the state of things…

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

The state of my minivan has been bothering me for over a month. Yesterday I couldn’t stand it any longer. Regardless of the fact that the house is a lesson in chaos and boxes, it was time to do the big van clean out.

To be honest, it wasn’t all that bad. My van is usually pretty pristine. I have some friends who use their vehicle as a traveling trash can. Or dog kennel. Or mini warehouse. Or toy box. Or sports equipment closet. You get the idea. But my van is the place where I allow my OCD to run free. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I have just enough OCD to enjoy the office supply store and to keep my van clean but not enough to keep my desk straight. It’s a daily conundrum that exists only to irritate me and my slightly more-OCD-than-me husband.

Back on track….once I finally found the vacuum and attachments and got started on the clean out, I realized the enormity of what I was doing. Embedded in the seats and carpet of the van was sand from Sarasota, grass from about a dozen yards throughout the southeast US, glitter from all of the artwork sent home on the last day of school, road grit from over 3,200 miles of road trip in a month, hay from Elkin, NC and sand from Ft. Walton. There were finger, shoe and hand prints in every size. A million wrappers from Capri Sun straws. Markers and coloring books shoved in all the seat back pockets with packaging from a myriad of junk food, movie ticket stubs and lists of license plate sightings. A forensic nightmare. The family truckster in all its glory.

You see, I have a theory when it comes to spending long periods of time in the car. There is only one goal: survival. Whoever makes it to the destination alive wins. If this means watching 12 movies back to back then fine by me. You want pop tarts for your snack from the gas station? You bet! A fifth piece of gum, Hattie? You’d better believe it! It’s all about getting there without going there. The first there might be the grandparents house or the beach or our new house a million miles away. The second there is that dark place that resides in the deepest caverns of all parents. That there is the place that makes you want to say things like, “I WILL PULL THIS VAN OVER RIGHT NOW!” and “DON’T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE!” It is also the place that breeds asinine questions such as, “DO I NEED TO SWAP YOU OUT FOR A HANGING BAG?” or “DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO PEE…AGAIN???????”

I don’t like to go to that dark place. I want to arrive at my destination feeling like I have accomplished something without destroying my children’s youth.

We have moved a little farther away from our home town each time we have moved (5 cities in 6 years) so we have all slowly grown accustomed to longer and longer car trips. We have also learned to stay in hotels with pools and make the girls jump rope, run laps around the van and stretch at every stop.

The more important fact is that we made it. We survived a 4 month separation from Robert…and the end of school…and the beginning of a new job…and moving 1500 miles to a section of the country never before inhabited by this family. We made it.

And my van is clean. Woo hoo!