Shortly after the wheelchair fiasco, I came outside one sunny morning to discover an unappetising odour on the front porch. Like most people, I ignored it, and hoped it would go away; like most things, it didn’t. The smell was worse by the evening, but I was busy, and didn’t have time to investigate.
The next afternoon, I could hardly exit the house, the smell was so strong. Okay, that’s enough; time to find this thing and get rid of it. My trusty sidekick was there, Tom, so we set to work; sniffing the ground like seasoned trackers. “I don’t think it’s under the porch”, I said. Tom wasn’t sure. “What is that smell”. he asked?
“I think it’s something decaying. It smells like death.”
He wasn’t convinced. The wooden porch isn’t very big, and is partly covered by a flat roof. I suggested we look on the porch roof, so off he went to get a six-foot ladder from the shed. He trundled back and set it up at an alarming angle. “That doesn’t look safe”, I said. “I want a good look”, he replied. Fine. I held the ladder while he climbed up. A moment of silence; “there’s nothing here”, he said. “I expected to see a face”, he continued. “A face”, I asked? “Looking at me”, he explained. Oh.
“Well, can you clean the eavestroughs while you’re up there”, I asked? A couple of handfuls of sludge flew by in answer.
“Maybe the thing is in the drain pipe”, I suggested. “Can we try hosing it down?” He dutifully, although uncharacteristically, returned the ladder to the shed and retrieved the hose. I had to go inside to check on Becky. When I came back outside, I just about choked on the smell. Tom had hosed the whole porch down. “What are you doing”, I exclaimed! “Well, if there’s something under there”, he said, “this will help with the smell.”
“What; the smell that’s just climbed down my throat and strangled me”, I queried? “Yes,” he said, “or maybe you’re supposed to use baking soda? I can’t remember.”
Baking soda! There’s a bit of a difference between water and baking soda. “Which one is it”, I shouted? “Er…I think it’s baking soda…if I remember my chemistry.” Bloody hell. The smell wrapped around the front door like a wet blanket. Did I mention it was about 90 degrees, so it was a hot, wet, blanket, actually.
We had to leave and couldn’t do any else that day. It was lovely to come home to later in the evening. We climbed out of the van and untied Becky’s wheelchair. As she wheeled down the ramp she asked, “What is that awful smell?”
“We don’t know”, I replied. Okay, everybody take a deep breath; now run! We made a speedy entrance into the house and locked the nasty smell out for the night.
It was now Sunday morning. I went into the front garden to see if I could see or smell anything. The smell was getting stronger. I pulled a few shrubs back; nothing. Where is it? I walked through the shrubs until I was almost at the house; right underneath the front windows. Oh God, there it is.
“T-o-o-o-o-m!! I think I’ve found the smell. I hope you have a strong stomach.”
“Actually; no. I don’t,” he said. “Well, you won’t like this, then.”
It was a writhing mass of maggots. Tom came over and immediately started gagging. I, being the sympathetic soul that I am, started laughing. I know it was mean, but I couldn’t help it. The more he gagged, the more I laughed. I was bent over double, crying. “Thanks a lot”, he said. You’re welcome! He kept saying things like, “Oh my God” and “Ge’ez” and “Phew”, and each time he said something, I laughed harder.
I said, “Time for the baking powder, I think.” Happy to escape, Tom went inside to look for baking powder. I don’t think he knew where it was because he took an awfully long time. I started picking out weeds to keep myself busy. He came out with the box and handed it to me. “I don’t think I can get that close to it”, he said. More chortles from me. I’m known for my sensitivity.
I emptied the whole box onto the animal, which now I had a closer look, showed a decided resemblance to a skunk. No wonder it smells so bad! Immediately, the smell started to subside, although it was nowhere near an acceptable level. “Should we bury it”, Tom asked? “I think we’re past that stage”, I said, “I don’t think we can move it.”
“I’m going to get a shovel”, Tom exclaimed in a very determined manner, and did just that. After visiting the shed, the garden warehouse of all necessary items, he went around to the front of the house. He got as close as he could to the skunk, which was several feet away and behind a bush so he couldn’t see anything, and then he started to throw dirt on top of the seething mound. Good for you, Tom. I like a man of action! Each shovel of dirt dampened the odour, until we were finally at a point where even Tom wasn’t gagging.
Hurrah; another crisis thwarted, and it had only taken three days. “What are the chances of a skunk dropping dead in front of my window”, I asked? “In your case”, Tom said, “one hundred percent.”