Thursday, July 22

The Case of the Smelly Mini-van

Good morning world!

So, I've been wandering around for the last few days, unsure of what to share with whoever actually reads this cacophony. But yesterday, in a long, uncomfortable ride home from the mall, armed with several $3 bras and a half dozen new pairs of shorts for band camp in a week and a half, I was suddenly struck my the memory of a mystery from years ago. Be it because of my love of mysteries like The Hollow or just that my little sister asked my dad if he remembered when it happened, suddenly it was fresh in my mind: The Case of the Smelly Mini-van.

It all started a little over 2 years ago. We had this navy blue monstrosity that took us everywhere. We had it since before I remember - it faithfully carried me to Girl Scouts and 5th grade basketball games... I shudder to remember, but that's that, I suppose. And then, one day on the way home from what I can only assume was one of our many, many trips to Presque Isle National Park - which to us was just 'the beach' - we noticed that our beloved boat with wheels...stank.

Now when I say it stank, I don't mean like someone had too many chili burritos - the food at the concession stand, I tell you... Uurgh - but like something cute and cuddly crawled under the hood and had babies, but one didn't come out and just sat in its mommy's stomach so long that she went septic and the babies who were actually born proceeded to feed off her bowels until they all died of what-the-hell-were-you-thinking-eating-half-digested-food/shit-? and they just fermented in this macabre little cuddly family and wafted into the car whenever we turned off the AC and used the vent instead like good environmentalists. I was certain that was the case - and so did my, at the time, 9 year old sister. When the 9 year old thinks something "crawled in and died", you know it's bad. And it went on for months.

So we tried everything a typical lazy family does when their car stinks. Ignoring it, rolling down the windows, the occasional spraying of Fabreeze!, nothing seemed to work. Eventually, we knew that this little rank family meant business. So we looked under the hood...

Nothing but an engine older than my sister and some grease.

And we were like: "Are you serious?!" and sighed collectively, knowing what we had to do.

We needed to clean the car.

After procrastinating another few months, buying rubber gloves that go up to our shoulders, and trying Fabreeze! a few more times, just for good measure, we began to resign ourselves to the fact that actual work needed done. We set a date, changed it a couple times, and finally did it.

We took out seats row by row, first the front two, vacuuming and Fabreeze!ing like crazy, and proceeded to do the next row when we didn't find anything other than a bunch of pennies, a home and garden magazine and some mints. Rather the same findings were gathered and we steeled ourselves to do the last row.

You may be wondering why this is such a big deal. Well, to put it simply, three semi-menopausal women; a mother and two live-in aunts; my father, my 9 year old sister and barely 14 years old me. Does that sound like a cleaning crew to you? Uh-uh. There is a reason only my very, very close friends are allowed inside my house. It's a disaster.

But what really got us was that the back seat was like a bench, three ass-widths wide, able to be reclined like a bed, except that there were these random black metal loops - but more like, square shaped - That protruded from between the seat and the back-part-thing. And whenever we had a long car ride and wanted to catch some Zzz's, we would curl up all comfy and be almost asleep until we went over a bump and get stabbed in our (read: my) bony hips and shoulders, woken by near-blunt-force-trauma.

But we somehow did it and our efforts were rewarded by the knowledge of what had been trying to asphyxiate us with it's death-scent. And by now I'm sure the suspense is just killing you. What was the source of the smell that nearly made my whoel family break into a sweat, for god's sake?

It was a moldy potato.

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