Everyone knows that when it comes to personal finances, a long commute is a killer. Maybe literally. Health officials are increasingly aware of how stressful driving is, especially on congested roads. Financially, gas, insurance, and maintenance shrink paychecks. And worst of all, cars depreciate in value about 10%/year.
The smart people among us live near their work so they can walk, bike, or easily and quickly take public transpo. I’m not among the smart. I have a medium-long commute on an increasingly congested highway. Even worse, now that I’m returning to work full-time, I want to upgrade my commuter car, a 2006 Honda Civic with 107k miles.
I don’t need a new car, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting one. One with all wheel drive for Pacific Northwest rain and snow, rain sensing wipers, xenon lights because my winter/night vision ain’t what it used to be, a primo sound system even though I usually listen to National Public Radio, and one that is a perfectly quiet cocoon. Bonus if it makes my wife look at me the way she used to back before Al Gore invented the internet. Oh, and I’d like it to get 45+mpg and depreciate more slowly than most other cars.
Rough segue. Youngest daughter returned home from her summer camp counseling job last night. She parked my commuter car under trees for the last few weeks. Consequently, it was the most dirty it’s ever been. I attacked it last night like Richard Sherman on Michael Crabtree.
For literally the last 20 years, the Byrnes family cleaner of choice was “Basic H” an earth friendly Shaklee product that is not well known. And by “earth friendly” I mean it didn’t clean worth sh*t. But I didn’t know that until we just ran out and had difficulty (hallelujah) finding just a gallon of it. We had to signal Simple Green in from the bench, by which I mean a corner of the garage where it had been sitting for a decade plus. Talk about being ready to play. I mixed some up and decided to clean my cycling cleats. OMG a year long scuff magically disappeared.
Armed with my diluted bottle of SG I attacked the interior of the Civic like Richard Sherman on Larry Fitzgerald. At the end of the evening, dripping with sweat, damn if I didn’t have a new car. Today, when driving to Costco to fill up, I thought, this car ain’t bad. It can’t depreciate much more, I don’t have to pay for comp or collision, it’s as reliable as Felix Hernandez, and it gets 45mpg. I can’t make any promises about tomorrow, but for today at least, soy contento.
I’m excited about what my Simple Green future holds for me. Look out doors, baseboards, appliances. No more scuffling through life. More seriously, a Japanese headmaster was once asked why the children were required to clean the school. He said, “Cleaning creates a kind and gentle spirit.” That is poetry.
Based strictly on the value of one’s time, many people say it doesn’t make economic sense for them to spend two hours cleaning their car. But what if they’re using SG and that causes them to postpone a new car purchase? And how do you quantify a kind and gentle spirit?