Saturday, May 29, 2010

It’s Van-Tastic

Today I started my morning off with a list of things I’d like to accomplish. I then proceeded to walk outside and start cleaning out my van which wasn’t even on the list. The catalyst for my decision was the fact that my van had started to smell like rotten milk. I’m past the stage of hidden baby bottles, but I am not past the stage of the Go-Gurt. My children cannot get into the van without grabbing one in their pre-trip ritual: go to the bathroom, grab your shoes, get a yogurt. Thank the heavens that Yoplait invented little tubes of dairy product, just perfect for busy families on the go. But now my vehicle is littered with (mostly) eaten yogurt casings. And the tiny little tip the kids rip off while opening the tube. In fact, I put this heinous chore off as long as I can and for good reason. If my family was stranded in New York City, in temperatures of 110 degrees, and a cab pulled up with an interior that looked and smelled like my van, I'd shove the kids out of the way, slam the door, and say, "No thanks, we'll walk." But since it's crap from children I know, while still gross, it's oddly acceptable even for my germ-a-phobic nature. But my van smelled. I could ignore it no longer.

I’m sure all of you have seen the You Tube clip, “Mom My Ride,” but if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen it, you really need to watch it. I wish like hell I had been the one who thought of putting this together, but alas, I wasn’t. However, it is pretty much exactly what my van looks like and was what I was dealing with this morning when I decided to actually clean my vehicle.

Step One: Crap Removal

This is what I unloaded from the van today, although it was much worse a few days ago, when trying to find one of my children, I had to remove some trash from the floor. So while my trash bag is not nearly as full as it should have been, I did remove enough items to require four trips to the house to carry things in. While taking this photo I thought it would be a neat idea to put together some “I SPY Van Crap” fun.

I spy a bucket and a spool of thread,
I spy a hat for wearing on your head.
I spy a water bottle, phthalate free,
I spy an orange cup and pink pony.

I spy a rain slicker and bag of clothes,
I spy tissues for a snotty nose.
I spy sunglasses and a foil pan,
I spy some socks and a stained hot pad.

I spy a canning jar and a striped sun hat,
I spy two baseballs that you’d hit with a bat,
I spy a table cloth white and green,
I spy a bag of trash just for me!

Perhaps I’ll sell this photo to the I Spy book people. Maybe I could make a buck or two. (I also took a picture of the contents of my purse which I emptied out the other day as well. I’ll be doing another post on purse crap, with more I SPY fun to come.)

Step 2: Department of the Interior

Once the crap is removed, it’s off to grab the vacuum with the super suction. I admit that I didn’t do a stellar job with the floors; I just vacuumed over the floor pads without removing them. Upon first glance at this photo you might think that I have some groovy, retro tie-dyed carpeting in there, but alas, it’s fabulously stained from coffee spillage, sodas that leaked after the waxy bottom of the cup disintegrated, and other assorted liquids one might carry in the van. I don’t kill myself trying to suck up every last rock and crumble because I live with stains like these, and really, the bitty grit on the floors makes the stains less noticeable. I do however vacuum all the seats, especially the ones in the back where the kids inhale snacks and assorted sundries by first smashing them on their face, and then eating the crunchy bits. The seat around my daughter’s buckle is pretty malleable, considering that I had to dismantle it some years back to clean up a quart of chunky vomit.
I’m not even going to say it outloud because you know it’ll jinx me, but since then we haven’t needed to perform that particular service again. I understand this is just a matter of time.

Step 3: Put Van Back Together, While Admiring It’s Beauty

If cleaning out and vacuuming the vehicle wasn’t enough of a time suck, you then have to actually put away all the garbage you shoveled out of it. I had a pile for the laundry, a pile for the kitchen, a pile for the garbage, and yes, there is still a foil pan with a few remaining stragglers sitting on the driveway. I put back the driver’s side floor mat, admiring the cool hole that has worn through the bottom, but it does make a cool new way to play peek-a-boo with your three year old.

And lastly, the favorite part of my van has to be the passenger side mirror:

You too could be a proud owner of a carpet-soiled, rotten milk smelling van with a broken side mirror. The only thing you’ll need to do, is back out of your garage early in the morning (before your cup of coffee) while looking through the rearview mirror to make sure you’re not actually running over your children, and wait for the CRACK! CRUNCH! that is to ensue. For while we have a two car garage, it is obviously designed for two Tato Nano’s  and not for a Dodge minivan and Toyota hybrid. When the cars are parked in the garage together, I have to climb into my van through the passenger door and into the driver’s seat. This is not a reflection of my growing arse, but simply a statement about how large our garage is. (Although those wood-working tools along the side may be taking up a bit of room as well.) The interesting thing to note about my side mirror, is the entire apparatus popped off and is too broken to work again unless we purchase an entirely new side mirror part, so my handy man-y simply popped in the mirror just so it doesn’t look as tacky. This mirror is no longer able to be controlled with the little buttons on my dash, nor does it even reflect anything, because it’s so loosely popped in there, that it vibrates so much that the images are just a blur: like trying to watch a movie while someone is fast forwarding it. But whatever makes him feel less like a white-trash van owner. I’m happy to own up to it.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, with a little hard work, a bachelors in education and a masters degree in English, you too could own a vehicle just like mine. If you need any tips on how to get the fab smells like vomit and rotted dairy products out of your vehicle, give me call. If you’re needing information on how to disassemble the vans seats to clean up excrement, body fluids, or to find a lost limb or missing child, I’m here to help you. If you’d like to post information on the state of your own vehicle and attach pictures for us to commiserate together, I’d love you forever. It’s my calling to turn my misfortunes into learning experiences that help others. No need to thank me.


Dianne said...

Oh Rachel, I have to say I think this is one of my favorites. I've never seen that "Mom my Ride" video, so thanks for posting that too.

You move me.

TC said...

I am pretty sure they didn't really mess up a perfectly good van. They just took mine for the after shot. That was so stinkin funny. I had to show my hubby the video too so he can see that his idea of "handy work" is actually being made fun of.