Away With the Manger

About a year and a half ago, I decided to sow some grass on the hill behind my house. To increase the likelihood of having any grass actually grow, I decided to buy some straw to spread out. I worked odd jobs when I was younger, and one summer, part of one of my jobs included moving straw bales around, picking up a truckload from a field and stacking them in a barn. So you’d think I’d have a pretty good idea of how big a straw bale is. I estimated that I’d need about four bales and was figuring I could get them stacked pretty neatly in my back seat, at worst having to sit one up on its end in the passenger seat. M argued that I was grossly misremembering the size of a straw bale. And it turned out that she was right. One bale took up pretty much the whole back seat. Another could be shoehorned into the front seat with some effort. It took me two trips.

Another point on which I should have listened to M was her suggestion that I drape the seats in a sheet to catch any bits of straw that happened to scrape off the bales. By the time I manhandled four bales in and out of my mid-sized car (which had theretofore been fairly clean), it was downright barnyardlike. There was straw under the seats, in between the cushions, jammed into various cracks.

Naturally, after a day of lugging straw around and seeding a very steep hill, I was of no mind to top off my labor by cleaning out the car. Maybe tomorrow, I figured. Or next weekend. I began calling the car “the manger,” declining to offer rides to people lest they wind up looking like a scarecrow upon our arrival.

As already noted, that was some time ago. In an effort to treat my forthcoming child to only the best things in life — such as largely non-allergenic transportation — I decided yesterday (at last) to clean the car out. I hand-picked straw and other trash, vacuumed, and Febreezed until the car was fit for passengers of the uncloven extremity variety (at least) and now will feel pretty good about bringing the baby home, though I’m a little sad to see the manger go.

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