Bon Appetit, Your Pipe Repair is Served

I know most people are tired of masks, but they do come in handy in times of crisis, like when you smell like a sewer and need to purchase miscellaneous items for an emergency pipe repair. Under normal circumstances, after digging up the oozing drain pipe, I would have at least taken a few seconds to spritz myself in Febreze before departing for Lowes. In Covid times, when people’s nostrils are covered, I figure I can save a few seconds and go straight to Lowes smelling like a swamp rat and not bring shame and disgrace on my household. 

My wife is not a big fan of malodorousness. In fact, one of her major weaknesses is sensitivity to smells, mainly those that adhere to and emanate from my person. Sometimes she says I smell like the barn, calves, pigs, or moldy hay. The fact that she can distinguish each of the aromas is proof that her petite nose is fertile ground for olfactory receptors. Meanwhile, the large acreage inside my nostrils is mostly barren wasteland, incapable of growing much but mucus. Of course, if an overactive nose was her worst feature, then I’d be just fine. Wearing deodorant mostly everyday is a small sacrifice to make, and everybody has flaws. But the fact that she also has a weak stomach compounds the problem.

“That smell makes me feel queasy,” she says one day.

“That stench is nauseating,” she claims, as I walk through the door.

“You smell like a trash can. I’m going to throw up,” she warns.

“What smell?” I  ask.

To help me understand the subtleties of my aromas, she often resorts to food analogies. Stale means I’m past my expiration date for a shower. Sour means the sweat on my body is fermenting and rising. Burnt means I smell like the charred inside of my bee smoker and need to be hosed down before the fire spreads. Fishy means I protrude the smell of freshly-caught bass, hopefully of the wall-hanging variety. 

Anyway, I made it in and out of Lowes without leaving a trail of dry-heaving and gagging people in my wake, successfully completed the repair, and then (after all that work, in the misting rain no less) was barred from entering my house by my very own wife. She stood guard at the back door and made me strip off my clothes and put them in a trash bag. I was only allowed entry on the condition that I would go straight to the shower and scrub real good. 

“You smell like rotten eggs,” she said. 

an oozing burst drain pipe

12 thoughts on “Bon Appetit, Your Pipe Repair is Served

  1. While I can appreciate the value of an indoor clean-air guardian, I can only hope that it comes with the recognition that fetid, gringy work is the price of civilized living By my reckoning, the formerly malodorous hero should (once tidied) be treated like a king.

  2. Aw man, I was enjoying that until you talked of being forced to strip for a shower. Not a pretty picture. At least she didn’t hose you down outside. I’m confused. What barn smells was that that she takes offense to? I’m not the freshest male walking around most days, but on shower days, and finding the deodorant I pass, even in churchy situations. I offer that I been to bake sales where you’d think the overriding aroma would be yeast and crusty bread and so on, but no-o-o-o-o, it’s the Eau de Cologne the ladies spritz that makes me wanna gag. Gimme the barn any day. Except the pigs and the henhouse in spring. (((Great write, my man, great write. Good to read some excellent diversionary stuff midst all this foll-de-roll we got going on.)))

    1. Thanks! I think my wife’s nose has superhuman powers. We always raise a batch of day-old calves every year in the barn stall, and when they go into scour mode it can get pretty bad.

  3. HA HA! haven’t had to wear a mask yet (except to take my daughter to airport months ago), but i haven’t been around bad odors either – you’ve made a very good point here!

  4. When I lived in Two Rock, I rented the old farm house on a chicken farm (laying hens.) Right next door to me (because I was on the periphery of the property) was the neighbor’s dairy farm. The constant debate was always what was worse, chickens or cows. Never resolved–but I was never able to hang my laundry out to dry on a clothesline.

  5. All gifts are also curses, and your wife and I share a similar gift. I can hear you write with some love and empathy, b/c You recognize, if she could bury such a gift, surely, she would.

  6. I think country living improves one’s sense of smell. After being out here for several years I cannot tolerate perfume, cologne, or even hand sanitizer. While we get inundated with the stinky cow manure, rotting hay, diesel fuel, smoky or even skunky odors, I’ll take them any day over the chemical stink of the city. As usual, funny and entertaining post.

  7. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face. I have a selectively sensitive nose myself so I can see your wife’s point of view although I tend to find most outdoorsy smells pleasant. My complaints are more along the lines of the stench on my husband of yesterday’s garlic-infused meal and smoked cigarettes, or people wearing floral perfumes and body washes. Blech!

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