Saturday, September 12, 2009

Various remarks on smell and stinks

I read an article in the Toronto Star today about anosmia---the lack of a sense of smell. I've been without for as long as I can remember. I thought the article was pretty funny---the subject of the article was 16 years old when she first realized she had no sense of smell after stink bombs were let off in her school and she didn't run away screaming from the stench. She said, "It never occurred to me there was anything wrong with me. Everyone else was just a complainer." Well, duh!

I followed my family's and other people's behaviour when it came down to it: inhaling and smiling at the Sunday meal: grimacing at others' reports of foul odours. No connection to an actual smell...

My mother still didn’t believe that I didn’t share her very keen sense of smell even after a robin’s egg broke in my room one night. My great-uncle had given me a bird’s nest with an egg in it. I put it on my window sill with all the china birds I’d collected from Red Rose tea boxes, and the family cat, attracted by the smell, knocked it down and broke the egg. Mom was woken from a sound nap, waiting for my dad to come home from Scouts, by the smell; she was in the living room one floor below and I was behind a closed door. She came roaring upstairs, "whydidn'tyoucleanthatup?!" I was eight years old then.

My friend nearly wept when she helped me pick up my first brand-new car: “You can’t smell the new car smell!” A potential boyfriend once asked if my anosmia might reduce my sexual pleasure! I expect it might; I don’t remember…

And I just spent a few minutes with both my neighbours DF and CMcD who helped me investigate the source of the cat litter smell into their house from my basement. C called and said there was still an odour. I said I'd JUST changed out two litter boxes and de-clumped the other two. Both said the smell in the basement was "catty"---only to be expected with four cats in the house---but not as horrendous as they both expected. Between the three of us we sought out gaps in our common walls on both sides, and they even donated a can of Great Stuff for more sealing power.

We may have it licked, if I do the sealing and keep up with the de-clumping.

UPDATE 1: I e-mailed the author of the Toronto Star article with some of the above remarks, and he was kind enough to reply a few days later.

UPDATE 2: I could see where DF used the sealing foam during his kitchen reno on my side of the semi. I don't think my contractors did anything except repair the drywall. But I found a HUGE drafty gap at the bottom of my basement stairs. I started filling it with aluminum foil sheets as a barrier for the Great Stuff for Large Gaps. Then I started filling the gap. I had to let the first, second, and third applications cure. Then I started stuffing newspapers and plastic bags into the gap before I sprayed again. That was a couple of weeks ago now. Either the gap is sealed and the problem is solved, or C and D are just not complaining any more...

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