Ominous Smells and a Mother’s Responsibility…

Right we need a totally non-Christmas post here…

So this weeks Saturday Spot is more about Summer than Christmas. Also, the very nature of this post means that you will be so grateful that it is not one of my picture rich posts – just a short and sweet stomach churner!!! Don’t read it if your stomach turns at an offish aroma!

Here we go:

Welcome to Africa, where summer is hot and the days are sweltering. Where things get hot and smells get smellier and stinks get stinkier…

Historically my life has been smattered with ominous smells and somehow they are always my responsibility… really they are – but I wish it wasn’t so.

As a young kid, of about se7en or eight, I only ever wanted one thing for lunch for school: tomato sandwiches after Harriet, of Harriet the Spy Fame… My absolute all-time favorite easy chapter book.


Well, my mother decided that a little dietary variety was the order of the day… and she tried all sorts of alternatives… and sweet as I was – hehe! – and not wanting to offend or anything I would bring the said non-tomato sandwiches home and hide them around my bedroom… I couldn’t possibly throw out food and the thought of swopping never occurred to me. So, said sandwiches lurked around my bedroom: under my desk, behind books on the bookshelf, on top of the cupboard and so on. And then horrors I forgot about them. Well my bedroom started to smell somewhat musty and summer drew on and the smell became somewhat moldy and summer grew more intense and I moved out of my bedroom. Needless to say the remnants were found and I was invited to clean up or clear out! Yes, clearly they were my responsibility…

Fast forward to the middle of primary school, when my very creative aunt used to invite us round for crafts… and one Easter we decorated eggs: you know wax crayon and dyes, beautiful batiks. But did we blow them first. No these were hard boiled, far easier work with, they didn’t crumble and break under pressure – these were strong and could withstand a bit of abuse during the crafting process. And you know where this is going…

Now in the Southern Hemisphere, Easter is in Autumn. Autumn is months and months away from Summer. But in the circle of life… Autumn is followed by Winter, followed by Spring and then finally Summer. And about this time of year you know the last day of school when you are looking forward to weeks of endless Summer. That day when you only go to school for a couple of hours to clear out your desk and sing the school song. Well I woke up to an ominous smell – but I was way past lurking sandwiches – not to mention fairly grateful to be heading out the door for school. Well the day got hotter and I forgot about the ominous smell.

Guess what, I got home from school to an overpowering pong. Oh hell in the house and a mother like thunder… Needless to say, I was sent into my bedroom to find the smell… and the smell was so powerfully awful that there was no telling where it came from. Needless to say, a beautiful egg had been bumped and had cracked and lets just say forget about edible 100 year old eggs, ten month old hard boiled eggs that crack will put you off eggs, especially boiled eggs, quite literally for ever – and I am talking eternally here.

Fast forward a number of years to me merrily married with a couple of kids. And having survived a few tummy bugs and mothering through the multiple vomiting episodes that arrive with the couple of children package I thought I was made of sterner stuff… hahahaha – NOT.

And one summery day we woke to a fairly bad smell emanating from the cupboards in my kids playroom. Remembering my roots, I asked what they had hidden there: Nothing, nothing at all. Really, if you tell the truth you will not be punished, honesty is a very good character trait, lets work on it… Still: Nothing, nothing at all. Well, by tea-time the smell was unbearable throughout the house. And by lunchtime we had to evacuate and could smell the hideous gut wrenching smell in the street. Clearly something under the floor-to-ceiling-length-of-the-entire-room built in cupboards had died and nothing short of ripping the cupboards up was going to solve this problem.


At which stage the father person rang to say he was coming home from work. Oh, blessed relief, a knight in shining armor – I love this whole marriage thing! He got home, and reality check he had the flu and smell or no smell he collapsed into bed and said: “Get rid of it… You don’t need to call someone. Just lift the cupboards up and get rid of it and let him know when the deed is done.”

Helloooo, that armor wasn’t very shiny at all – tarnished in fact! And the rest of us were unable to enter the house… How in the world was I going to look after kids and rip up the cupboards and get rid of it. So, ever resourceful, I called in the big guns: the local exterminator. I didn’t actually know such a thing really existed, but they do! Really! Turns out this time of year is a really busy time of year. Yup, they have a busy time of year – the thought eugh. The nearest help was two hours drive away… and finally he arrived in a shiny citi-golf and he dashed in like a professional ghostbuster, he sprayed a spray out a big black canister – instant improvement. Shook his head and said don’t sleep in here for twenty-four hours. He showed me a hole the size of your thumbnail and said of course a rat could get through that and then couldn’t find its way out… A rat – are you mad? – A RAT? Not our first interaction with one. We have had a previous rat experience se7en years previously. Apparently they are really common, we just don’t know it… um really? AAAHA?.

And if you don’t believe that a rat can squeeze into a teeny tiny hole, then just look at this. Don’t say I don’t do my research.

Needless to say. the next day it was back to just the normal smells of life. Miraculous. And the father person did recover from his bad flu and will never understand why I called someone, not to mention paid someone to tackle such a simple task… I don’t know. Do you know anyone who has ever ripped up built in cupboards that have been there as long as the house? And then replaced them perfectly all in an afternoon. Perfectly, I say. While watching sixish kids? With or without a stenching dead rat underneath them. Frankly, I don’t.

And this leads to what I had to tackle in the name of mothering this week… our pool pump has been a little bit useless lately in fact the vacuum hasn’t been working at all… and then there was this ominous smell that just got worse and worse… So bad that the father person asked what the kids had been up to and he even tossed some chemicals into the pool – horrors. But there was a need and some things have to be done. So being of a scientific nature, not to mention dead bored while sitting grasping a tired dripping baby and waiting for the other kids to have had their fill of swimming.

And our pool vacuum is so cute, its called a “Hug Bug” and it is a stealthy little thing that chugs around the pool golloping up leaves and other pool debris… probably one of my hardest workers around our house.


Anyway, I casually lifted the vacuum out of the pool and turned it over – warning folks: don’t ever do this, you are not strong enough. Just get someone else who is handy to do it. Just don’t do it yourself. Never ever… in fact if you have the choice now is the time… Don’t even get a pool. Right, I have warned you.

So: six kids bouncing in the pool, one babe in arms, one late afternoon when I should have supper going, waving to the terribly with it, always presentable, career woman neighbor… l casually lifted the pool vacuum out of the pool…

And at this stage I wish I was made of stronger stuff, that I didn’t have to gasp in horror, that my kids didn’t pick up horrified mother sounds so gleefully and that they weren’t all so jolly curious.

Needless to say there was a half a kind of a congealed, too big for the vacuum thing… I will spell it because I sure can’t say it: m.o.l.e. wahhhhhaaaaa…. and it had been there a while. My first thought was: Oh, no! The poor father person does not want to come home to this… So send the kids out of the pool area, easier said than done… and with a stick pry the congealed weehwhoaajh say no more… it was dealt with and it took a fair while for my guts to relocate the tummy region.

There is a lesson to be learnt here… let resting pool vacuums be, it is not a mother person’s domain and if the father person does not have bad flu certain things should be left for him to attend to. And I will not be swimming this summer – I believe the water is contagious and no amount of chemicals will reassure me. Yes, the whole pool experience is severely tainted. Frankly I signed up for motherhood and I knew nappies would be bad – but this is beyond the call of duty.

That’s it. Don’t ever tell me that all my posts are sweet and Christmassy, some are stinky and Summery.

8 Replies to “Ominous Smells and a Mother’s Responsibility…”

  1. Recently I drove over the girls’ favourite lizard as I came down the driveway (think toothpaste tube stepped on and, well, what ever was inside shooting out the front)… discovered it on my way to the front door… no father person in sight… just a one year old boy who thought it looked edible… I better stop I am going to be sick .
    And what I wanted to say was that, really, truly and officially, mother to mother, you have my deepest sympathy with the regards to the m.o.l.e episode, would we ever have believed what we are capable of thanks to our children!

  2. Oh my goodness, that ranks right up there with the worst of the worst… this is certainly not in any of the baby mags – I tell you mothering marketing goes nowhere near the truth about motherhood.

  3. ok – this has got to feature as one of the funniest posts I have read! Ever! 🙂 I sooooo identify with the stomach-wandering-within-the-body-cavity syndrome after having dealt with roaches and maggots (grils right now down my back at the memory!) without The Dad around. Eww!

    Now, how did I miss this post last time? Hmm – I suspect I didn’t click on the feed link in my inbox. Any chance you want to change your feed to full text?

  4. Hay T, What is happening to my fan club when they miss a post!!! Especially a funny one… This started out dead serious and then when I read it through I had to laugh… I guess things written in the heat of passion can turn out to be a little well extreme!!! Hope you guys have a great long weekend together!

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