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AIBU - getting the stinking car cleaned

(22 Posts)
rosenylund Tue 20-Dec-16 11:49:46

This weekend I am going to a family christmas a few hours away with my parents. Stressfull all round as my dad can't drive at the mo so mum is driving - she's nervous and he makes her more nervous - back seat driver, except in the front seat confused. I offered to pay and insure myself so I could drive - no.

Anyway, dad's car is the smelliest, dirtiest car ever. Dog hair, grime, years of dirt. I suggested we get it cleaned as no one wants to spend 4 hours plus in traffic in it. No he said. We'll clean it.

'We'll clean it' means mum will do it this week, along with all the other busy christmas stuff.

So, i booked it in for a valet today - the works, full shampoo and set! Have had to do this covertly as dad wouldn't let us. Mum and I are going supposedly shopping and it's booked in this pm.

My mum is bricking it; she is genuinely shit scared of how my dad will take it. This is just another example of his childish, spoilt behaviour. Feel so sorry for my mum. Anyone else would love it - nice treat of having your car done out like new.

Now I'm bricking it as I know he'll go mad as we've gone behind his back. Considered cancelling but all paid and booked in advance.

Love my dad - he is generous, kind and a great character. BUT - he's of another generation where everything is wife's work, and he was spoilt being brought up by all women.

As I've got older, I've become more aware of how we all tip toe around him. We've had some smashing rows the last few years because I've finally been able to stand up to him and call him out on his behaviour.

This week is getting more nerve wracking by the minute. Dunno whether to just cancel and lose the money anyway. I'm stressing about whether the seats will be dry fgs!

WellErrr Tue 20-Dec-16 11:51:40

Well, he doesn't sound very nice if you're all shitting yourselves at getting his car cleaned.


Sounds like everyone has been tiptoeing around him for too long.

Unsurechicken Tue 20-Dec-16 11:51:45

Get it done dont cancel and if need be tell him you stoped at a petrol station and jet washed it and the mat and hoovered it x

srslylikeomg Tue 20-Dec-16 11:52:57

Stand by your decision. Just say 'I thought you'd appreciate it' and if he goes mad just smile and say 'don't worry it'll soon be messy again, at least this way mum doesn't have to clean it'
Stop letting your df affect you so- that bit is in your power.

Gottagetmoving Tue 20-Dec-16 11:53:08

I don't think you should do anything behind his back. You should tell him what you intend to do. If it is his car he can say no if he likes,..but no one else should clean it for him.
If your Mum is shit scared, then there is a massive problem with their relationship.

NapQueen Tue 20-Dec-16 11:55:09

Honestly I'd take the flack and say "the only spaces in the shopping centre were the valet ones so I figured two birds one stone and mmmmm isn't it fresh!! Can't wait for our journey....who wants a brew?" And just move on as quickly as possible.

rosenylund Tue 20-Dec-16 11:56:15

Wellerr, it's hard to explain with my dad. I agree it looks awful from the outside. If there's any fall out today for mum I've decided my sister and I will need to team up and have serious words.

He has very definite ideas and those have really never been challenged, really until the last few years. At the moment he's got a bit worse as he is convinced he hasn't got long left and puts ever more on my mum than usual. I don't even know how to put into words what he's like.

WellErrr Tue 20-Dec-16 11:57:11

I wouldn't lie to him at all. That's why men like this carry on like this, everyone tiptoes around trying not to set them off.

There's nothing wrong with saying 'We got your car cleaned as it was too filthy for us all to sit in, and mum didn't have the time or inclination to muck it out. You're welcome.'

grannytomine Tue 20-Dec-16 11:58:03

I've been having a little fantasy that someone would get me a car valet for Christmas, dropped hints but I don't think anyone is taking any notice. Shame he can't appreciate it but at least the journey will be more comfortable for you. Will he notice if you don't mention it? Maybe he will just think your mum did it.

Smellslikeoranges Tue 20-Dec-16 11:58:32

Get it done and pretend you did yourselves with a bucket, sponge and bottle of wash 'n wax. Sounds tough on your mum if she is that sacred of your dad.

WellErrr Tue 20-Dec-16 12:03:15


What would he do if you just said 'We got your car cleaned as it was too filthy for us all to sit in, and mum didn't have the time or inclination to muck it out.'

What would you be afraid of happening?

rosenylund Tue 20-Dec-16 12:03:59

Agree with all these posts totally.

Ironically he may not notice... we got the old greenhouse taken away when it blew down in a storm - 3 years later 'where is it'!!

Gottagetmoving - they've been married 50 years, but it isn't an equal partnership you're right. He is like a massive spoilt kid about 40% of the time The other 60% he is hilarious, gentle and kind. He loves us all desperately and has a lot of regrets about his life, working away when we were all kids, being too strict etc etc.

What seems to have worked the last few years when he has a tantrum, is laughing it off. I have to really steel myself but generally it diffuses the situation and he often laughs at himself - however, this doesn't always dilute the hurt he may have already caused, but can help.

About 6 months ago we had a huge row where I made it clear that I would stand up to him for mum and that I wasn't afraid of him. He said I made him out to be a monster. He isn't - but his behaviour can be monstrous. Anyway, he did take that to heart and he has been better - just this christmas excursion is causing more stress.

rosenylund Tue 20-Dec-16 12:06:32

WellErrr - What would you be afraid of happening?

That he will stop speaking to my mum which is his usual tactic. Or worse, he will hold onto it for a few weeks, appear fine and then stop speaking to her, which he has done before, over an incident we had all forgotten it was so long ago.

The worst thing could be that he refuses to go to my brothers on saturday.

sugarplumfairy28 Tue 20-Dec-16 12:06:33

If your DF isn't giving you the option to travel in another car and you are willing to either clean the car yourself or pay for it, then it is certainly him with the issue. It's not really fair to expect people to be happy to sit in a mess.

I do understand over baring parents, with rules that make no sense and this idea or list of things you are or are not allowed to raise. Make up an excuse as to why you had it done, if you have to. Got muck all over your hands, dropped something and couldn't find it, clothes smell you were getting funny looks, or like PP only space was a valet one.

I am a complete (car) neat freak. I absolutely deplore sitting in a filthy car for an extended period of time. We'll be taking a trip a few hours away this Christmas too, I have cleaned my car in advance and I will do it again. Even though it is new and there shouldn't be a problem, I also cleaned DH's car which is a disgusting mess, just in case something happened and we had to use his.

Good luck whatever you decide to do

WellErrr Tue 20-Dec-16 12:12:20

I do feel for you flowers

But I think you (collectively) need to start standing up to him. He stops talking to your mum? Call him out on it. He refuses to go on the trip? Leave him at home. It's his choices, his decisions - you are not doing anything wrong. But just think for a moment, how many of yours and your mothers life decisions are based all around his moods.

Of course, it would be easier in the short term to just lie and say you did it. But I couldn't.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Gottagetmoving Tue 20-Dec-16 12:15:53

they've been married 50 years, but it isn't an equal partnership you're right. He is like a massive spoilt kid about 40% of the time The other 60% he is hilarious, gentle and kind. He loves us all desperately and has a lot of regrets about his life, working away when we were all kids, being too strict etc etc

I know someone like him.
Yes, people will say he is terrible and your mother should leave.
him or you should have nothing to do with him..but it is not that straightforward.
The person I know who is like this is also a kind, loyal and decent man.
He had a very difficult time growing up and has managed to change a lot since he was young.
I think you are right to laugh off his tantrums or just ignore them in as much as not letting it change what you are doing.
If he goes silent with your mother she should ignore that and just speak to him as she usually does.
If someone wants to be like he is then leave them to it but carry on as you would. It will be very difficult for your mother to change how she responds though.

YelloDraw Tue 20-Dec-16 12:18:20

He doesn't sound very nice, very EA and manipulative with the hot/cold and punishing your mum several weks later :-(

TeenageCentaurMortificado Tue 20-Dec-16 12:24:55

And you've just made me book my car in for a valet Christmas treat £65 bloody quid fgrin

haveacupoftea Tue 20-Dec-16 13:17:49

Just say it was nothing to do with your mum and you didnt want to sit in a stinking car. If he starts tell him to shut up! Why do people put up with such bad manners?

xStefx Tue 20-Dec-16 13:28:05

Having always been outspoken I find it so hard to get this issue. My mum has always been a bit mean to my dad, once she tried to belittle my father in front of his whole family and the look of embarrassment on his face made my heart break. So I shouted at the top of my voice (so all his family could hear) Mum, don't you ever speak to my father like that again you should be ashamed of yourself you big bloody bully, everyone can see what your really like now!!!" She went beetroot and I mean bright purple, my dad looked at the floor whilst my brother nearly spat out his drink. Now she is never, ever mean to my dad in front of me now. Hit that nail on the head OP, your an adult now!

Gooseygoosey12345 Tue 20-Dec-16 13:40:10

My family are all very outspoken so unfortunately I can't really relate. However if you're all travelling in his car it affects you all. I would say "I'm having your car cleaned, mum is too busy and I'm not willing to travel in it like that. It's been paid for already so deal with it". I'd also tell him to stop being so bloody selfish and that your mother is not a robot or Wonder Woman and it wouldn't kill him to help her out then suggest things that he could do.

LumelaMme Tue 20-Dec-16 13:54:58

The worst thing could be that he refuses to go to my brothers on saturday.
Then you say, 'I'm genuinely very sorry that you're not coming', get in the car and leave him behind. If he refuses to go, he's just manipulating you all and it isn't on.

I hope he sees sense.

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