Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk. Or Neglected Milk Cartons.

When I went to Nashville a few weeks ago, I left home at dark o’clock on a Saturday morning.  I brought my coffee along in my trusty thermal to-go cup.  It occurred to me, as I drove myself to the airport, that it would not be wise to leave the coffee to-go cup in my car, seeing how there was cream in the coffee.  And over the weekend, sitting in the hot car, the cream would likely curdle and end up gracing my minivan with a quite unpleasant aroma.

Trust me when I tell you that the last thing my frumpy, cluttered, outdated minivan needs is the stench of sour milk.

I had a brilliant plan.  Before I left my car, I would use the leftover bottled water that had been sitting in my car for a few weeks to rinse out my to-go-mug.  Made good sense, right?

Well guess who forgot to rinse out the coffee mug when she arrived at the parking garage?

So while I hopped a plane and partied in Nashville for the weekend, guess what became of my poor, neglected minivan?

You guessed it.  When I arrived back at the Philly airport and unlocked my car after the weekend away, I was greeted with a powerful stench of sour milk.

Being the airhead that I am, I didn’t realize right away that it was the to-go cup.  I drove away with the windows down, silently cursing the kids for leaving their sippy cups in the minivan.  After driving a ways down the highway, I reached down for the fresh bottle of water the parking lot attendant had handed me on my way out, and my hand landed on the forgotten coffee to-go cup.

AHA!  That explained it.  I mentally repented for blaming my kids for my own foolishness.

Once home, I emptied the car of the offensive mug and went along my merry way. 

The next morning, when I got in the car to take my daughter to school, guess what greeted me at the door?  You got it — the sour milk stench.  That must have been some powerful half-and-half, that’s all I could figure.  I drove around all day with the windows rolled down, hoping to air out the car.

The next day I climbed in my car again, and the stench was STILL there.  Declaring all-out war on sour milk, I cased the car for any evidence of a long forgotten sippy cup, but there was none to be found.

For days the stench haunted us.  Hub looked under the seats to see if I’d missed something and came up empty handed.

This went on for TWO WEEKS, people.  Finally we decided that one of the kids must have spilled milk or a milkshake on the carpet and the stench was a permanent fixture in our life.  And so we went along our merry way, driving to school and church and the mall in the odoriferous minivan, resigned to our fate.

Then this past Sunday,  Hub was taking his guitar out of the trunk, and he came around the side of the car with two milk cartons in his hand.

"Um.  You think these might have had something to do with the odor in the car?"

He had pulled two old, OLD milk cartons from the basket underneath the stroller.  The very stroller I had used several times since the Nashville getaway.  The very cartons of milk I had seen under there and ignored because I make it a policy never to go out of my way to exert myself unless absolutely necessary, and bending over to retrieve trash from the stroller basket can always be put off for another day.

IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME THOSE MILK CARTONS WERE CAUSING THE STENCH THAT HAD INVADED OUR CAR.

Honestly, the fact that I run a household never ceases to amaze me.

And would you believe that there is now no stench in my minivan?  Well, of course you would.