Curdled Minivan


By Marianne Walsh

Member of the Chicago Parent Blog Network

My minivan really started to stink the other day. This inspired an extremely thorough investigation and analysis of its entire contents. I have a strict no-eating policy which was implemented after several unholy discoveries were made during carpool. Back then, I learned how items can fester. And festering is never, ever a good thing.

In search of the root cause, I filled three Hefty bags worth of the following:

  • Assorted missing hats, gloves & coats

  • Sucker sticks courtesy of the bank (it's hard to get around the no-eating rule when my deposit slips come back with an army of brightly colored lollipops)

  • Stuffed animals

  • School notices

  • Birthday party invitations (my apologies to anyone who did not receive an RSVP from me during the last five months)

  • Red Bull cans (I own this one)

  • Baby Wipes (which I will gladly carry in my minivan until the kids go to college)

  • Hockey skates, sticks and helmets

  • Seven umbrellas (apparently I was planning for the Apocalypse)

  • 4 snow brushes (ditto)

Even after purging my excessive load and heading to the local carwash for a deep and complete interior cleaning, the smell would not dissipate. It was a weird combination of crayons, eggs, and wet dog all wrapped together in a burrito shell. One whole aerosol can of disinfectant spray was employed, and I quickly installed a new rearview mirror air freshener.

The odor remained.

When my husband arrived home from a night at the firehouse, I asked for his help in determining my sanity. I could not be imagining the smell. It had to be real. After a quick trip to the driveway and back, Joe figured me for a loon.

"It smells like it always does," he confirmed.

"But it smells gross," I countered.

"That is the smell of children, honey. In particular, boy children. You better get used to it."

I don't care what he says. I'm going back to the carwash tomorrow for the $17.99 ultra air-freshener guaranteed to remove even the smell of "boy."

In the meantime, I am terrified to think what my mom-mobile is going to be like in a few shorts years when I cart around teenagers with all of their gym shoes and hormones.

Perhaps I ought to start buying stock in Lysol now.


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