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we need to do this periodically

With the acceleration of adventure season, I started to notice some ways our experience of the car could be improved. The main problem it had was that one of the seatbelts had gotten stuck: the plastic covering on the side of a middle row seat is loose, and its seatbelt had somehow gotten twisted around the sticking out piece, pulled all the way out, and then retracted. With no way to get more slack, it only got tighter and tighter every thing we tried. We left it for a while; after all, we have other seats. But it was annoying when we wanted to have all five of us in the car. So I tried some things, and did lots of internet searching about how to release a locked seatbelt.... but no luck. Then yesterday I had a brainwave: the middle row seats in our van are removable! So with Harvey's help it was the work of half a minute to unhook it and slide it back far enough for the seatbelt to be slipped free. Why didn't I think of that before?!

Of course, with the seat out I was confronted with how dirty the car had become over the late winter. Piles of clothes (mostly Zion's, but some from all of us), books, school materials, and, most of all, a thick coating of rocks, sticks, shells, and other treasures from nature. The sticks are the worst, since the dogs chew them every time they ride with us the create a pretty good mulch. Then once we got all that stuff mostly cleared out I discovered that the trunk was pretty wet, from what cause I have no idea. Spilled water bottle? Melting snow from sleds? Leak? Car left open in the rain? All are solid possibilities. The worst of it was that the back row seat which had been folded down was also wet, and starting to get a little moldy. Yuck!

So we wiped the mold off and left everything open so it could dry out. With all the sticks and crumbs cleared away things looked pretty good—like we could go anywhere and do anything! Then of course it rained overnight. So that was a setback, but still, I feel like we made forward progress towards a usable and comfortable vehicle. And we'll have a dry day soon I'm sure.

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