Driving 12+ hours in a minivan with three kids is never easy, even in the best of conditions.
Now factor in Thanksgiving traffic, heavy winds, rain, bad windshield wipers, and the horrifyingly treacherous mountain freeways of West Virginia? We’re lucky to be alive today.
In driving conditions such as these, it helps to be able to concentrate on the driving.
So imagine my chagrin when I started to hear 4 year old Bucket Head whimpering from the back seat about 5 hours into the trip home yesterday.
Mind you, the three kids had been exceptionally well behaved thus far on the drive. Thanks to the advice from my Facebook friend, Michele D., we were paying each kid 50 cents for every half hour that passed without any negative incidents such as fighting, whining, not sharing, and any other general unpleasantries. (Michele, it worked like a charm. Thank you!)
My husband was driving, so I turned around in my seat to see what Bucket Head was fussing about.
And that’s when it hit me:
Like a kick to the face.
“Oh my GOD! What’s that smell?!!!” I choked.
Bucket Head’s whimpering had quickly escalated into full fledged gagging.
Then he started to cry. “I feeuw yike I going to fomit.” [sic]
The stench reached my husband, the driver. He quickly covered his nose. “Oh my GOD. What the hell? Did I run over something?”
My eyes were starting to water. It was as if someone had launched a tear gas grenade into the car.
Suddenly, 12 year old Nature Boy pleaded from the back row “Dad, the windows are locked! Open the windows! OPEN THE WINDOWS!”
My 9 year old daughter Mini-Me was the only one not moving or speaking.
She was just sitting there calmly, playing her DSi, completely nonplussed to our panicky gasps for fresh air.
And that’s when I noticed…
she had taken her boots off…
and she wasn’t wearing socks.
If you can imagine the scent emitted from a hot chunk of Camembert being fried into a sandwich between two ripe jock straps on top of a car radiator next to a nursing home dumpster, you are halfway there.
I’m telling you, I have never in all my life smelled something like this, not during childbirth, not at the petting zoo, not even during low tide under the boardwalk with the Golumpki-filled traveling circus carnies.
Honest to Pete…whoever coined the phrase “sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what girls are made of,” obviously never met my daughter.
Perhaps a rewrite is in order: “Cute as can be but with stank a-plenty…”
Or “Smart and quite charming, but her foot-odor’s alarming…”
That’s not right. Let’s blame the man-made boots instead.
Too bad, because they are super cute.
That’s Pittsburgh, my beloved hometown. Hard to focus on the sparkly boots with a gorgeous backdrop like that, isn’t it? You should see it at night when you emerge from the darkness of the Fort Pitt Tunnel. Takes my breath away every time.
I took that picture up on Mount Washington the day after Thanksgiving last week. Look at Bucket Head holding his bird. Literally. We had just bought him a little blue clay bird whistle in town. Two minutes after this picture was taken he dropped it and it shattered into a vajillion little pieces. Good times.
There were two teenaged sisters there with their parents and one of them said to my daughter, “Oh my gosh, I LOVE your boots!” It was really sweet. You should have seen Mini-Me’s face when she was complimented by a teenager!
Sadly, you really can’t judge a boot by its cover, because the synthetic “furry” material of the lining on these puppies is a hot breeding ground for bacteria. And when sweaty foot bacteria get together for potlucks, they bring the funk, yo.
If I had one of those special infrared cameras the CSI guys use, the boots would look like this:
Sure was a long drive home. We had to keep the windows cracked, in spite of the cold, windy rain. Mini-Me cried that she couldn’t keep the boots on because they were too hot and she wanted to sleep. We tried to wrap the boots in a blanket, but it only muffled the fragrance and gently disbursed it throughout the vehicle like a Hot Fontina Scented Glade Plug-In. (Coming soon to stores near you.)
So now I’m off to Google foot odor solutions. If my life were any more glamorous I’d be scrubbing the seat backs at Zorba’s XXX Movie Theater.
Home, sweet home.
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