Making your mark with indelible stink.

It all began with Brussels sprouts. As some adventures do.

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This one though, took an unexpected turn, a pungent hard left.

It was dinner time. I’d fed the hair-covered creatures and gleefully realized I had the house to myself for the evening. I’d been fighting a hankering for Brussels sprouts the whole week long and finally found an opportunity to indulge with abandon. One whole pounds worth if I found myself determined.

And I was.

The prepared bowlful in my lap, I surfed with the remote to find something mindless and mind-numbing to watch for an hour before heading back to work at my desk. It didn’t matter what: Modern Family, Outdated Family, All in the Family—anything that allowed somebody else to do the thinking for a few minutes. At that point, the Weather Channel would have sufficed.

The cat leapt up onto the couch and put a paw on my arm. “Sorry, sweets, you’re an obligate carnivore and tonight is ‘Veg Nite.’ I popped her down onto the floor.

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She leapt back up and re-positioned her paw, this time with newly sharpened claws getting a firm grip. “Ahem.” She glared at me.

“Hey, a little dining courtesy would be appreciated—and oh my godfathers, what is that smell?”

That cat rolled her eyes.

“Wait a second. It isn’t me. I haven’t even eaten any of these yet.” But within two seconds of saying that, there was no need to ask for further clarification. The smell was unmistakable, and it wasn’t Eau de Brussels sprouts.

I narrowed my eyes and looked at the cat. “Where is he?”

“I imagine he is stupidly attempting to run from the odor.” She began cleaning one of her mitts.

I put down my bowl and got up to search for the hound. With every step I took, no matter the direction, the pungent odor increased tenfold. I opened the kitchen door to the back porch and whistled into the blackened night. Nothing. I went to the front door and did the same. Nothing. I crossed the house to the laundry room, the room he’s been given access to with his own private entrance. I stepped outside, reeled back from the landslide of reeking air, and blew a piercing whistle.

“Right here.”

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I turned to see the dog in the corner of the porch, doing his utmost to disappear in the shadows.

“What have you done?” This was a stupid question which we both knew the answer to. My eyes were beginning to water.

“I was trying to make friends.”

“With whom?” I demanded.

“It looked like the cat.”

“But it wasn’t the cat, was it? Wasn’t even close to the cat.”

“Uh … yep.”

“Were you not given any warning?”

“It was dark.”

“Go sit in the shower. I’ll be there in a minute.”

Pepé Le Pew slunk off toward my bathroom and I ran to my computer, hoping I had whatever household ingredients necessary to create a deskunkifying poultice. And at that moment, fortune shined upon me.

It may be true that I have a teenage son who can bring me to my knees on a daily basis due to his typical teenage boy curiosities, but he has one particular saving grace which repeatedly saves his tuchus from being thrown into the giant abyss of THOU SHALT NOT COME OUT OF YOUR BEDROOM UNTIL YOU ARE TWENTY-FIVE AND RELIABLY PAYING TAXES:

He is kind.

And I don’t mean, “Hey mom, thanks for buying chocolate milk,” kind. I mean help the elderly cross the street, fold someone else’s laundry and asks how was your day every day kind of kind.

And just when I needed an act of kindness, he walked through the door.

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There are not a lot of people who will be willing jump in the shower with an animal who can make your nose turn inside out from the stench, and show uncommon compassion for what that animal is going through by ignoring their own discomfort, but this fellah is to be counted among that lot.

I owe him my thanks, and try to remember to say it in between the variety of vehement and vociferous tongue lashings he regularly receives.

Once the lengthy shower had finished—one that included more baking soda than a kindergarten room’s art cupboards full of Play-Doh—I thanked my son and turned to the dog who sat looking quite miserable, dripping on the bathroom mat.

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“And now we raid my cologne closet, to see what miracles my friends Chanel, Christian and Calvin can do with your … situation.”

I made a perfume soup and then threw in a dollop of two floral and one pine scented room sprays. It was an aroma nightmare, but slightly better than the assault we’d been experiencing pre-evening-ablutions.

The dog looked at me sourly, “This is awful.”

“Beggars can’t be choosers,” I said, wagging a finger.

“Okay, but can beggars have some Brussels sprouts if you’re not going to finish them?”

I suddenly felt really bad for the poor fellah. “You bet, buddy. Tonight of all nights, I don’t think anyone is going to notice.”


April Gotta Have a Gott winner

In January, Rob and I announced that his sketches will be available toward the end of the year in the form of a 2015 calendar! And our readers would get to be the judges and voters for which doodles they’d like to see selected for each month. We’ll reveal the winners one by one, and come November, If you’ve Gotta have a GOTT, you can place your order. Jump on over to see the cartoon winner for April!

Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.

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64 thoughts on “Making your mark with indelible stink.

    • Why is it so difficult for us to mosey about in life without running into something that’s determined to sting us, spray us, or bite us? Sometimes I look at my life as simply moments between running to the ointment cupboard. 😉

    • So kind of you to say – as always – and yes, I can assure you that NO meal goes wasted in this home. The hound gets half of what I eat anyway. He and I usually meal plan together for the upcoming week. 😛
      And yes, I fell in love with this week’s sketches too. It was hard to choose a favorite.

  1. In this country the worst we have to contend with is fox poo, which is quite bad enough – I’m really grateful we don’t have to cope with skunk.
    The remedy for a dog that’s gone rolling around in fox stuff is, apparently, to rub tomato ketchup into their fur before showering. It’s supposed to neutralise the smell. I just googled because I wasn’t sure I was remembering correctly and there was a comment that said tomato juice was better for skunks. Who knew?
    Not having tried either I’m a little skeptical that it’s all some bizarre marketing plan by tomato growers to shift more of their product, but I might try it in extremis.
    Loved the cartoon of Downpour Abbey, and Pepe le Sprout…well, all of them really.
    Thanks for making me laugh, it was a joy to read, as always. 🙂

    • Thanks, Laura. Your comments are always so thoughtful.
      One dog ago, we did the old tomato sauce routine and I left that whole debacle truly just hungry for spaghetti. The hound gave off the same aroma of “yuck” as before, but was now a pink Dalmatian. A conversation starter for sure.
      So glad you liked, Rob’s cartoons. They’re an absolute highlight to my week. 🙂

  2. Awwww, your son is definitely a stand-up guy! Poor dog, but as usual, my winces for his unfortunate scentuation were downplayed by your wonderful wit. Great post!

    • Such a clever girl, Alex. I love your wordplay. And send you a hug for the lovely compliment.
      And yes, my son usually surprises me just before I’m about to rewrite my will. His timing is remarkable. 😉

  3. Yuck, that does not sound fun. I’d say that trumps washing a dog who just rolled around in bovine poo. 😉 I’m most curious about brussel sprout munching in front of the tube, that is one I’ve never heard before.haha

    • I highly recommend it! The Brussels sprout munching – not the bit about the bovine poo. Although … there is a special place in my heart for cowpie patties. Again, not the rolling about in them, but the memories that bubble up to the surface when getting a whiff of that farm “fresh” air. 😉

  4. OMG! It IS in our bloodline… and here I always thought I was the only one to have sat in front of the boob tube with a bowl of shredded cabbage chips and a ground flaxseed-whatever-veggie-fruit smoothie rather than a bag of “WOW” potato chips.

    And yes, may your son be canonized for his willful aptitude to help that poor pup… (makes me think of my best bud who we lost two years ago and the stench of beach sun-dried salmon she would gleefully promenade home with on her sand-ridden coat). Oddly to think of it now, I was the only volunteer who got stuck cleaning her up.

    Love your post Smelley! Such visual, or need I say multi-sensual experiences you have once again awakened me with on this beautiful Sunday morning.

    Off to watch the sun rise on Moonlight Bay. I hope the snow will melt to a tolerable level of less than three feet today.

    Rob, WHAT’s WITH THE LEEKS…. again?!? Your comics continue to crack me up. They “leek” me wanting more. I swear, it’s the international vegetable conspiracy theory at hand. They’re taking over the world and using you as their voice and lair.

    Best to all,

    Stoshu 🙂

    • I’ll let you in on a little secret – the veggies are in “leek” with the pulses. And remember what our old friend George Orwell said – “All vegetables are equal, but some are more equal than others”! Food for thought:)

    • Okay, I’m not entirely sure, but I think there should be some award for the smelliest dog and the most creative way they came to be so. Beach sun-dried salmon? I swear, Steve, that sounds like something that would be on one of your tasting menus! And you of all people could pull it off. With a light dusting of the finest, brine-infused sand from the shores of an unknown location on one of America’s Great Lakes. Yep, your menu.
      Fingers crossed for some meltage. ❤

  5. Hey,

    Speaking of which, along with the fresh Hawaiian Striped Marlin I will be receiving for the Dr’s day luncheon, I’m getting 40 pounds of fresh Yukon Sockeye Salmon, of which I will be ironically sun-drying and smoking in the next two weeks on my porch.

    I’ll be utilizing a Celtic Sea Salt to boot; then, after a long brine and sun bath, I’ll smoke it with alder-wood and make it a trail snack pack with toasted pecans, toasted quinoa, toasted coconut, dried DC cherries, toasted Scottish ground oats and spices, ground flax and dark chocolate chunks.

    I love food… back to my roasted capon in the oven.

    Stoshu 🙂

  6. You my lady and your kin are always welcome to our cabin in the north woods. Always be happy to show you how to set a trap line. Plenty of rabbits to skin too. Pelt traps have done good this year.

    You know, soon as the snow melts (in July), we may just have a record harvest for morels, ramps, fiddlehead ferns and a myriad of berries. The salmon, trout and northern’s are beginning their run but fighting one heck of an ice dam. The suckers seem to always prevail but I’d only smoke those.

    S 🙂

  7. Oh, poor doodle! I thought i saw what was coming when you had fixed yourself a pound of sprouts and started watching mindless tv. But no, a different kind of stink altogether. We have plenty so skunks around here and it’s a miracle that our poofy pooch has never been sprayed. So far. Great post.

    • He’s such a good soul. Never complains about anything. Ever. I’m pretty sure he was the deal Fate brokered with me: flat tires, computer viruses, cold snap wipes out the garden–“Yes, but I gave you The Dog.”

      I am full of gratitude. Also for the fact that you’ve not drawn that unlucky straw just yet. Keep holding your breath. It’ll be good practice for when you really need to! 🙂

  8. Poor hound. But I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that dogs don’t mind eau de skunk that much. After all, I know a poodle-lab mix who will roll ecstatically about in any dead carcasses that wash up on the beach. Maybe it was the Chanel that brought his spirits low. BTW I enjoyed Rob’s foray into Technicolor 😉

  9. My first read of the morning and what fun! Don’t envy the skunk smell, however. When we visited America when our daughter was small her Grandfather told her the name of a skunk was a ‘polecat’. She then proceeded to call it ‘cat pole’.

  10. I’ve had days like that. You finally get a few moments peace and then ka-boom, life takes a sharp left turn.

    Your son sounds wonderful. Well done, mom.

    Sorry to hear about the skunking. I didn’t know where you were going with this, but laughed all the way (but with sympathy of course).

  11. Hilarious read! Sorry it was at your expense! We have many skunks and things that poo smelly and my dogs roll in it. Yeah! We just stock up on dog shampoo.

    • Glad you enjoyed the tale – and I figure with enough time, just about anything can be looked back on with a giggle. In fact, I can hear the dog laughing about it while retelling the story to the cat right now. So ‘n sos. 😛

    • Rare is the day, Kate, when things quietly chug along as hoped. It’s more like living inside the backstage workings of a cabaret show. And there is no way I’m going to be nominated for a Tony with this lot.
      So lovely to have you pop on by! 🙂

  12. Just as I was hanging my head in shame as I hit publish to tell blog land about my experiment with Garlic Feet, I find this post, and I feel much better. 🙂 I do not envy you the dog deskunking!

    • I highly encourage any and every one to jump on over to read about the adventure you suffered through and nearly succumbed to. You are a strong woman. And now I assume a strong smelling one as well. But thank goodness you’re also a very funny one. It’s a brand of humor I admire very much, Nancy! Cheers 🙂

  13. Did you ever get to eat your Brussels sprouts? I could almost taste the first bite you were about to take when you sniffed out your dog. And your son sounds so amazing! Our dog got after a skunk twice in a couple of weeks and our house was so smelly that even when I sent my boys to school the next day–they smelled like skunk. I’ll have to look up that recipe. And now I want a bowl of Brussels sprouts.

    • Yes, the perfume. It is a lasting one. Every time the hound gets wet we’re reintroduced to his new brand of cologne. And his hair, once wet, prefers to stay that way. Ick.
      And since that pitiful furry face had such a ghastly experience, I gave him the entire bowlful. He was happy … ish.

  14. Your son sounds like a wonderful kid. What a crazy night that must have been! Hope you got to indulge in those brussels sprouts afterwards…

    • So lovely to hear from you, Abby! Yes, crazy night, wonderful kid, but Brussels sproutless in the end. The hound got them as a reward for being so good-natured despite the fact that nature was not good to him. Hope you’re well! 😀

  15. Wow, Shelley, your son is a saint! You couldn’t pay me to climb into a shower with a skunky-smelling dog. But at least Pepe’ Le Pew had the decency to try to quarantine himself after his unfortunate encounter with the skunk. I doubt our dogs would be so kind. Our youngest dog probably wouldn’t bat an eye, since his own silent but deadly gas emissions fail to disturb him in the least. I read somewhere that a dog’s sense of smell is hundreds of times stronger than ours, so between the horrid skunk smell and the shower, colognes, and air freshener, I’d say your dog had a more miserable night than you did! I hope he enjoyed the Brussels sprouts. 🙂

    • Yes, that fellow is totally squishable at times – and seems to know when he’s dancing along the edge of a knife with me. Keen sense of timing. And the hound thoroughly enjoyed every last leaf of the sprouts–even sent me a paw-written thank you note the next day.
      As far as the stench, it is pervasive and lasting, and it will be years before I ever find myself walking into a Starbucks again. 😛

      • I am so glad I’m not the only one who thinks that coffee smells skunky! People look at me like I’m nuts when I say that. Oh, and I have to tell you this, in case you didn’t know, because I believe you’ll find it as fascinating as I did. Did you know that when people eat asparagus, it makes their urine smell funny? It’s some kind of compound in the asparagus that reacts to our bodies. There’s some lengthy scientific explanation for it that I can’t remember right now. Anyway, asparagus makes our urine smell funky, but the really interesting thing is, the ability to detect that funky smell is a genetic trait, and only 25% of people have it. You know, you could write a post about this, Shelley. You’ve covered smells and green vegetables like Brussels sprouts. Asparagus would tie in quite nicely. 😉

        • I can only imagine the hundreds of face palms I would create within my family. Most typically from my children, whose eyes have done so much rolling toward the heavens after reading my essays that I’m surprised neither of them have complained of a sprain as of yet.
          I don’t know if I could do that to them.
          Maybe you could make a creepy poem about it. Your words are so lyrical, surely your comments page would resound with a round of applause from the literary world. If anyone would find success with that – you would, Miranda. 😛

  16. Yet to treat a young one with the delicious taste of fresh asparagus and roasted red beets at the same meal and then watch their reaction due to side effects after the meal the next day. What a hilarious education for both. It’s all food science.

    All the best,

    Stoshu 🙂

  17. Pingback: The Smell of the Wild | ardysez

  18. Kudos on writing a post about a skunk without using the word ‘skunk’ once! (I actually checked and figured ‘deskunkifying’ is not the same as using the word ‘skunk’.)
    Anyway, I don’t envy you. At all. Nor your dog for that matter. I spent a considerable part of my childhood in Canada and the best maple syrup can’t compensate for that skunk smell. I’ve been told washing a dog in tomato juice does a good job at taking away a decent chunk of the skunk smell, but I’m not sure if that’s an urban legend or not.

    Also, I think ‘Outdated Family’ would make for a fine TV Show! I’m thinking Mormons.

      • Aargh…The Book of Mormon…it’s one of those things people tell me is hilarious and I haven’t seen it, nor would I know how to! (This is #342 on my list of things that make me cry)

        • When you get a chance – and you MUST – make sure you bring an extra pair of pants. You’ll need to change them at intermission. You’ll seriously wet yourself.
          And don’t eat anything while watching. You’ll choke.
          I have never laughed so hard in my entire life. (okay, twice, cuz I had to see it again.)
          Go, go, GO!

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