There’s something rotten in the state of my garage

If you follow this column, you might remember that last week I wrote a lovely philosophical story about the lessons I’ve learned from my garden. After contemplating how an ignored garden was really a message of personal revival in disguise, I concluded with myself slowing down, taking time to enjoy life and weeding out the unnecessary extras that keep me from living the life I want to live.
And then, since then, I’ve spent an entire week sniffing around my garage. Literally.
It started the very day my husband said, “you won’t see me much this week.” With meetings and conflicting appointments, our paths didn’t cross long enough for me to force him to remedy the stinky situation: the smell of death looming in the garage. Somewhere, some sort of critter had met his or her doom, and what was left was beginning the all-important job of decomposing and releasing of gases and other such unpleasantries.
I opened the door from our house to a wall of odor. Granted, I have a nose so super sensitive that it’s earned me the nickname of “bloodhound” from my husband, who apparently didn’t catch the stench as he zoomed in and out of his car. Basically I knew I was left alone to tackle the smell that I found so offensive, which is probably what would have happened anyway because I’m just that strong a smeller.
Science tells us that women are better smellers than men, meaning that our sense of smell is much stronger (and not that we are generally more stinky.) Most likely this is due to some instinctive mate-finding principle, but I think it’s more likely because we don’t like smelly things like dirty diapers, diesel fuel, and football jerseys and have to sniff them out to clean them. Regardless, we women in our child-bearing years are faced with the plague of strong noses, and I myself have been cursed with trying to determine the source of the previously mentioned rotting creature that was hiding among the scooters and jump ropes.
We have had many dead things in our garage over the years, which is par for the course when you live in the woods. There has been more than our fair share of mice and “kamikaze toads” which seem to line themselves up perfectly for death by garage door/car wheel/recycling bin.
I was convinced that I would find some helpless little animal who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, so I began my sniff search.
They say that a dog’s sense of smell is 50 to 100 times stronger than a human’s, but I beg to differ. I had the odor narrowed down to a small segment of the garage, all by taking the time to sniff around like an actual bloodhound. Nose pointed in the air, nostrils flaring, I was committed to finding out where this was coming from.
I lifted shelving with adrenaline strength. I moved benches and rocks. I sifted through sand toys, yard toys, balls, bats, clubs, and enough sidewalk chalk to literally paint the town red. I climbed ladders and even examined the entire workings of the garage door for the departed offender. Then I called on my mother to come and stand in my garage with her own nose and sniff around.
“Something, I think. Somewhere,” she said, nonchalantly.
Apparently, the more we age, the more our sense of smell deteriorates. It follows that the pitiful dead animal couldn’t smell itself rotting up our toy storage area. I never did find the culprit, although my bottom dollar is placed on something up in the wall.
But as the circle of life goes, after a few days the smell has started to dissipate. Thankfully I can now exit my own home without holding my breath and curling my nose, whether it be to block out the odor or to hunt it down with the finely honed skill set of a hound dog.

Note: My husband finally found the source of the stink-- a dead mouse under the shelf. The same shelf I lifted with all my might and had my son look under to search for dead things. Can't trust a 6 year old for everything, I guess.


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