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When Gill was here during the summer, she had errands to do — things she had to buy that couldn’t be had in Bristol. Naturally, we spent a lot of time in the car. The first time we went out, I drove. (This was no comment on her driving, it was simply habit.Since she hadn’t driven in over 6 months and was jet-lagged, I was trying to protect what was left of my car.) She noticed, upon getting into the car, that there was a large tote bag of stuff jammed behind the driver’s seat.

“What’s that, Ma?” she asked.

“What?” I asked.

“The huge bag of stuff behind your seat,” she replied.

Turned around to look and , sure enough, there was a humungous bag of stuff.

“Oh, that’s a bag of L’il Sis’s crap,” Explained. “She put it there a couple of months ago and I forgot to take it into the house. Oh, well, it will blend…”

Indeed it did blend.Ever since Gill was a baby, I’ve had a messy car. By the time all three kids were born, there was no longer any hope for the car. It was always going to be messy, smelly, dirty, unkempt and disgusting. When the kids travelled in car seats, there were bits of cracker crumbs and Cheerios mashed beneath the seats, sticky bits of dried fruit in the seats, and sticky spots where their drink boxes had exploded. The car was filled to overflowing with clothing, diapers, toys, books, pacifiers, snacks…you name it, it could be found in my car. And then we added several dogs to the mix. They brought with them drooly jowls, snotty nose prints, buckets of fur, a few burrs, and the occasional leaky bladder.

I had gone from being driven around, as an only child, in a pristine car — a car that my dad and I cleaned with soft chamois so as not to scratch the surface and waxed every week– to the driver of a garbage dump in need of a spot to disgorge its load of detritus… a car that hasn’t been properly cleaned since Obama was first elected..

I do recall, when I bought this car (after all three kids had left my nest) that I made an announcement: “This is MY car, people! You may drive it upon occasion but there are to be no food items, no beverages (alcoholic or not), no garbage, no stinky socks to clutter its interior. I want this car to remain clean.”

Did they listen? No they did not. Did they care? No they did not. And, to be fair, I don’t much care any more either. The back part (behind the seats) is still filled with dog blanket, dog towels, cloth grocery bags and the windows are still smudged with The Pig’s nose prints…and she’s been gone for 6 months. (I must confess, however, that this is partly because I’m lazy and a bit of a slob at heart…but part of it is me being sentimental. As long as The Pig’s nose blotches are there, I feel she’s still with us. Don’t laugh — it took me a year to clean Poochie’s nose marks from the front house windows. It’s worse than putting away the dog dishes and collar.)

The best I ever hope for is to have a clean and tidy front seat. So I guess I can truly say my car is “business in front, party in the back”. And since I know Gill is reading this, I won’t even mention the pile of her CDs that clutters the seat divider and regularly falls to the floor.