Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Too Funny Not to Share

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.


She Writes said...

Now that is one great guy you are raising :).

Thanks for stopping by place!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

NO! You kept your sense of humor, but goodness! An expensive situation huh????

JeannetteLS said...

Fantastic entry. Horrible, too! I cannot believe this is the first time I have looked at your blog, considering how LONG I have been going to Life in the Second Half. You have a new follower.

The Bug said...

Oh how disgustingly hilarious! I'm not sure I could have managed without some sort of gas mask...

Hilary said...

Oh poor you.. how awful. But what a good son!

Now honestly.. you knew almost immediately that it would make good blog fodder, right? ;)

Land of shimp said...

Hello, She Writes. It was my pleasure, your photographs are truly fantastic. Thanks for returning the visit, and yes, my son is a nice guy, thank you for saying so :-)

Gary, yes, that was a rather substantial amount of money the just met its malodorous end. However, it was get rid of it, or burn the place to the ground as a preventative measure. I actually chose the more economical option!

Hello, Jeannette. Thanks for coming by, I'll happily return the visit. I think it's incredibly neat whenever someone jumps over from something in a comment section. Good to see you, and Nancy's blog is an absolutely lovely place, stuffed with fun, interesting people.

Oh Dana, if I'd had one I would have happily donned it. As it was, the neighbors heard us both just shouting incoherently as we heaved the stuff in. They think we're nuts enough without add "and they're wearing gas masks now!" to the mix.

When we were sitting outside together, we were decidedly punchy, and I kept randomly squealing, "Oh, I feel so sorry for meeeeeeeeee!" to some kind of tune.

I'm actually really nervous about when the garbage is picked up on Sunday, because it really does smell like we've stashed a dead body in the trash.

Hilary, but of course! He is a good son, and I'm glad to have him. I do like to write non-fiction humor, so it was a case of "Aha! As horrible as this is? At least it is potentially funny."

I will tell you what though, never before, in my entire life, have I ever wanted to just say, "Forget this!" and be a convenient sexist. Call my hubby and morph into a the girliest girl whoever girled.

When I called my husband I told him that and then said, "You should probably tell me how good I am now." and he mysteriously laughed, and laughed ;-)

Cabo said...

Forgive me... but I laughed SO hard. I know that feeling all too well! Uh, priceless!!

What a good Son.

Snowbrush said...

Whoa is me for I only have dogs, but, come to think of it, my dogs would have probably been quite happy to dispose of the rotting food all by themselves for not hazardous duty pay, which they seem to think quite highly of rotting things, really.

Amy said...

That's priceless Alane - your son really rose to the occasion! You'll have to update us after the garbage pickup, if you haven't been arrested that is! Are you considering becoming a vegetarian now?

Cricket said...

Ugh. It's a funny tale, but I'm sorry you had to tell it. I have a strong stomach. Only once in my life did I ever get pushed over the edge and immediately have to... well, you know. It was provoked by fridge cleaning and a whiff of a container well past its prime. Oh, my God.

Still, regarding the questions of good things and miracles, how wonderful for you to get such a clear and dramatic display of your son's love. Certainly, this will be a memory that both of you will keep forever.

I was taught that "love desires that which is highest and best for the beloved." Your son definitely rose to the occasion.

And , of course, it is a miracle that we are here and can love at all.

Shrinky said...

What a hero this guy is, I'd love to say my teen would step into the breach like that, but somehow I just can't see it!

Yes, the fates are fickle, aren't they? Glad you saw the irony and humourus side of the situation.


Nicole said...

You are raising a wonderful son! I love your post, funny and yet so true. Life may suck at times but at least I have you by my side. That has been my motto for the last half of 2009.

Land of shimp said...

Cabo, I figured that someone was likely to laugh happily along because of the empathy hit! It's the worst, isn't it? At least it didn't happen in July, or over the course of a vacation. I do know someone that came home from a blissful vacation to that exact situation. I'm glad it made you laugh :-)

Snowbrush, there's an awful lot of things to recommend dogs! You don't have to put them through college, pay for their orthodontics. They never decide that rap music is just the best stuff ever. Dogs are a good thing to have.

Yes, a friend emailed that wild animals would be having a wild buffet out there (and he was right) which was part of the reason I'll just be living with the world's worst smelling garage. That so beats having the interior of the house smell like that! Here's hoping for a continued cold snap.

Thank you for stopping by :-)

Amy, I used to be a vegetarian. Oh how I longed for those days, yesterday ;-) I was just grateful that realistically, we aren't big meat eaters. That fridge incident could have been much, much worse. Including the fact that there was no dairy in there. For a bad situation? Could have been worse.

Here's hoping I don't do time in the poky for crimes against garbage men!

Cricket, it's all true. We are so incredibly fortunate to have someone we love by our side. There will always be troubles, it's part of life. It really is easier to get through something with someone...and it really helps if all concerned have a well developed sense of humor.

I do know exactly what you are talking about with your own fridge incident, and you have my very sincere sympathies. The only stroke of genius that occurred yesterday was that I had two vats of things in tupperware in there. I told Flint we were just pitching them whole, and sealed, and to trust me on that.

UCK indeed, Shrinky. I'll tell you what, I was never, ever so grateful in my entire life for a shower afterward. I was practically snorting every good smelling thing I could get my hands on.

I think all kids grow up at different speeds, and in different ways. I also think that your son would likely rise to the occasion pretty swiftly under similar circumstances. Seriously, about half of what goes on with our teens is the wrangling for independence. Every now and then you end up in a situation where you both, equally want it to be over.

Nicole, thank you and you're quite right. It reminds me of a great line from a not great (but still uproariously funny) movie The Money Pit in which one character says to the other, "Let's be nice to each other, we're all we've got!"

Luckily, that's the thing most likely to get us through!

Merlin said...


Kyle said...

I'm even more impressed with your son, now that I've read this post too. That wasn't just nice or kind thing to do, that was a truly loving thing to do. Glad he didn't leave you alone with the job and that you had his help Alane.

Land of shimp said...

Hey Merlin, there you are, and it's good to see you! I'll pop over to your blog in a bit here. Thanks for stopping by.

Kyle, you're a good man not to point out the very obvious "Bet you wish you were still a vegetarian now, Alane!" because I absolutely do!!

Thank you for the kind words about my son. I agree, it wasn't just helpful, or evidence of being well-mannered, it was an active choice to do something in which the suck factor was almost too high to accurately calculate, because you don't bail on the people you love...especially in those situations.

I'll tell you what, the next 100 times I look in his bathroom and end up with the thought, "EGADS!" I'm going to remind myself of yesterday, take a deep breath, and figure out if it really needs to be addressed, or whether it can ride ;-)

Miss Footloose said...

I loved your (mis)adventure with the rotting fridge!

Found you via Holli's Rambling and her Shiloh post and loved your reply to her post.

I lived in Ghana for some years and met Holli on a couple of occasions. I remember one time when she was on her motorbike with Shiloh behind her. There can be no grief greater than losing a child.

Anyway, loved what you said about time not being linear!

Land of shimp said...

Hi there, Miss Footloose, nice to e-meet you. Thank you for stopping by and telling me that, I truly appreciate it.

I'm fortunate in that it is not a pain I have personally experienced, but from all I have seen, losing a child is painful beyond description.

Sincerely, I appreciate you letting me know that, because it is such a huge loss. When we see the evidence of that, we want so much to do something, anything that will offer some kind of comfort...and we never know if what we're saying is right, or wrong. Fear of saying the wrong thing...well, I hesitated to hit submit on that because Holli's loss is so enormous, and such a frightening thing to even contemplate.

Just saying, you know that fear we all have? That, "Please don't let me have just stepped in it up to my hip." fear? You just helped me not feel that way. Thank you.

Mia said...

I was eating a bagel with cream cheese when I read that.

ethelmaepotter! said...

Well, it may have been disgusting, but you sure got a great tale out of it!
We once had a...critter...of some sort crawl up in around the engine of a car we rarely used and die. It was in the winter, and we didn't notice it until the spring. By then, all that was left was rodent bones, bits of fur and blood, and stench. On every teensy tiny car part you've heard of. It took plenty of bleach, handkerchiefs, and perseverance to get that car fit for humans again.
In answer to your request about my profile, I'm not sure why a link isn't showing up on your site. It does show up everywhere else I've checked; weird. If I can ever figure out how to fix it, I certainly will.
For now:

Nancy said...

You son is a keeper!

Anonymous said...

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Land of shimp said...

Mia, sorry about that unfortunate coincidence because...yeah...not the most appetizing post I've ever done.

Oh dear, Ethel! That sounds like a nightmare. I do know someone else who had a similar situation. She had a cat crawl into her engine, probably some poor stray, who crawled up in to get close to the warmth of the engine. It did not go well for said cat, and eventually he/she was found, identifiable only because of a tail. Eek. Evidently removing the Ghost of Kitties Past is a huge undertaking.

By the way, the link to your blog is now in your profile. I have no explanation because I tried multiple times, and the blogs were not there. Very strange. The computer gods were puking on us, I guess.

Nancy, thank you, and thank goodness because there's no returning him now!

Anon, I'm not really sure what you may, or may not be talking about but ...thank you?'re welcome?

Normally that kind of Anon comment comes attached to some terrifying form of spam, but you don't appear to be linking to anything.

Bottom line is, hey, if I did anything that helped you with anything? I'm glad.

Miss Footloose said...

Shimp, I know what you mean about being afraid of saying the wrong thing. I certainly didn't know what to write.

Thanks for visiting my blog! Enjoyed reading your reply there.

lime said...

woof, you had me gagging with you on this! i mean that as a compliment regarding your writing as you conjure the horror that is a festering fridge.

thanks for stopping by my place and the very kind words on my POTW.

Land of shimp said...

Hello Miss Footloose, I'm so glad you enjoyed the comment, and thank you for letting me know.

Sorry about the sympathy gag, lime! I greatly enjoyed being linked to your post via Hilary's and that wasn't exactly the best way to repay the kindness, on my part, oops!

But thank you for the kind words and for the visit.

Pauline said...

gotta love a kid like that!

Anonymous said...

Brim over I assent to but I think the list inform should acquire more info then it has.

Dave said...

Wow! I am imagining the unpleasantness! Good on your son for helping. Poor you for having to face it. Got to be a lesson there somewhere? :-) - Dave