Ah, summer. Things are heating up.
When temperatures rise, the inside of my minivan needs a good scrubbin'. And scrub as I might, there's just an aroma that lingers.
Some people can distinguish the delicate mix of flavors in a piquant bouquet of fine wine just by sniffing a cork.
Me? I can tell what's been in my van over the past year just by opening up a hot car door and inhaling deeply.
I read wine descriptions for fun. Here's my description of the scent that emanates from what I affectionately refer to as "The Mom-Bomb":
Andie's Minivan '11 -- "Acetic overtones of adolescent perspiration from ripening soccer cleats are balanced by the clean character of common Goldfish crackers. The overall austerity is sturdied slightly by a petillant yet vigorous accent of baggied Pull-Up..."
Despite my best cleaning efforts, The Man and I decided that until we can afford a new minivan, we're going to introduce bright, new scents to hopefully reduce toxicity levels. The goal is to bring about a higher degree of pleasantness to daily travel while raising awareness about the need for daily trash removal.
It's a goal, anyway. We have to strive for betterment.
"You know what might work," said The Man (before a recent expedition to places unknown to park our behinds in canvas chairs to encourage our children to get exercise and failing to see the irony), "what might work is to buy an air freshener."
So as a thoughtful gift, The Man purchased some strong-smelling gels that hang from the windshield for our chariot. He hung them up on our recent expedition. "Your favorite scent," he beamed.
I leaned forward and took a whiff. "Vanilla Diaper?"
"No, Key Lime Pie."
It was a sweet gesture, but if anything like this ever showed up on a restaurant plate of mine, I'd call the authorities.
Leaning forward, I sniffed again. I wrinkled my nose and suppressed a gag reflex. "Has the lime been composted?" One kid hit another with a pillow.
The Man whipped around to the back. "Okay...which one of you clowns passed gas?"
A kid raised his hand in the backseat. "Guilty."
The Man swiftly hit the back air vent button so that the occupants of said minivan would not asphyxiate. The littlest children stopped choking.
We travelled on for a few more miles in silence. Then The Man chuckled to himself. "That would be an interesting air freshener...Vanilla Diaper...what about Fresh Cut Cheese?"
"That's a good one," I said. I paused for inspiration. "What about Dumpster Spice?"
He smiled. "Country Cowpie?"
"Landfill Breeze," I answered. "How about Honeydipper? No, wait, Island Outhouse. No, no, I've got it: Dingleberry Cobbler!"
Inspired, The Man said, "We should start a company...you know, as gag gifts? We'd make a killing."
He paused to count his imaginary earnings for a moment. Then he spoke again. "Some of the newer models of minivan don't have carpets. You can just hose out the rubber floors once in a while."
I smirked. "Yeah, but what do those owners do for fun?"
Another trumpet blast and a fit of giggles and gagging from the backseat. The Man immediately hit the power windows, and we experienced another collective fresh air of salvation.
I put my hand on The Man's shoulder. "I love our life," I said to him.
He smiled and drove on, inhaling deeply, shaking his head. "You're going to write about this, aren't you?"
"Oh, heavens no," I dabbed at my eyes, welling up at the fumes. "I have an image to uphold!"
The Man smirked. "Let me know when you publish it."