“Did you drink the water from the wheelbarrow?” It’s a rhetorical question aimed at the wayward puppy, but as a Mom, it’s my duty to ask. Pristine dog-water is always provided in a polished stainless dish in a puppy-convenient holder. Unfortunately it is the rusty aforementioned wheelbarrow, presently crammed full of branches and leaf litter that serves up the puppy’s beverage of choice. Recent downpours have morphed its contents into a microcosmic swamp. You can hear the primal ooze percolating. Not a pretty sound.
“Well, yes. Yes, I did. It was tasty. Yummy stuff. Kinda thick like a milkshake. I do like a decent milkshake. We got any?” The puppy perches on her accustomed chair in the kitchen and waves a delicate paw in the air as she describes her gourmet beverage. Regrettably she stirs the air in my direction. Downwind. I recoil.
Swamp water that has passed through the puppy’s digestive system now emerges as a gaseous cloud, hovering throughout my house at nose level. My nose level. There is a grace note to this l’air du parfum, since a soupcon of fuel oil leaked out when the furnace was fixed, and that soupcon now wafts through the puppy methane. An olfactory surprise. An ‘amuse nasal.’
For several weeks now that most adored of rodentia, the mouse, has bred rambunctiously in my attic. Plural hundreds of times over. Mouse to the nth power. Mice have nibbled books, made nests of beloved papers (including some of my own artwork) and the infestation is significant enough that should I dare install an entire trailer park of Havaheart traps, I would be mouse-mocked with the clanky aluminum boxes hurled back at me amid squeals of rodent cartoon glee. I know when I’m overpowered. Thus, abandoning all hope of spiritual redemption and mailing in an extra donation to PETA, I decide to toss a few bricks of blue poison into the attic. That was yesterday.
“Something sure stinks around here.” The puppy directs her long nose towards the ceiling. “Smells yucky. I kinda like yucky, but not this. Pee-uuuw. But I don’t hear all those noises over my head anymore.” The puppy gives me her accusatory look, scrunching her eyebrows together. “Did you kill my little friends? You did it, I bet! You kill stuff. You kill stuff all the time. There was that fly and then that mosquito. You’re mean. Meanie, meanie, horrid. I never get nuffin’ I want!” Four annoyed puppy feet stomp an adolescent staccato of disappointment. I cower from her wrath. She has shamed me. I have previously tried to explain mice to her, how destructive and disease-ridden they can be, but the poor baby does sadly lack for friends. I extract a stuffed Mickey toy from her closet stash, and all is well once again in her fart-filled world.
Now, by the stench of death emanating from the still-warm attic, I can smell that the blue blocks of De-Con have indeed been successful. My olfactory sensitivities are paying the price for my murderous heart. The aroma of a battlefield of dead mice mingles with the dog farts and the fuel oil, assuming a mélange fit for Chanel Number Yuk.
My slightly askew nose remains sensitive from its unfortunate encounter with the puppy last month, and the abovementioned circulating odors provoke sneezes, each one a tiny burst of eye-squeezing pain. The mice are having revenge. I think I hear ghostly squeaks.
I empty the wheelbarrow of its primeval stew, but my creative puppy darling moves on to other delights. At this time of year the property harbors low boggy areas of rotting vegetation, which like a fine wine or liqueur, lay claim to the same family as the potion in the wheelbarrow. Bordeaux to Bordeaux. Swamp water to swamp water. The puppy is a connoisseur and sniffs out the equivalent of the appropriate cork. So the gaseous explosions continue. Although the oil company assures me that a little leakage is no problem and will evaporate soon, the grace notes of carbon-based fuel remain pungent. I know from experience that tiny mice carcasses will dry to husks eventually, yet the aroma of my wanton killing spree persists. With my nose smarting, my lungs gasping, and now my head aching from the sheer indignity of it all, I attempt to make a soothing cup of tea. I become sidetracked and the teakettle melts down to its scorched copper bottom, adding another layer, the acrid tang of burned metal.
It’s time for a skunk to wander by and clear the air.
Causes Mara Buck Supports
Kennebec Valley Humane Society, Amnesty International