Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Phantom Menace 

WARNING: You may not want to read this over lunch.
For the past couple of weeks, we've had to endure a mysterious aroma in our basement. Well, the odor itself isn't all that mysterious--it smells just like rotting meat. The mystery is the origin of this fragrance. We first noticed it by our clothes dryer and assumed that one of the mice that had invaded our adjacent crawl space had given up the ghost. However, when I finally got around to clearing out the space, I noticed that there was no smell inside. (Well, not decomposing mouse smell, anyway.) I then did a major, flashlight aided search in the nooks and crannies around the laundry area but all I turned up were dust and cobwebs. (I'm going to nominate my house as Seattle's number one web site.) I even pulled out the washer and dryer to check underneath for deceased rodents. Nada. I inspected (with my eyes and nose) the heating ducts and accessable parts of the furnace. Nope. Then I began to fear that the mouse (we're assuming mouse, mainly because of the crawlspace and because we can't bring ourselves to consider an ambulatory meat loaf) had somehow made it into the walls by the stairwell. So today (yesterday now) I pulled off one of the panels from the stairwell and was relieved to find nothing but the back of the kitchen wall. (I do not want to start tearing apart the house. I had enough trouble trying to disassemble a doorframe when we moved the piano in.) (They did durn good construction back in 1925.) Anyway, we are now at a total loss to explain what is stinking up that particular section of the basement. I suppose I could hit the newspaper archives to see if there were any mysterious deaths on the property. But if the smell is a haunting, why wait 11 years before bugging us?