“Does our house always smell this way?!”
I had just gotten home from an overnight trip, and my house smelled disgusting. If I had an air freshener to describe the smell, I think it would have been called “the inside of a butt.” Or, alternatively, it may have been closer to “food someone put in a garbage disposal…five weeks ago.” Whatever it was called, it was bad.
This made me wonder – what if our house really smells that bad all the time, and we don’t notice it because we live there?! Are we known on our street as the stinky people? Do my clothes smell like that? This was completely unacceptable. My husband said it wasn’t that bad, but he also has no problem with the smell of pickled eggs or deer guts. He’s not a very good judge.
The next day, as soon as I got out of work, I went to the grocery store and bought all of the cleaning supplies. I bought a dishwasher cleaner, a garbage disposal cleaner, a refrigerator cleaner, new cat litter, new bedding for the rat (long story on the rat…), something to wash surfaces…cleaners I’d never heard of but that looked pretty clean…the person at the checkout must have thought I was nutty. I went home and went on a cleaning rampage. It was an all-out war: me versus the smell.
I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I went through all of our food and threw out anything questionable. I cleaned out all of the pet areas. I threw the rat in a pot of water in order to clean her. I couldn’t catch the cat to clean her, but also I think she would have scratched my face off if I’d tried.
By the time my husband got home, I was a bit ragged. My hair was in a messy pony tail, and I was wearing stained sweatpants and a neon green crew neck sweatshirt. I thought my house was much cleaner (even if I was dirtier), and I couldn’t smell the smell anymore. Still, I wondered if maybe I’d just gotten used to it because I’d been wallowing in the stench for a few hours. My husband asked if I could run to the grocery store with him. PERFECT: the opportunity to exit the smell chamber and then come back.
At the grocery store, I discovered an aisle that I forgot to pillage previously: the air fresheners. How did I forget the air fresheners!? I squealed with glee and started pulling things off of the shelves. Did I want my house to smell “fun and flirty” or “crisp and clean”? “Sweet and sassy” or “floral and frisky”? How does something smell frisky? Is this the same base scent as flirty? I could also choose scents such as clean linens, midnight woods, Hawaiian flowers, or new car smell. So many choices, so few rooms in my house.
I started throwing things in the cart. There were wall plug-ins, order absorbing gels and beads (better buy both to see which works better), spray scents, wax melts… I wanted them all. My husband walked into my aisle and said, “What are you doing!? We do not need that many air fresheners!”
I got a wild look in my eye, waved my neon green arms around, and said (a little too loudly), “I WILL NOT LIVE IN THE INSIDE OF A BUTT! I WILL NOT!” Some other people in the aisle gave me a strange look and scuttled quickly away. My husband laughed, put his hands up in surrender, and said, “Whatever. You are strange.”
I asked him which sounded better: clean linens or fresh linens? Because you want linens to be clean, but also everyone likes the scent of fresh. How was I supposed to choose?! Here’s how: buy them all.
I ended up going with a linens theme and basically bought all of the linen scents. I put a plug-in in one room, some scented beads in another, gel in another, etc. I still don’t know what originally caused the bad odor, but I can confidently say that my house no longer smells like the inside of a butt. Instead, it smells like someone recently hung up fresh, clean linens. It smells just like that, assuming that the place they hung the fresh linens was in a chemical factory.
Here’s a thought I just had: what if the unfortunate smell was simply my husband farting right when we walked in the door from our trip, and I did all of this work for nothing?!
Alas. We shall never know. In other news, come on over – my house is clean, and it smells great.