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07/22/03

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"New Car Smell" Destroyed In Record Time


SEATTLE (DPI) - "It all happened so fast," sighed a dejected Martin Lawler. The 36-year-old father of three lamented how quickly his family destroyed the "new car" smell in his 2004 Nissan Murano. "I love my wife and kids, but they have the station wagon," he said. "I was hoping to at least get a few months of that fresh-from-the-factory scent."

After purchasing the car in late June, Lawler took precautions. He hid the keys, took the car to work every day, put off installing the extra child seats and even taped a list of rules to the dashboard outlining forbidden foods and activities. Unfortunately, his diligence was disrupted by a three-day business trip. When Lawler returned home, he discovered his wife had commandeered the Murano. "Somehow, she found the new kid seats in the garage crawlspace where I had hidden them," he said. "A neighbor helped put them in, and it was all but over at that point." Three days of running errands with the children aged 5, 3 and 10 months left the formerly pristine Nissan with a lingering emanation unfamiliar to even Lawler's daddy-trained nose.

"There were the usual stanks that I was able to identify right away," he said. A half-finished organic banana smoothie occupied the driver's-side cup holder, where olfactory deduction determined it had been for at least 72 hours while temperatures hit the mid-90s. A leaking sippy cup full of milk was discovered in the cargo region. Limp and rotting carrot sticks turned up between the leather upholstery in the rear and the requisite damp, half-sucked Cheerios were scattered over the entire interior of the vehicle. "I don't know, and I don't think I even want to know, what that sticky stuff is in the rear map pouch," said Lawler. He's made an appointment with an auto detailer. Until then, two tree-shaped air fresheners hanging from the rear-view mirror serve to create a "unique, albeit not altogether pleasant combination of pine forest and chicken rendering plant."

(Reported by Brad Osberg)




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