Thursday, January 12, 2006

"Hey, come here! Smell this!"

It’s fair to say that my life has now become a battle against various odors. The lease is up on the Blonde Bachelorette Pad, Northern Edition, and I have been seriously considering moving, as the neighborhood is… I don’t want to use terms like “sketchy” or “life-threatening” or “rapist colony”, so let us just emphasize the final syllable in “neighborhood” and leave it at that.

Outside of the fact that I need a military escort to get the mail, I have been frustrated with a parting gift the former tenant left me in the form of a permanent cloud of Marlboro Stank. S/he had a habit, judging from the tenacity and intensity of the smell, of perhaps ninety thousand packs a day.

“You can tell there’s a war going on,” Josh the Pilot offered hopefully in the early days when I draped sheets of Bounce on the ceiling fan and emptied entire cans of Renuzit into the hall closet. I had three ozone treatments for the carpet and employed the Order of the Glade and thought I had it beat until this Thanksgiving, when I opened my suitcase in Julie the NephewMama’s blessedly thirdhand smoke-free home, aaaaaaaaaand…. I hadn’t come very far at all, baby.

But moving costs money, a lot of it, and last week I looked with exhaustion at all of the things in my apartment , and though each individual thing was at that very moment soaking up the wavy little smell rays, it would also have to be balled up in tissue paper and hurled in the back of a van, and then removed from the van and then unpacked, and I went “Just…no.” My entire esophagal system might be disintegrating with every inhale, but at least I won’t have to order new address labels. So it’s official: I will not take on excess work to save my life.

Then we have the Millennium Bellemobile, which, while tobacco-free, began emitting suspicious smell waves of her own before I left for a two-week visit home over Christmas. It was an odd, musty type of odor, which did not seem overly strange in a car that has held up to two inches of water on the interior and spends most of its time in a state somewhat known for its moisture content. Yankee Candle Car Jars are a woman’s version of duct tape, so I slapped a couple in the windows and got on a plane to Cincinnati.

And when I touched back down again, the 78 year old woman who lives downstairs, after replacing the safety on her Glock once I identified myself, greeted me with a cheerful, “Guess what I saw in your car last week while you were gone.”

“Utter despair?”

“Nope! A squirrel! Ran clean across the dashboard. Disappeared before I could get a good shot off.”

A… squirrel? A squirrel was in my car? Like… in… my… car?

It’s one thing to merely suck as a driver. It’s quite another to suck as a driver while small rabid rodents burst out at you from small crevices in the floorboards.

I opened the door for a tentative sniff. The Car Jars had been utterly defeated. Smell status: Critical.

Such times call for a penis. If there’s anybody who would know anything about diagnosing foul odors, it’s a carrier of the Y chromosome. Scott The Taller was around, so I called his.

I sent Scott out with a small flashlight and locked the door behind him, as in this neighborhood, the squirrel was probably packing. I unloaded the dishwasher, because when you’re waiting to hear which type of infestation your motor vehicle is carrying, what you need to do is pretend it isn't happening.

Scott was gone a while.

He carried a strange expression when he returned. I approached him, slotted spoon in hand. “What? What?”

“Well,” he said, removing his jacket, “it wasn’t a dead squirrel.”

“Ew… oh, ew. A mouse?”

“No. It was a dead animal, though.” He returned the flashlight. “Are you missing a pound of ground beef?”

ewwwwwwwwww at:


Jane ( said...


That was the funniest thing I've heard all day.

racheal said...

I can't take it!!!!

I can't understand how this many crazy things can happen to one person.

I am trying to decide if they happen to you as gift from the gods so that you can use your wonderful talent for writing to make us all laugh until we nearly wet ourselves. Or, if it is simply that this many crazy things do happen to all of us all the time but we are simply not as eloquent and articulate as you are at relaying the events.

I guess either one is fine by me as long as you keep 'em comin'.

Oh, and try the Febreeze Scent Stories smelly cd player thingie for your apartment. It is definitely more expensive than a can of Glade (or even 3 cans of Glade) but it helped with the questionable diaper pail odor in my daughter's room

John B. said...

Blonde Champagne:

A can of gasoline and a match.

Just make sure that the renters and auto insurance are paid up.

The insurance police will never suspect a thing...

Anonymous said...

Awwwww, thanks guys :) Racheal, I used to ask myself this question until the day I tried to take Jim the Baby Nephew out of his high chair without pulling the tray out first. Then I realized: I make my own stupid life.

John b.? Your comment NEVER HAPPENED.

amy lou the reader said...

That is the funniest thing I've ever read.

Considering my life is teetering on the edge of the dumpster right now, I needed some cheering up.

Beef. In a car. In Florida. Ewww...

susan said...

Wanna trade reeks?
Specifically two cans of fresh crab meat under the front seat for two weeks. Used cat litter, charcoal and piles upon piles of baking soda. Worked fine except for once a year on a very hot day when the aroma of low tide wafts from somewhere beneath the driver

Michelle Miles said...

EW, girl. I can just imagine the smell. Still - yer funny as hell. ;)

Stephanie said...

I had a roommate at the beach (NC -- but VERY humid) who left a half-gallon of milk in the back seat. Then it spilled. That was 12 years ago and I still cringe at the remembered smell of it.

Enjoyed your story!

Chloe Nightingale said...

I, too, lead a hectic life full of unusual smells. My apartment is so flooded, we have to sleep in the living room (on an air mattress so we'll float away if it gets super bad) and put on shoes to walk through the puddle before the bathroom. It's getting stinky.
The window on the white nissan sentra of terror was stuck open a crack and before 2 Y chromosomes fixed it (by jamming a screwdriver between the window and the car door), it got a little damp inside and stinks.
Febreze is the only answer. In fact, it is the answer to everything. My friends used to spray it in their cars to hide cigarette smoke from their parents, the Y chromosomes spray it on their clothes so they don't have to wash them. It has enzymes in it that battle stinkiness. I don't know how I lived without it.

Anonymous said...

Living in Baltimore early one spring my roommate lost his 6 ft. long boa constrictor named escaped out of its tank in the basement. For 6 months we never found it....I feared doing laundry in the basement...until, in August, the porch started smelling roommate and friends explored the basement wall under the porch...and pulled out the snake...well, actually only half...since it broke in 2 while they were pulling...I liken its essence to a pound of rotting ground beef...times 40....stay away from Cocaine.

Anonymous said...

As far as odiferous autos go, I've found that the only true solution is the tincture of time... that, or stuff Bounce sheets (Outdoor Fresh is the best, in my opinion) up your nostrils everytime you attempt to drive. My horror story involves a leaky hatchback, a hard rain, some old dog food kibbles down under the spare tire, and a trapped fly. Bake at 100 degrees for 3 days and guess what you get - that's right... there were MAGGOTS in the spare tire. Shudder with me in horror. That was a fortunate day in the lives of Clorox shareholders. I feel compared to share, lest ye suffer the same - the moral of the story: Bounce is sweet. The End.

Ophelia said...

We had just returned from a camping trip in July where it rained the last day of the trip. All the wet, soggy camping gear was placed out of sight in the basement.
After a few days, a noxious odor was seeping from the basement and permeating through the entire house.
I didn't start to panic until we realized that the funk wasn't coming from the camping gear, that was now dry.
Suddenly we realized that the ancient Kelvinator brand upright freezer we had in the laundry room wasn't running. (it was probably the first one ever made)
I looked at my husband and quickly fled the basement before he opened it up.
I could hear his retches and various expletives all the way outside and when he came and found me, he was literally green.
The freezer had died and the horrific smell that was coming from the basement was a 10-12lb turkey that once upon a time had been frozen solid.
Even when the remains and the freezer were removed from the basement, it still took 2 weeks or so for the house to return to a normal scent.
Having something 'die' in a car is one thing. It's another when it's in the house.

Attitude Amy said...

Coffee!Coffee!Coffee! The police found a dead body in a very expensive sports car out in the very hot desert. The car was sold at auction. They poured ground coffee all over inside and let it set. The best part of not waking up is up is Folgers in your fancy-half-a-million-dollar-sports-carrrrrrr. Ahhhh...that fresh ground aroma (I'm talking about the coffee of course).
I've often fantasized about putting several dead trout hidden in my ex-husband's car, and including a few shrimp just to show I've got class. Throw another shrimp on the barbie Jeeves.
My mom and step-father purchased some land so they could raise cattle in their retirement. They decided to stay in the house that was there while building a new one near by. The previous owners were breeders and apparently they took their work very seriously as they allowed their dogs, sheep and pigs to do their birthing in the upstairs loft...on the carpet. Nice. Of course they were not limited to just the loft. I mean they needed space to roam and even though they had over 200 acres and five or six half empty barns, they just kept it all in the family. Its Missouri, where the Beverly Hillbillies are from. My mother used a deadly combination of every cleaning product possible mixed with heavy machinery to clean this catostophe. Not until I suggested and used the ground coffee were we able to breath again. We did get rid of the carpet but we still needed our coffee as a chaser.
I will spare you my stories from my hospital days and bid you farewell. Just clean with bleach and absorb odors with coffee. Happy Cleaning & Good Luck!

Jenib said...

Hey- I forgot about the coffee...and also green tea bags. Great advice. We were told by movers to use either of the two to put into our chest freezer so that it would absorb any odors during the move.

Coffee is good. Amy is so smart.

To the person who suggested Febreeze, I believe I am severely allergic to that stuff and will have massive asthma attacks when I enter a house that has been doused with the stuff. Silly me thought the allergy formulation for Febreeze might be different and almost caused my own demise after hosing down the upholstery in my former business.

Anonymous said...

I have the smelliest readers in cyberspace. Awesome.

I tried Febreze, too-- doused the entire interior every time I got into the car, but ntohing doing. Then? Smell-B-Gone. More like $6.95-B-Gone. Damn you, Bed Bath and Beyond, and your false promises of smells being gone!

Becky said...

I don't care how much Febreze or Glade or Renuzit you use, you're still just masking the underlying malodorous skank. Nothing is more abhorrent to me than walking into someone's home and smelling the distinct, mixed fragrance of citrus kitty litter.

You may want to reconsider the move, unless you like pine glen stale cigarette.

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