About two weeks ago, my sister-in-law stopped by. She walked in and made a face asking, “What’s that smell??”
I have a big nose. Not Durante-big, but big enough. I once knew a psychiatrist in Toronto who had an even bigger nose. I was walking with him in the woods once and stopped me and pointed at something on the ground.
No. I did not.
“That’s a [insert name of small northern orchid]! I’ve never seen one around here!”
I got down on the ground and sure enough, there was a little orchid.
I looked up and asked, “what does it smell like?”
“I have no idea. I had pneumonia when I was younger and haven’t smelled a thing since,” and looking back at the flower, “But isn’t it marvelous?”
I haven’t completely lost my sense of smell, but it’s no longer very acute. When my sister-in-law made her horrified exclamation, I had no idea what she was talking about. Neither did my wife, but she knows her sister and figured that the smell would make itself known soon enough.
My wife was the next person to notice it, maybe a day or two later. She told me it smelled like sewage, and was coming from the laundry room drain. I put my nose to the drain and took a big sniff. Nothing. I had to believe her since she has the working nose so I poured water down the drain to fill the trap and aired out the room, but the smell (reportedly) lingered.
The next morning I noticed a musty smell, sort of like sewage, sort of like mildew. It seemed maybe strongest in the laundry room, but it was nearly everywhere. It grew more and more apparent that the problem was big, as my nose was now involved. We called a plumber. He walked into the laundry room, wrinkled his apparently-functioning schnoz, and said, “I dunno. Doesn’t smell like a sewer in here to me.”
He put his nose against the floor drain, “Nope. It’s not the sewer. I’ll tell you though, once I had a dead squirrel in my wall and this is what it smelled like.”
I crawled around on the floor until I got to the corner under a shelf where the water meter sits. The smell hit me straight in my vomit center. I jumped up and left the laundry room just before it was too late, opened a door, and settled my stomach.
We taped up a few little holes in the dry wall and I aired out the house again with little effect.
Today the pest control guy came by. In the morning, to help reduce the vomit index, my wife had a cleaning lady over. She applied Pine Sol to every flat surface in the house, effectively masking the smell of dead animal to the point that the pest control guy couldn’t smell anything else.
He’s coming back tomorrow and I find myself in the unusual position of hoping that my house smells horrible so that it can be effectively de-cadaverized.