Summer is my favorite season. I love the hot night time air and I can stand the 100 degree heat combined with humidity reaching 104 degrees or higher. I long to go swimming with the kids until everyone is so tired that they don't even it make it home without passing out in the car. The summer is the season of family in our house, but last summer, I learned a lesson I won't soon forget.
My life is pretty hectic as a homeschooling parent and I would like to tell you that I am super organized and I have my activities planned down to the minute weeks in advance, but it's simply not true. I'm pretty much flying by the seat of my pants and the only person that knows it is me. Well, my kids are slowly figuring it out too. But I do try.
This day was a day of trying hard. I started our extracurricular activities a little early in August. Piano was at 10 a.m. and sewing was on the other side of town at 1 p.m. I wouldn't be able to get home, make lunch and make it to sewing, so I think "Let's pack lunch!" My oldest son is the master sandwich maker and while he made the sandwiches, my younger son was busy putting the chips, cookies, grapes and juice boxes in little bags in the cooler. My oldest daughter was doing my youngest daughter's hair while I was feeding the baby. Today was starting out to be a great day. Once the lunch was packed, we were off to piano and arrived there five minutes early with all of their materials. Yes, a great day is forming.
After piano, we had lunch in the car. I give everyone a trash bag for their trash and we are on the road to sewing. My two younger children are asleep in the back of our minivan (I'm sure you all guessed that I drive a minivan, but I said it anyway) and the baby has also taken a little nap. Sounds like a great day, huh? It was. We took the trash out because we have this rule "Take out everything that you bring in the car every day." I was so proud of the kids and myself. Not until 10 days later did I realize that maybe the day wasn't so great after all.
Ninety-five percent of the time I am driving, so I don't get in the back of cars. Unless I think there is something wrong. And something was wrong. I have a keen sense of smell, like most moms, right? I figure it comes with the training when you have stinky diapers, potty training and vomiting as a part of your standard operating procedures. Anyway, as I was driving, I started to smell something similar to a fully wet diaper that had sat in the wastebasket overnight. "You guys, what is that smell?" "It's probably the baby." "But I just changed him and the smell is bitter like it's been around for awhile." "I don't know what it is, but can you open the windows back here?" There was a bad, strange smell in my car and I had to get to the cause.
One day, it was unseasonably warm and I had been smelling this smell for over a week. I started looking under every seat, between every seat and I couldn't pinpoint the smell. I took out the back seats, cleaned out the trunk, still no sign of the smell. It is stronger in the rear of the car, so I know the kids did something. I removed the floor mats and I couldn't even breathe. Under the mats were two half-eaten turkey sandwiches that looked more like the green molding clay you use for science projects. Uggh! It was completely disgusting.
Hmmm, when did this happen? ...(light bulb on). My children don't eat in the car every day. The only day...almost two weeks ago, on that great day, my two younger children had fallen asleep and dropped their sandwiches before they could finish them. Well, that great day was great for a little while and now every time it gets hot, no matter how many times I've cleaned the area with every product you can suggest, the smell evolves and I'm haunted... "I know what your kids forgot to eat last summer."