It's completely dirty. Covered in pollen from our flowering pine trees, streaked dust on the passenger side door, 'Curtis' outlined in old grime, his first official graffiti -- which as an aside, I clearly let slide since he so aptly spelled his own name, even the tricky 'r' perfectly legible.
But that's just the outside.
Inside is a bizarre yet somehow kid-comforting conglomeration of discarded Cheerios and gummies, playground woodchips and beach sand, and -- for some unknown reason -- mis-matched long-forgotten shoes. If you peek between the front seats, you'll probably see the remnants of an old cheese stick, bubblegum wrappers and scraps of paper with doodles and scribbles which, to a 3-year-old, clearly depict monkeys and rocket space ships.
The front dash has Easter's slightly lopsided art project and one of three 'driving to school' CDs currently in rotation.
And the cupholders, their original function long since forgotten, contain all kinds of edible remnants, cool stick fragments and special rocks that for obvious reasons can never be tossed and must always remain -- just in case we need them one day.
Meet my car. My lovely, messy, and usually a bit stinky child-preferred mode of transportation.
It's been cleaned. And detailed. And expertly vacuumed -- once, the car seat covers were actually removed and -- gasp! -- laundered and dried.
But mere hours later, or so it seems, we are back to status quo. And honestly, we -- the kids and I -- like it that way. We like knowing we're never too dirty after an afternoon at the park to worry about creating new Nissan messes. We find coziness and comfort in the slight old-sock smell that is forever perpetuated by two pairs of feet that can never seem to keep shoes, or socks, on after a long day at preschool. And we plainly adore that no matter where we are headed, we can usually find some hidden treasure within its grimy depths to entertain us.
Pappa's car on the other hand, is spotless. And while not nearly as charming as my tried and true shuttle, it definitely has its own appeal.
Especially on date night.