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It’s All In The Details

Originally Published in the Tri Town Transcript, May. 01, 2015

“I got your car detailed while you were away.” My husband said to me.

“Great!” I said, hoping I sounded thankful and enthusiastic.
But I was nervous. Had the interior of my car broken the spirit of an unsuspecting garage guy by having, possibly, too many details?


Regular Readers may recall that we gave the Giant Sparkle (our silver minivan) a break for the winter just in case, you know, it snowed. We got a MINI Cooper Countryman and optimistically named it the Snow Crusher. Then we sat back wondering if it’d ever snow. Ha, wouldn’t that be funny, ha ha . . . BAM!

I am here to report that, in fact, it can truly crush snow. It worked hard and we treated it well.
 And by well, I mean all of the flotsam and jetsam that used to accumulate and be hauled hither and yon in the Giant Sparkle now was compressed into a car half the size.

Naturally, like most moms I know, I occasionally saw my house, but mostly I lived in the car shuttling children, logging miles, and sitting in parking lots waiting to shuttle them back. I spent hours rolling my eyes at Terry Gross’s infatuation with her own voice, hours trying to read iBooks on the tiny screen of my phone, and don’t get me started on the hours I spent searching for some place with free wifi I could use without leaving my heated seat.

Here are two facts about this auto-based lifestyle: first, you can pick up wifi if you park outside the Topsfield library but, secondly, a drive-through Starbucks would not go awry in one of the multiple available storefronts in either Topsfield or Middleton. 
(I’ll add this late-breaking development: the new Topsfield Bakeshop is now open. I tried it out today and had a fabulous cappuccino. So that helps the Tri-Town caffeine void, though it does require getting out of the car, and might lead to the unplanned consumption of a whoopie pie.)

During this semi-residential time in the Snow Crusher, I catalogued the combination of items and creatures that showed up. Obviously there were snacks enough to feed a Dickens era orphanage, as well as the trash that said snacks spontaneously created like so many quarks.
 Then there was the gear: the backpacks, tennis bags, guitars, and the most hated playground snow-clothing bag. These were supplemented by the poster boards, a urine sample from the dog (don’t ask), a stash of pantyhose I purchased in the middle of the month o’ blizzards to fight ice dams, and of course gobs of road sand and salt, ground nicely into every surface creating our own in-car loofah service.
We also fit actual people into the Crusher. Specifically our two daughters. Our eldest is almost as big as me and thinks she should sit up front. I’m thinking . . . um, no. It’s technically not against the law for her, but if she sits up front where will my sanity sit? I’ve told her that the airbag is probably still too powerful for her slender, lovely, tweeny, self.
Finally Blue Ears, our wooly mammoth of a dog fits, with zero margin, in the hatchback space where his nose is free to sniff my daughter’s ears.
All this, the guy had detailed. I wanted to explain! There was a reason there were so many socks wedged into a cup holder! There was a reason that you could macramé a hammock out of dog hair! Yes, there was the vague landfill odor, but I could explain that! They were the details of a hard winter, and of children growing up faster than the interior of the car (and possibly their mother) could accommodate.
And today when I sat in the Snow Crusher they had been scrubbed out.
A clean slate some might say. But, with apologies to the garage guy and the trauma I inflicted, I say, the sands of Stiles pond and the details of spring and summer are calling.