Carcass Busters

GRIN # 172

If I see another ant in my house,  I swear I’m going to burn the house down. Even after two exterminator visits—argghgh–I am still finding random ants! Then again…at least ants don’t stink. The Gala family is notorious for having issues with critters and creatures of all kinds. The piece below is from a few years back, but I just had to share. It puts the ants in perspective.

Published in 2007…

My living room looks like a crime scene. And I’m okay with that. At least it doesn’t smell like one anymore. I should explain. Something has been stinking in the Gala household, and I’m not talking dirty-diaper stink or burned-dinner stink, which are family mainstays. This foul odor emanated from the fireplace for weeks and smelled like your dog smells after he rolls in something dead.

Two days ago, we sealed up the fireplace with four layers of tarp and a half-roll of duct tape. I now have the two things I’ve coveted most recently: an odor-free living room and confirmation that something in my house did, in fact, stink. I was starting to think I was going crazy.

The smell started a few weeks ago, and I found myself on my hands and knees by the fireplace sniffing deep gulps of air, scrunching up my nose and whining of a peculiar odor to my husband Jerry. “I don’t smell anything,” he said.

But a week later he smelled it too and nearly tore apart the fireplace looking for the culprit. The doors came off, the logs came out, and our son Tyler nearly ate one of the screws.

Next, Jerry went under the house, armed with a flashlight and some menacing looking tools. Nothing. When we opened the windows, the smell disappeared completely. When it was too cold to do that, we burned the fireplace, which had the same effect. We took out the insulation. That seemed to help for a while.

One day during our search for the stink, Jerry called me from work. “Go stick your head in the fireplace and see if you can find a model number on it.”

Now, I’m a good wife and mom and all of that, but I have to draw the line somewhere. I can do laundry and cook and pick up toys all day long and even bring home a few bucks, but I’m not going to subject myself to sniffing what I know is a dead carcass. I told Jerry as much. This task was clearly in his territory.

Finally, with Jerry convinced he’d exhausted all the do-it-yourself options, we called a chimney sweep. “I don’t smell anything,” the guy said. “It’s probably wood rot.”

“Wood rot?” I wanted to shout. “It smells like I have a deer decomposing in my fireplace, and that’s all you can tell me? Can’t you go up there and look?” But he wasn’t the guy who goes up on the roof. That guy was out sick. And you could tell this guy wasn’t going to go up on the roof, not even if some animal’s hind legs were sticking out of the chimney. I was fretting. “Look,” the chimney sweep reassured me, “if there was something dead in there, the smell wouldn’t just go away.”

The next morning (and if you’re eating, stop, because this next part is going to gross you out), I found a small white worm on the fireplace. Oh no. Is this what I think it is? I called Jerry. “What does a maggot look like?” I asked when he answered the phone.

He had the chimney sweep back at our house within 30 minutes. This time the guy that gets on the roof came. He confirmed our suspicion: “It stinks. There’s definitely something dead in there.” Trouble is, he couldn’t find it either. “Probably a squirrel,” he said, “but it’s too far down to retrieve. You’d have to rip out the entire fireplace.” That was starting to sound like a good idea, frankly.

So it was a good news/bad news kind of situation. The good news is the chimney sweep figured out how the squirrel busted through the chimney cap and fixed the problem so it wouldn’t happen again. The bad news is the chimney sweep couldn’t get the animal out. This defied logic. What were we supposed to do?

“You gotta seal it up. The fireplace, I mean,” the chimney sweep told us. “It will be gone in a few weeks.”

Whether “it” referred to the squirrel or the smell, I can’t say. However, this news made Jerry happy. Finally, he had instructions. He went to work covering and taping with fervor.

I tried to joke about it, serenading him to the tune of “Ghostbusters,” aptly renamed “Carcass Busters.”  But Jerry wasn’t in a laughing mood. He did a fine job with the fireplace, though; it’s quite a conversation piece.

Not that I plan to have people over anytime soon.

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2 Responses to “Carcass Busters”

  1. Terro – it’s an ant killer. Works like a charm! I got mine at Lowe’s (home improvement store). You put a small “puddle” on one of the cardboard cutouts they give you and it works like a charm! They will come out in droves to eat….but once they do – they’ll go back to their home and die. I’m telling you – it works like a charm! Try it!

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