Slice of Life: What's That Smell?

 My husband has a very sensitive nose. When we first moved into together and at the start of our marriage, I had to tie up the compost before he could take it out because he couldn't handle the smell. When our oldest daughter was born I had some genuine concerns about his ability to change a dirty diaper without being ill himself. His gag reflex to smells is quite something. 

So when he tells me there is a smell in the house, I believe him. 

We have a small hallway that leads to the powder room on our main floor. We have hooks there for the girls backpacks and coats. They line up their shoes under the hooks. We also have the dog's food at the end of the hallway that leads to a door for the yard. We never use the door because this house also has two patio doors that we can use to access the yard. So the hallway is just for the dog, the kids, and a means to get to the washroom. 

I had put a small carpet runner down on the floor because my husband and father-in-law were coming in all the time in their work boots to use the washroom as they work on the addition and deck we are adding to the house. So when my husband announced last night that he could smell urine we assumed our very senior dog had had an accident. 

My husband also likes to be thorough. So he sniffed every pair of shoes. Each backpack. Looked in the backpacks. Sniffed my purse. MY PURSE!!! As if. Nothing else smelled like urine so we removed the carpet runner and he mopped the tile floor.

I left for work. 

Then I got a text. "It still smells like urine. But I scrubbed the grout."

Okay, so maybe this was going to be a bigger problem. Maybe our poor dog had been having accidents and we had overlooked it? Maybe it had soaked into the baseboards?

When I came home I took a turn to scrub the tiles and the baseboards. Lots of elbow grease and our strongest cleaner. 

He could still smell it. 

But what else to do? I Googled "cleaning dog urine from tiles" and found that a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water would do the trick. I promised to do it again after my workout. Then I headed downstairs to get on the bike and then a stretching class. Partway through my stretching class I heard a crash and some grumbling. I yelled up the stairs, "Everything ok?"

"Yup." Came the response and then the thud of feet on the stairs. "I figured out the cause of the smell."

"Oh?" was my response as I thought we'd already figured this out. 

"Yup. Dead mouse in the vent."

Ummmmm, gross. Disgusting. Seriously??

But do you think this means that we've solved the problem of the mice in the bread drawer?


  1. Oh, I feel your pain! We've had dead critters in hidden spots before, and it's absolutely maddening trying to figure out the source of the smell! Glad you found yours.

  2. Ewwww dead mouse in the vent! Thank you for sharing the story!

  3. The way you use dialogue here is effective and interesting because it reveals the plot and ties together the story. I'm in the middle of examining the craft of dialogue with my students and they are noticing that often it is tied to revealing character.

    And... that nose of your husband's? I can relate. It's a blessing and a curse. My husband says, "You could smell a bird fart down the street" or "You must have been a bloodhound in your past life".

    Thanks for the great story, Beth!

  4. My favorite laugh-out-loud part is "As if." Oh, what a great belly laugh here.

  5. In the back of my mind I thought it could be a mouse. And when it was I gasped. YUCK! Ugh. So glad his sniffer tracked it down so you could get rid of it before the smell got really bad!

  6. Okay, this activated my gag reflex! 🤢 I know what a dead mouse smells like. Good on your husband for sniffing out the problem!


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