We are on vacation! The boys are doing two weeks of football camp at Marin Catholic High School, so we are staying down the street with our former neighbors who, for some reason I cannot comprehend, continue to welcome our enormous, sloppy, hungry, noisy family into their home for long periods of time...and actually seem happy to see us.
It has been six years now since we lived here, and I am realizing on this visit how many fundamental things I have forgotten about the place. Little things, like which street to turn on, and which grocery store has which products, but also bigger things having to do with the flora and fauna.
For instance, yesterday it was very hot. Unlike in our desert home where heat hardly matters because everyone has air conditioning, the heat descends like a velvet theatre curtain on the surprised citizens of Marin. Unused to it and unprepared for it, lethargy sets in for the general populace and city streets are nearly empty. The boys reported after camp that a full third of the boys took of their pads, declared themselves ill and sat out the practice in the shade. Accustomed to playing in full pads in 100+ degree heat, Joey and Sam were unfazed and wondered what was wrong with everyone.
At any rate, when I got back to the house yesterday afternoon, I pulled into the driveway and rolled down the windows so the car wouldn't get too stuffy in this crazy heat. As I was wrapped up in dealing with my napping child, I did not think a thing of the bag of trash I had accumulated during the day and left in the car to be dealt with later.
Bright and early this morning I went out to the car and found, to my horror, that it had been ransacked! The bag of trash, which unfortunately contained the buns rejected by my little girls during our hot dog picnic in the park, had been ripped open and spread throughout the van. There were crumbs on every surface...which are many in a 12 seat church van, let me tell you.
But that wasn't ALL that was on every surface.
Apparently, the family of raccoons that invaded my van upset their delicate digestive systems with their hot dog bun splurge and left copious evidence to support this theory all over the car. They tagged the seats, nearly all of them. They got the carpet. They even got three of the four sweatshirts the kids had carelessly discarded on the floor.
What is a mom to do with a van full of ripped up trash and raccoon poop at 7am? Get over to the do-it-yourself carwash lickety split, that's what! So there I was, armed with carpet cleaner, Febreze and disinfecting wipes, dumping tokens into the giant vacuum machine before the sun was fully risen, scrubbing with all my might. I could not take the kids to camp in a poop-mobile. Not even I am THAT casual.
So, the good news is that my van is really, really clean now and smells like lavender. The washing machine ran for a good portion of the day on the sanitary cycle so I have lots of clean sweatshirts and socks, too. You see, we don't have to worry about things like raccoons (or even most bugs) in the desert, so I have nearly forgotten completely that they exist in other parts of the world more hospitable to lifeforms of all kinds.
Makes me appreciate the desert.