At first, I thought it was the oranges. No one was eating them. They didn’t feel too particularly squishy, nor were there any whitish-gross patches on them, but just to be safe I threw them away.
I checked the litter-box. Scooped it.
I had my daughter take out the trash and put a new bag. I vacuumed the floor — using those loud-smelling carpet sprinkles, usually reserved for the sweaty-dog days of summer when Josie is smelling too much like a dog.
Seriously, what the hell is that smell?
My daughter — I don’t smell it, Mom. But I have a stuffed-up nose.
My significant other — nope, can’t smell anything. Given, I do have the olfactory senses of a turkey vulture, while my boyfriend couldn’t smell a dirty sock if it were hanging from his nose, but still.
I lit a candle, set it on the kitchen counter, eyed the room again suspiciously and retired to my room — closing out the smell, which seemed to be coming from the kids' end of the house. (Go figure.) Yet every time I came out of my bedroom door I was hit with this…this…weirdness in the air. Something was definitely “rotten in Denmark.”
The banana. The last banana — super-overly-ripe and sitting on the counter. Perhaps its over-ripeness was offending me, and only me. I suggested my boyfriend eat that banana up in a smoothie. There, problem solved.
The next day I spent most of my day out on the porch writing. The day was just so lovely! Until I walked in my house and ugh. There is definitely a smell!
I checked the bathrooms, the wastebaskets, behind the furniture, all the pillows and blankets and felt all around on the carpet for any pet thing that might be there and nothing. I sniff-tested the laundry. Nope, that’s not it.
UGH!!! I left the front door open for a while.
Later in the day, my son walks in the door from work and says “What is that smell? Is something dead?”
DEAD. Oh, my God something IS DEAD.
I knew right away that he was right.
“I’ve smelled it for a few days — it started in our bathroom,” says my son. Thanks, son, for finally chiming-in to the smell that it seemed ONLY I could smell.
I opened their bathroom door — and promptly closed it.
[text ]— Babe, when will you be home? You need to get under the trailer. There is definitely something dead under there.
One hour later…
I hear him ripping the underpinning away from the trailer. By this time I am actually in my bathtub — trying to scrub myself clean from what I know is happening under my home.
He comes back in — honey, where’s the flashlight?
He comes back in — changes the hardhat to a ballcap and goes back out.
I am not sure at this point what is making me sicker, the disgust or the anticipation. The third time he came in I was drying off and hastily dressing. The look on his face said it all.
This is going to be unpleasant. He said.
WHAT is it?? I finally demanded from my tight-lipped partner, who seemed content handling this on his own, without providing updates to me.
It is a dead opossum. A big one, I think. All I can see is the tailend of it. It’s wedged up in between the wood and the bathtub on the other end of the house. — He demonstrated how he poked at it to determine that it was, in fact, very dead, and said he’d not elaborate on the scientific evidence that confirmed his suspicions.
My kids have been showering with a dead opossum under their tub? Horrified does not cover it.
I could literally hear the flies while he was working on the eradication of “dead and bloated” from beneath the very floors where we walk and eat food and sleep and bathe. Ugh. Did I say GROSS yet?
So, a shout out — THANK YOU — to my man who’s not afraid to get down-n-dirty for his fam, and perhaps — perhaps he’ll fix that piece of underpinning with a hole in it now? It’s needed fixing for quite some time.
— tales from the countryside