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Thursday, August 9, 2007

That Smell*

There is a lingering odor in my house that I can’t get rid of. It’s my own fault that it’s here and nothing I try will get rid of it! If there is any such thing as a smell exorcism I need to perform one!

Early one morning, several months ago, I walked downstairs to make my husband’s lunch and make myself a cup of coffee. As I was turning down the stairs a stink hit me in the face. (Our stairs are such that you come down one little flight, turn on a landing and come down them in the other direction. Hard for me to explain but I think you all know what I am talking about.) It wasn’t the smell of poop, or dirty feet or even skunk (living out in the country we get lots of that!). I can instantly identify these smells. But I couldn’t quite put my finger on this one. It was vaguely familiar but what was it??

The odor was very subtle. So subtle that my husband didn’t notice it and I never mentioned it to him figuring that it would just go away on its own. Odors do that right? Isn’t that called dissipation? Didn’t I learn that concept in science class? The odor was only in the stairway. It would hit me in the face at the landing of the first flight and then would get stronger as I would come down the final flight. The smell was driving me crazy. Not only the fact that it seemed stuck in my stairwell but also the fact that I couldn't identify it.

It is hard to describe this smell other than to say it is slightly unpleasant, extremely subtle and just not a smell that I want in my house! This smell hit me in the face for weeks and finally I resigned myself to the fact that I would never figure out what it was and that it was never going away. Then I made Adobo in the crock pot. Again.

After a couple of hours the odor started to fill the kitchen and I had a sinking feeling. I realized what the smell in the stairwell was. It was the Adobo! I recalled that I made Adobo right around the time I first started smelling the smell.

If you aren’t familiar with Adobo it is a dish prepared in the Philippines and basically is meat cooked in vinegar and soy sauce. The recipe I used called for the meat (you can use chicken, pork or beef) to be cooked all day in a crock pot. So I wasn’t just creating this smell again but I was reinforcing it ALL DAY in the crock pot!

And sadly enough the Adobo wasn’t even that good the first time I made it. It was just really easy. After making the Adobo I pointed out the smell to Dan and he agrees that there definitely is an odor in the stairwell. He doesn’t seem to be concerned with it because after all it is subtle and it usually only resides in the stairwell. But it is driving me crazy.

I have tried covering it up with potpourri.

Didn’t work.

We switched out our air filters. Not so much because they were really dirty and it was way past time but because I thought perhaps the odor was stuck in our air vents.

Didn’t work.

I even bought those air fresheners that you attach to the air filters. They smelled great for two days and now I can’t smell them at all. So much for lasting for 30 days. And as for getting rid of the Adobo odor…

Didn’t work.

I have thrown away the recipe for Adobo and have resigned myself to smelling this smell every single time I go up and down the stairs which as a stay at home mom means possibly 20 times a day. Maybe more. Sure feels like more. Perhaps in a few months the odor will be gone. I can only hope so but in the meantime I will take any suggestions on how to get rid of it.

*Everytime I come down the stairs the chorus of the song That Smell by Lynard Skynard pops into my head.
" Oooooh, that smell. Can't you smell that smell?"

Just realized. If you type smell enough times it starts to look mispelled.


Pam said...

I knew lots of Filipinos when we were in Guam, and I could never understand the attraction of Adobo. That is so weird how it lingers in your house!

Megan Cobb said...

Have you tried burning scented candles? They always seems to wipe out odors around here, and I've had some doozies!