Growing up, I was carted around in a pristine vehicle. If you have had the pleasure of meeting Granda/my father, this won't surprise you. The seats were always vacuumed, the floors had nary a wrapper, goldfish cracker, nor torn board book. If we were traveling far, we brought pillows and amusements, but they never stayed in the car long term. Looking back, I cannot recall if we were allowed to eat in the car? My instincts say no, at least not when we were children. I know we utilized the cup holders in later years, probably when we were capable of not spilling. This was how they avoided things like the "shamrock shake incident" of two weeks ago. A happy Connor guzzled away on his McCafe' beverage, tilting it ever back until, thanks to that new snazzy lid, the green goodness was spilled down his chin and onto his shirt, jacket, car seat, and yeah. It was a saint patty's day disaster, on the drive home from school. As two year olds, I'm sure my brother and I were never presented with a situation that might result in this mess. Granda would not have that. For years the only item in the car not directly related to driving or car care (the rogue ice scraper was likely a winter eye sore to him) was a lone baseball hat, kept in the back window or in the middle of the back seat. Hats rotated through; golf hats, northeastern hats, Boston college hats. He made his allegiances known. With the exception of that hat, you could step into that car and if you did not know him and his attention to detail, you might think he had just driven it off the showroom floor. The car of my youth in comparison to the car of my present, well, that difference amazes me on a daily basis. Even Steve scorns the trash, scraps of paper, rogue pens, and seemingly meaningless things left in the car. I drive for a living, my rolling office on the highway. It isn't dirty, I vacuum and wash it regularly, but the sheer magnitude of stuff residing in that small space is alarming. Dad, brace yourself, this next part might be hard to get through. I took inventory of my car the other day because the volume of stuff is starting to get to me. I keep justifying, well, I might need that, I can't possibly get rid if that booklet. Does that pen work? In the passenger seat pushed up against the center console are five books on "choosing hospice", two on making difficult decisions, and a binder of resource materials I got sick of carrying in my bag and relegated to the car binder. You never know when you might need applications for transportation, private pay resources, permission forms to share information for masshealth eligibility. On the floor rests a BC winter hat I had on during a snowstorm and two books on benefits for veterans that are too big to put in the binder that I haven't figured out where to put yet. In the passenger side door you'll find a bottle of hand soap, sanitizer, and a sesame street book for kids about grieving in both English and Spanish. The driver side door is full of whole foods napkins, plastic wrappers from forks, paper straws, green grocery rubber bands, and approximately 1,000 sandwich ziplocs bags from kid snacks because mommy is also known as "where I put my garbage." You will also find a nantucket nectar lemonade bottle and at least one travel mug. In the center is my command center; pens, pencils, my gps, cell charger, sirius radio remote control for when Dr. Laura says something so wrong I need to listen to it again to scream at her. Also stuffed inside the console are coupons for long overdue oil changes, scraps of paper with numbers to people I don't know, information about funeral services for patients, tragically sad lists of people to discharge from my care, and hastily written grocery lists for things like jelly beans and frozen corn. When you look over your shoulder at the back seat, please avert your eyes from the floor. It's a mess, but eating on the go is a way of life these days. The latest and greatest breakfast on the go is cinnamon life cereal, remember that? There is a blanket for each child (one soft and one silky), several books, a pair of sunglasses rests in each seat back. Most days there is a to go cup of milk beside each car seat that I forget about until I pick them up and have to exclaim, "don't drink the milk!!!" I'm often too late. I know. Lets not talk about the trunk, out of sight out of mind right? It's my office on wheels and I know where everything is, but what I wouldn't give to have a little less stuff and a little more of that could be brand new feel. It's the price I pay to have the luxury to make my own day, to drive to panera, to read the hunger games on my iPad between visits (can you even imagine this without my technology? A book, magazines, contact lists, ugh!), to stop at cvs, flyer in hand & coupons at the ready,and without a single short person with no attention span to distract me from my task. Yes, coupons. I am saving so much money with those lately.


  1. One trick I learned saved my whole crazy car dilemma. Get (I won't judge how you do this....) one of those baskets from CVS or grocery store and put it into your car. Put all of your work related binders, books, etc. into it. Keep it on your passenger seat during the week and easily slip it into your trunk on weekends. This way it is all put together and easy to pick up, etc.

    As for the rest of it I have been guilty a time or two but I have learned to carry a plastic grocery bag and keep it in the glove box so that when (never if because it always happens) the random straw wrappers, lollipop sticks and other garbage starts to get everywhere I just pull out my bag and fill it all up.

    These are the only tricks I have and I still have papers and random coupons stuck between the seat and the console for just the quick stops you mention. Oh well.

  2. I remember riding in that pristine car on the way to school and/or CCD. I think we rode in the car less as kids than our kids do today. We walked to school and there was no daycare. My car is a mess, every day in the 5 minutes it takes to get from daycare to the house Katherine whips out her lunchbox and provides Teddy and her with a snack from what she didn't eat. And since I drive the SUV, it gets used and abused as our hauling vehicle for trips to the hardware store, garden center etc. But I bet the Container Store would have some great organization solutions for you!

    One more can actually listen to Dr. Laura? Five minutes of that woman throws me into an absolute tizzy. You are the bigger woman, I bow to you.

  3. Terri, excellent advice on the bin! I think I have one in the garage that would work. I have been fighting it because I have a hard time admitting how much STUFF I need at my disposal. It messes with my breezy work life image I paint in my brain. I try to clean out when I fill the gas tank, but it is probably time for a better trash system too!

    1. Beth, you know what? You are right! We never rode in a car this much and we were already riding up front at the age our daughters are! The messes could be managed better. I laughed out loud at the snack thing because Caroline does the exact same thing and it drives me insane because she has no appetite for dinner! Yes, I do listen to dr Laura, she makes me angry too, but she keeps me entertained! I'm in the car no less than 3 hours each day. Even being angry is better than being bored

  4. Even as a kid it drove me NUTS that my mom's car doors were stuffed with old envelopes and scraps that had phone numbers on them, and I couldn't ever go about cleaning her car for her because she needed every number. My mom used to write a lot in shorthand and I'll never stop being amazed by that skill. Her car is still a disaster, not quite a hoarding situation but enough that you can't just hop into the passenger seat without having to move a bag of something.

  5. SHORTHAND!!!! My mother writes shorthand on all her notes and she even used to (and would today if we let her) write the dialogue from television onto our hands. I always thought when I saw the notes around the house that they must be something she didn't want me to know, but they were probably grocery lists... or maybe...