Generally speaking, I have my own vehicle to drive to work. I feel fortunate to have this, but of course, I am very used to it as well. I drive the truck, my wife drives the van. It is not something chauvinistic or anything, it just works out because my wife does most of the “bus duties” with the kids throughout the day. Periodically she needs the truck though so I end up driving the van.
So why does this bother me you ask? Ok, maybe you didn’t ask, but I am going to tell you anyway. It is not a guy thing over driving a van. I am comfortable in my manliness which is not harmed by being seen driving the family mobile. Heck, I drove a Miata for a number of years, so obviously I can take the heat for not driving a “guy” car. Actually, the Grand Caravan we have is comfortable to drive and has a little pep in its V6.
No, what bothers me is the sounds, smells and general disarray our kids create in the vehicle.
Yes, the sounds. I am not sure what all the kids do to cause this, but the van ends up having more squeaks and rattles than my brain can handle. It is kind of a funny thing because I do not have the best hearing in the world, but I take acute notice to any sounds that are not normal for the car to be making. This “ability” if we can call it that has been good to me over the years, often helping me catch car problems before they get to be something too serious. In the family van, my “something is wrong” sensors are in overload with all the sounds.
Today I was driving along, playing the music a bit loud as I am often found doing when driving alone in a vehicle; I do enjoy my music. I start hearing a buzz from one of the rear speakers that my problem radar tells me is a busted cone in the speaker. I have been there before, so I have a pretty good idea what one sounds like. After parking, I check it out. Busted speaker? No, candy wrapper shoved between the slots of the speaker grill, rattling only with just the right amount of volume and bass. Yes, only something you get with idle kids riding in the back of a family mobile.
I am not sure if I need to expound on this one much. Kids spill things, leave things on the seat and for some reason pill up the food products between any nook and cranny that happens to be within reach. That food, left in the hot car for any number of days weeks produces the not so pleasant odors that combine for an even less than pleasant smell to the car. My wife and I do our best to keep this cleaned out and teach our kids to be a bit more careful in the car, but we fight a losing battle. So, we have the “kids car” smell. At least it isn’t complemented by the I-forgot-a-dirty-diaper-in-the-back smell as we have never done that before.
Disarray is putting it nicely of course; kids just make a mess. They leave everything where they drop it, figuring they have slaves (read that parent) to take care of it for them. I am not the king of clean these days, but I do like a clean vehicle.
Perhaps what gets me more than when I drive the van for a time, that means the kids end up riding in the truck. Kids in the truck mean the truck is now the family mobile, so all the same things happening to my precious domain. Ah well, time to clean it again anyway.