Monday, August 6, 2012

The Junk in My Trunk

My phone rang on an otherwise routine Tuesday. As they once joked on Seinfeld, Tuesdays have no feeling. But that was all about to change drastically. On the other line, My Director hit me smack in the face with a pungent problem:
"The car smells really bad. Are you sure you cleaned all of the milk that spilled?"
When I came home from grocery shopping on Sunday, I opened the trunk only to find a grocery bag filled with milk. The plastic gallon jug had cracked open somehow. I performed what I thought was a thorough cleaning. Apparently not.
"I think I know what happened. I probably missed some of the milk that got into the crevices of the molding." 
"Can you COME HOME EARLY to clean it?" (Mind you, she's home.) 
"Are you serious?" (When did I become Mr. Belevdere?) 
"It smells really bad. Peanut says it smells like garbage. And it really does."
I was later informed that upon pickup from camp, the swagger wagon smelled so bad that Peanut actually cried when she got back into the car. Regardless, I arrived home at normal time. After getting dinner started (Reminder: I'm a catch, ladies), I checked out the car. This is what I found:

Quoting Shawshank:
"Smelling Foulness That I Can't Even Imagine."
This is why doctors don't like to make a diagnosis over the phone. Because once I saw it for myself, I could see and smell that my initial assessment was WAY off. The milk had seeped under all of the beach chairs and toys I had stored back there for summer. (You see, I always like to be prepared in case a spontaneous beach emergency pops up. Who needs to waste time carrying all of that stuff fifteen feet from the garage to the car?) But here, my readiness backfired because I had no idea of the real mess the milk had caused. On Sunday, I just  cleaned what I saw, ignoring the principal law of spilled-fluid dynamics stating that milk goes anywhere it damn well pleases, especially where you can't see or reach it.

My Director hosing off the emergency beach supplies.
Since I do not have the capital to install smell-o-vision technology for you here on the DKL site, let me describe it the best way I can. Disgusting, rotting, fermenting death. Or, as I stated on the DKL Facebook page at the time, I officially knew what Henry Hill felt like after moving the body of Billy Batts in Goodfellas:

Cue tons of Resolve, baking soda, hours of vacuuming, and then an overnight fabric softener mask:

Thanks to my my friend Dave at
Musings of Munch for the suggestion.
The next morning the swagger wagon smelled considerably better... until it got hot out. More baking soda, more vacuuming. There was still a smell, but it wasn't nearly as foul as the day before. And those dryer sheets did help big time.

As My Director and I drove to an appointment later that day, I said:
"I kind of feel like this is what it's like to drive in a dryer."
"Or a garbage truck." 
"Yeah. Or a garbage truck IN a dryer."
Every morning, My Director and I have a quick phone conversation as she's starting her day and I'm putting together my show. My first question is always some form of, "How's Peanut?" Now? My first question is, "How does the car smell?" Suffice it to say, as we approach its second birthday our beloved swagger wagon has forever lost its new car smell.

(Please take some time to catch up some DKL you might have missed. I've been doing this on summer Mondays, telling a new story and following it with links to previous posts about that subject. Today's story allows me to reintroduce a topic I don't often bring up: our swagger wagon. Enjoy:) 

Inquiring minds wanted to know how we survive as two working parents with one car. So I answered with Dude, Where's My Car?. (This post is nostalgic now, since My Director took a new job in our town and now does pickup herself.)

I do have what some might describe as an unhealthy love for my swagger wagon. It's all because I sometimes wish the rest of life could be as easy as my minivan makes things, with The Push of a Button

We almost lost our beloved swagger wagon during a destructive autumn snow storm last year. See how close we came in The Joys of Homeownership: Jersey Chainsaw Miracle


  1. Oh man. I can just imagine how death like that must smell. Milk is second only to rotten meat. Blech. Hope it goes away soon!

    1. It's almost gone. Spraying Febreeze daily has been a huge help.

  2. I have been getting to know your blog this last week and thought I'd finally comment because I know exactly the level of horrifying that smell is. I was laughing and nodding along with this post. It happened to me last summer. So awful. lol

    Loving your blog.

    ~Mama Pants

    1. Thank you so much, Mama. And welcome. Glad to have you at DKL and glad we connect over the foul stenches of our cars.

  3. Nothing, NOTHING smells worse than spilled milk in a hot car!! I spent countless hours and swear words trying to get that smell out of our car.

    1. This was nothing short of chemical warfare. Horrible. Just horrible.

  4. We had a dog vomit incident that went sour. Sometimes puring vinegar onto the smelly parts and then letting it air dry helps considerably.

    Also, I LOVE that you sometimes have beach emergencies.

    1. Hahaha the "beach emergencies" are few and far between but I do like to be prepared. I did, after all, grow up on the Jersey Shore . So it's in my blood.

      Thanks for the tip!

  5. I would have had to sell the car :-)

  6. Hello DKL,

    This is my first time reading your blog and it is fine, indeed. I will visit often. I found my way here by way of our mutual friend D. J. Paris. I love your writing style and I look forward to coming back and visiting you and your family again. Sorry about your car. I did something similar once. Only it was with a whole crab shell. My parents weren't happy about it. Thanks, Mary

    1. Thank you for finding me, Mary and for your kind words. I am glad you will be sticking around.

      Seafood is pretty rancid. I left some dead crab and mussel shells in Peanut's sea shell bag at the beach overnight this summer. It didn't smell pretty the next day. I could only imagine what you car smelled like.

  7. I once had a rotten potato in the bin in the kitchen. I found it just shy of ripping out the flooring to locate what I felt sure must be a dead opossum. (I'm being fancy since I'm just meeting you. Normally, I'd just say "possum.") Thanks for following me on Twitter. I've returned the favor.

    1. Whoops. So you haven't exactly followed me on Twitter. I had you confused with someone else. How embarrassing! :)

    2. Hahaha. What is your twitter handle? I'm pretty liberal when it comes to following back. Sometimes I just forget.


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