


The following post originally appeared on 8/28/07 at Exit 51

$80 Car Wash

Ain’t it the truth – things happen when you’re least ready for them and I swear some things only happen to me. Case in point, I get in my car this week and the check engine light comes on. Absent any obvious signs that the engine is about to blow up, my diagnostic skill are pretty limited. Since the car is only two years old and still under warranty I decide the proper thing to do is get to the dealer. And that’s where I ended up getting an $80 car wash.

When I arrived and explained the reason I was there, the service tech checking me in explained that if the issue was not a covered repair, I would be charged their standard diagnostic fee. Of course I agree since I don’t know the first thing about what goes on under the hood.

So I wait. And I wait. I even watch a movie on my iPod. 90 minutes later, I’m informed that the problem was a loose gas cap. And it just so happens that a loose gas cap is different from a defective gas cap. And that difference could be charged to my Visa or Mastercard. But while I’m waiting for my paperwork to come through to the cashier, would I like my car washed. I figure why the heck not, if I have to hand over my debit card for this bit of automotive wisdom, I might as well get a clean ride out of it. I paid the bill and went out to collect my car expecting it to be shiny and clean inside and out.

And don’t you know, that car was dripping wet and void of any vacuum love. Next time, I think I’ll just take it to the AutoSpa instead. For $80, I could have the entire car cleaned, waxed, and detailed. But I learned a valuable lesson…how to tighten a gas cap (three clicks!)…which I gladly pass along free of charge.


And this was the follow up.

The following post originally appeared on 9/1/07 at Exit 51

It’s Not Just Me

Turns out I’m not the only one with gas cap issues. I got the following email from one of my friends:

my mom called me last night. she picked her car up from the VW dealer after having dropped it off yesterday morning because the engine light came on…turns out her gas cap wasn’t on all the way! true story! i almost fell out of my chair. i relayed the $80 carwash bit to her and she thought that was outrageous as well. anyway, i’ve never heard that before and now i’ve heard it twice in the same week. thought i would pass it on. i gave her your 3 click advice.

If car makers have the technology for your car to tell you when your tire pressure is low or email you with service reminders (truth is stranger than fiction), why can’t they come up with a ‘check gas cap’ light?

Fine Cooking Shrimp Stew

screen shot of finecooking.com

Since our break up, I haven’t decided on a replacement for Cook’s Illustrated.  I scope out the grocery line to see if any of the other cooking magazines catch my eye with their glossy pages and full color photos.  A few I can eliminate straight away.  Rachel Ray makes me run from my HDTV.  I’m not bringing a pint sized print version of her into my home.  Martha Stewart is too fussy for my taste so she can just cool her heels with Miz Ray at the check out counter.  I’ve already had a relationship with Cooking Light and I don’t see us getting back together in the near future. Continue reading “Fine Cooking Shrimp Stew”

Book Club

Bon Bons

I’ve had a library card for about as long as I can remember.  Growing up, there were two public libraries within walking distance of my house.  But I can’t say that I recall being in them much.  A lot of my books were checked out of the school library, not to be opened until I was slung across the wing back chair in the living room.  That chair was my favorite place to read.  My head rested comfortably up against one of the wings and my legs dangled over the arm. Continue reading “Book Club”

Deb’s Cream Biscuits

Cream Biscuits

I’m a sucker for biscuits.  So when I see a biscuit recipe, I’m inclined to want to try it.  Sometimes I’m happy with the results.  Sometimes, I’m not.  But by and large, I’ve never met a biscuit I didn’t like.  Most recently, I gave Deb’s Cream Biscuits a go.  I’d like to tell you that I fell in love with these cream biscuits.  But I didn’t.  Maybe it was an off day in the kitchen.  Maybe my ingredients weren’t as fresh as they could have been.  Or maybe the Universe was telling me not to fall in love with these biscuits because it knew that there’s a heavenly looking biscuit recipe in my copy of Cook Wise.

But just because these particular biscuits and I didn’t make a Love Connection, that doesn’t mean that you won’t.  Click on that link up there to hop over to Smitten Kitchen.  Who knows, maybe it will be love at first bite.

Dance Card

image from istockphoto.com
image from istockphoto.com

I am, what you might call, a wee bit compulsive.  I’ll go through phases where I’ll try and find as many possible variations on a recipe or ingredient as possible.  I’ll exhaust myself trying something countless different ways.  It’s like I’m possessed by a singular focus.  And then, just as abruptly as the urge struck me, it leaves.  My latest partner on the dance floor I call obsession has been baked eggs. Continue reading “Dance Card”

Yeast 1 – BAH 1

At the end of 2009, I had to shoot my mouth off and say that I had decided to face my fear of yeast.  I even suggested to The Mistah that The Bread Bible would make a great Christmas gift and sure enough, there was a copy of it under our tree.  And as I sit here typing, that book hasn’t been opened.  Not even once.  Come on, it’s a little overwhelming to take on a project that involves reading a Bible, I don’t care what kind it is.  Bibles are serious stuff, not to be taken lightly, and I’m not yet ready to make the commitment that a Bible requires.  Maybe if we all took our Bible study a little more seriously, even our Bread Bible study, the world would be a different place.  For one, maybe we would be enjoying more homemade popovers, rolls, and english muffins.  And who wouldn’t want to live in a world like that? Continue reading “Yeast 1 – BAH 1”

Roast Chicken and Sweet Potato Wedges

Roast Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

My apologies for the crazy lighting in that picture.  In the middle of winter, daylighting photos is a crap shoot.  And daylighting when the sun is bouncing off of nearly two feet of snow outside the window is even harder.  What’s not hard is Roast Chicken with Sweet Potato Wedges.  And they do make being trapped inside your house on a snowy weekend taste much better.  Of course, you don’t have to wait for a blizzard to commence in order to make this.

Roast Chicken with Sweet Potato Wedges

  • 4 chicken breasts (bone in, skin on)
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Scrub the sweet potatoes and cut into wedges (approximately 6 – 8 per potato).  Place sweet potatoes and chicken breasts on the sheet pan.  Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and mix to coat everything well.  Place several sprigs of fresh thyme on the chicken and potatoes.

Bake for 1 hour or until the chicken registers 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

{printable recipe}


image from www.istockphoto.com
image from http://www.istockphoto.com

I have a fear of commitment when it comes to some things.  Like slow cooked beef.  For about a year, I’ve had my eye on a slow cooked beef recipe that I found at Washingtonpost.com.  The first time I thought about making it, I figured I must have misread the recipe because I didn’t remember that it would take 10 hours to cook a 4 pound roast.  So back in the folder it went.  I kept coming back to it over and over but just couldn’t commit to it.  It got to the point that I decided I was never going to have what it takes for slow cooked beef and threw the recipe out.  But the Universe had other ideas and over the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the WaPo food folks were singing its praises and confirming that the time was not a typo. So I decided to make the commitment and fix slow roasted beef for Christmas dinner. Continue reading “Commitment”