Rambling over coffee: Fairy bells, waterfalls and little creeks... in my car? When hauling mulch home went wrong.

On Saturday I made a trip to Lowe's to pick up a couple items, including mulch for the landscaping .  Now, I currently drive a little Kia so I can't haul many bags, but I know from previous experience that 15 bags will fit with the back seats down flat.  I also know from 20+ years experience to put down a liner or protector of some sort as the bags of mulch are dirty and wet; not to mention, often have a small rip or tear in which pieces of mulch can escape.  When I had my truck it was much easier to haul mulch, but with planning, I can do just fine in my little Kia.

To prepare, I made sure the seats were flat and I used the thick, waterproof canvas seat liner that I keep on hand for when I take the dogs with me in the car, or for snack and sippy cup wielding little ones on cross-country drives.

After the employee had loaded the car for me with 15 bags of premium deep black-colored mulch, I got in and prepared to drive the 25 minutes home.  As I started the car the radio was off, there was silence except for... the beautiful sound of a small creek or tiny waterfall, tinkling like little fairy bells.

Fairy bells, waterfalls and little creeks... in my car?

I turned to see the weight of the stacked bags of mulch were squashing the water out of them and apparently were so saturated that the water was forming a little waterfall.  I now had a steady stream of water flowing down and pooling on the waterproof canvas.

The problem became apparently immediately.

With the seats down and the canvas laid down, the canvas ended right where the head of the seats ended behind me.  There was far more water inside the bags of mulch than I anticipated; far more than I've ever seen in all the mulch purchases I've made through the years.  Leakage?  Sure. The bags are in 'outdoor' lawn and garden; of course they will get wet from rain.  But this was ridiculous.

And as my eyes followed two of the streams down from the stacks to the canvas covered seats below, I watched the pooling water draining off the edge of the waterproof canvas, onto the headrest of the flattened seats, and down to the floor of my car.

After about ten seconds of debating what to do, I realized that by the time I made any moves to rectify the situation, the damage was done and there was nothing, absolutely nothing I could do in the next few seconds to help the situation and all the remedies would involve 'time' to accomplish, in which most of the water would have drained out by then anyway.

So I took a deep breath, making myself be 'ok' with the situation, put on my seat belt and proceeded to drive home.

Luckily I do own a carpet cleaner; I knew what my afternoon was going to involve.  But I'm not gonna lie; by the time I got the mulch unloaded and saw the amount of damage done, there were some big, ugly tears shed during the 'sucking up the black, dirty mulch water' process that afternoon.

The light gray back seat headrests were drenched with smelly black water.
The water had soaked into the top part of the seats, making them wet and smelling of brackish, dirty water.
From the headrests, the water had ran down the front of the seats to the floor mats and floor of the car, so the soaked seat fronts in turn saturated the front half of the seats themselves.

As I picked up the floor mats, they were so absolutely saturated, that even though I moved quickly and them lifted and out in mere seconds, I watched a small river of black, dirty water pouring from them as they were lifted and tossed to the concrete driveway to deal with 'later'.

The floors were more saturated than I anticipated as well.  The passenger side so flooded that it seeped up under the front passenger seat as well, where I had a GPS and an extra pair of shoes.

I spent time first sucking out water with the attachment to my carpet cleaner and then using a my favorite Febreeze scented carpet cleaning solution, I proceeded to clean from the head rests down to the floor.  I then attacked the floor mats and left them to dry in the sun as I opened the car doors to air out the car.

Later I went to check on the car and bought out some Downy Unstopables to toss onto the floor of the car to help with the musty 'wet' odor that was still faintly lingering.  That evening I replaced the car mats and decided to check on the car the next day.

The following day I found the mats were still a bit damp; which was fine, as they 'activated' the Downy Unstopable pellets well that way and helped the scent to saturate the carpet.  Something however, told me I should open the back of my car.

In the back of the Kia is the storage compartment, under the folding false bottom where you normally load groceries, etc.  It's where I keep my emergency 'get home' bag that also serves as my impromptu camping bag; as well as gallons of water, a blanket, sleep mat, a tent and first aid kits.  The back had seemed fine when I pulled the canvas liner off the day before and I hadn't given it much thought as I assumed the pooled water in the center of the liner did it's job.

I opened the storage compartment and saw... a day later... still pooled water across the edge of the storage bay.

Oh no.

Oh yes.

My bag was soaked, the Atlas soaked. My hammock soaked.

So I proceeded to air out all my camping gear.

My second day of 'clean up' all because of those stupid bags of wet mulch.  Wet?  No. Saturated mulch.  All because of those stupid bags of saturated mulch.

By the end of the day I had put my gear back and had managed to find a positive in the situation by organizing the gear a bit more and realizing I had enough room to stow an extra pair of hiking shoes this way.  I also realized I did not have any coffee in my emergency get-home/impromptu camping bag.  WHAT?  How did that happen?  I remedied that by food sealing a bag of coffee pods and tucking them away with an aluminum travel mug.  Just in case.

And in the end, I ignored that stupid mulch for another day before I was willing to 'deal with it'.

Which I finally did yesterday.  The gates by the drive, the sidewalk area, around the hosta's and roses and finally, the azalea bushes.

And as I stepped back, hot and sweaty and ready to cash in on the promise I made myself of a nice, cool shower when I was done; I had to admit, it looked good.  Really, really good.

...  it's just the coffee talking again.

You might also be interested in some products related to this post, available through Amazon if you can't find them locally;

Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift Off Pet Carpet Washer and Shampooer with Portable Spot and Stain Remover plus Upholstery Cleaner and Auto Interior Cleaner
Cambond SUV Cargo Liner for Dogs, Waterproof Pet Car Seat Cover Nonslip Extra Large Heavy Duty Dog Seat Cover for SUV, Minivan, Cars, Truck, Sedan, Black
Gorilla Grip Original Premium Slip-Resistant Pet Car Seat Protector  X-Large
Bissell Professional Deep Cleaning with Febreze Freshness Spring & Renewal Formula