My house is near the woods. As in, parking lot, building, small grassy knoll, woods, river. This arrangement makes me happy – I am happiest when I’m near the water, and I grew up in a house in Maine that had a big chunk of woods behind it.
I like being near trees. What can I say?
Living near the woods is great. There are trails out there, it’s pretty, it’s calming, and it generally smells great. All leafy and green and river-y.
Except, of course, when it doesn’t.
Like the other night, when a foul stench woke me out of a sound sleep.
“Whazzit?” I said, jerking awake. The cat was perched next to my head, as usual, and she was looking around as though she was trying to figure out what was going on. This is kind of her default, but at this moment I was pretty sure she had a point.
My house – my entire house, because the windows were open – REEKED.
You may not be aware of this, so please let me tell you: there were no skunks in North Carolina. NONE. In New England, skunks are spotted regularly on the side of the road, stinking up the air. I used to see them in the woods. In fields. Hanging out under decks and sheds, waiting to spray the unsuspecting passerby. Here’s how many skunks I saw in North Carolina, alive or otherwise:
I’m telling you. North Carolina is skunk free.
It’s also why it took me some time to identify the stank that was currently gagging me. If you’ve ever had the dubious pleasure of being sprayed by a skunk, or having a pet that was sprayed by one, you know that skunk … whatever it is … is not just an odor. It’s a TEXTURE. It’s like having a warm towel of stinky funk wrapped around your person.
Or, in this case, my person, my furniture, my curtains, my EVERYTHING.
I got up, but didn’t know what to do. I tried breathing through my mouth, but quickly remembered why that is a bad idea when it comes to Skunk – it doesn’t taste good. AND YOU CAN DEFINITELY TASTE IT.
I didn’t – and for that matter, still don’t – know if someone had struck a skunk with a car, if a skunk had sprayed an animal close by the building? I don’t know what happened. But I knew my house REEKED.
I closed the window.
I closed the other windows.
Now the skunk smell was trapped in the house.
Not ideal, but at least it wouldn’t get stronger, I thought.
The cat sniffed the air and then made a face. “mEEEWWW,” she said.
“I KNOW,” I said. And then realized that I realllllly need to stop talking to my cat.
I turned on the air conditioner. I febreezed. Then I laid back down because it was 2 am and I was tired.
The stinkiness remained.
I tossed and turned with it for a while. I tried burying my face in my pillow. I thought about putting blankets down right next to the cupcake air freshener and trying to sleep there.
A tip: Cupcake tinged skunk funk will put you off cupcakes for a good long while.
Finally, I fell asleep.
When I awoke, the stench was gone. I opened the windows, fully expecting a blast of odor. Nothing. Apparently, the skunk had toddled off and taken his noxious fumes with him.
The air smelled sweet, like growing things and water.
My cat jumped up into the window, sniffed. “Mrrrooowww,” she said, approvingly.
“Right?” I said in agreement, and breathed in the fresh morning air.