Did you ever see the movie Safe with Julianne Moore where she plays a woman stricken with a bizarre sensitivity to chemicals? Doctors find nothing wrong with her and ship her off to a psychiatrist, while she claws at her face and turbo-horks whenever she’s near someone wearing perfume and wonders if she’s going insane, or, like, what the fuck?

I’ve been thinking about that movie lately because I started smelling this awful, fetid aroma wafting from the vent in the floor of the furnace closet—the vent that opens straight into the crawlspace below our house—and I’m basically the only one in our house bothered by it. JB dutifully shimmied under the floorboards to check things out and discovered a long-dead rat, at which point I celebrated and banged an imaginary gavel and declared the mystery solved, but the (dried-out, non-gooshy) corpse has been removed and O god, it still smells.

The furnace circulates heat throughout our house and I’m convinced the smell is now everywhere—coating my tongue, somehow—but particularly in this closet area and hitting you like a rotting, zombified Mike Tyson when you walk in the house.

JB, naturally, can’t smell a damn thing.

So either I have a brain tumor; the bloodhound-like pregnancy Dog Nose has randomly returned despite me being, I assure you, most definitely NOT pregnant; or JB has a typical male inability to detect when something disgusting is present and in need of being taken care of (see also: refrigerator spills, tracked-in poop, liberal sprinklings of beard hairs coating every surface of the bathroom sink, etc).

The whole thing has led me to believe there is a very small but eager market for objective sniffers-for-hire. A nice dependable person you can order off the internet who will arrive at your house, take a deep whiff of the questionable item, and tell you definitively one way or another if the smell is enough to knock a buzzard off a shit wagon or not. This could work for milk gallon containers, your breath, one of those diapers where things aren’t Incredibly Obvious, and that workout shirt you didn’t have time to wash before heading to the gym.

Seriously, though, I’m a little desperate. What on earth could make the underneath of the house suddenly smell like Satan’s Taint, when it’s essentially dry and barren and as far as we can tell, carcass-free down there?

If you’d like to advise me on a different subject entirely, Riley’s kindergarten registration starts at the end of the month and I see there’s an option to pay extra for a full day of school in addition to the regular 9-11:30ish schedule. My inclination is to stick with the half-day, for a number of reasons, but I’d love to hear what some of you think about it. If the parents’ work schedule doesn’t come into play, and there’s no academic catching up to do, is there any real benefit to doing a full day?


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13 years ago

I didn’t read all the comments, but we are angling for full day for my kid. She’s been in half day preschool for 2 years, so she’s not going to be traumatized by the amount of time. And bottom line: they aren’t supposed to cover MORE material and curriculum in kindergarten. They just have more time to be chill and cover it more thoroughly and give more attention to each kid. So I am all about that.