All week I could smell it…that mildewy smell where you know something’s been sitting there, soaking wet, for too long and there will be mold and it will be a disaster and you better find it. Either that or it could be Henry’s old shoes. Either way, I could not find the stink.
So somehow I convinced myself that I was just smelling imaginary things. One morning Kate walked down the stairs, smiled and said “it smells so summery in here!” and even though in my head I was thinking “only if you’re talking about wet pool towels that have been sitting in a heap in a dark cave getting moldy for a week” I guess I wanted to believe her about the lovely summery smell.
And nobody else in the whole entire house could smell it. I don’t get it because I could smell it in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. Which made me not sleep even more because hello, THERE IS MILDEW SOMEWHERE IN MY HOUSE. But nobody else could smell it.
Me: Do you smell that?
Them: Smell what?
Me: That smell.
Them: What smell?
Me: You don’t smell that?!
Them: Smell what?
So I let it go for a few more days. Until Friday night. I decided to go into the basement (where I never go) for some reason and that is when I entered the mildew pit. A ginormous section of the carpet was wet and the storage room was wet and there was water dripping all helter-skelter from the pipe. So I spent the next two hours sucking up water with the steam cleaner.
And that was how the weekend began.
Saturday morning I promised to take Kate shopping. So we went. We spent approximately 7 minutes walking around Old Navy, at which point we had this exchange:
Kate: Mom, I think I’m going to throw up.
Kate covers her mouth.
Me: Put the shirts down and get out of here.
I then walked as speedily as I could without looking like I was trying to shoplift, and directed Kate to the mulch outside where she let loose with the vomit. And that was a whole new fresh Hell for me to deal with.
When we got home, I hugged poor little Kate, and gave her some crushed ice and Coke and a soft blanket. David and the boys mulched all day while I thought about the vomit and what to do about the carpet. I stared at that carpet for a while. I did not come up with any bright ideas. So then I went to the pet store with Ella, where she really REALLY wanted to bring home a puppy. I told her she could either have a puppy, or a dad. I didn’t really say that, but I was thinking it, because if I brought home a puppy, I’m pretty sure the dad we have would leave.
When we got home, we patched Ella’s eye. I don’t think she appreciates the eye patches all that much if I’m being honest. Actually, if I’m being really honest, she is slightly tolerant of them at best.
Ella: Mom, how many more minutes do I have to wear this?
Ella: But how many minutes?
That’s four hours.
Ella: Mom, now how many more minutes?
Ella, look at the clock.
Ella: But can you just tell me how many more minutes?
3 hours and 45 minutes.
Ella: What time will it be then?
Time for you to get a watch.
Ella: Mom. Can you just tell me?
And this goes on forever and ever until at some point I say Ella Louise, don’t ask me again. You can take it off at 7:15. That’s it.
Sometimes I sit there and watch her while she reads with her little glasses on and her little eye patch and her little feet wiggling the way she does. And every now and then she’ll push up her glasses and I can barely stand it. I can barely stand how cute she looks.
Those moments are gifts.
Those moments make vomit and wet carpets tolerable.