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Posted on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 8 a.m.

The Big Dig: Contents buried in car tell the story of a family

By Theresa Bassett

Spring is in the air. I have washed the couch cushions, pulled out the stove (scary) and laundered the curtains.

I still have much to do. Like the car. I've just gotta do it, as much as I don't want to. I started to view it as an archaeological dig. Like if my car was to be buried by, let's say mud slide (without me in it of course) and was unearthed years later, what would they find?

It is actually really telling. It would be a fun game to play. Find a car, unearth everything you can and put together a profile of that person. Kinda like a time capsule of sorts. So here goes. I ventured out to clean my car, which didn't look as bad as this is going to sound! This is a just a sample of what I found:

  • various pens/pencils
  • a package of Honey Mustard sauce from McD's
  • a baggy of homemade playdough
  • reading glasses
  • umbrella
  • loose change

  • parking tag to a museum
  • library reading list for 2009 - 2010
  • spoon
  • Oriental Trading magazine
  • flashlight
  • snow scraper
  • dual action light saber
  • popcorn
  • coffee mugs
  • water bottle
  • UPS box complete with bubble wrap
  • dirty socks
  • a bowl and a plate
  • half eaten apple, almost petrified
  • a baseball
  • walkie-talkie
  • Metropark sticker
  • plastic pop bottles

Not to mention the plastic sleds, antifreeze, blanket, folding chairs and swim flippers behind the last seat. And this list is not complete.

So what do I make of it? I can tell somewhat about the eating habits, the time period, interests, composition of family, climate, habits and a myriad of other things - my own little archaeological dig, if you will. The contents give some clues about me but also leave a lot unearthed. I am first and foremost, a parent. People without children do not have cars that look like this. They are afraid to get into cars that look like this.

My partner and I parent six kids. Yep, six. Our eldest is in college, our youngest is in preschool, and we have at least one at every other educational level.

Both my partner and I are with kids 24/7, as our day jobs revolve around kids too. We are old enough to wear reading glasses. We are what I call flexatarian freegans. Generally vegetarian and more specifically vegans but we are not purists.

Our kids do eat junk food, but a little goes along way. We love to be outdoors or at museums or libraries. Sledding at the Slauson hill is always a hit with the kids, but can I tell you, I am so glad spring is here! We all love to read. We love to go to movies. I take coffee with me everyday as I drive my preschooler to school and my kids occasionally have to change in the car on the way to different activities.

And apples....I find so many cores here, there and everywhere because apples are in a food group all of their own at my house. And what is a car ride anywhere without walky talkies or a dual action light saber? Gotta have 'em.

So there it is, in a nutshell or rather a car. A snapshot of my life. More digs to follow.

Theresa Bassett is a parent of six. Passions are kids, adoption, transracial and alternative families. Reach her at



Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

Every time I see this title I think "Whaa..? a car buried where?"


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:23 a.m.

Trash and old food are impossible to avoid in your car if you're a parent. I'd love to be as much of a neat-freak as I was before I was a parent, but I thankfully gave that up some time ago. I don't know how anyone can parent six kids. Kudos to you for having the time to clean your car out at all! Sounds like you are fantastic parents.

Jake C

Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 6:43 p.m.

Yech, toys and old 'stuff' are okay, but trash and moldy food are just nasty, even if you're a parent.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 3:56 p.m.

Archaeological dig? Oh yeah, we live out of my mamavan most days. I call it our home on wheels. Once before giving someone a ride I cleared a seat in back, and was totally embarassed to find a pair of my son's undies. Sure, the kids use it as a locker room between activities and sports, still I wondered: just what did he change into...or did he go commando? Ewwww. :}


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 3:37 p.m.

Theresa, Your car is like your life- not boring! I'm pretty sure that people who have tidy cars are every bit a wonderful as those of us driving around in our own personal digs, but how fun are they and what do they do when they need change? I can always count on there being coins for the parking meter under the floor mats or stuck in the folds of the seats. I can only hope that someday I, too, will unearth a dual action light saber. You are a very fortunate woman. BC