Does Ali Have a "Way Back"?

About a week ago, we pondered the question, "What's in your trunk?" and you all felt very passionately about your trunk contents and shared all the details in the comments. During the discussion, Anne casually mentioned that she keeps her kids in the trunk:

My kids are in the trunk. No, seriously, I drive a Volvo station wagon, and the trunk (which we call the “way back”, as opposed to the plain old “back”) has pop-up seats that face backwards (and trusty Volvo shoulder/lap seat belts).

This made Ali ponder the possible existence of seats in her Volvo:

I, too, have a Volvo station wagon. Do I then also have two seats in the trunk?

Since then, a few of you have been waiting to find out if Ali does, in fact, have seats in her way back. Today, I badgered her into answering this lingering question and she responded with the following e-mails...

E-mail #1

My dear Vikki - I forward you these photos as the first part of my answer as to whether or not I have a way back.

The first photo? My Volvo. Like Anne's, it is a cross-country wagon. Unlike Anne's it is not a 2001. It is a little newer, but I honestly have no idea what year. 2007? 2008? 2009? We bought it used, so it's unlikely to be later. I don't know. Yes, it's my car. Yes, I should know. I do not.

The second photo? What my Volvo looks like in the way back. Note the sleds. Note the snowshoes. Note the dirty blankets. Note the penguin in a tutu, the children's artwork, the paper bag filled with old coffee cups. There are other things, as well. I found a tie-dying kit. Several pairs of sunglasses. A random sandal. Two torn boxes of tissues.

Now, to check on the way back, I had to unload all of that. All of it: the sleds, snowshoes, dirty blankets, penguin in a tutu, children's artwork, coffee cups, tie-dying kit, sunglasses, sandal, tissues. All. But I did.

It took some effort to slide the fancy mat out, then the rug underneath. It was made especially difficult, because there was a dog gate clipped in and it kept catching the fancy mat out. I was in the process of doing this when I realized that I had lost my keys during the process of unloading all that stuff from the back of my car.

Cue intermission music now. Several days pass during which I cannot find my keys. I search through the garbage, I search under the seats, I search every pocket I have. During these days, I use Blair's key to this car. We are both terrified that I will lose this one key. He asks me repeatedly, "have you found your keys?" I have not. The sun rises, the sun sets.

Then one day it occurs to me to check the dirty blankets, which are now on a shelf in the garage. Sure enough, my keys were scooped up with them when I removed them from the car. Phew.

So today, prompted by your note, Buddy and I head outside, do battle with the dog gate. Slide out the plastic mat, slide out the carpet.


 To be concluded in the next email. Cue intermission music again.


 E-mail #2:

I begin imagining the email I'm going to send you, about how your blog makes many laugh, and inspires many, and reminds us all to cherish the moments with our children, and reminds others that parents are parents and people are people, regardless of whether it is mom-dad family or a mom-mom family or what have you, but all that aside, your blog has just changed my life, because I HAVE A WAY BACK.

My heart is thumping.

So I lift the first handle: it is a narrow compartment for storing a car jack. It is empty. A car jack is not a part of my emergency kit.

But the second handle: I lift the second handle. Here, I do not find car seats. I find a space for a spare tire. The tire is there. It is of little use without the jack, but at least I have something on my list: car jack. Must get car jack.

As far as I can tell, there are no car seats. My heart, she is crushed a little. A few moments ago, I believed that I had a way back. My hopes have been shaken. The only one who can ride safely in the way back is Buddy, and he prefers to jump into the front seat anyway.

Note, there is a several-minutes process of convincing Buddy to get off of the mat and the rug, which are on the ground in the middle of the snow.

It is a disappointment. But it is what it is. I do not have a way back. The answer is no.

So, Ali's car doesn't have a way back but the story does have a happy ending - the trunk of her car is now clean. To erase the sad conclusion to the Way Back Tale, check out Ali's awesome new book and Anne's super cool handiwork.