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Cleaning winter out of the cars = spring

April 9, 2014

David-winterdriver 002Note: A  jazzier version of this blog post was published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune April 28, 2014.  Below is the original post.

Spring has officially arrived when we Northerners remove winter gear—such as the coffee can heater and kitty litter bag–from our vehicles. Today, performing my spring ritual, I slid a clothes basket right up to our vehicles’ doors—right there where six inches of cold, heavy white stuff sat last week–and removed memory-invoking objects such as:

  • The emergency “heater”–a lidded coffee can containing a fat candle and waterproof matches and… ahem… emergency chocolate. I’ve never been stranded in the cold and needed such a heater, but I have needed the chocolate. There was no emergency chocolate remaining in the can again this spring; it was a bad winter. My husband, a native of the Polar North, rolls his eyes about my heater, assuring me he has never needed one in more than 50 years, which is a really long time. Well, he doesn’t understand serious chocolate emergencies. And he wasn’t traveling slowly east on I-94 during Thanksgiving 1983 looking over at the vehicles just sitting on a closed westbound 94; these cars were filled with people desperate for chocolate; I’ll never forget their faces.
  • Black plastic bags and rubber bands, which can be fashioned into boots. This is quite the fashion statement, but I didn’t care the one time I used plastic bag boots when a friend and I wanted to take our kids on a spur-of-the-moment sledding expedition when we got snowbound in an Idaho hotel and had no boots along.
  • The sleeping bag. Once when we slid off an icy road in Kentucky, five of us huddled under a sleeping bag and marched to stay warm until the wrecker came. Yes, we also tied some spare blouses around our heads. And sang. Thankfully this was before YouTube.
  • Knee socks, which can be used for mittens when holding cold steering wheels. Such socks also cover kids’ feet at a fast food place where kids aren’t allowed to play in the balls without socks. Yes, it has been a few years since I’ve hauled playland-crazed kids in my van, but I say have the socks and they will come.

In case you’ve forgotten, I’m still listing things rescued from our vehicles after the spring thaw:

  • Real boots, which are always is the vehicle when you need them to wade from the house to the vehicle (like last week when the Twin Cities was gifted six to 12 inches of sparkly white stuff, depending on your address) and always in the house when you need them to wade from the vehicle to the house. The garage? It’s used for storing the snow blower and another vehicle.
  • The newspapers, collapsible shovel and kitty litter, for use when the snow plow has created a wall between the street and your driveway and you attempt to zoom through the wall and um, don’t quite make it. Nice neighbors actually work better than these supplies for getting your car unstuck, but nice neighbors don’t do well stored in the vehicle for the duration of the winter.
  • Missing and mismatched gloves
  • Ear muffs
  • A small blanket, a dual-duty lap blanket or lakeside blanket
  • Fuzzy stocking hats
  • An aluminum foil blanket, which was tucked in by the driver’s seat in my father-in-law’s vehicle
  • A couple of abandoned coffee mugs, snack containers, books, magazines and papers (Yipee! Found the missing library book!)
  • Miscellaneous. A fake potted plant. Really? The missing mop. The missing large bag of Costco baking soda. Hair thingies.
  • A sack of stuff to donate. Hmm. Waiting to see if we needed blouses to tie around our heads?
  • Each vehicle’s dog blanket/towel, which needs to be washed, thanks to the spring thaw.

The heater goes in the front closet so the candle doesn’t melt in a hot car. The gloves and hats are tossed in the front closet shelf’s neatly labeled gloves and hats buckets. Some junk, like the scrapers, simply gets moved to the back of each vehicle, where the all-season emergency kit and jumper cables reside. The front window shade in Father-in-Law’s vehicle gets moved to the front bucket. Maybe I need one of those. Actually maybe I donated one of those once. Maybe he bought it.

This was going to be a really short blog post. But the list kept getting longer, kinda like Winter 2013-2014. Now, on to dealing with our winter coat collections….

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2014 12:58 am

    You are such a good writer!

  2. Sue permalink
    April 10, 2014 3:22 am

    I so enjoy our creative writing, Julie. Thanks for keeping us smiling through your blogs! And thanks for making me feel guilty about not cleaning out the trunk of MY car! Maybe later…..

  3. Joyce permalink
    April 11, 2014 9:16 am

    So what do you do with all that stuff once it’s removed from the car?

    • April 30, 2014 9:30 am

      Trash the trash, and store stuff in the front closet where it’s easy to put winter back in the vehicles! We leave our scrapers in the vehicles since ya never know in MN!

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