Name that stink

I haven't been blogging much lately and I was going to apologize but have to admit that it annoys me a bit when bloggers apologize for an absence, as if the world wouldn't spin without them spewing their words of wisdom among its inhabitants. So I won't do that.

But I have been busy lately, and so while I aspire to write some interesting work-related stuff, that will take too long. Anyway, what I have to write about is disturbing the heck out of me and frankly, the stink is a little distracting.

Yesterday, I had an epic cleaning day. The kind where all your laundry is done, sheets changed, rugs and dog toys washed, furniture dusted, floor mopped and vacuumed, refrigerator cleaned and wiped out, et cetera, ad nauseum (hee! seriously, the refrigerator stuff makes me a little nauseous). I just do this every once in a while...can't help it. It's my meager little version of being master of all I survey. So what if all I survey happens to exist within the walls of my house?

So the garbage is out on the curb and my kitchen is cleaner than I ever remember it being. Like shiny-clean. And I smell garbage stink. I stuck my head under the sink, moved around some bottles and there's nothing. I sniff-sniff-sniff. It's not the garbage disposal. It's not the refrigerator. It's not the fruit bowl. It's not in the oven. Opening cabinets, sniffing. Opening drawers, sniffing. Moving stuff around, looking under it. Sniff.

Did I ever tell you that I smell everything? It's instinctual. I smelled the sports ball at the gym today. It smelled like frosting (well, I already knew that before I smelled it, just so you don't think I am crazy/gross). I just think that smell is the strongest of my senses.

So I assume that it is with some irony that I am being haunted by a phantom stink in and around the kitchen. I'm going to light a candle. And invite a friend over to confirm that it exists and I'm not just smelling things.

Comments (18)

  1. umm, better to light a candle than curse the stank?

  2. Coleman says:

    It’s not strange that you smell everything.  

    It’s strange that you’re inviting a friend over to smell your garbage stench.  🙂  Must be some friend!!!

  3. Lauren Smith says:

    This apartment had one of those lingering smells for about a month.  I finally figured out that it was a couple green onions rotting away at the bottom of the crisper.

    Did you know that when onions (and cabbage and lettuce and cucumbers and spinach) stay in the refrigerator too long they turn into liquid?  OTOH, tomatoes (and mushrooms and bamboo shoots and carrots) turn soft and moldy but retain their shape.

    Also, you know those vinyl bags that you get at the store to put vegetables in?  They may seem waterproof, but they have a huge hole on top!  Ostensibly to make it possible to put vegetables in but apparently also to let the onion juice out and all over the bottom of the refrigerator.

    At least this place doesn’t smell anymore.

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Anita-is that a quote from the Bible or a Rolling Stones song? ; )

    Coleman-probably, but that’s what friends are for. I would definitely do that for a buddy.

    Lauren-gross and funny. That hole at the top of the bag is nothing but trouble! I wish funky onions were causing the problem here; then I could fix it. My veggie drawers are all clean. I’m going to try to disinfect the garbage disposal today. My current theory is that all the veggies I have been eating are glopping up the plumbing. Probably not as bad as onion juice…

  5. Lauren Smith says:

    You think that’s weird!?  I used to have a dog with no nose.

  6. jtdavies says:


    How did he smell?


  7. Lauren Smith says:


  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Oh man, Lauren, you are funny.

  9. Mark Tookey says:

    Hi Heather,

    Could well be the disposal, Anna Lisa is also very fastidious about smells and the like, and she often identifies the disposal as the source of the trouble. I’m sure you know, but you can get special stuff to throw in it that does a tremendous job, even if it is a bit scary when blue foam starts coming out of the sink drain, or you can do like we often do, and just cut a lime in half and throw that in there. Starts up like the disposal is giong to jump out of the sink and start running across the floor, but the smell afterwards is outstanding…



  10. Mom says:


    Your house is built on a crawl space–could there be something, horrors, dead under the house?

  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    Mark-good idea about the blue stuff. I might check that out. I tried lemons. Why am I not surprised that Anna Lisa is picky about smells too? ; )

    Mom-that was the worst case scenario that I was trying to put out of my mind. I haven’t seen my neighbor’s cat lately. Well, if there’s something in the crawl space, it will have to get much worse before I find out. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for the garbage disposal. Of course, you know the first thing I did was throw out the sponge ; )

  12. Wine-Oh says:

    Was that really your mom who posted? Lets hear it for moms who surf the web! I regret the day I showed my mom how to. 🙂

    Candles and those renuzit room deoderizers help too. Also you may want to consider throwing out your trash can and getting a new one. Has the dog picked up on the stinky odor?

  13. Hi Heather…Funny that you mention this. My three year old son smells everything too. His first reaction to holding just about anything is to sniff – saying, "Mommy, wait – let me fmell it" –  no I didn’t misspell, that is just how he says it.  

    Julian was pointing this peculiarity out to me the other day with that "WHY does THAT boy smell everything…he is so weird" exasperated look.  

    Maybe an hour later, Julian picked something up (I don’t remember what anymore) and immediately sniffed it.  Realization washed over his face as he realized that THAT BOY got the fmellin’ instinct from his daddy. So – it’s in the DNA. 🙂

  14. HeatherLeigh says:

    Wine-Oh, yeah…that’s my mom! She looks at my blog to know what’s going on outside the normal weekly phone call. She’s pretty tech savvy. Plus she gets the good software from me!

    So I can confirm that it isn’t the trash can. I use liners so it’s pretty much spotless. Of course the dog has not picked up on it which is definitely making me question my own olfactory performance. Though I have to say that he really isn’t a sniffer, he’s a nudger. Oh, that cold, wet nose!

    Shannon-that’s so cute! I wish he could come over to my house and help me figure out what fmells. ; )

    I haven’t been able to trace the smelling thing to either parent (neither are inclined to first smell something; at least I haven’t n otices it), I’d have to say that it is somehow related to my dad’s compulsive clean gene. I really didn’t notice it much until I was an adult and I would smell something obscure that nobody else could smell and then the source was later verified (someone changed their hairspray, someone is smoking seven floors down). Also, I buy lots of stuff just for the scent (like how many bottles of lotion do you need? Evidently, one of each fragrance). Of course, after the fact, I realize that the amount of humor I found on the concept of "stinky feet" as a child was somehow related. I still think it’s funny.

    Of course, "smell" is now and forever going to be spelled "fmell" on this blog.

  15. Tim says:

    That’s weird, Heather, I don’t smell anything.

    It could be worse, by the way, you could have to clean out your office’s fridge. Talk about a horror show. ("This bag says Eliza. Didn’t she leave in December?")

  16. HeatherLeigh says:

    I have a little fridge in my office and I did throw out some cheese today. It wasn’t gross but it was a bit past it’s freshness date. I got that fridge because I could not fathom putting my food in the community refrigerator. You  know even I think I sound weird when I talk about it now, but I don’t like the idea of anyone opening my food containers and taste-testing. Plus…surprise…i do think the work refrigerators smell a little funky and it doesn’t matter where it is that you work, they all smell the same. I supposed nobody is in charge of putting the baking soda in there.

    I guess we all have our weirdness. Tim, I was going to tell you that I could ask your co-workers about yours but then one magical word came to mind: spam.

  17. HeatherLeigh says:

    I’m happy to report that the phantom stink has left the building. I don’t know why, but I’m sure it didn’t just get up and walk off.

  18. Shirlee says:

    I assume at some point everyones ran into this situation and I feel for you. It would be nice if someone invented a stink detector

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