I’m not a really messy person. I know Dave is cracking up that I just wrote that, but I’m really not. I’m pretty bad about clutter – for example, I tend to let mail pile up on the kitchen table, and my clothes spend more time on the floor than on hangers – but I’m usually good about making sure that dirt is kept to a minimum. I can’t stand to leave food out, which I think is due to my southern upbringing, where uncovered food overnight equals a mighty cockroach infestation by sunrise. When Dave leaves a coffee mug on the counter with a tiny bit of coffee in the bottom? It drives me crazy. And not in a good way.
And actually, since we got a housekeeper, I’ve gotten a lot better about the clutter aspect. Every two weeks, I have to make sure that I put all of my clutter away so our housekeeper doesn’t have to clean around it. (I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do next year, if we decide to make a go of me staying at home with the baby, which means we won’t be able to afford a housekeeper anymore. But that decision – whether I’ll go back to work or not – is still very much up in the air, and I don’t see the point of worrying about it now.)
However, as reasonably tidy as I am about the house, when it comes to my car, all bets are off. My backseat is my trash can and my recycle bin. I don’t know exactly when it got so bad. At some point in my life, I kept my car spotless all the time. I think it was probably during the first year or so that I had it, since it was the first new car that I had ever owned. But for the last couple of years, it’s been embarassingly bad. Like to the point where I park my car in the employee garage at work, and then I worry that anyone walking past it might look inside and wonder if the owner of said car is mentally ill. It’s that messy.
But recently, I got into an email conversation with my cousin about infant car seats (which, in all fairness, I started), and I panicked. My backseat is so filthy that you couldn’t possibly put a car seat in there if you wanted to. And yes, I realize that I have five and a half months before I need to have a car seat in my car, but being rational isn’t exactly my strong suit these days.
So when I got home yesterday, I cleaned out the entire car. Here are some of the things I found, because I’m generous and therefore willing to publish my embarassment on the Internet for your amusement:
1. A towel, which was hastily thrown over piles of trash in the backseat. The towel was placed there when I took Kris’s dog Lucky to the park. It’s worth noting that Lucky moved out of our house in April, so that towel has been in there for at least 3 or 4 months. That’s actually one of the least embarassing things I found.
2. About a thousand receipts from various take-out places, gas stations, grocery stores and lord-knows-what-else.
3. One fleece hoodie that I had honestly forgotten I owned.
4. A boombox-style portable CD player. I remember when Dave bought it (about two years ago), but I have no idea when or how it ended up in my car.
5. A grocery bag containing a travel-size bottle of Febreze and a 4-pack of 60-watt lightbulbs. The receipt indicates that they were purchased sometime in 2004 (I couldn’t read the rest of the date, it was smudged). The bag was shoved way under the passenger seat, so it makes sense that I never noticed it. Lightbulbs seem like a logical purchase, but the Febreze? I’m guessing I bought it for a specific purpose, but for the life of me, I can’t recall what it was. A travel-size bottle? Why?
6. An Amazon.com box containing all of the mail that I picked up from my apartment in Seattle. It dates back to the last trip that I made to my old apartment, when I was making sure that everything was cleaned out before I moved in with Dave. That means the box has been in the backseat of my car since January 2005.
7. This last one makes me cringe: the shoes that I wore at our wedding. Yes, my bridal shoes were placed back in their pretty little shoebox, put into the trunk of my car the day that we checked out of our honeymoon suite, and that’s where they’ve been ever since. The bad part is that I’ve known they were there all along, because I saw the shoebox every time I went into my trunk. I was just too damn lazy to do anything about it. (Another confession: my wedding dress is still in the bag from the bridal shop and hanging in our front closet. I never got it cleaned and boxed up. I’m a horrible, horrible wife.)
So, there you have it. All of my dirty little car secrets. It took about an hour to clean the whole car; I filled up one of those huge industrial black garbage bags with trash. And that isn’t including all of the stuff I actually wanted to keep, which I had to schlep inside the house.
On the bright side, my car is now ready to have an infant car seat installed whenever I so desire. Which, given my current nesting frenzy, will likely be long before next February rolls around. (And please don’t remind me that my car will be trashed again in the near future, only next time it’ll be with crushed Cheerios and baby spit-up. I know it’s true, but just let me enjoy this for now.)