Sunday, September 16, 2012

On unsweet aromas

Shep, 8 weeks old


Sumpin in my van is stank. 

It's been stankin' since last Saturday after I took the kids to a cool splashpad called Bailey Park with the Austin Ethiopia adoption group when I saw all the cute little Ethiopian girls running around and wondered if anyone would notice if I just accidentally took one home with me while I heard all the stories about how the So-and-Sos started the process at the same time, even later! than we did with God's Children's International America Wide Hope Agency and they've had their child home for so long she's not only learned English but some Spanish and is in fact reading the bible in original Greek blah blAH BLAH.

It smells like wet towels. Which made sense because "make sure you bring EV!ERY!THING! IN FROM THE CAR" must sound like original Greek to my recalcitrant slobs little darlings.

But there are no wet towels to be found in the confines of the T&C. I've looked. There's no wet anything within sight. So the musty, wet towel-morphing-to-dirty-sock smell just lingers and every time I open my doors and catch a whiff of it I ask the kids 'what IS that SMELL?' and they roll their eyes and say 'MOM we don't KNOW we've LOOKED there's NOTHING.'

At least it's just the smell of something wet. That's not so bad. There have been worse, far worse.

When Shep was a baby, teeny tiny weeks old, my overambitious postpartum self bought a pumpkin to carve for Halloween. Then, in the drama of getting a 30lb carseat full of newborn and the 30lb diaper bag I took everywhere (what on earth was in there? By the third kid I sometimes remembered to toss a diaper in my purse) I couldn't handle also bringing in a 30 pound pumpkin.  Okay, more like 10lb pumpkin, whatever, new baby. So I just left it in there, for a while, till I could get it, and eventually it just rotted and disintegrated all over the back of my trunk.

I then learned what Hell smells like: rotten disintegrating pumpkin in Houston heat.
Follow Jesus now, y'all. Pray that prayer and get yourself saved because Hell hath no Fabreeze. 

Couple of summers ago, another mystery smell emanated from the back of my van. This time it took at least a week for me to figure it out. You know how sometimes you bring in all the groceries from the car except that one bag that gets left behind? I'm not the only one who does this, right? Right? Just make sure - write this down now - make sure that the one bag you leave in the back for a week doesn't contain the frozen fish sticks.

The worst though, the absolute worst, happened last spring. And it's no small mercy that it was spring and not summer. For over a week, whenever I turned a corner, I would catch the most horrible whiff of what smelled like warm death. And when your car frequently sends you whiffs of warm death, your imagination can run a tad wild. Dead squirrel? Dead possum? Dead rat?? Live rats?? Does my car have rats?? Do rats live in cars?? How do I get rid of rats in my car?? IS THERE SOMETHING CRAWLING UP MY LEG oh thank you Jesus it's just the iPhone charger THERE'S THAT SMELL AGAIN do I have dead and/or live rats in my car??

I tore the back of the van apart - the back, you know, where the kids live - looking for the dead whatever. Nothing. A ghost. A dead rat ghost??

Then one day, all of us were gussied up and headed to church when I dropped something (betcha it was an iPhone) on the floor, reached under the passenger seat, and clenched a lovely squishy week old hard boiled egg. 

It was Ike, so you know. But as bad as it was, it still wasn't as bad as rotten disintegrating Houston pumpkin. Beloved, if you died tonight would you see Jesus or go to Pumpkin Hell? Repent!! Halloween is nigh!

Any stinky car stories to share?

29 comments:

  1. No stinky car stories (oh, I have many w/ two little boys) but my freshman year of college for "get your roommate a date night" (don't ask) the floor carved pumpkins for its festivities. And the heat of the dorm hallways and a couple of weeks of pumpkins indoors probably smelled similar to your car. I think that was the only year we carved pumpkins on W2S. It did smell like hell.

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  2. First, little Walker Junior up there...

    Second, stanky car smells? Um, yes. 3 words: Giardia. Diaper. Explosion.

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  3. Years ago our friends won a turkey in a Thanksgiving golf outing. Sadly they forgot to take it out of the car, where it thawed and turned into warm death smell.

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  4. Well, about the only "stanky" car smell I can think of would have been the time I flooded my car, parked it, and let it sit in the warm Georgia sun for a week without rolling down the windows. The "lovely" black spots and "wonderful" smell cost me about $150 in auto detailing.

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  5. No real stinky smell stories... although the minivan always manages to have some kind of weird unidentifiable smell after each and every long car trip.
    Thank you for the laugh. I had tears in my eyes reading this. And I'm praying for y'all for your adoption process. I can't even begin to imagine how frustrating it is. Hugs.

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  6. When you hear something thumping in your air/ventilation system, do NOT turn UP the fan to a higher setting to try and clear it out. Because then you will find out two things: 1.) you have just sliced and diced a mouse all over your air conditioning system, and 2.) a deceased mouse at first smells like fritos, fish, and feet . . . then the heat that necessitated the AC makes it smell bad. Real bad. *Decaying* fritos, fish, and feet.

    And then you will pay some guys with strong stomachs at the garage to clean out your vents ($250+), and they will tell you that it will help if, each time you drive your car, you spray air freshener into the vents by your (outside) windshield. It won't really work, but you will forever associate Glade Clean Linen air freshener with the dead mouse smell.

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    Replies
    1. My mom had the same thing happen in her car- mouse family blown to smithereens. Before the costly cleaning process, they had us run the heat for hours everyday in the car to try and burn off the mouse bits. Have you ever found spoiled meat and thought, "we should cook this, then the smell will be everywhere!" Ugh. Drove the car for many weeks with our heads out the windows.

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    2. Ha! It's so good to know I'm not alone . . . :)

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  7. Nothing says sensual stank than a gallon of leaked milk all over camping gear and Ford Escort hatchback for a two week road trip Honeymoon. I was happy the Pony didn't come with AC since the leaky engine exhaust covered over the stank and helped me not to think so clearly. Bagging milk is never an option at the store now. :)

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  8. I've had several, but the two that stand out are 1) the time we left a watermelon in the trunk (Alabama summer). Oh my that was terrible! and the worst 2) the time the kids did not unload the chicken breasts from the trunk after I bought groceries. We did not go anywhere for four days (again, AL summer) and I can even describe the smell. It made you sick. I would have to spray perfume on a bandana and wear it around my nose and mouth just to drive the thing. I looked like a criminal escaping in a stinking 2002 Honda Odyssey.

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  9. Oh, you had me laughing. Hilarious! My "get everything out of the car" NEVER works and each time I swear I'm not letting them bring ANY thing else with them. Yeah, right.

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  10. My Sequoia constantly smells like a poopy diaper. There are none in my car. I've looked!

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  11. Not car, but living room. For over a week I sprayed febreeze and lit candles and vacuumed, etc... to try and get rid of a horrible smell in my living room that I could not identify or locate. I finally found a sippy cup full of what used to be milk under the couch. The worst (and dumbest) moment came when I opened the cup! Gag!

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  12. The ultimate stinky car story...........my hubby got quite a few sympathetic looks after this post. I hadn't realized that a few of his fellow teachers read the blog until they expressed their horror of this incident :)

    http://mommymomentswithmandy.blogspot.com/2011/11/hour-of-my-lifegone.html

    Several weeks of raw organic milk soaking into a carseat..............

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  13. We are first time parents, and for awhile every time we got into the van we smelled something. We searched high and low, tore it apart, nothing. Finally (I don't know why it didn't occur to us sooner) we looked underneath the car seat cover (like in between the actual car seat and the cover). Dis.Gust.Ing. Did you know Cheerios could smell so bad if they get wet?

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  14. Not a smell, per se. Just a gross car story. When Rebekah was 2 1/2 and Elijah was like 8 weeks old, we had to travel by new minivan to a land far away so my sister could get married. I was sleeping in the back-back with baby. Rebekah as asleep in the back in her carseat. It was the middle of the night. Jon had to pee. Jon was smart enough not to stop the car to pee, which would have caused all the sleeping people to awaken. So he attempted to pee into an empty Mountain Dew bottle. While he was going 80 mph up I75.

    He missed.

    All over my car.

    But he still didn't wake us up. So, he just drove and drove with pee all over my car. Man-pee. A LOT of man pee.

    I had this storage area between the seats where I kept phone chargers, CD's, maps, etc. Most of it went in there.

    So, yeah.

    I still don't know if he get's Good Husband points for this or not.

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  15. My car smelled like stinky diaper for 2 years...we didn't locate the problem, until I flooded my car in the crazy Houston rain a couple of months ago. We took out the carpet to dry it up and 44 ounces of diet coke from What-a burger and turned into what-a-moldy-mess. Ick...and we were housing a small ant farm.

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  16. I am seriously shivering at all these horrible stories. My husband's motto is "a clean car is a happy car" so I'm a freak mom of four with a clean mini-van. I know, you are judging me, but I'm ok with that because my van smiles at me every time I open its doors.

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  17. Milk spilled on the floor board carpet. There is no way to clean it up and just have to live with that rotten, soured milk smell until it decides to go away.

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  18. THANKFULLY I do not have a stinky car story. (I did have my freezer door left open this weekend when we were out of town so the entire contents thawed into a murky puddle of what appeared to be mucous and vomit, but that's another stinky trauma for another day....)

    But, I have a solution: place a new bar of soap in the car under the seats. It's magic. It absorbs odor in the most impressive fashion. (Or so I've heard from my friend whose daughter got terribly sick in the backseat one day.)

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  19. Can relate to the pumpkin horror. As a student teacher I did a science activity with my first graders talking about the gourd family and how they are alike/different. I had 6 different ones (pumpkin, squash, etc) cut in half in a bag. In the craziness that was my life then I left the bag in my van. Not a happy fall y'all.

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  20. Before we went on holiday in August, my darling 9-year-old fell over and 'hurt her leg'. Feeling sorry for herself, she fetched a near-empty bag of frozen peas, wrapped it in her cardie and held it against her leg. I was busy getting everything ready for camping, so I didn't pay much attention. Three weeks later we came home and for several days wondered what the terrible smell was. Then we found decomposing vegetables wrapped in a cardie. Nice.

    And that's not even mentioning the many times the eldest, with autism, has created stinkbombs over the years. He wears pyjama pants (is that what Americans call them? Like pull-ups) at night (he's 12) and went through a phase of taking off the used ones and hiding them. Hunting such a big boy's filled nappy (diaper?) every morning is not fun (he reluctantly puts them in a bag now). Neither is changing the sheets because the pyjama pants often leak. I thank God he's grown out of the poo stage.

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  21. I came home with a load of groceries. As I was walking the last bag in, my 13 year old daughter finally showed up to help. I told her to go close the back of the van. In the brief time that the car was unaccompanied, all three of our cats secretly took up residence in the van. They stayed there for over 12 hours until we needed to use the van again. Stink. Mo. Bile. My poor hubby steam cleaned the carpet in 20 degree weather. I can't even imagine how bad the stench would have been if it had happened in the heat of summer. Dumb cats still try to sneak in the van to nap.

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  22. no stinky car stories, but everytime our van smells funky it's the carseat/booster seat covers, and the gunk that gathers between the carseat and the real seat. ew.

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  23. One time my husband let our dog sleep overnight in the "farm" car. When he staggered out to the car to head for the barn at 4:00 a.m. the dog bolted out of the car. So did my husband when he discovered the dog had diarrhea during the night. Turns out washing your seats with a hose and soaking them in vinegar and pinesol does nothing to alleviate the smell of doggy diarrhea. Oy!

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  24. There was that week and a half back in '98 when my husband and our pastor took 12 teenage boys camping. Without showers. For an entire week. In August. Our truck smelled like teenage-boy-armpits. I febreezed the ever-loving-heck out of that truck's upholstery to no avail. Even when we sold it 7 years later, there still remained something of the Boy To Man Pit Stench. Blerg.

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  25. I just guffawed! None of my stinky smells are quite as good as yours but we have instituted that removing one's belongings from the van is a CHORE and punishment is issued when it isn't done! :)

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  26. We've had our fair share of soured milk on the floorboards, but one day I opened the car door to the most inviting, scrumptious smell. The smell was so familiar, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. Turns out a can of butter biscuits had rolled under the seat, and had popped open and half-baked in the Texas summer heat. Yum! Almost left them there...no wait, probably would have eaten them if they hadn't been covered in carpet fuzz. I must be livin' right, y'all. ;)

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