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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

December 3rd, 2008 (11:35 pm)

current mood: GAAAAAAAAAAAH

The Story of
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.


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.

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