The Nose Knows so don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!


bella-bellissimo-carol-allen-anfinsenI’ve been gifted (or cursed) with a keen sense of smell. If a stink is out there, my nose will find it. My husband playfully says I’m part bloodhound.

One year after hiding the Easter eggs for the children’s annual inside-the-house hunt, I failed to write down each location. When you have a large family, two dozen colored eggs require a whole lot of hiding places and a photographic memory.

When the hunt was over, we felt comfortable that all had been found. Fast forward six months later. We’re preparing our house for Christmas; the usual stepped up cleaning, etc. We’re also expecting company so everything must be ship-shape for their arrival. But there’s a catch. For the past several weeks, I’ve noticed a terrible smell whenever I walk into our family room. No one can smell it but me, and I’m determined to get to the source.

The problem was that once in the room, my nose got used to the smell and it was difficult to pinpoint. Thank goodness for holiday cleaning! I not only dusted the photos on the wall, but I took down some basket wall hangings that had fake greenery inside. “Lo and behold,” resting on the bottom in a soiled stained mess was a dried out, split open colored Easter egg!

It wasn’t my imagination, as everyone declared. My super snooper detector had been receiving accurate signals, but it took several months for me to zero in on the source.

Whenever house odors became a problem in my Danish grandfather’s house, he would laughingly misquote Shakespeare’s Hamlet in his broken English by saying “Me thinks I smell something rotten in Denmark.” Then his large six foot two inch frame and rotund body would begin to shake with laughter. I inherited my biting sense of smell from the Danish side of the family.

I keep telling my husband about an odor coming from our bathroom, but he’s a skeptic. I’m pushing for a new toilet because I think the metallic smell is coming from a corroded tank. I’ve scrubbed, I’ve used bleach, and I’ve meticulously cleaned and smelled every drain pipe, surface, and rug. So far my husband and I are at a draw. He refuses to buy a new toilet, and I’m frustrated because I can still smell this weird odor even from the hallway.

When the children were young, they had this habit of trying on different outfits before deciding what to wear to school. Of course, rather than putting their clothes away afterward, they left them scattered on the bedroom floor. They shut their bedroom doors to keep me out, but I broke this web of secrecy on laundry day. After everyone was gone, I’d make my grand entrance. I had my secrets, too.

I rummaged through the clothing on the floor, trying to sort the clean pieces from the unwashed. If something passed the “sniff test” it was re-hung in the closet, or folded and placed in a drawer. The children never knew, and I saved time and laundry detergent.

Most of us use this same gimmick when we drop a fork or a piece of food on the floor. It’s called the “five-second rule,” although, it may be more like 20 or 30. Sometimes you have to overlook the obvious and just cut to the chase.

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