Sunday, November 30, 2008
The source of that smell
My family teases me about my nose. No, it's not large or funny shaped, or even particularly small or adorable. My nose is just very sensitive. One might even call it HYPER sensitive. Some close to me think it's really funny to roll their eyes at me when I mention things I smell. Others simply tell me that I'm "imagining things". Regardless, I am known for my nose.
I can detect scents and odors where others will remain oblivious. So, when others in my home begin to mention that they smell something bad, I know things have gotten really out of hand.
But let me back up a bit.
When we moved into our house last January, I noticed a bit of a, shall we say, funky smell in what was to be my youngest son, Aidan's, room. I probably should have been suspicious when I found *this* in his closet:
It's one of those scented stick-ups, you know, that is supposed to mask nasty odors? It's stuck to the wall, about one foot up from the ground, just inside the closet door. I recall thinking at the time, "Hmmmm...the person who lived in this room before must've had really smelly shoes".
Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. The smell began to get worse. Soon, Aidan mentioned the smell, too, and I knew I wasn't crazy. Eventually, Jim, too, had to admit that there was, indeed, a horrible smell emanating from our 16-year-old's bedroom (and it was NOT the 16-year-old!).
Then we started to hear it, a rustling and bumping from inside one of the walls. It's an odd wall for a sound to be coming from, though, as it's the interior closet wall that extends into the room itself:
After running my super power nose along the entire circumference of Aidan's room, there was no doubt that the smell was coming from there. Then, the smell began to get worse. It took on an almost cyclical pattern...it would go from bad to worse and then wane a bit, only to get bad again. Since we kept hearing the noises, I thought something was actually living, and had possibly built a nest, in there.
Finally, after months of trying to mask the smell and hoping that the problem would just go away, we gave up and, the other night, finally cut a hole in the wall.
This is what we found:
What is it, you ask? I'll spare you the extreme close-up, but this is what sixteen (yes, 16) dead and decomposing mice look like:
Apparently this section of the wall acts as kind of a "chute" that the mice are falling down into and are then unable to get back out. How do we know there were 16 in there? Jim counted tails as he pulled them out. Sometimes, it was only the tail that was left.
After thoroughly cleaning out the mouse CHUTE OF DEATH, we cut another hole the next stud over to make sure it was just that one section that the mice were getting stuck in:
Yup. No other mice to be found. Now we have two holes in the drywall. But wait...what is that SMELL?!!
Well, the upside is that we seem to have located and isolated the problem. The downside is that the smell is still there. Rotting mouse stench (known in educated circles as R.M.S.) has apparently permeated the drywall. Lysol, a constantly -running dehumidifier and plenty of ventilation is not even touching the odor. Now what?
I double-dog-dare them to laugh at my nose again!