Dental Floss and a Dog Biscuit
Now that I've got your attention, I'll tell you a story. In the winter of 1996, I was between jobs and decided to accompany Andy on a business trip down south. I had been pretty useless anyway because my right arm was in a cast. The week before, I was on my way out the door with both hands full of dry cleaning. Traversing the icy sidewalk in red "duck" shoes, my feet flew out from under me and I crash-landed, breaking my wrist. A road trip on the expense account sounded like a good diversion.
First stop was Greenville, NC to visit our daughter Hannah, a freshman at East Carolina University. From there, we traveled west, where Andy made some business calls. Heading home on U.S. 81, which cuts diagonally across Virginia and into Pennsylvania, we drove right into the teeth of a menacing snowstorm. As icy sleet hit the windshield, it froze instantly, making it impossible to see. The little motor that ran the wipers overheated and died. Panicked, we pulled into a church parking lot to assess the situation. I voted for a night in the nearest motel, but was overruled. Andy called information on his company cell and found the nearest Pontiac dealership, which was 30 miles north In Harrisonburg. How would we ever get there?
Then my husband's engineering instincts kicked it. Saying he'd be right back, Andy went to the trunk in the freezing wind and dug around in his suitcase. He returned holding a plastic dispenser of dental floss aloft. Words failed me. Dental floss? He cut a long piece with nail clippers and tied one end securely to the left wiper, bringing the other end into the car through the window, which was now slightly open. Then he repeated this procedure on the other side. Half-frozen, he scraped the ice off the windshield and got back in, explaining that each of us would pull on the dental floss to move the wipers in unison. Right. Andy tied the floss around the cast on my arm and then looked for something to which he could tie his end. Rooting around in the side pocket, he found a small green dog biscuit, there because a bank employee gave two to Scrapple when we came through the drive-through and he only consumed one. This became his floss-holder.
We practiced the wiper maneuver a couple of times then inched back on to the deserted highway. All the smart people were holed up in motels, but not my intrepid husband. It was snowing so hard you hardly see ahead, but on we went, pulling back and forth to keep the windshield clear. It was seriously scary and we only went about 20 mph to avoid sliding into a ditch. Because the windows were slightly open, a nasty stream of cold air came in, even though the heater was going full blast. This might be a good place to mention that we were both suffering from head colds and blowing and sneezing between pulls. This would have made a good script for a sitcom.
Finally we pulled into the Pontiac dealership, where the mechanics were expecting us. The guys practically rolled on the floor laughing when they saw our solution to traveling through a snowstorm with a blown wiper motor. We gratefully consumed lunch in a nice warm restaurant while the problem was fixed and soon we were on our way home to Pennsylvania where we could share our adventure with Alison and Pete over Chinese take-out.
I think we can use floss on anything we need to tie up but don't want to scratch. This is a brilliant idea. I wonder where he learned this. This is good parenting done right maybe. I hate to say this. I am too old and yet I feel I don't have anything like this to lay on the table. Families have best kept secrets just like that bread on sugar and other household techniques that make our lives easier. We should keep it and pass it on to generations. It's priceless and it should be valued more than money. Keep the faith.
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I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.