I don't think I've ever done two posts in one day, but the follow up to my post this morning is funny enough that I have to.
The universe has a good sense of humor, that's for sure.
Not long after I hit "publish" I became aware of a strange odor in the house. I lit a candle, thinking quite frankly that my son must have used the bathroom in some regrettable, burrito related event. The smell persisted. I lit scented candles, completely flummoxed as to what he could have ingested that had such a tragic effect. It almost seemed as if the smell was intensifying, though, forcing its way through the scent of the candles. It was a decidedly awful smell. If evil has a smell? It would smell a lot like that.
My son came upstairs again, discovering me in the hallway, staring with wide eyes into the laundry and immediately put his hand over his mouth, "Oh God, what is that?" He was standing in the hall. It wasn't an entirely overpowering scent, just an underlying smell of...
Oh no. Ohhhhhh nooooo. I knew that smell, I was familiar with that smell. Something was tugging at my memory and it was a bad one. Long ago and far away I used to work at a hospital when I was in high school. I worked in the dietary unit, preparing patient trays. Outside the cafeteria, down the hall had been the morgue and every now and then some long departed soul would be found, and brought down that hallway on the last grim trip to the morgue. That was the memory circling my brain, as I furiously put two and two together and came up with the sum of dread.
I took a step towards the laundry room and winced as my fears were confirmed. The smell was coming from the laundry room where our spare fridge sits. Our almost brand new spare fridge. Never knock old. If something has gotten to the point of being old? Chances are it has been performing well for ages. It's the new things you have to watch because their failures are always of a spectacular nature.
We don't use that fridge much. We're a small family. It can go unopened for days, sometimes weeks at a time. I approached the still humming fridge with great trepidation and sure enough, the smell hit me, much stronger this time.
"That fridge is broken," I said, and thought with horror of its main purpose: storing the extra meat in the house.
My son looked at me incredulously and walked right up to it.
"Don't open..." Too late. He had opened the freezer door. It must have stopped cooling days ago, and today the smell of decay and decomposition had started to make its way out, and into the house. He doubled over, slamming the freezer door, gagging.
"Holy shit." My son scampered out into the hall with me. Yea verily, son, yea verily. I stood eyeing the stinking enemy from my position in the hall. Well, it wasn't as if the smell was ever going to get better.
"Flint, get out of here. For real, I'm going to have to dump everything in there, and that smell is literally going to make us both throw up."
And the universe has a sense of humor. Consider the perfectly shaped tree, I said. It's there somewhere, I proclaimed.
I started running around the house, flinging open windows, and sliding back the two sets of doors to the back. Up to the front where every window and door received the same treatment, with my son hot on my heels.
"Buddy, seriously, grab your keys and get out of here, this is going to be bad on an epic level," My jaw was grimly set, my stomach churning in anticipation.
You know, my son isn't a perfect person. He's forgetful. I have to harangue him to clean his room. He dates like he's competing for some sort of prize, at times. He's also stubborn, a family trait.
"No," he said firmly, "you can't do that by yourself. You'll never stop throwing up. I'll help."
"You really don't have to," I urged because honestly, that smell defied description. Chicken, salmon, beef, as well as every pickled thing you can possibly imagine, thanks to my husband's great love of pickling. "Get while the getting is good."
I wished I could go with him, but someone had to deal with this and it wasn't as if waiting was likely to make it anything but worse. Much worse, even though my mind boggled at the thought.
"No," he said again, and grabbed garbage bags from underneath the kitchen sink. "What's the plan?"
Together we swung into action. Everything went. We set land speed records for doing a dump and run to the garbage in the garage, which was then dragged to the side of the house, into the blessed cold that would help keep the smell down. It was horrible, I won't lie. We had to stop repeatedly to get a grip on our urge to hurl.
Then it was over and I began to scrub out the interior rapidly, with disinfectant wipes. Slamming the door shut firmly on two boxes apiece per level of baking soda.
We sat out on the back patio together, talking about how truly horrible that had been, but thanks to my rather stalwart son, it had taken less than fifteen minutes, start to finish to deal with the failings of home appliances.
"Thank you so much," I told my son.
"You're welcome. Think the HOA will complain if we drag the fridge out into the street and set it on fire?" He joked.
"Almost certainly," I replied, still queasy from our horrible smelling experience.
When we were back inside my son grabbed his keys, "Well, I'm going to go smell something that is not...that."
"Hold on a sec," I said, grabbing my purse, extracting my wallet and grabbing two twenties inside it, "here, have some fun of the good smelling kind."
He hesitated, but I urged him on, "Think of it as Haz Mat pay."
"Cool, thank you."
And he went on his way, to a better smelling environment as the smell rapidly dissipated from our house.
So what's the good in that? Clearly, it's easier to face disaster with someone than alone.
Also, thank the sweet lord's of mercy for my son's stubborn streak.