August 13, 2011

Odor Hunt

Yesterday, Vanessa and I experienced our first full-scale un-identified odor hunt in our apartment.

I awoke in the morning and was immediately aware of a strange smell, which in the half-waking haze of early morning seemed to be coming straight out of my pillow. This odor was so pervasive that, although localized in the kitchen, it was by no means confined there. I assumed it was the trash, so I promptly changed it and tossed the half-filled bag on the porch for later attention.
When I got home from work, I found the trash can itself standing on the porch next to the bag. Vanessa had just gotten home. The stench was still a present in the house. The hunt was on.
We searched high and low, in the fridge, in the cabinets, behind the stove, and everywhere, questioning each other as to every detail of our recent victualed past. With the trash can already outside, we were at a loss.
Back track one day. The morning before the hunt, I had reached for Max's bag of dog food and spilled its entire contents onto the floor as the bottom eagerly gave out. It was wet with water leaked from our poorly sealed faucet, caused by the extra pressure of a newly installed dish washer. The dog food was wet but, we thought, still usable. After all, it's only little bits of brown... stuff.
Now back to our story. Vanessa, having by far the keener nose, triangulated the alien smelled to the plastic grocery bag containing Max's salvaged food. That smell from inside the bag is unforgettable. Vanessa escaped to the bathroom, dryly retching. I carried the bag to the dumpster and never took a breath until it was inside. Even then, the smell lingered in the evening air, defying the efforts of the summer breeze.

Moral: Did you even know that dog food goes rancid? Until recently, I thought it was made from the same stuff as clipboards.

At any rate, the hunt is over and we are all safe.

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Blogger Fr. Mark Perkins said...

I enjoyed this.

Last week I discovered that the garbage disposal in my right sink has been leaking for... weeks? months? There just happens to be a tub underneath there containing cleaning supplies (I was using simple green and swiffers I kept in my room) which collected the water/food waste. It was awful, and strange how the smell didn't break til I opened the door and shifted the water.

August 16, 2011 at 4:37 PM 
Blogger Chase said...

Consult Vanessa about one of the horrible smells I woke up to one day. I sent her a short story about it.

August 20, 2011 at 4:05 PM 
Anonymous Econ said...

This story reminded me of my days as a grocery stocker. Once, for several months, there was a lingering foul odor in the coffee aisle. The eureka moment came when I was re-pricing some coffee bags as part of a price change and found myself handling a barely recognizable pork chop that someone had mistakenly or maliciously abandoned. The coffee and tea aromas had helped to disguise the meat's location.

September 7, 2011 at 12:11 AM 

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