Saturday, August 01, 2009


There are three kinds of people who are vacuuming their cars today. Parked in two of the spots are people who just got a screaming deal on a new car. The water from the car wash is still drying on the shiny paint and I'm betting they sprung for the extra wax option. One of the guys is carefully wiping the windows to prevent any water spots and the other one has actually removed the floor mats from his new car to vacuum them even more thoroughly.

One space is taken up by someone just like me. As she opens the back door of her minivan, granola bar wrappers flutter out. I can hear her inner voice contemplating whether or not her four quarters will buy her enough time to vacuum under the car seats or if she just ought to leave them buckled in and leave that for another time. Of course, there is the prospect that what she might find underneath the car seat just isn't worth it. If it's too sticky or smelly you just wish you hadn't gone there.

The last guy's car is older but it's spotless. The paint's finish has become dull and the hubcaps don't match. I doubt he is the first owner of this car, but he is working hard to keep it clean. He has even removed the carpet from the trunk. That's what tips me off that he must be a serial killer getting rid of all the evidence. If he does it right nobody will know. Maybe he has staked out this car wash and figured out exactly what day they empty the industrial vacuum canisters into the dumpster. He's sucking up the DNA evidence right now. Why else would he be so meticulous with his 20 year old sedan? Really?

And then there is me. The only evidence I'm getting rid of is the crap that has collected after a week of shuttling three girls to camp and back. I am not typically the kind of mother who picks the kids up and lets them loose in the closest 7-11 for a treat on the way home, but this week was an exception. Not only was it over 100 degrees almost every day, but camp went from 9:00-4:00 and the ride home had me navigating three different freeways during rush hour traffic. I had to do something to keep them happy. You can see that I got more desperate as the week wore on and the days got hotter. We progressed from frozen fruit bars to popsicles and finally sticky, chocolatey ice-cream treats. The wrappers are all here. I find myself cursing the skinny little attachment on the end of the vacuum hose. I love that it gets into the cracks between the seats, but it's too small to suck up the caramel popcorn lurking under the third row seat.

By Thursday morning, packing lunches for gluten-intolerant children who were spending their days outside running around found me scrambling for options. I'd exhausted most of the supplies of protein I could normally pack and they were complaining that fruit and veggies just didn't stick to their ribs the way they needed them to all day long. I succumbed to the gluten-free protein bars. Tons of people eat them, right? They can't be that bad.

Or, maybe they are. You know those pockets they put on the back of the front seats in a minivan? Like the ones on the airplane seats? I'm not sure what the automobile designers meant them to be used for, but in my car they are garbage cans for the children. And when a protein bar falls short of a child's expectations apparently they are the perfect receptacle. Unfortunately after sitting in my van for two days in 100 degree temperatures they essentially glue the pocket closed. And begin to smell. And not even the massive sucking power of an industrial vacuum cleaner can overcome that.

I went through three cycles of the vacuum cleaner.
The pile of things that the vacuum picked up but couldn't completely suck in was up to my knees.

As I turned to put the foul pile of trash into the can next to the vacuum cleaners I found evidence that I'm not the only one. The trash can was already overflowing with crap from the car next to me. A saturated (with God-knows-what) stuffed animal, a sour-milky-smelling water bottle, individual cracker packages, a pacifier and 4,000 tissues sprouted out, leaving me with a billiard-ball-sized hole in which to stuff my treasures.

Suddenly, I began to wish I was the serial killer. I'm pretty sure his victim didn't make as much of a mess in his car as my kids did this week.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

GARBAGE BAG IN THE CAR, Girl! Each day one girl "gets" to carry it in the house and dump it!

chris said...

I'm always the guy vacuuming broken glass out of my car, because someone broke my window again. i wonder where all that stuff gets sucked to....

Deb Shucka said...

This is so funny! You've been watching too much CSI. BTW, I've tried those gluten free energy bars - they're pretty nasty.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...