An alternative title: The Art of Impromptu Vehicle Clean-Up.

A normal day; my daughter not exhibiting any external symptoms of illness. In fact, she seemed happy enough — if one can call drooling and gurgling a sign of happiness. Off to the grocery store we went. Shopping was fine, typical. Probably bought too many carb-related items.

On our journey home, things took a turn for the worse.

In the car, hands ten-and-two, I hear a strange sound form the back seat. A cross between a surprised hiccup and a hooting owl. I glance in the rear-view mirror in time to see a perfect, cylindrical stream of chunder cascade across Simone’s lap. Her eyes saucer-like. I nearly drove off the road.

A few seconds later, pulled over in a neighborhood that could have harbored any number of nefarious characters, I found myself scooping liquid barf out of a car seat with my bare hands. My daughter wrapped in a jacket next to me, more curious than alarmed, as I dry-heaved into the shirt pulled up over my nose.

Never again would I be so ill-prepared.

Preparation for normal, every day fatherhood is one thing. Now I had to factor in the “betcha weren’t expecting this” incidents too.

Rule of thumb: wet wipes are a godsend. I predict world peace will be achieved through their application. Keep ’em in the car. A big ol’ package of ’em.You can never have enough. I promise. Write this down.

Other items to stock: bottle of water, plastic grocery bags (to contain the mess), a couple of rags, a small spray bottle of eco-cleaner, and always…always, a change of clothes for the kids. That jacket Simone was wrapped in? Very difficult to wear afterward. Even once clean.

Random nastiness happens. You’ll hit it at some point — and oh what wretchedness if it occurs in the vehicle. Keep the travel-pack appropriately stocked. Line your car with plastic. Okay, maybe that last one won’t work.


Harry Tournemille may not know much about art, but he knows what he likes.