I needed to buy this at IKEA:


It is $20 for the table and 2 chairs!!

I texted Tim to see if he wanted to go with me – we have an Ikea history together.  Tim wanted to go and texted back, “I can drive so you can put the stuff in my car.” Tim had a big car.

“Getting the car seat in and out is hard, but maybe,” I texted back. I mostly just wanted his company.

Moving a car seat is difficult for me. Is it because I’m a mom solo? Would Tim have an easier time getting the seat in? Do most people struggle with their car seats? Is this a job for husbands and I’m missing out?

I used to have a Graco car seat for Spenser. I did a lot of research and thought it would be a great fit for me, along with the snap n go stroller. The only issue was moving that darn car seat base. You have to get in in there tightly, the right way so it doesn’t budge and that’s really hard. I dreaded travel for the car seat moving alone. I was excited to get my new car seat, The Britax Marathon. I was hopeful that it would be easier to install, because when I used to babysit, I remember transferring the Britax Marathon car seats all the time. But I guess the Marathon has changed in the 11 years since I was a nanny, because like my other car seat, installing it makes me swear, burn with rage, have red, painful hand injuries and scream “I’m never moving this car seat again!”

When Tim arrived, I thought it would be so nice to let him drive in his nice clean, spacious car. And I was a little embarrassed to drive him in my old dirty car, even though he knows me well. “Sure, let’s try to move the seat,” I said, lugging my Marathon out to his car on the street, while pushing Spenser in the stroller (Maclaren stroller, in case you were wondering – light and easy.) I figured that maybe having another person help me with the seat would bode well.

Trying to snap the clips over the seat belt was impossible – for both of us. Tim and I took turns sweating and swearing and failing. We both just had to give up. I wanted to cry. “I don’t know what to do,” I said. “I’m now house bound until I can get someone to come over and install it. You can get a house call for like $60.” I could take it to the CHP, but not while S was with me.

Tim was baffled, “How can they make it so hard?”

It occurred to me that maybe I could find one of those YouTube tutorials on how to install it. We went up to my place and sure enough, there was a tutorial and it actually really helped. I HAD been doing it in a much more difficult way.

We went back to my car and hooked it up with less effort. My car had never been grosser; Spenser had dumped a fresh batch of crackers on the seat next to the old, dried apple sauce, I hadn’t done garbage collection and there were wet towels still drying from swimming lessons the day before. So….

We took Tim’s car after all. Getting the car seat in was easier. Not easy, but not impossible as it had seemed before.

We went to Ikea and bought the table. We returned to my place and Tim helped me put the car seat back in my car. And it was difficult again. I thought maybe my car was harder than Tim’s because mine is so much older. It took about ten minutes and there was a lot of sweating. Once again I swore, “I’m not ever taking this seat out!” and “I’m getting a car wash today!”

After Spenser’s nap, we went to the car wash. Spenser was excited. I was relieved. My old car never looks amazing after a wash, but it would look better.

When we got to the car wash, I threw a lot of junk in the trash can and the rest of the junk in the trunk. The car wash worker tried to sell me the full detail package for $250… as usual. “I can make this car look new,” he said.

“No thanks,” I said, taking S out of the car seat.

“I’ll give you a deal,” he said. “It’s slow, right now, I can do it for $99.” It was about 5pm. They closed at 6.

“It’s a good deal,” I said, “But I can’t afford it.” I just couldn’t imagine a really good car wash being worth $100 when that is my food money and bill paying money.

“I can make this car look new!” The guy promised again. “$80.”

I looked at my filthy car and thought about my embarrassment today. Would this detail be great? Would he go lower? Should I do it?

“OK,” I said, cringing. I realized I’d have to tip and it would be about $100 now anyway.

“Great!” he said. You will love it. “It will take about an hour.”


We watched cars being washed, we looked at video games, we bought yogurt pretzels, we kicked deflated balls for sale in the store and we had fun during the over an hour of waiting. And then… It was time to see my car.


It looked amazing. I mean, it really looked new; the fabric seats looked spotless and lush, the floors were pristine the dash board and controls were shining and treated… it really looked NEW! I noticed everything had been removed from the pockets and cubbies… it must all be in the trunk. I was excited. I actually felt like the money was worth it.

My seats were still wet, and covered in plastic. When I sat down to get S in his car seat, my butt got soaked.

“Wow!” Spense said.

“It looks great, right?”


We had to swing by Trader Joe’s to get some milk, before we went home. We ran in, got the milk and ran back to the car as I planned my dinner menu in my head. I went to put S in his car seat and the car seat wiggled. I grabbed the base and shook it… it was COMPLETELY LOOSE!!!! I hadn’t noticed this before!  My heart was racing. “No, no, no!” I cried out. “NOOOO!” I lifted up the car seat padding and sure enough, it had all been fussed with – the seat belt was loosely and wrongly snapped buckled in. And a pair of my tweezers and a gum massager had also been put  in there, for some reason.

I was instantly furious. My joy from the clean car turned to despair – they’d taken my car seat out- that I’d been struggling with all day-and barely put it back in. I’d just driven (less than a mile) with S basically not in a car seat! Could I put the seat back in by myself right now?? Should I call Tim? We were already late for dinner and I knew S was hungry. I wanted to cry, but I had to stay strong and get it done. I put the emergency break on, took the plastic off the front seats, balled them up and stuffed them in the trunk, then let S pretend to drive… his pants got very wet from the newly shampooed seats.

I tried to remember the tutorial and tried to breathe. It was hard. After about ten minutes, I had the car seat installed! It was in tightly and I was quite pleased with myself. S was having a great time pushing the hazard lights on and off and said, “More drive car,” as I picked him up and set him in his seat.

I drove home. I was exhausted and my car looked great. It really did! And it still does! I’m really keeping it looking fantastic. The trunk is packed with stuff still, but I don’t care so much because the car itself looks great. Yes, it was worth the money, to me. I’m glad I did it!


1.I found the Native shoes in the trunk, thank goodness.

2. A few days later my friend Laural asked”Did you get a new car?” Seriously!!! It was very exciting!

This entry was posted in MOM STUFF, SOLO STUFF, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to CAR SEATS & WASHES & SWEAT

  1. madgesw says:

    Great story. Hopefully soon he can be in a booster that works so much easier.

  2. Dean B says:

    I think our car is as old as yours … Coincidentally, I’ve also been thinking perhaps we need a new car too?… but after reading this post, perhaps, all it also needs is a wash?

  3. ana traina says:

    This blog entry made me smile with many past memories of my own struggles! 🙂

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