I have had lots of "my-mini-van-could-be-condemned-because-of-its-filth" sagas including a mouse that lived in it for several weeks, many milk, juice, and tea spills, a multitude of bodily function explosions, filth, trash, etc. I have tried to keep the car clean, honestly. But being in constant use with three kids plus on a near daily basis, it is what it is. I remember Jay having a fit about the state of my car one day and then I took a look at his - four verses one. No contest.
Recently, however, I knew I reached a new level when my son started making apologies to his friends when they came into our car. I also knew it had reached epic proportions when another mom said that Sadie went on and on about how clean their car was when she rode in it. I think my two oldest finally understand why we want a clean car.
So, there was a stink in the car for a couple of weeks. A stinky, musty odoriferous gag-inducing ick. No child could discover the source despite repeated request by me to search every corner and crevice. Finally, after gagging one morning on the way to school, I decided to don gloves and a trash bag and investigate. Into the deep recesses of the car I traveled, to the place I lovingly refer to as "Satan's Lair."
It didn't take long, the discover of which added to my ire. A sports-type cup leaking what I could only surmise was chocolate milk, somewhat solidified, nearly a cottage cheese consistency. The cup had been shoved into the seat pocket in front of the third row of seats. As I started poking around, I noticed a couple more cups shoved the other pocket, along with various snack bags, hair bows, a crayon, several lego pieces, an overdue library book and headphones for the car audio system. Yes, all of them with at least a couple drops of the souring brown liquid. Some had complete saturation.
Upon further discovery I found in the other pocket more treasures and delights similar to above. And then...if it couldn't get any worse, I spied the cupholders. I say that plural because the Honda Odyssey has something like 26 cup holders in it - I am not lying. I happened to see two joining ones and I know I gasped out loud. A left over mushy, fermenting apple from some weeks earlier, possibly a month or so, soaking in some gooey orange syrup from a disintegrating McDonald's cup. It was trying to become one with some chintzy gold necklace and a melted tube of chapstick. I know the hair on my neck started to stand up and possibly some slivers of steam began curling out of my ears.
In my zen-like state, I created a plan and a subsequent consequence for not obeying my plan, otherwise known as "discipline." The new rule: children must consistently keep the van cleaned up. How ingenious of me, right? Everything is to be brought in from the car when we get home. I mean EVERYTHING. No clothing, backpacks, shoes or coats left behind. I know, why do I have shoes and clothing lying around our car? Because the children change into swim gear three times a week leaving school uniforms, socks, etc. strewn about. They are also to keep all trash out of the back and bring in toys/electronics, too. Nirvana, right? The punishment for not doing their job? Vacuuming the entire car and cleaning all cupholders. My cupholders will not longer runneth over!