You should see the shocked and disturbed looks on peoples’ faces when Claire says this to them. For a while, she was telling anyone and everyone that “My daddy found a body under our deck!” And, then, she’d pause a beat and say, “It was Foxie. She died.”
This happened back in September, but sometimes you’d think it happened last week. Claire has stopped telling random strangers in the grocery store on every visit, so I think we’re making progress.
So…did you hear the story of the fox that died under our deck? I wrote about it last year, but it’s a good one. Well, as good as a story about the the harsh reality of the circle of life can be, anyway.
The funniest thing about this story was the fact that when I posted it, I didn’t have a resolution. We didn’t know what had died under the deck. I left everyone in suspense until the next day when we did discover what was causing all the trouble. This was real life as it was happening, man!
So, here is the post again. Only, this time, you have the benefit of knowing how it ends right away. Lucky you!
A quick note about the following photos: When I wrote about this in September, I searched my computer for the photos of Foxie. I *knew* we had them. I could picture them in my mind. Do you think I could locate them? No! I looked everywhere, and no luck! It wasn’t until we were transferring computers a month or so ago that we found them in a place I would have never thought to look and have no idea how they got there. Still…Yay! As always, click to enlarge.
So, here is Foxie.
Published on Friday, September 12, 2008
Real life is really messy. Often times, real life is really gross…and stinky.
This is one of those stories.
You’ve been warned.
Last weekend, as Claire was napping and my hubby was digging rocks in the backyard, I was sitting on the deck working on my novel. As I was typing on the laptop, I asked my hubby if he could smell that gross smell. “Is that you?” I asked, teasingly.
He laughed, paused for a moment, whiffed the air, and said, “Eh, it’s probably just the shed. The stain is probably still wet. Go see if that’s it.”
“Oh, you’re right…that must be it,” I said. I even walked over to the shed and sniffed it. It was stinky, having just been re-stained by my hubby earlier the day before, but it wasn’t quite the right smell. The shed was pretty overpowering, and that had to be it. I didn’t think much more about it. I mean, what else could it be?
The weather turned cooler on Monday, and the smell seemed to die down, as would be natural, if it really was the shed. But, then the weather got warmer again, and finally, yesterday, I smelled something horrible in the living room.
My hubby thought I was crazy. “I really hope something didn’t die in our chimney,” I said. “The caps look like they’re still in place, so that’s probably not it…but don’t you smell that? That’s the smell of death.”
I was told that I was overreacting and being very dramatic, and that it was probably the litter boxes.
It was not the litter boxes. I clean the litter boxes! Litter boxes have a distinct smell, and so does the sweet, nauseating, rotting smell of carcasses. I mean, come on! I grew up on a farm. I know my smells.
The smell seemed to waft through the house throughout the day, changing locations, taunting me. Sometimes it would smell strong in the living room, then it would migrate to the kitchen, and finally, it settled downstairs.
By the time my husband got home I’d nearly gone mad looking for the smell. The last thing I want is a stinky house. We keep the litter boxes downstairs behind a closed door (with a kitty door for Merlin and Jasper to use), and an air-filter going full-blast. We pride ourselves in the fact that people don’t know we have cats by taking a whiff inside our front door. I even cleaned the litter boxes, just so that could be ruled out.
“I think it’s coming from outside,” I said to my hubby.
“No, I think it’s coming from my office,” he said. “But that concerns me, because I’ve looked everywhere for what it could be. Doesn’t it smell like it’s coming from over here?” he said, as he moved toward his desk.
I went past his desk to the window-well and stuck my nose up against the screen.
“OHMYUggggggggggggh.” I quickly jumped back.
“Smell that window and tell me it’s not coming from outside.”
“I smelled it before, and I didn’t think it was,” he said, as he made his way over to the window. “And, I actually just opened it wider to get more air flowing…”
He stuck his face up to the screen.
“Ohhhhugggggh” he said, his face grimacing. “Well, NOW it smells like it’s coming from outside.”
We were both glad that whatever it was outside and wasn’t inside one of the walls…perish the thought! (Okay, slight pun intended…)
I didn’t see anything in the window-well, but I was curious as to what I’d find outside on the deck, hoping that whatever it was would be lying right there and would be easily removable. It was nearly 9 o’clock, but I had to look. I grabbed the flashlight and headed out. After looking around for a few minutes and thoroughly freaking myself out, I asked him to come out with me. “You don’t have to do anything…just stand there and watch for critters.”
“There are no critters.”
“Yes there are. And, even if there aren’t, the thought of them is creeping me out. Just stand guard. I was too afraid to look under the deck by myself.”
The thought of seeing glowing eyes looking back at me was nearly enough to give me a heart-attack. So, he stood there while I flashed the light around.
As soon as we went by the window well, we could smell it.
The stinky circle of life was happening right here, under our deck.
“You know…” I said, instantly remembering something that had happened the weekend I’d smelled that sweet, pungent, sickening odor. “I bet that’s what I smelled on Sunday. And, if whatever it was died here, that’s why Claire’s room smelled funny that one day. Remember that?” I said, looking up at Claire’s window, which was right above the part of the reeking deck.
We both did. All the pieces were falling into place now: the weird, big, black flies that had been buzzing around the deck that one day, the pungent odors, and now, the full-on stench.
So…what to do? We have a rather large, three tiered deck. Some areas are impossible to see from the sidelines, especially in the dark. We went to bed, hoping that it all would make more sense in the morning.
The next morning, my hubby had some conference calls for work that he did from the house, and Claire and I had a playdate arranged for 10am. When he was done with his calls, we went out on the deck to investigate further. As I shown the flashlight under the deck, I could see the old cement slab that had once been the step coming down from the kitchen doors. The original owners had build the deck right over the top of it. We always knew the slab was there, and it had never posed a problem before.
But, imagine my dismay when I realized that something has dug out a nice little hiding place, right under the slab.
“Oh no….” I groaned.
“What?” he asked.
“What if whatever it was crawled under there and died,” I said, showing him what I was talking about. This little stinky problem was turning into a bigger and bigger problem the longer we crouched there.
“Oh no…well, I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t put the lattice up around the deck like we were going to this weekend,” he said. At least something good was coming out of our procrastination in that department.
Then, I got an idea. It was a horrible idea, but if it worked, it would be totally worth it. “I’m goin’ in,” I said.
“What!?” My hubby couldn’t believe it.
“You’re not dressed for it, and I haven’t taken my shower yet today. Plus, if this works, the smell will be gone.”
I’d gone completely mad.
I ran back into the house, found my mask, got a long-sleeved work jacket and gloves and pulled a scarf back to protect my hair.
This was insanity. Do you know what lives under our deck? NEITHER DO I, but I was determined to find out. My husband’s next conference call was slated to start in 9-mintues. I couldn’t do this without his moral support. I had to work fast!
I had to do the army-crawl to get close to the slab. I used a rake to poke around and try to pull out something…anything. A gross, rotting body of a small critter would be preferable. (I never thought I’d actually say that…ever.)
“Anything?” he asked, hopefully.
“Nothing,” I shouted, so angry at all this.
I couldn’t see a blasted thing past a certain point. The hole under the slab was much larger than I’d imagined.
Then, I started to panic. Spiders. Snakes**. Bugs. Wasp nests. Creepy Crawlies in my hair, down my shirt, on my face. Real or imaginary? Either way, I can’t breathe. But, I refuse to cry. Still, the tears are stinging my eyes. Why did I do this, again?
I army-crawled backwards as fast as I could.
I’d failed. I’d crawled in that horrible place and had nothing to show for it, except bruises on my arms and knees, and weird things stuck to my clothes.
I wish this story had a happy ending, but we won’t know until later today. Today, we are going to attack this problem head-on. Grandpa gave us some good ideas on how to remedy the situation that won’t require us to rip apart the deck and break apart the cement slab. Here’s hoping we can actually locate some large bags of lime without drawing too much attention to the fact that we think we have dead bodies under our deck. (Yes, the smell will fix itself…eventually, but we don’t have that kind of time! We hope to have this big ol’ stinky problem fixed by the time our party-goers get here tomorrow.)
Oh, did I forget to mention that? We have a whole group of people coming over on Saturday night. Hopefully the deck will be in one piece tomorrow, and the only smells will be that of the Jerk Pork roasting on the grill.
Wish us luck! (Click here to read the update!)
**And, no…we’ve never seen a snake on our property, but under the deck would be a perfect place for them to hide, don’t you think?