A Little Mystery

Last week, there was a funny smell in my house. Not funny as in “ha ha”, but funny as in “peculiar.” My husband noticed it first, because he has a more sensitive nose. He wanted me to help him figure out where it was coming from, but that had to wait until it got worse, so I could smell it. Fortunately (?), it did get worse. It wasn’t horrendous, like a dead rat in the crawl space; it was just annoying, like slightly rotten vegetation.

We emptied the kitchen compost tray on the compost heap outside. We took out the trash. We sniffed around the house, trying to figure out where the smell was coming from, but we couldn’t track it down. We noticed it when we were relaxing in the living room, so we started pulling out the chair cushions. We found a few cracker crumbs and candy wrappers, but nothing rotten.

We sprayed Febreze on all the furniture and tried to pretend the smell was gone, but we were not fooling ourselves. It was subtle, but it was there. We looked under the furniture. We looked behind the furniture. Still nothing. We gave up and went to bed. The next day, my husband went back to his job and I went back to my spreadsheets. When I took a coffee break and relaxed in the living room, I smelled it again.

That’s when I thought about my painting space in the dining room and the vase of sunflowers I had left there. I got up to check and, sure enough, the smell was coming from my wilting sunflowers. The older ones looked pretty bad, so I pulled them immediately and threw them on the compost heap. The newer ones were still pretty, so I wanted to try painting them again.

My husband came home and I explained about the sunflowers. The older ones were gone and I was ready to believe the smell was gone, too, but he said it was not. I changed the vase and the water, hoping that would take care of the problem, but the problem was in the flowers, not the water. My supportive husband did not immediately throw the flowers on the compost heap, but I knew it was only a matter of time. It was too late for me to paint them that night, so I made plans to paint them the next day.

My husband is supportive, but he does have a sensitive nose. When I went to my painting space the next day, he confessed that he had sprayed Febreze on my sunflowers after I went to bed the night before. In case you wondered, sunflowers do not like to be Febrezed. I had to take one of them straight to the compost heap, but the other three still looked okay.

Three Sunflowers

Three Sunflowers


Whew! I got my painting. As soon as it was done, the flowers had to go, but at least they’ve been immortalized on canvas.

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