Saturday, March 29, 2008

"I smell the onions, I look around for you. . . "

It's been a fun few days, here at Casa Bardonia. The good news is that we've had good outcomes - the process has been a bit, well, odiferous, though. First part of the week, I started noticing a rotten, kinda moldy, pungent smell in the bathroom, when I was giving Emma her bath. Emma tends to well, splash around a lot, sometimes, and I often end up putting an old towel on the floor to sop up the water, and the towel doesn't always get hung up, and it'll lay there for a day or two. . . cause she'll just do it again, tomorrow. . . so I'm thinkin' that we've got a mildewing towel thing going on. Next day, it's a little worse. I bother to pick up the towel - nope, it's not the towel. What is it? Don't know.
Thursday, it's getting nasty. I pull up a corner of the vinyl flooring - thinking to myself, 'great, it's gonna be mold, I'm going to have to tear this floor out and . . . '
No mold.
Then, it dawns on me. I've smelled something like this, before. Yes. It's DEAD ANIMAL. I don't think that I've recorded my experience - I think it's been 5 or so years ago - of removing half of a dead skunk from under this house, and I'm not going to, now. I will tell you of its effect upon me yesterday.
Resigned to the reality that 1) it was too late to do anything at the moment and 2) it was going to be my main concern in the morning, I went to bed. The odor, which had previously only been perceptible in the one bathroom, was now beginning to pervade the eastern end of the house.
I awoke at 3:15, my personal 'witching' hour. When I'm bothered, when stuff happens in the middle of the night, I've noticed that it's usually right around 3:15. I could smell this thing, and my brain began to turn. The condition of this corpse. The physical proximity that I would need to assume to address said corpus, or should I say now, host. I began to consider the logistics, put forth new theories and designed potential tools to do the job, like rigging up a plastic bag on a pole with a cable threaded around the bag opening, that could be placed over the thing and then drawn tight like a drawstring, in order for the operator to stay further away from the business that surely would be at hand. The smell wouldn't let me be. Went to the office, opened the window. Gad. My course became clear, even as my stomach became increasingly muddled. It was time to call a professional. Whatever the cost - actually, I considered about $200 to be my price ceiling - somebody else was going to do this dirty work. To the internet! I selected three companies, got myself dressed - the smell taking over my senses the whole time, and left for work a little early.
Speedy Animal Control. They open at 7 - perfect. I'll get them going and we'll be done. Left a message on their machine at 7:25. They never called me back.
On to D&D Dead Animal Removal Service. No fancy website, 'no bones about it' - low tech, on the lowdown, actually my first choice but no posted hours. I stopped waiting for Speedy just before 10am. D&D (lots of opportunity to 'riff' on the possibilities of those initials) had an answering service, too, but then Mary called me back within minutes. They had a live one, as it were. I explained that there was a dead animal under my house, could they please remove it, TODAY?
"What kind of animal is it?"
"I don't know. I'm thinking it's a possum or a raccoon - I'm pretty sure it's not a skunk, because we've had a dead skunk under our house, before."
"Well, a dead skunk doesn't always smell like a skunk."
"Yes, ma'am."
After going back and forth, spelling street names, Mary relaying info to another person trying to find us in the Thomas Brothers' map book, she gets back to business:
"Is this space accessible"
"How much space is there?"
(I don't know, I can crawl down there, I can turn over, it's a CRAWL SPACE!)"I'd say a good 24 inches or so."
"Well, sir, we do charge for this service."
(Oh really? It'd be kinda creepy if you didn't)"Yes, Ma'am."
"We charge between $60 - $120, depending on how far we have to crawl, and what we find down there."
(SWEET!) "Sounds great"
"Sometimes, they're alive, you know."
"I'm pretty sure that that's not the case, here."
We wrapped up the conversation, and they came out a couple of hours later. Vicky brought Jesus into the house, to the bathroom, and he said "I know what that is." Identifying animals by the smell of their rotting bodies is a skill that, while I admire it, is not one that I'd like to cultivate. He did his thing, we paid them $80, and life was much better all over again. I received the text message from Vicky - "Possum gone." Yes, Jesus had delivered us from the pestilence that had afflicted us, yea verily, our entire household. Make your own jokes, if you must. I prefer to remain respectful, for a change.
There's still a little smell, this morning, I'm just a bit nauseated at the moment. Yes, I found another broken vent and closed it off. We're moving on, today, to brighter horizons, and domestic bliss.