Sunday, February 03, 2008


#96 Foul


This post could be considered foul if only for it's excessive length!

I've committed a foul in football, hit a foul ball in baseball, uttered and heard any and all sort of obscene/abusive language. I've been in a foul mood, suffered foul weather, and witnessed treacherous, dishonorable behavior in sports and otherwise.

I've gagged while cleaning the manure from the cow barn, cringed from the odoriferous stink emanating from my locker at the end of wrestling season, I've wrinkled my nose at body odor and halitosis, and putrid doggy farts (not always from the dog.)

I've doused my surgical mask with oil of wintergreen to stave off the fetid stench of gangrene and perforated bowels.

Nothing can hold a candle to the foul, malodorous incident that occurred at our house in the mid-1980's

No, I'm not talking about the time that Gerry dumped a trailer load of pig shit in the driveway. No, I'm talking about the night that Pepe la Pew got pissed off and contaminated our whole house and it's belongings.
You see, the back portion of our house was an add-on to the original, circa 1900, house. I've no clue as to when it was added, it was there when we bought the house. This room, we still refer to it as the "back" room has no cellar nor crawl space even, under it. It was built on hewn tree trunks. There was/is an air ventilation opening to allow air to circulate under the structure to prevent the beams from rotting.

In the "good ol'" days this room served as a summer kitchen. For us more modern folk, it serves as the rear entry, coat room, mail depository, and plain old catch-all room.
There being little or no insulation in this house when we moved in in 1975, and with the outrageous cost of fuel oil in those days; .90 a gallon I think, I installed a woodstove in this back room.

Not only was the cost of fuel exorbitant but the winters back then were much colder than they are today. In the mornings when you'd venture into the back room you could feel the rush of frigid air waft up through the cracks between the floor planks and nip your toes and make your feet dance.

The woodstove's heat, which just incidentally happened to be positioned over the air vent opening to the underside of the structure, proved to be inviting to at least one, but more than likely a family of skunks.
The skunks would move in in the fall and leave in the spring. Of course there was always a faint scent of eau de skunk present in the back room, but not obtrusively so. We actually welcomed the critters, believing that they would ward off other pesky rodents such as mice or rats. Incidentally, while the skunks resided with us we were not bothered by either mice or rats.

Near the end of one winter, probably the spring of 1985, as the skunks were becoming more active, something startled or attacked (maybe a dog, although no barking was heard) our boarder causing it to defend itself naturally. The fact that it was still ensconced under the room was not a good thing. That fetid aroma, that highly offensive smell, combining the odors of rotten eggs, garlic and burnt rubber, spread hither and yon through-out our home creeping into every nook and cranny and seeping into the fabric of our clothing.

The smell was so horrific that we couldn't stay in the house. We went to the newly erected Burger King restaurant in the next town (where we wouldn't be recognized----hopefully) to have supper. We endured plenty of stares and wrinkled up noses, and then and there vowed to never set foot in that BK again just from sheer embarrassment; knowing we'd be labeled some derogatory words describing our aroma.

The next day our three children were sent home from school because their clothes reeked so badly with the stench of skunk piss. Our daughter (yes the one whose birthday is today) was a sophomore in high school and was so mortified from embarrassment. The boys on the other hand reveled in the fact that they were getting a day off. Who'd-a-thought?

At my work place, the operating room no less, people exiting our locker room where I had changed into OR scrubs kept inquiring as to the source of the foul odor emanating from the locker room.


It took numerous days and many loads of baking soda laced loads of laundry before we were comfortable re-entering our social circle.

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11 Comments:

Blogger myrtle beached whale said...

Totally enjoyed it. I have had dogs that have gotten into skunks. A less humane man would have just shot them.

3:44 PM  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

That is incredible - of course I have heard of skunks and their odour but never imagined in my wildest dreams that it would be so invasive! Is it that the droplets are so miniscule they go everywhere - all-pervasive? Like a putrid fog?

4:01 PM  
Blogger Puss-in-Boots said...

Wow, Pepe le Pew certainly did his piece with you, didn't he? Thankfully we don't have skunks here so I've never had the dubious experience of meeting one.

How come everything is permeated so much? I thought it was just be in the near vicinity of the skunk and that the attacker would get the full...ahem...benefit of the smell. But I'm amazed that it went right through the whole house like that.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Remiman said...

CB and Robyn,
Here is a site that adds a little insight as to the pervasiveness of the skunk odor:
http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/sci_update.cfm?DocID=200

In these parts during spring a large number of skunks sucumb to "road kill." When driving along you can smell the dead skunk from far off and even though you stradle the dead animal the residual smell will stay in your vehicle for a few miles.
The odor can literally cause one to vomit.
rel

6:11 PM  
Blogger Lucy said...

this was the foulest story so far!! How awful! How did you finally get rid of them? As stinky as the skunks are.... Perforated bowels must be a close second!

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Kat said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one that has suffered through skunk eviction. Our skunk was defending itself from our cats...three cats, five kids, two very grumpy adults and a dog that wouldn't stop sneezing evacuated the house and took up residence in my office. Tomato juice takes the stink right out by the way, and much easier to explain than skunk spew.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous gautami tripathy said...

That smell permeates everwhere. Hard to get rid of ut too.

BTW, you come and pick your award from my blog. Just click on my name here to reach there.

5:53 AM  
Blogger Mandy said...

One shouldn't laugh at other's misfortune but i'm rotfl!!

9:05 AM  
Blogger UL said...

whoa, I dont have to look up foul in the dictionary any more...I get it! :)

10:36 AM  
Anonymous paul maurice martin said...

Makes me glad I turned around.

One very early morning I was jogging when I looked and looked again. What was coming toward me was no cat.

I decided the heck with my planned route...

8:12 PM  
Blogger anthonynorth said...

An excellent stink-in-the-tale story.
Loved it.

10:57 AM  

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