Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's late. Don't ask.

My nose is pathetic. Seriously. I can't smell much of anything.* I don't know if it's from having two smoking parents, each with smoking SO's growing up, or some kind of sinus problem, or something hereditary. Once Amelia gets her service dog, I'm thinking of applying for a smelling nose dog.** It could alert me when there are cookies baking, when the flowers are blooming, or when a diaper needs changing. ***

* Is there a name for that. I mean if you can't hear, your deaf. If you can't see, your blind. What if you can't smell?

** They do have those, right?

*** No, it's not a clever ploy. Well, at least not usually.

I don't know how many times Lori has said "Can't you smell that?!" Then I sniff purposefully and go, "Oh, yeah I guess you're right," even though sometimes I'm just faking.

So how is it that my nose is totally locked in on skunk smell?

Wait. Let me back up.

We had a skunk living in our barn. Then the barn cat, Kiki, chased it off. Not until she got sprayed several times, but still.* Anyway, so after the skunk relocated, a possum** moved in. Kiki apparently couldn't persuade the possum to leave, and so she adopted our garage as a temporary home base. I wouldn't have minded all this, except that this possum was almost as fearless as the skunk, a much better climber, and it could eat more chicken feed in one night than our 17 chickens eat in four or five days. Plus it was stealing whatever few eggs the chickens were laying.

* I'll never forget the time I was in the barn, standing on top of a wooden pallet, when I saw Kiki chase the skunk into the barn. The skunk hid under the pallet I was standing on. Then the cat proceeds to start batting at the tufts of skunk fur sticking out between the slats right at my feet. How I didn't get sprayed, I'll never know.

** Apparently what we have is technically an "opossum" rather than a possum. Yeah whatever, Wikipedia.

So after weeks of trying, I finally trapped the possum.* (E5 was pretty taken with the giant rat tail, the beedy eyes, and the sharp teeth.) We relocated him to a new home "down by the river," a couple miles away, to get fat on corn and soybeans for the rest of his days. Either that or to get chewed up and spit out by a giant combine harvester. Hard to say.

* Possum shit smells terrible, by the way. Even for me.

But for some reason, the vacancy sign in the barn hasn't been noticed by the skunk or the cat. They're now battling over the rights to our garage. Our attached garage.

Being a newer house, we've got one of those "open" floor plans. Living room, dining area, and kitchen, all in one big open space. The living room shares a wall with the garage, and the door into the garage is right off the eating space. So when a skunk sprays in the garage, you know it.

We've experienced this twice (so far) this week.

In case you've not been up-close-and-personal with skunk smell, let me borrow some words from Chris Martenson:
Now, skunk spray doesn’t have just one smell, it has three. There’s the not entirely unpleasant smell you get from a distance (aka “classic skunk”), there’s the similar but stronger and physically disturbing smell you get up close (aka “my last three dogs”) and then there’s the smell that wafted through our open bedroom window and set off our fire alarm at 3:00 a.m. last August (aka “skunk-to-the-third”).

So sitting in the living room, you first get that earthy, fermented, beer / cabbage smell, followed shortly thereafter by the same smell only more intense, with a bouquet of scorched rubber.

But open the garage door, and well... imagine if a tire fire took a giant crap on a dead skunk.

And here's the problem: No matter where I go in the house, I can smell it. Lori says she's not even noticing it at this point. I can't shake it. It will haunt my dreams.

No sugar plum fairies for me.




At 12/25/2008 11:32 AM, Blogger jewishfarmer said...

Hey Edson, are you sure you don't want to come live in my (for the moment) skunk free house ;-)? Are you suuuuuuuuure? ;-).

We had a skunk in our haybarn once, a baby - she never sprayed and was kind of cute. We missed her when she disappeared, actually. Of course, that's because she never sprayed and it was before we had dogs.


At 12/25/2008 11:08 PM, Anonymous leslie said...

gawd bless amerika krismas...
I am so sorry.

At 12/26/2008 12:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

steI had a friend in high school with a skunk as a pet. Peppy had been de-scented and acted very much like a cat. He'd poke at me with his pointy little nose and sit on my lap.
Ame in TN

At 12/26/2008 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, that's awful. Skunk spray up close is horrific. A few years ago, on a cold night (below freezing) a skunk sprayed our dog full on the throat. The dog was frantic to get in, so we obliged him. Dog dashed in the house & upstairs and curled up in his bed, on the floor next to our bed. Dripping (yep) with that awful musk. We eventually figured it out, but as you say, it smells pretty different up close. Scorched rubber is good--only it doesn't really capture the true horror of it.

It was months until the smell actually left the house (because it was the dead of winter, and we really couldn't air out the house properly), but I did discover that boiling vinegar on an open pot on the stove--and I must have boiled gallons of the stuff--really did help to neutralize the smell. You may want to try it....

Also, could you stuff some mothballs under your house somehow? I know they are an environmental nightmare, and smell horrible to boot, but if you can keep them dry and thus prevent them falling apart and melting into the earth, I think they don't do much lasting damage. Reportedly, though, animals will not willingly hang out around them.


At 1/17/2009 10:44 PM, Anonymous Annette said...

The closest encounter I've ever had is getting a whiff of one when they're been run over by a car/truck. The way that smells makes me happy I've never met one up close and personal.

By the way, a lack of the sense of smell is called anosmia.


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