where it’s okay to barf

When I first met Stephanie, she lived near a house I had just moved into. (The story of our meeting is a bigger, better tale than that, a story I promise to share sometime, but that suffices for now.)

We became close right away, in the way you do with those special friends who see you immediately for who you are, the friends with whom you can have great gaps in conversation and pick up right where you left off.

She visited one evening, shortly before they moved away from the neighbourhood to Whidbey Island, and we shared a bottle of lovely red wine. Which she spilled on the carpet.

Not a big deal, right? These things happen. Except that I knew it would be a big deal for Kristina’s father who would blame me for ruining his life carpet.

My anxiety fear gut-wrenching panic was wildly disproportionate to the event, given my generally laid-back attitude about the messiness of life and kids.

Steph brought over a magic cleaner she used for such things at her house. She had a dog then – this was before Kaylah joined our family – and she swore by Nature’s Miracle for all manner of pet-related spills.

Apparently an enzyme cleaner is the only effective thing to remove urine odours so that dogs won’t have a repeat performance. It is a vital house-training tool, and we bought many bottles of it over the years.

At one point, I realised that a local carpet cleaning company sells a nearly-identical product for significantly less. They earned my business. We have not used any for a pet-related stain in a long time.

These days, it’s just your basic stain remover – makeup, tea, red wine. Until last weekend.

I just emptied a bottle of the magic stuff.

And no, we do not have a new puppy.

So, kids, if you must – absolutely must – barf, ralph, bark, upchuck, lose your lunch, blow chunks, or anything else… for all that’s holy,

GET OUT OF THE DAMN CAR.

Or at the very least, open the goram door.

As always, safety first: if you cannot get out of the car, open the window and spew down the side.

It is MUCH easier to go through a carwash to clean the paint job than it is to get barf out of a cloth interior and carpets.

Can’t get to the window? Puke in your hands or your lap. I am not even kidding. You are going to smell like vomit no matter what. Better it’s in your clothes than my car.

It is not necessary for the car to smell like the ass end of a bus-station bathroom on every hot day for years.

Which it just might.

I’ve done my best with the enzyme cleaner, but stomach acid gets IN THERE. We’ll get it detailed now, with a follow-up dose of the enzyme cleaner.

And pray this doesn’t become a vehicle we can only drive with the windows open.

(To be absolutely clear, Kristina had nothing to do with this, other than trying to help a friend in a bad spot. I am glad she is that kind of friend.)

(It is the car she normally drives that smells sick. And she is not here to deal with it. Argh.)

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