Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's that smell?

She had just laid down for a nap when I decided to boil some eggs. I set the electric burner on high and placed a pot of water on the stove. Certain that I had enough time to tidy up the interior of my pickup before the water was hot, I headed out the back door to quickly complete my chore.

How I ended up in the lawn chair I don’t recall, but that’s where I was when she woke me. “You know you turned on the wrong burner?” I opened one eye and saw that she was looking into my still messy truck. “There was a clean pot on the burner you turned on. I think you’ve ruined it— and the house reeks!” Not fully awake, and forgetting that I hadn’t actually added the eggs yet, I asked, “Are the eggs done?” That’s when it came—the look.

When I walked into the house, the smell was reminiscent of that of a steel mill—the air was hazy. Looking at the pot, I could see that it had nearly become welded to the burner of the stove. The bottom was blackened and the dry metal on the inside was splotched with discoloration from the heat. “This will be okay,” I lied.

I could sense that I was still getting the look, so I made for my shop in the basement without saying anything more. The eggs weren’t done.

I suppose she had some reason to be upset. She’s always been sensitive to smells that fall outside of a narrow range that lie somewhere between spring breeze and floral essence.

This was my second egg-boiling incident. The first time, I had started some eggs and stretched out on the couch to wait. When I woke up the house smelled like sulphur—all the water had boiled out of the pot. Did you know that eggs can explode? There was egg everywhere, including a liberal application on the ceiling. I had it pretty well cleaned up before she got home, but the smell was heavy and there was a satiny sheen where the eggs had been. I was compelled to give the kitchen a fresh coat of paint soon after.

There have been other incidents with smells. There was the winter evening when she went shopping and I suggested to my sons that we fix some burgers on the gas the kitchen. I set the small grille on the countertop next to an open window, then opened another window for cross ventilation. It should have worked... It didn’t. We got the grille out of the house before she got home, but the smoke was still thick and the house smelled like smoky burgers for days.

Then, there was that time I let the dog out. Buddy learned a hard lesson about skunks that night. Would she blame the skunk? Or even the dog? No, it was my fault...again. That smell hung on for weeks.

There have been other problems with smells, but I’m hesitant to share them for fear that my insurance rates would go up—probably triple.

What can she expect? She lives in a house with three men—there’s bound to be smells. Am I right?

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