Not too long ago, I was putting myself to bed one night when I caught a whiff of a nasty smell. I stopped, sniffed, and sniffed again. The smell was gone. I sat on the edge of my bed and tried to decide if this was a phantom smell or an actual smell. I suffer from a highly sensitive, yet highly inaccurate, sense of smell.
A trip down memory lane.... When I was six, I was enjoying a lovely afternoon of Barbie playing (undressing, if we're being honest) when a wonderful aroma filled my room. Roasted marshmallows, yum. I sat on my floor, surrounded by teeny-tiny clothes, waiting for my Mom to call me into the kitchen for an afternoon snack of s'mores (this seemed perfectly likely in my six-year-old mind) until I realized that my curtains were ablaze. My nose knew that something was up, but was totally unable to determine that it was my scorched red, gingham curtains and not marshmallows that I was smelling.)
Years later, my nose still behaves in much the same fashion. That evening last week, I sat and smelled ... something. I buried my face in the bedding, I stuck my nose in every corner, I bent close to the toilet in our adjoining bathroom, but could not locate the smell. My husband wandered into the room as I was hyperventilating into our pillow shams. "Do you smell that?" I asked. (Foolish of me, I know. My husband, lovely as he is, can't smell a dirty diaper if it's sitting on him. Hence, all the poopy diapers he avoided for years, until I just starting saying "the baby is poopy, you need to change her.") He shrugged and replied, "maybe, I guess." I did what I could, and scrubbed the toilet before going to bed.
Waking up the next morning, I took a deep breath, and (hallelujah) things smelled fine. I went about my day and thought nothing of it. That evening, I sat on the bed and smelled "it" again. I repeated the whole search process; smelling the bed, smelling the bathroom, looking for dirty diapers (thankfully, didn't find any) and decided that the stench must be coming from the potty chair in our bathroom. The thing had been getting one heck of a work out. (Gotta love potty training!) So, I blasted the thing with Clorox, removed it to the hallway, and then sprayed Lysol around our bathroom. With the pleasant scent of chemicals burning in my nose, I went to bed.
The next day dawned bright, and stinky. I pulled all the linens off the bed and washed them in hot water. ( I never wash in hot water, it hurts my eco-conscience.) I scrubbed garbage cans. I vacuumed. I scoured the toilet (again.) And still, I smelled "it"... at least I thought I did.
I gave up. In the early evening, my darling, oldest girl came downstairs and boldly announced "Mom, your bedroom smells like poo." My sense of validation was enormous.
"I know, I've been trying to figure out what it is for days. I think something must be wrong with the pipes. Maybe there's a dead animal in the walls...." I was a manic, stink-obsessed, conspiracy-theory convinced, crazy woman.
Calmly, my husband challenged our daughter. "I'll give you a dollar if you can figure out what stinks up there."
In less than 3 minutes, she was back with a rotten-milk filled, sippy cup (which had leaked under the trunk at the foot of our bed) demanding her dollar.
And that's reality. There are all sorts of motivating factors in life; good housekeeping, clean air, hygiene, quality of life. But one thing trumps them all... cold, hard cash. After three days of nasal and mental anguish, it all came down to an eight-year-old's desire to earn a buck. Ah, who cares? At least my room doesn't stink anymore.