There is always something that is happening in this house called Springside Hall. Garage doors break, vents fall out of ceilings, and the dust seems to keep piling up. A few weeks ago I thought the Gates of Hell had opened up. I was sure my kitchen had acquired a rotten scent from the underworld lair, described in the Book of Revelations as a “lake of burning sulphur”.
We searched everywhere: cupboards, on top of cupboards, in cracks and corners, looking for what was infiltrating the air. At the end of our fruitless search we decided that it had to be a dead mouse. It seemed to be the same smell I had called local plumber Blair White in a panic about last year. I was sure the smell coming from the laundry room was a gas leak from the dryer. After searching with his flashlight he assured me there was no gas leak but it was probably a dead mouse somewhere in the walls.
So remembering the incident from last year we decided to wait until the smell went away. Patience was of the essence and the complaining had to stop because most likely this horrible smell would be gone by next week. Or, so we thought.
As the week went by the heat increased and it got worse– it was killing us. Again, Steve looked everywhere. When he opened the tea cup cupboard he slammed the doors shut. He looked at me and said,
“Something has died in there!”
I took a whiff and quickly shut the doors. That was where the dead mouse was probably wasting away. But there was no wall whatsoever– so what the heck was going on. Again, we decided to give it another 48 hours. By this time we were looking at prices of gas masks.
The next morning when I got up I headed right to the smelly cupboard. I opened it up and somehow I spotted a tiny green demitasse cup that had something strange in it. What was it? It was the Ukrainian hand painted egg that Jennifer Fenwick Irwin had made for me at Christmas. The heat had exploded the egg and the whole top was the same colour as the demitasse cup. The smell was coming from the mold that had popped out of the egg due to the extreme heat we had. Why we had not seen it was beyond me– but I got rid of that egg as fast as Bob’s Your Uncle.
From what we’ve gathered, generally the cause for that type of smell is some sort of combination of bacteria infiltrating the rotten egg. What we smelt was something that stunk like a rotten egg with a bad case of indigestion. You don’t have to lay eggs to know one is rotten.
Remember that episode of “Seinfeld” when Jerry’s car was permeated with an unbearable stench after an evening parked by a valet? What no one managed to figure out is that a mouse had crawled into the car’s ventilation system and died inside the air vent, where its corpse infested the vehicle with a stench that no vacuuming or air-freshening could remedy– either that or Kramer had been eating eggs and stashed one.
The smell that attracts vultures and other creatures that gravitate toward corpses is mostly gone now, but its faint memory still lies in that cupboard…. for evermore more…..
Don’t mention the war!