Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The mysteries of the bungalow on the ridge

It's been a week of space heaters, dairy-free ice cream bars, Christmas lights, and . . . mysteries. Dun dun duuuun.

I give you, Exhibit 1:

Last weekend, my friend John came over to my place so he and I could look at the Christmas lights near my neighborhood together. Before he arrived I texted him, "Be prepared to solve a mystery with me when you get here."

Sure, no problem, I'll do what I can, he said. He's agreeable like that.

Upon arriving, it did not take John long to discover the mystery of my little bungalow on the ridge. "What is that smell?!" he groaned, when he stepped into the house. "I drove up and, before I'd even gotten out of my car, I was assaulted by the most horrific septic smell you can imagine."

Oh, I can imagine.

What I can't imagine is what in tarnation is causing the strength-of-Samson septic smell. It started last week, after a crew of men came to fix our septic tank. At first I wondered if they'd improperly sealed the tank; but oddly, the smell doesn't come from the septic tank which is north of the house. Instead, it seems to be coming from the south side of the house, on which there is a street without manholes, a driveway, and some trees — nothing terribly smelly.

Unfortunately, there are all sorts of impish breezes floating about our property, and they all seem intent on blowing the septic stench into my open windows. And then, when I close my windows, they somehow figure out a way to push the smell into every window crack, thus convincing me that A) I will die of gaseous poisoning in the night, or B) the Apocalypse has begun and the world will soon end. Neither is a reality I feel prepared to face.

So John and I walked up and down the street searching for some sort of vent emitting foul fumes, and when we didn't find anything, we roamed the property searching for anything else that could cause such a powerful stench, such as a skunk that sprayed a dead possum and then pooped before falling over dead next to said possum.

We didn't find anything.

And so, the mystery remained unsolved for days, until yesterday, when a nice young man came to empty the septic tank next to my bungalow on the ridge. With wide eyes and high hopes, I told him my septic woes and begged him to help me solve the mystery of the septic-smell-from-nowhere. He assured me I wouldn't die of gas poisoning, and then, in one fell swoop, solved the mystery:

"There's a vent on the roof that releases septic gases. That's probably the source of the smell."

Aha. Yes, that makes sense. A vent, near my window, blowing the smell of death. Joy to the world.

The good news is the guy told me pouring Pine Sol down my toilet and drains would help, and I will not be poisoned in the night, and the world is not ending. At least not as far as I can tell.

So it all turned out alright in the end.

And now, I give you Exhibit 2:

I have two of the cutest little rustic stools you ever did see. They sit on my deck so I can prop my feet up whenever it suits my fancy, which is often. There ain't nothin' like watching the sun set over the city with a cuppa tea in hand and a stool under your feet.

And then, suddenly and without warning, one of the stools disappeared. I'm not sure when, but I noticed it last week.

I looked high and low for that stool, and then searched my mind for any memories in which I loaded the stool into my car, drove off, and donated it to Goodwill.

Alas, I do not remember donating the stool to Goodwill this month, and it is no.where. to be found.

So I began to grapple with the possibility that somebody spotted my stools while on an evening walk, crept down the hill while I was gone, jumped up onto my deck, plucked up one of the stools, and made off with it like a sneaky, sneakster stool bandit.

It was the most plausible scenario I could construct, so I began to speculate about who could have stolen it. My neighbors were absolutely not an option. Both sets of them are lovely and honest, and would never ever take my stool. But I couldn't come up with any suspects. So I consulted with all of my visitors, hoping they'd help me solve the mystery.

And then, yesterday, whilst looking at my little Christmas tree, I noticed it was standing on something rectangular to give it some added height.

And that's when I solved the mystery of the missing stool: it was under my tree, snug as a bug in a rug.

So you see, my week is full of happy endings. No Apocalypse, no gaseous poisoning, and no stool bandits.

What a wonderful world.

Merry 14-days before Christmas, friendlies!


© by scj


  1. So I was waiting for the skunk's stool sample to be the stench of death...although that isn't quite as strong as your skunk and dead possum sentence, which had me bark aloud with laughter.

    Great post, Sarah, and--I'm so glad the smell disappeared and the stool reappeared. Yea!

    1. Susan,

      It would have been a week of "stool" mysteries! Either way, I guess it was.... Ha! Last night I was awakened by the sound of a small-ish animal walking through the woods outside my window. I flew out of bed to close the window, convinced it sounded about the size of a skunk. I have grown paranoid... ;)

      Thank you, Susan. I'm glad, too! Such a re"fresh"ing relief!


  2. An adventurous week followed by a hilarious post! and btw, @ your above reply... you are so punny!

    1. Hehe, thanks, Aaron. ;) I must admit, thought, that the "stool" pun has been brought to my attention by a number of readers!