One area of life teeters on the edge of “out of control”. Nearly overwhelms. Generates tears and tantrums.
What it takes to run the car. Not just drive along the motorway.
The whole business of tyres, warranties, insurance, oil and water and repairs. Time to clean, and organise warrants of fitness and registration, AA membership, garage, fill the tank, keep it roadworthy.
When one adult has to manage household and car, it can all go to custard quickly.
I was always on the back foot. Embarrassed.
I pulled up to work with a mulch of potato chip crumbs and school newsletters on the front seats. Checked my bum for detritus in the side mirror. The back seat was a study in geological strata.
To offer a lift, I had to shovel junk off the passenger seat, and clear a space for feet.
“Sorry, oops, sorry.”
Add an over-excited puppy, and a tiny poo rolls around on the back floor.
One day I committed to wash, polish, clean fingerprints off the windows, vacuum all those crannies.
It cost a fortune at the car wash. I was exhausted, my fingers wrinkled, my face greasy.
But my car looked amazing.
Kids headed towards it. Cellophane packets crackled.
“No!” I shouted. “No food in the car!”
They laughed in disbelief. But the penny dropped.
Cut off mess at the source.
Over howls of outrage, that became the new rule. They can drink only water in the car.
Here’s the rub. Same for me.
No more take out coffee, wrappers, cellophane packets, cold, withered fries, pastry crumbs, splashes of yoghurt, sticky fruit juice.
No one eats in the car. Ever.
It’s a challenge. Coffee on the way to work is real comfort.
This confronts. But when you’re ready, you’re ready.
When I drive, I only drive. It’s a lot safer. Hands on wheel. Eyes on road and rear mirror.
Now we pull up to school – and work – in a clean, shiny car. And I feel quiet pride.