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Sunday, 8 August 2021

How It's Going - The One With The Dead Thing In The Wall, Part 2

Continuing from yesterday's post . . .

The mouse that finished off the story in Part 1 never returned. I'm sure he/she was indeed the source of the scratching in the wall, evidenced by (1) my seeing him/her, and by (2) the barrier being slightly askew, but also by (3) the lack of "dead thing" smell over the next few weeks.

Part 2 of the story is what took place here last week.

This time around, I heard no scratching to warn me.

I had been at work a lot.

I had been at my mom's a lot.

The air conditioner in the next room had been running a lot.

Our fridge - which is quite loud - had been running a lot.

So if there had been any scratching, I missed it.

What I couldn't miss was the unmistakable odour of something dead in the wall when I opened the kitchen closet one evening. 

The next day, I took everything out of the closet. There's a lot of stuff in that closet. My plan was to air it out on the deck. So I brought the clothes rack up from the basement, one bumpity step at a time, and took it outside. Then I took the first armful of garments outside to hang them up.

And lo, in the five and a half seconds that I was gathering the first load of clothing, it had started to rain. So I moved the rack back inside again, to another room that also has an exterior door, left the door open, and hoped there would be enough fresh air to do the job. Never mind that the rain soon turned into a streaming downpour that pounded against the deck and sprayed into the room, necessitating closing the door.

In ordinary times, this would have been mildly stressful. But with my husband's death and my mother's dementia, pretty much everything that happens unexpectedly becomes an additional stress that feels worse than it ought to. 

Never mind, I told myself. Just put one foot in front of the other, over and over. Some day all of this will be history. Or I will die without it being resolved. One or the other.

Then I unscrewed the panel that my husband had put up over the hole in the closet wall. I cried as I thought about him making that hole and that panel just for me, and also about the fact that he had been the last one to touch it, and finally about how blissfully unaware we were then about how things would be now.

But aren't we all pretty much blissfully unaware of our futures? Up to a point, at least? And so I dried my tears and got some gardening gloves and a garbage can, hoping to find the dead critter and remove it, and hopefully hurry up the process of getting rid of the smell in the closet.

No such luck. No live critter, no dead critter, no critter of any sort.

So I propped the panel back in place, shut the closet door, and began the wait for the smell to go away.

I'm still waiting.

Did I mention it's summer here? With the house closed up to keep out the heat, there is less air circulation and the smell is lingering and seeping out more than it did the other times.

I feel bad for that critter, and I wish I could prevent this from happening again. The magic panel will only work if the critter gets into the exact same spot in the wall each time, and if I manage to hear it before it goes toes up.

Anyway, that's how it's going at the moment, along with everything else that I've been complaining about in my last few posts.

Shall we have a few smiles? Yes, we shall.

 



 

 

 


 

 

 


 

  

Until next time, peoples, try not to get trapped in any weird places, and please take care of yourselves.



 

 

49 comments:

Joan (Devon) said...

Not quite what I was expecting Jenny, but near enough a happy ending apart from the unexplained smell. Maybe there is a dead body in there which you can't get to or something that he/she brought in and is rotting away. An unwelcome mystery to be sure.

I know what you mean about a minor irritation becoming bigger than it should be after the traumatic time you've had and are still having. You are allowed a few tears of frustration you know. It may not solve the problem, but you will feel better for it. I promise. Plenty of hugs my friend. Take care.

dinthebeast said...

Yes, the future remains a mystery, and on good days I find that worthy of celebration, and on other days I beat my head against the metaphorical wall trying to figure out how to solve some inconsequential bit of it, like how to get my groceries while Briana is off working on the property in Humboldt County.
Instacart works, even out here in the boonies, and Zsuzs is perfectly willing to drive me down to Oakhurst if I just ask...
When we were living in a warehouse space in West Oakland, the occasional rat found its way in, and as there were no resident cats there, had to be dealt with by us humans.
Rats are different than the mice Briana would catch in the kitchen and sneak into the plant section of the Home Depot up the street and let go. They're bigger and scarier, and I have no judgement at all toward Amanda, who opened a bottom drawer in the kitchen one day only to have a big-ass rat jump up at her. She screamed and slammed the drawer shut nearly cutting the rat in two in a puff of the flour the rat had been digging through.
Rats, though, are tough little critters, and that one didn't just die of nearly being bisected by a screaming woman and a wooden drawer, no, that rat crawled back down into the drawer and back along the way it had got to the drawer in the first place, which turned out to be the wall behind the drawer, where it then succumbed to its grievous injuries.
I cleaned the drawer out and discovered the hole in the back of it, so when the smell showed up, Andrew knew just where to cut a square of drywall out to find the corpse, and he did just that.
The other rat that I saw there made its way into my room and bugged me for about a month (my work schedule at the time meant I didn't spend much time awake in there) until one morning after I got home from work as I sat at the computer, I saw the rat poke its nose out from under the closet door.
What then transpired should have been caught on video for comedy purposes, but let's just say that I took to stalking the rat, who turned out to be able to squeeze his way out of the closet and make a dash for the futon mattress on the floor where I slept. He ducked under the corner and I leapt on top of it and stomped up and down for long enough that I was sure I had gotten him.
I lifted up the corner and he was nowhere to be found.
A week or so later, there's that smell again, and I turned the mattress over and there he was, flattened and stuck to the mattress so that when I'd lifted it up the first time, he came up with it and I missed him.
And don't even get me started about the rat infestation I lived through at the food warehouse I managed...
So good luck with the mouse remnants, and I hope you are getting the fragments of your life aligned back into something that works for you. Been there. Done that. Complained that I'm way too old to still be doing that.
Still do it daily.

Best wishes, your friend

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Elephant's Child said...

Tears are totally understandable. Some days they are toxins which NEED to be shed.
And I hear you about the little things which become HUGE. The proverbial straw which breaks the camel's/donkey's/elephant's child's back.
Hugs, oh sister across the seas.

messymimi said...

You have so much on your plate, i wish there were a way you could discourage the critters and keep them out to begin.

How i wish i could give you a hug, and some real help.

Bonnie said...

Oh my goodness Jenny, the memories must have been hard for you when you had to take that board off. I'm sorry. I must also say you are braver than I am to put your hand in there!

I have a question. Do you have a basement or is it just a "crawl space" under your house? If it is a crawl space animals can get under your house and die and cause those odors. I have known that to happen to people. If that is the case maybe you could get someone to help you seal off any possible access to under the house leaving a small door that tightly closes to allow for any necessary access.

Things like this can really wreck havoc on our lives but I've got to say I am proud of you for handling it so well. You have so much hitting you at once aside from these other life problems but you are getting through it all. It will get better. I truly believe that.

Love the funnies especially that last one! Take good care of yourself - you deserve it!




Unknown said...

At least it is not a mysterious smell and you know what it is. I hope it dissipates soon. I can well imagine how touching things or seeing something can trigger tears. Gym, gin? Both beneficial in my opinion.

River said...

I love that happy, bright eyed kitty accidentally ordering gin :)
one foot in front of the other is always the way forward, sometimes at the speed of light, sometimes at snail's pace, but you'll get there. Eventually the pain will join the memories, but there is no time schedule for that.

Red said...

I don't like mice. the old farmhouse I grew up in had mice very often. I wish you good luck on this one. It's difficult to look after some things on your own.

Joanne Noragon said...

It's not the big things that pull you under, it's the little things.

LL Cool Joe said...

Oh no poor you, I hope the smell goes quickly. We had a dead rabbit under our floorboards a few years ago. That smell lasted a loooong time.

That meme about the sock sums up my life at the moment.

kylie said...

I'm sure I have cried over smaller things but of course, it's not the rain and the clothes that really did it.
I wonder why your trapped little thing didn't go out the way it came in? Hopefully the smell will be gone soon.
I watched a video recently where they cut a hole in a wall and let a python in. Pretty soon, about a dozen mice came out the hole in the wall. I don't know if it would really happen like that but it was kind of morbidly fascinating.

Geo. said...

0_Jenny, We're having some sadness here that was eased by your suggestion,"Shall we have a few smiles? Yes, we shall."
You know I've encountered feral invaders of every taxonomic rank --from ants to semiconscious humans-- and find your positive and deliberate approach both encouraging and comforting. Thank you.

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Small things that become huge, I so feel with you there.
I hope and pray for you to get stronger and have some solutions to your problems.
Why don't you leave the panel just a bit unscrewed, so that a trapped mouse can get out of the trapped place - and into a humane trap of your choosing.

Mary said...

It’s called a Pile On—succeeding stressors that simply wear you down. Good to find humour in the memes. Kitty has the right of it. Gym…gin. Close enough. xo

37paddington said...

First, none of your posts are anything close to complaining. You are sharing your life, and we're here for it, and for you, to listen to whatever it is you want or need to share, especially if it makes carrying the burden of it all infinitesimally easier to bear. As for actually putting your hands in that wall, you are a brave one, my dear. Is there some kind of powder you can sprinkle in there that will absorb the smell faster? I like your one foot in front of the other, breath by breath approach. Sometimes it is the only way. Hugs.

Steve Reed said...

I'm sorry you're dealing with that. We've had rodents go belly up in the walls here too, and it's no fun. As you said, one foot in front of the other. The problem will resolve itself at some point, and as Charlotte said, maybe you can set up a trap for any future "visitors"?

Marie Smith said...

I can feel your pain as you touch things your husband was the last to touch, Jenny. Hang in there! Good luck with that missing mouse!

Mr. Shife said...

Hope you can track down that missing rodent and get rid of that smell. I got a whiff of dead mice when I went to an old country church and it was awful so I hope you can find it soon. Loved the gin meme, jenny_o. Take care and have a great rest of your week.

e said...

Sending hugs...There are specialists here that will come and take dead animals from walls and crawl spaces and seal them up to avoid future problems, I hope you can locate one. Thinking of you.

jenny_o said...

I didn't hear any scratching but I'm pretty sure that was just because I wasn't home much and it was noisy when I was here . . . so I'm thinking there is for sure a dead critter somewhere in the wall. It must have been trapped in a different spot. Thanks for the hugs, Joan. I hope you and your family are doing okay there.

jenny_o said...

Yeah, somehow the complaining doesn't actually FIX anything, does it? But it helps to vent, and takes some of the stress away in that way.

Your rat stories made my hair stand on end!! I'm usually curious about the stories we get a glimpse of through your comments, but I'm happy you didn't elaborate on the rat infestation where you worked. Our son worked in a department store for a few years where they had a mouse infestation and that was bad enough :)

jenny_o said...

That's exactly what it is, the last straw - and the reaction seems out of proportion but it's a reaction to everything, not just the latest thing.

Hugs gratefully received - and reciprocated - my chosen sister.

jenny_o said...

Ah, Mimi - I feel the same way about my friends in blogland. If only we all lived closer to each other and could lend a hand to all our friends. I'm feeling much better today. And the critter problem hasn't been that often when you consider how many years we have lived in this house. Mostly I feel bad for the animals that get trapped and die a miserable, slow death.

I hope you and your Sweetie are recovering well.

jenny_o said...

Luckily we have a basement so I know the animals aren't getting in there. I suspect they're getting in under the siding and through a knothole in the house frame somewhere, but it's impossible to find those kinds of entry points without tearing the exterior off the house.

I'm not very brave - I took a flashlight and shone it in the hole in all directions. No hands were put in the hole :D

Thanks for your always-kind and always-supportive comments, Bonnie.

jenny_o said...

Every day the tears are triggered by something I see or touch. Or think. If I could just stop thinking, especially late at night.

I'm about ready for some gin, and I don't even drink. (I did drink gin in university, though, and liked it.)

jenny_o said...

That kitty is awfully cute, isn't it? Hah.

You're right about everything else you said, too. I guess this is one of those slow times.

jenny_o said...

I think time will take care of the smell and hopefully there won't be any more critters for a while. I can imagine how many mice you had - older houses are not as tight as many newer ones, and mice can be an awful problem. They reproduce so darn fast.

jenny_o said...

Some days, yes. Although I have to say, the big things have been pulling me under, too :)

jenny_o said...

Mine, too, Joey. I'm sorry yours is like that right now. Hang in there, my friend.

A rabbit . . . gah! So much bigger than a mouse!

jenny_o said...

Well that's an interesting way to get the mice out, I have to say. I'm not sure if having a python in the wall would really give me a lot of comfort, though! I assume it came out, too, but WHEN?

You're so right in your first sentence. The little things just remind you of the big things all over again.

jenny_o said...

Geo., I'm sorry you are having sadness there. If the memes helped for even a moment, I'm glad. I wish I knew what else to say. Sending you my best wishes for comfort, my friend.

"Semiconscious humans" as feral invaders made me smile.

jenny_o said...

That's an intriguing solution, Charlotte - I'll have to give some thought to how it would work, as the closet is usually quite full, even at floor level. Maybe I need to keep it emptier. I am concerned that there's more than one space where critters can find themselves trapped; in that case, they might never make it to the hole to get out at all. Relatively speaking, we haven't had it happen that often, considering we've lived here for over thirty years.

Thank you for your good thoughts. I hope you and your family are recovering well.

jenny_o said...

Pile On is a good name for it. I'm not feeling as bad as I did two weeks ago, or I wouldn't even have been able to write about it or think about memes. So that's an improvement at least.

jenny_o said...

I hadn't thought about something to absorb the smell - that's a good idea. And I didn't actually put my hand in the space, I just looked in with the help of a flashlight, so don't be too impressed :)

Thanks for your support, my friend.

jenny_o said...

Yes, it's just a matter of time before the smell goes away. I have to give Charlotte's idea some serious thought. I'd hate to have the mouse get trapped and die in the trap because I forgot to check it. That would be worse than having it die in the wall!

jenny_o said...

Thank you, Marie. I do find that "things" bring back memories so sharply. I suppose that's common but it doesn't make it feel any better.

jenny_o said...

How can one little critter stink so badly?? That's what I'd like to know.

I'm glad you liked the meme. That cat looks stoked, doesn't he? hah

You have a good week, too.

jenny_o said...

I'm not sure they could find it - and the smell is probably going to dissipate in a few weeks, judging by previous situations. At least I hope so. If not, I'll be looking at doing what you've suggested. I wish I knew where they're getting in. Luckily it doesn't happen that often. This is four times in 33 years, so that's bearable. I just feel sorry for the little trapped things.

Diane Henders said...

What a rotten time to be dealing with additional stress (and smell). I hope you've gotten everything aired out, literally and metaphorically.

baili said...

i can only imagine in times like this how often and how deeply you will be remembering your husband dear Jenny which is natural indeed .
this will keep happening until life will make you realize that you can survive with all memories of times that you spent together and day will appear when you will remember him with peace, smile and pride but not with pain and tears.time will heal your wounds soon my precious friend!

okay you have to keep house closed during summers just like stern winters ?
actually i thought summer is pleasant season there and not extreme like we have here every year , so it must be season for outing for you guys

baili said...

oh yes good luck with challenging mouse .

wishing you all good in this world !hugs!

Chickens Consigliere said...

This was such a beautiful post. I'm sorry you have so much pain and stress in your life right now. If you didn't, on the other hand, feel all the feels you do, you might not be the wonderfully observant, caring, strong and funny hooman that we all love so much. You articulate your feelings so well. We are all right here with you, Jenny.

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

I still have a rancher's daughter's view of the little critters. Better outside than in!
We had a 'rat' get into our garage here in ratless Alberta. After a lengthy and convoluted series of misadventures that included our town 'animal control officer' refusing to come because it was ALMOST the weekend and a series of 'local' calls that culminated in talking to a man in Mumbai, I finally got a trap cage and caught my little intruder. It was a muskrat. Vastly different from the rat I thought it! He was just so cute, I may have been guilty of begging Husby if I could keep him...

Mr. Shife said...

I am not sure but that smell is awful. Take care.

jenny_o said...

Still airing in both ways :)

jenny_o said...

Our summers are not nearly as extreme as yours, baili - but we do get periods of 30C weather with high humidity, which makes it feel much hotter (recently the humidex (temperature plus humidity) was 39C). Our houses are mostly built of wood, so there is no cooling effect as you might get with stone or brick. Many folks have had cooling systems installed in the last five to ten years because the higher temperatures are becoming more common. Our best seasons for getting out and about are spring and fall.

Thank you for your kind words, as always, my friend.

jenny_o said...

Still waiting for the smell to disappear!

jenny_o said...

You are so kind and supportive, Chickie. Thank you.

jenny_o said...

But . . . a muskrat is just an aquatic RODENT! A SWIMMING RODENT, DIANE!!! lol