Now, it being Halloween it is apt that I should tell you a story that will send shivers along your spine. Well, goosebumps to your flesh? Oh, okay, bile to your throat.
This is a little tale that meanders all over the place but ends up with one destination - and it is a tale of truth. I know, because I lived through it just last night.
So you who are weak of stomach or light of gut, LOOK AWAY NOW.
I can assure you you do not want to read this grotesque fable.
(ha ha - wouldn't it be sinister of me, given the discussion in my comments section, to then hide a picture of the pre-honeymoon action in the tale?)
Go, scroll to the end of the post and say "Jeanie, don't ever do that again" in my comments, or gird your loins and read on.
For the gore-lovers amongst us, I will set up a few background shots and flesh out the true horror of the situation.
This particular tale of calamity should be laid at the feet of the housekeeping gods and questions should be asked (while a fist is shaken) as to why I was given so little talent in that pursuit.
In fact, being a fantastic housekeeper is not on my "list of things I am good at".
I don't have self-esteem issues, I actually do have items on my list - but housekeeping and I keep our own sides of the street clean, if you know what I mean. (Well, obviously, I don't but I ask you to respect the metaphor.)
Where was I? Oh yes - background shots.
This bit isn't gross.
Well, not horridly as gross as you would expect it to be.
Yesterday was a good day in terms of the old "ticking off the list" strategy in life.
'Salina and I have slackened off a little in our early morning exercise routine.
I got a little EMER shy after I had two consecutive occasions of "getting 'Salina out and about for our walk or ride" being followed immediately by a bout of "mystery stomach ailment" precluding her from school attendance. I don't think one caused the other - but I sort of need her to attend school for oh so many reasons.
As a result, I am finding new and interactive ways for us to be active in the morning - and if it ticks off a list item, so much the better.
Method of choice yesterday morning was renovating a garden.
The garden in question is a poor neglected bulldust pit, pre-my-living-here it housed very sturdy plants recommended in terms of their ability to live (and do so prolifically) with little regard to soil quality, moisture content or the garbage and crap that blew in off the street and lived amongst them.
Several other renovation projects have been attempted on this plot, but once the ugly was removed the beautiful did not move in and say "great pad". Rather it sniffed disdainfully and keeled over.
Yesterday, petunias were the intrepid bits of fluff I was putting forward in our latest attempt at turning this ghetto into something that would please the eye.
So of course, there were a few preliminary jobs to do before doing the job we had to do, if you know what I mean.
There was the "take a barrow-load of bulldust from the pit" task, the "put a barrow-load of compost in the pit" task and the "move the compost pile" task that all had to be ticked before pretty petunias could reside.
I know a lot of people go "ooh, compost, gross, gross" - but really, the dark rich peat that we have created with our scraps over the last few months had an earthy, sweet smell not at all irritable on the olfactory inputs.
ha - that was leading you up the garden path, wasn't it? Or was it? What has a little gardening and compost to do with this tale dripping with putrescence?
Maybe nothing, maybe more. Read on...
It was definitely not as horrific on the senses as the waft that my larder has been issuing.
About two weeks ago, I opened the double doors that lead to the cupboard we refer to as the pantry and was assailed by something that inhibited the appetite and curdled the joy that normally goes with me cooking.
However, this was not the first instance rank vapours have upset my culinary genius, and therefore I knew the first place to look is the potato sack for the culprit.
I once read a book about the Irish potato famines. Man, there were some truly harsh conditions meted out over there during those times.
While reading it, I was agitated by the conditions of the economy and how it had ended up creating such a society where a family could have such a precarious hold on survival. I was both uplifted and offended by the reactions of the societies that impacted on and were impacted by these famines. I was distraught at the images of huddles of starving people without money, food or even clothing.
But the bit that really impacted, because I have been there, is the fact that their potatoes were rotting - and I could just smell it.
As I did two weeks ago. I went to my potato sack. I found the rotten potato. I was vindicated and joyous. The badness was gone.
Or was it?
Last night, we were getting ready for bed. Now, when I say "we were getting ready for bed" I mean "we were getting ready for bed" in the sort of way two adults do.
Oh yes indeedy, on V's "list of things I am going to marry Jeanie for" housekeeping may be fairly low, but there are other things that make "getting ready for bed" a euphamism that we don't need to go into.
I mean, you people can read (d'uh!) and so I figure that a few allusions between the lines will lead to a nod of understanding. I don't need to spell out anything too graphically for you to go "oh yes, enough information, you were getting ready for bed" and get what that is all about, do I?
(You know, full teethbrushing, take your pills, check the locks on the doors...)
Ahem - grossed out yet?
As I was saying, doing the last round before bedtime and I was in the kitchen.
Eddie looked at me with his big beautiful eyes and cried starvation.
Eddie, of course, does this with a bowl of meaty morsels in front of him. Its not so much about starvation as power trips, really.
Before you call the RSPCA, he isn't starving. But I filled his dry bowl anyway, because I am one of the wussiest cat owners around, and I know the territory I cover when I make that statement.
See, there is another "good point" for my list. Not having housekeeping as a skills isn't looking so bad when you chuck "good at brushing teeth" and "wussy pussy owner" up there!
Oops - sorry, getting off the gross highway, wasn't I? Where was I? Oh yes, in the kitchen approaching the dry cat food.
The dry cat food is in the pantry - bottom shelf. Also on the bottom shelf is the potato bag and all those crappy containers and bulk items that you don't grab too often because its right at ground level and who wants to bend over that far that often?
Anyway - dry cat food in bowl - that's right, I finished the dried cat food and remembered I had asked V to purchase some more, so I turned around to investigate the success of this request.
He had. It had been placed on the bottom shelf of the pantry beside the spot where the dried cat food (in its plastic decanter) was usually shelved - but I had the plastic decanter now void of dried cat food in my hand and therefore there was a space beside it.
That space meant I could see the new box of dried cat food appeared to be on damp chipboard.
Now, one thing you don't want in a pantry is damp chipboard. I know, its sniffily seventies to have chipboard in any state in your pantry - but that is the sort of kitchen we offer - not only is there lurid yellow benches, but all the qualities of chipboard have been embraced as well.
Damp chipboard means a multitude of sins.
It also means that there is a sinner lurking.
Recall the successful potato purge I had enacted? Well, the smell had lingered long after the spud had left the building, and I had been checking the potato sack often.
No more rotten potatoes - but that rotten smell seemed to be getting worse, not diffusing over time.
Damp patch of chipboard in the pantry, combined with the mystery of the vapours made me pull my detective hat down and squat to face the squalor of the bottom shelf.
Now, if I was any sort of nice person I would have a picture here to break up the tale and offer you another tea or a biscuit because I have been waffling, haven't I?
Here is a picture. Isn't it lovely? I do think this artist has a certain talent, and she was displaying them so young!!
Oh, you wanted a different picture?
He he he he he - what was the offer I made RIGHT at the top of the page? That is right - grossness, not wedding snaps!! And the fact that it is 2 weeks yet to the wedding (17 days to be precise) means it is impossible to realise your dreams of the snaps you want until then. Okay?
Interlude over, put your popcorn away - you last saw me peering into the black hole that is the bottom of the pantry.
Behind where the cat food normally gets shoved, there was a plastic bag.
It appeared the liquid was oozing from the plastic bag.
I reached in to take out the plastic bag.
The slightest movement of the plastic bag confirmed that this indeed was the source of the foul smells - like a bad aftershave, once this was recognised the reek increased in intensity, volume and offensiveness.
You could smell death.
Rotting vegetables put in a black plastic bin in sunlight with doses of soil and moisture = sweet smell of rich promise.
Rotting vegetables put in a plastic bag in the dark with no air flow = gag reflexes of astronomic proportions.
Grasping the plastic bag I pulled it out and regarded it (for a very short time as I hurled it into the rubbish bin and put the rubbish bin outside the house).
Mostly, it was a liquid. Khaki in colour (really, really carky) and floating in the liquid the last few bits of vegetable matter that had withstood the test of time.
Green vegetable matter.
Zucchini from - well, we don't quite know when.
One thing about living in Paradise is there is a farm up the road where you can get bags of zucchini for $1. This was one of those bags.
So yes, we got to have a great television evening last night.
The smell (well the cause of it) has left the building, although there are a few decent malodours left lying around that I have sprinkled liberally with bicarb as a libation to the housekeeping gods.
So please, make me feel better. Give me your star moment.