A Brief Account of the Bad Smell(s) in My Car

For Mother’s Day my wife asked for a very specific gift, that being that the children and I clean out the car. The car was, admittedly, a mess, containing various items that the children and I have left in it over the stretch of time since the last major cleaning. These items we dutifully cleaned up, threw away, recycled, put back, and/or ate. 3-week-old gummi bears under the seat?  No! Don’t eat th… ah well. He’ll survive.

This time we went all the way, though. We got lemon-scented anti-bacterial wipes and we cleaned every surface. We went to the car wash and we vacuumed out the belly of the beast. We wanted that car clean, and so we all woke up Sunday morning to a lemony-fresh car devoid of toys, trash, music scores, water bottles, loose change, and pretty much anything but car. Yes, the vehicle was looking good, and smelling good. That lasted about a day.

“What is that horrible smell?!” my wife cried out yesterday as she opened the car door.

“Yeah, it stinks in there. I’m not getting in,” Ruby informed me. This was good information to have, as I have no sense of smell myself. It seemed fine to me. But how could there be a sudden and violently offensive odor in the beautiful and newly cleaned out car?! What could it possibly be? There were the two air conditioners in the trunk that I had just gotten from the storage unit but hadn’t transferred to the house yet. Could they be the problem?

“I think some rodents may be decomposing in the air conditioners,” my wife informed me. And I had to trust her, because I have no way of checking myself, what with my useless nose. But then I had an idea! Perhaps it was the very old and rarely washed booster seat cover! My wife gave it a sniff and determined that, yes, the seat smelled terrible and I should take it away forever and/or wash it one thousand times. So I took the booster seat into the house and my wife and daughter left in the car for an evening of fun. “It wasn’t the booster seat,” said my wife upon her return.

The booster seat did indeed smell bad, but it was not the cause of the rotting smell of death in the car, and so it looked like I was going to have to take apart the a.c. units looking for dead squirrels after all. I gave them a sniff. Nothing. Perhaps a little musty, but then again I was a poor judge. I was going to have to spend the morning doing something very unpleasant. I mean, the only other thing in the car at that point was Edward’s backpack, and I was pretty sure there were no dead animals in it…

“Oh God, it wasn’t the air conditioners,” my wife pointed out as I unloaded the backpack before school. The whole family seemed about to gag as I removed a food container from the depths of his pack. To be fair, it looked horribly gross. Inside of it were a few hardboiled eggs that, because he had been sick at the beginning of the week, had been sitting in his backpack in the car since at least Friday, and possibly earlier than that. I still couldn’t smell it, but a quick glance told me that we were throwing this container away and buying a new one, which my wife immediately suggested doing as well.

I just want my family to know that, yes, I too can now confirm that the smell was definitely the eggs. You see, even I can smell it now. Why we ever brought that pestilence into the house will never be known, ignorance I suppose, but it has infected the air, and I am now opening windows and taking that bag of trash right out to the dumpster. If I can smell it, the neighbors probably can too. Several blocks away.

So the stench has been removed from the car, and now also the house. I am going to attempt to wipe out the inside of my nose with lemon-scented anti-bacterial wipes or, if that doesn’t work, I may just boil my head. But the car is clean, so there’s that. And you can be sure I will be cleaning out his backpack regularly, even when he is home sick for a few days. Do you know what is in your kids’ backpacks?

Posted in Car, Edward, Parenting, Ruby, Smell.

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