Friday, September 12, 2008

What Happened Today

So, recently I've been noticing that our washer has a tiny, infrequent leak. It was a free washer, so that doesn't bother me, I just pat it and smile and say, thank goodness it isn't something worse than that---I certainly don't mind wiping up puddles after you, you wonderful free machine! Even more recently, however, I have suspected it of something more sinister. A smell began creeping out from the laundry room, and had been getting stronger every day in the last 4 days. Today, it was bothersome to the extreme. I peeked underneath it to see if it was seeping sour water.

 Nope, nothing. So, my next step was to assume that it was a problem arising from ductwork, some tiny animal, perhaps, had crawled into a vent somewhere and died. THIS would be a job for Fort Lewis Housing. I called and told them my suspicions.  Soon, an amiable young man knocked on my door, annoincing he was here to investigate the Smell. I showed him to my laundry/storage room, and he began (literally) sniffing around. He popped his head out and said, would I come move some Stuff so that he could look behind the wall? I said sure. 

I moved the stuff.....

All of the Stuff.....

After searching behind the Wall which was behind the Stuff, the nice young man decided that, indeed, something had died in the ductwork, probably, since it wasn't behind the wall. I peered up at the ductwork. He wasn't sure, however, he said, because he kept losing the smell. Was it coming from Up or Down? Was it under the washer? No, definitely not, I thought. I smelled laundry soap from under the washer, I checked myself. Hm, would it be a good idea to turn the air on, maybe, to see if the smell got stronger once the air started circulating? Sure, he said. 

I tried it. 

On it went, and then quickly off again, because the SMELL was HORRIBLE. If I'd had any doubts before, there were none now, that this was, indeed, the smell of rotting flesh. The smell of Death and Putrified Flesh were now blowing all over my house. I smelled it all over the kitchen, and the candle I'd lit was doing NO good at masking it any more, I just blew it out.

Amiable Young Man said he would have to return later with a ladder to get up to the vents and check them out. In the mean time, I told him I'd leave the room all cleared out for him so he could get back in easily. 

After he left, I opened the windows and the front door to try to let the smell dissapate, and then re-lit the candle. It seemed to only get worse, though, even though I'd shut the door to the laundry room. 

I tried to ignore it just walking about the kitchen getting ready for lunch. "Dead things....I hate dead things....I hope I don't have to see the animal when he takes it out--- a bird, probably, is what the Amiable Young Man had said. Happens all the time, he said."

Then, almost as if some fairy had walked by and whispered an idea in my ear, a vision came to my head. The tool box.......sitting there midst everything.....came from the shed......where we'd been catching rats  who had set up house while we were gone on Leave for a month.......the tool box Ben had moved inside FOUR days ago to keep the brand-new birthday tools from rusting in the Northwest Moisture.....

I took a closer look, stomach tightening.......

THIS, folks, is what I saw sitting on my kitchen table. 



Jenny said...

OHHHHHHHH! You have all my sympathies!!! We had a mouse infestation earlier this summer in our garage, too! My first encounter was at night going out to the freezer out there in my bare feet and seeing one run across my path just in front of me!!! Then the smells started. Be glad yours is in a contained place and easy to get rid of. Ours comes and goes -- and we're not sure why it comes and goes. We've found 2 dead ones in Bear's food (2 different times) and poo pellets all over the place (we had to wash and "sanitize" EVERYTHING that might have come into contact with anything "mouse" related in the whole garage -- per Jeff's insanity over germs!). We put out the poison, never saw any get eaten, and still have the smell (at times). UGH! Such a lovely problem to have ongoing. Makes me wish we rented and could just make our landlord get and exterminator!;)

Further Up & Further In said...

Actually, exterminators have told me that traps are much better at getting RID of them, because then they don't eat the poison & go off and die in your heat vents. We caught FOUR large rats in our shed.....this one was tiny compared to the others!!!! I still have NO IDEA why in the HECK it got into such an open spot and just *up and died* !!

Jenny said...

Well, if it's anything like our situation, they kept crawling down into Bear's dogfood (in a deep, square, plastic trashcan) and couldn't get back out and just died in there. Go figure. I'm just glad Jeff is the one that usually feeds the dog;)
Jeff set traps, too, and I think we caught at least one, but not enough to account for the nasty infestation smell!!!

The Cranberry Paper said...

oh,...yuck. so much for the cheerios I was just eating :)
Thats pretty nasty!! We actually have never has a mouse/rat problem..but we did/do have a bat problem!! In the attic...*shudders* I hate it.

Herb of Grace said...


I can't believe I thought roaches were bad... Actually, they are bad. Very bad. But not stinky. And now they are gone, gone, gone!! I highly recommend Orkin-- they do mice and rats, too. I don't know how that would work when you're technically a renter, but those folks are awesome! I haven't seen a single roach in months now. It's a blessed feeling.

Denise said...


Poor Susi!!!!

I loved how you made this a photo journal so we could have our confusion at the smell build, and horror at the criminal culminate... Yuck!!! Please tell me Ben threw or buried that thing somewhere!

You're a brave woman. I've had to battle so few pests. The mice we found in the shed were alive. With babies. :)

Sandra said...

Very well written, but not a story I'd tell to my kids before bed. I hope you get rid of all your little problems.