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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

December 3rd, 2008 (11:35 pm)
indescribable

current mood: GAAAAAAAAAAAH

The Story of
KYLIE AND λ
and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Smell


7:00: Kylie arrives at her apartment building. Coming up the stairs and into the upstairs hallway, she is accosted by a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad smell. Kylie holds her breath and hurries to her apartment.

7:01: Kylie enters her apartment, gasps for breath, and then expels the breath in another fruitless gasp. The apartment smells just as terrible as the hallway. Apparently, the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad smell is not at all fazed by doors, not even locked ones.

7:05: Kylie reluctantly lets go of her assumption that her nose will adjust to the smell; if anything, it seems to have gotten stronger. It is a bizarre, sweetish, chemical-ish smell, as if turpentine and rotten apples had had a lovechild that died in the walls somewhere. Kylie scouts around the apartment to try to figure out what is causing it. The scouting is in vain.

7:07: Kylie lights a mandarin-cranberry Yankee Candle, helpfully labeled "Our strongest-scented candle!" Kylie is encouraged. Surely the smell will dissipate when all the force of Yankee Candle is brought to bear.

7:10: The smell has not dissipated. Kylie does more scouting.

7:15: Kylie finds some stupid wax things labeled "Vanilla Potpourri", which resemble votive candles without wicks. They are stupid because potpourri is not made out of wax, and apparently there is some vastly complex process involving potpourri bowls and potpourri racks and ventilated candles that is necessary to get the scent of the wax non-potpourri to dissipate, all of which could have been avoided if the makers would either a.) make potpourri out of actual potpourri or b.) stick a wick in the damn wax things. But then they wouldn't make money off the equipment. Unfortunately whoever gave Kylie and λ the stupid wax non-potpourri did not feel it was worthwhile to invest in the equipment. Kylie scowls.

7:20: λ arrives home, doing the same gasping-for-breath-oh-fucking-hell double take thing Kylie did. Kylie and λ agree that the smell is really really really goddamn awful, and then sort of wander around woezing about it for awhile, periodically waving their hands in the direction of the mandarin-cranberry candle under the fond delusion that this will cause the scent to dissipate more.

7:45: The scent has grown exponentially stronger and Kylie and λ still have not the foggiest clue what is causing it. By now it appears that turpentine has sired rival love children with rotten apples and rotten oranges, both of whom have amassed armies of rats fresh from the garbage to wage bloody battle inside the walls. Judging from the smell, there are no survivors. Kylie and λ wander around woezing some more and attempting to figure out where the smell is the strongest. The most they can narrow it down is that it's really really awful in the closet. This is great news for λ, who has an importantish meeting at work tomorrow and was planning on dressing up in nice clothing hung neatly in -- guess what! -- the closet.

8:15: Kylie decides that she cannot stand this shit anymore and that that wax non-potpourri is going to start emitting fragrance whether it wants to or not.

8:17: The wax non-potpourri is unresponsive to Kylie's threats. Kylie scowls more blackly. λ is bleakly watching television, shivering in the draft from the open window which is not doing shit to ventilate the apartment.

8:30: Kylie MacGyvers this thing:



out of tinfoil and sugar canisters and cooling racks and a few other items of random crap, in order to simulate a wax-non-potpourri-scent-dispersion-unit. She rigs it up with a candle and the crazy fauxpourri and watches in delight as the fauxpourri begins to melt. Die, stupid wax things, die!

8:45: The apartment still smells like ass. Goddammit. λ is now watching Ashley Tisdale dance around and sing some song from High School Musical with Kermit the Frog on the Disney Channel. One has the sense that it does not matter anymore.

9:00: Kylie has a bright idea. She will bake brownies and that will fill the apartment with the smell of chocolate! λ welcomes the opportunity to leave the house and get the brownie mix.

9:05: Kylie has another bright idea! She has just remembered that a few nights ago she and λ bought some little bottles of essential oil for use in hand-making bath salts and bath bombs and the like to give out as Christmas gifts. There is a bottle of orange and a bottle of cinnamon. Kylie grabs one randomly, opens it, and waves it around.

9:05: It is the orange. The straggling remnants of the rotten-orange army in the walls rejoice at the unexpected reinforcements, bursting forth with new vigor! Kylie cries and twists the bottle shut viciously.

9:07: Kylie is back on the bright-idea train. She sets a pot of water to boil and tilts a few drops of cinnamon essential oil in it. The scent will disperse throughout the house with the steam! It is brilliant!

9:10: This does not seem to be working very well. Kylie tilts in a few more drops.

9:15: And a few more. Kylie is beginning to worry that there will be no more essential oil in the house for bath-salt making.

9:17: λ arrives home with a box of brownie mix and tells Kylie that the whole apartment building now smells horrible, and that the apartment smells kind of good in comparison -- "it's like half flowery and vanilla-y and nice, but mixed with the horrible smell. My nose is all mixed up." Kylie nods distractedly, peering at her essential-oil mixture.

9:20: Kylie realizes that there is a bottle of fucking ground cinnamon in the house. She empties a quarter of the bottle into the water and some nutmeg for good measure. *That* actually does something. Kylie cheers.

9:25: Encouraged, Kylie starts making the brownies. The cinnamon is helping so much that it almost seems unnecessary, but Kylie is of the opinion that after battling this smell all night she and λ deserve some damn brownies.

9:40: The house smells of vanilla and mandarin-cranberry and cinnamon and nutmeg and chocolate and turpentine and rotten apples and rotten oranges and cat puke that Basil horked up after eating a portion of the fake Christmas tree while Kylie was MacGyvering a dispersion unit for fauxpourri. Kylie asks λ despairingly if it isn't okay, on the whole, or at least much better? λ shakes her head in confusion; her nose has thrown in the towel and has stopped sending specific signals to her brain beyond "IT SMELLS IN HERE."

9:45: Kylie and λ have some damn brownies. Kylie puts more boiling cinnamon on the stove.

10:00: The vanilla fauxpourri is all melted, the cinnamon has scorched to the sides of the pan in a probably permanent way, the Yankee candle is liquefied, the brownies came out cakey and the cats are still trying to eat the tree. Tonight sucks. Kylie and λ prepare to bed down in the living room for the night, which smells better than the bedroom, which isn't saying much, but goddamn. Kylie rescues her teddy bear from the bedroom for the night. He smells terrible. Poor Lemon Sherbet.

11:00: Poor everyone.

11:45: Woe.

Comments

Posted by: Rebecca (theniwokesoftly)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)

You may have topped the speed-dating entry. I laughed so fucking hard at this thing, especially and cat puke that Basil horked up after eating a portion of the fake Christmas tree while Kylie was MacGuyvering a dispersion unit for fauxpourri. for some reason. And then I got to the last two lines and cracked up all over again.

Posted by: Underwear Ninja (chavvah)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 05:40 am (UTC)

I would have to move. Fr srs. One time I used too strong of drawing markers in my bedroom and had to sleep on the couch. I am so sensitive to that kind of stuff.

Posted by: Erbie McInQuack (erbie)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 07:06 am (UTC)
ack

You might want to, I dunno, call the building managers? From your description, it's either a dead something or sewage backing up. Neither of which is a nice neighbor. Hopefully you are asleep now and not dreaming of terrible smells.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 12:34 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I think we'll have to if someone else hasn't already. Given that the whole building smelled as of last night, someone else might have beaten us to it.

Posted by: Silmaril (silmaril)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 07:18 am (UTC)

On the one hand, I feel so bad for laughing.

On the other hand, this was so very well-written.

On a helper's hand, I second the "call the building services" thing, because that sounds like a garbage disposal or sewage back-up, and either are Very Bad Things.

On the gripping hand, I can't believe no one has beaten me to metaquotes yet, so if they haven't, can I?

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC)

Go ahead, if you'd like. :) We will probably call building services tonight, although I doubt if that would make a terribly entertaining entry...

Posted by: Silmaril (silmaril)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)

Here!

Posted by: blahblahblah, whatever (kathrynrose)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 11:05 am (UTC)

I'm going to chime in with the call the management folks.

Also, you crack me up.

You know, you should write a book a la Erma Bombeck. I'm just sayin.

Posted by: Kare Bear (luvs_chicago)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 11:28 am (UTC)
Ew

I'm so, so sorry...but this is awesome. You should write chronicles of your life like this and send them in to SamOne. Just to get his attention and remind him that you're amazing.

Did you (or the building manager) ever find out what is causing the smell?

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 12:40 pm (UTC)

"Dear SamOne: Last night there was a bad smell in my apartment. Here is my blog entry about it. Please sign me on as a client!" ;)

Actually, I do not know how he would respond to such an email, but part of me kind of wants to find out now. LOL And it isn't like I have any better ideas...

As of yet we have no idea what is causing the smell, which is still present. I can't tell whether it's actually any better or whether the leftover scents from the various stuff we burned/boiled last night, combined with our noses' tendency to adjust, has just made it seem better. I don't know. We'll see how it is when we get home from work, I guess.

Posted by: Kare Bear (luvs_chicago)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
Laughing Buffy

Hey, at least it will get a response, even if it's "What the hell..."

I'm looking forward to finding out what it is, and am terribly amused by this journey.

Posted by: fightin' and trouble are my middle name (used_songs)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 12:38 pm (UTC)

That is hilarious. But it does sound as if maybe something died?

Posted by: nelc (nelc)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)

Ha hahaha! It's a smell apocalypse!

Seriously, though, you should call the environmental health department so they can track down the source of the bad smell and deal with it.

Posted by: Julie (geekjul)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)

I am so in awe of your MacGuyvering skills, I just can't even express myself. You fucking rock.

Did you ever determine the SOURCE of the stank? Seriously, I'd be knocking on fucking doors. "Excuse me, neighbor, but have you been making rotten apple, rotten orange, and boiled rat salad with turpentine dressing? Can we talk?"

Posted by: Shannon K. (ladypyrate)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)

Here via metaquotes..

I am sorry for your stink issues, but if you still have problems, Charcoal will work WONDERS.

We had a freezer that had 1/2 a bag of ice, chicken, and strawberries in it. Somehow it got unplugged, and we did not realize it for at LEAST a week. Nothing we did could eliminate teh stench, then we heard about using charcoal instead of baking soda, and lo and behold it works!!

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)

So, wait, how do you use the charcoal? This is really good info, actually. Would it work in a big open space like an apartment? Do you have to do anything to it?

(This reminds me of that thing in the movie Thank You For Smoking where the gun lobbyist notes that you can beat a Breathalyzer by sucking on activated charcoal, and the alcohol lobbyist says that perhaps they should change their slogan to "If you must drink and drive, suck charcoal.")

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)

I haven't seen Thank You For Smoking yet. It's def. on the Netflix queue!

Basically you'd just take activated charcoal and put it in an open conatiner. We have a couple of 1 cup sized disposable conatiners with the charcoal in the fridge and freezer. I think they have about 1/2 - 3/4 cup, and they work well. For a larger space you might want to get a cookie sheet, and spread the charcoal on that. That's about it really. If the smell is really bad in your closte, it might help get the lingering funk out. I *think* you can regular barbeque charcoal (not the "matchlight" stuff), and maybe break it up a little with a hammer.

I hope they find out what is causing that smell! That is a definite downside to apartment living. OTOH, you don't have to pay to fix it!

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)

λ actually did go around knocking on the neighbors' doors; the only one who answered was our next-door neighbor, who said that she thought the hallway smelled bad (“like paint” were her words, and I was like “IF YOU MEAN PAINT MADE OUT OF ROTTEN FRUIT AND DEAD ANIMALS, THEN SURE”) but her apartment was OK. The thing is that it really did get worse over the course of the night, though, and the smell was so concentrated in our closet that I suspect either a sewage pipe burst or something died right in that wall. (The closet is next to the bathroom.) I suppose there is also the option that the woman had done something to *create* the horrible smell and was lying about not smelling it where she was. Blah.

Posted by: Kristen (teirkin)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
Woe indeed.

Hi, here from metaquotes. Mind if I friend you?

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Woe indeed.

Not at all -- I see we've a few cool friends in common! ::friends back::

Posted by: nerm. (bluepoet)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)

This reminds me of when my friend Brad was freaking out about a smell not unlike what he imagined a dead body would smell like. Concerned for his neighbor, he called his landlord, who discovered said neighbor was cooking meth. The morale of the story is that, regardless of the cause, your landlords need to be called and need to fix this asap. Don't just assume someone else called them; in fact, the more people who actually do call them, the more likely they'll see it as a serious problem.

Edited at 2008-12-04 03:41 pm (UTC)

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)

Eep. I hope our neighbor isn't cooking meth. That'd be a good way to burn the building down but quick.

We were going to wait for tonight and see if the smell was any better and if it wasn't, we'd call -- or if it's better but there's a later recurrence, we'll call then. Hindsight is 20/20 and I suppose it would have been better to call last night, but both of us like our privacy and weren't in love with the idea of our landlord coming in and poking into every nook and cranny of our apartment looking for things that might smell, especially as we'd already done that ourselves and found nothing. (At the time we didn't realize the whole building was so permeated.)

Posted by: K. Pease (ceruleanst)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
do not want

Here via mq. Not to make your day worse, but your description of the smell seems familiar to me...and I think it means ANTS.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)

Oh, man, we've had carpenter ants -- the previous tenant (predictably) lied when she said there'd been no pests previously, as there were ants the day we moved in -- but we put out traps and we haven't seen them in awhile. How on earth could ants cause that *smell* though??

Posted by: K. Pease (ceruleanst)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
do not want

It's called formic acid. The good news is, it might be the smell of all of them dying off.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)

Oh good God.

We hadn't seen any in awhile and it truly never occurred to me that this could be connected in any way at all. *Damn*. I don't get the timing -- we've had the traps out for months and haven't seen anything but a few random stragglers since at least October. I wonder if there was a building-wide problem and the landlord put traps down in the hallways or piped something through the walls or whatever? Wouldn't you think they'd tell us about something like that?

Man. Well, that's very helpful information, anyway. Thanks for the comment, truly.

Posted by: Pythian Habenero (lienne)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
emotions: summer glee

Here via MQ; read entry, laughed hysterically; read comments, tried to come up with useful contribution; couldn't.

I hope your smell problem clears up!

Mind if I friend you to see if you produce any further hilarity on the subject? (Also because you seem generally cool. I cannot imagine a person who has this icon and is not awesome.)

(In other news, LJ ate this comment twice. Om nom delicious data packets. The third time around, I was smart and saved it to a text file before hitting Post Comment.)

Posted by: Sarah (katzpotter)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC)

Here via MQ. After totaling my car this morning, this was a welcome distraction (sorry).

I was going to ask if you had a landfill anywhere nearby. My old high school was right next to one, and if the wind blew just right, the entire school reeked. People feared classes in the northwest wing.

Also, I'm going to friend you, because you seem awesometastic. You don't have to friend me back (I'm not that cool) but I thought I'd let you know.

Posted by: The World's Sexiest Killing Machine (notorious_oit)
Posted at: December 5th, 2008 11:10 am (UTC)

LOL, we had a chicken gut rendering plant down the road from MY high school. The stench was appalling, especially in midsummer when the heat caused a 5-square mile area around the gut plant to reek of festering chicken ass.

Afternoon P.E. was the SPECIAL Hell.

Edited at 2008-12-05 11:11 am (UTC)

Posted by: snowcoma (snowcoma)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 08:23 pm (UTC)
WTF

Yet another person here from metaquotes with a random suggestion!

I can't come up with a way to get rid of the smell, but I know a way to make you stop smelling it! If you can't take it anymore, rub some Vicks Vaporub (or similar mentholated chest rub) under your nose. I had to deal with rotting food garbage (my one weakness. Give me a dirty baby diaper any day, but not rotting food. *gag*), and this was the only way I made it through.

Good luck, and I hope it's not a dead rat, ants, or meth.

Posted by: puppets against fascism (wurwilf)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
disgusting

Could it be stinkbugs? The article describes the smell as "a musky, acrid, sharp, fruity, bitter smell" or "rancid, oily marzipan or moldy almond." They could have crawled into a crack in your wall to get out of the cold and died. It would probably take a lot of them to smell that bad, but they do sometimes gather en masse. I found about twenty under my A/C unit when I took it out of the window.

We had a fucking stinkbug epidemic this fall. I am cool with spiders, I can chill with ladybugs, I can handle earwigs, I am... not friendly to ants but I can deal, but even though they are slow-moving and harmless to humans I HATE STINKBUGS.

Kylie, I am on the edge of my seat over this smell. I can't wait to find out what it is. Someone should start taking wagers.

Posted by: Just going through life, trying to survive. (calandria)
Posted at: December 5th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)

Here from Metaquotes - and while I feel bad for you - your write up made me LOL IRL. Please update us with what the smell is once you figure it out - inquiring minds want to know!

Posted by: Popcorn the Bearcat (agatha_mandrake)
Posted at: December 5th, 2008 06:13 am (UTC)
star (window)

I know it sucks for you, but I laughed hysterically reading this. If we're taking bets, mine is for "something dead". Won't that be fun for you!

Posted by: Yes, I Have One (supremegoddess1)
Posted at: December 8th, 2008 04:55 am (UTC)

so what was the smell?

also, i'm *seriously* behind in my friends list, so i have no idea if it's been posted or not, but has anyone asked to put this on metaquotes yet?

Posted by: Yes, I Have One (supremegoddess1)
Posted at: December 8th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)

nevermind, clearly this has been metaquoted already, based on the comments...

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