Sunday, 5 January 2014

Basement Bouquet

I enter the house stamping snow off my boots.  I've been out to refill the feeders and play ball with the dogs...long enough to get wet socks, cold feet and cold fingers.  Clammy cold like this is the worst cold. 
The house smells differently every time I re-enter.  Hubby is long inured to the more unpleasant scents our house can create.  I blame most of them on the basement which is unfinished and home to decades of memorabilia.  You will have a better idea of what I'm talking about when I tell you what is down there.
 First of all, Mitzy the cat, is living just at the bottom of the steps with her litter box close by and we all know no matter how often that is emptied or changed, it does have a certain odour.  All of hubby's dead files going back four decades are down there...boxes and boxes of paper, neatly stacked in one of the rooms.  Many boxes of paperbacks, some dating from hubby's high school days, plus all of his textbooks from Queen's occupy many shelves in another room.  There are even books from hubby's deceased parents.  I open a copy of Westward Ho! and find a dedication for distinguished work on the inside; it was presented to my father-in-law in 1924 at Westminster City School in England.  Sadly, the cover is mouldering and very smelly.  The same is true of another group of classics, Shakespeare, Homer, Dickens, the Brontes, Plato and so on, all decaying slowly together reeking the nearby air. 
I open one of hubby's tech books and find it neatly hollowed out in the middle...a perfect little house for a mouse.  In fact, many of the books have been chewed at the edges and have sections reduced to rubble.  Who knows how many mice have been through here, nibbling on those words of wisdom. 
Lots of old gardening supplies, aquarium paraphernalia, hubby's work bench, his various collections of odds and ends for fixing things, paint cans, old boots and shoes, old coats, and suitcases all occupy another corner of the basement.  Here too is the usual small appliance graveyard  kept for any useful working parts.
These smells waft upstairs any time, but are actually circulated when the air conditioning in summer is on or the odd time the heat pump cuts in during the winter. Combine that with our "big dogs in the house all the time" smells and you can understand why, like the joke going around, I fear the Febreeze people showing up at my door to do a commercial. I do use lots of Febreeze, by the way, and that is no joke.