First up, our neighbors had their third child yesterday--a boy to add to the fray! We're so happy for everyone, mom and son are healthy and we can't wait to meet the new kid on the block.
For several months now I get the occasional whiff--more of a "whaft" of something foul and rotten. I have an exceptionally sensitive nose, so I ignored it for a while. It wasn't until Mr. D began complaining that I became concerned. Initially there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the smell, but after further sniffing around, I determined it was definitely coming from upstairs, more precisely, somewhere around two bedrooms and in my library.
Now you and I both realize Team Testosterone's capacity for mess-making, forbidden snacking in restricted areas and inventive chemistry experiments (most notably one involving a test tube and samples of pee and what might happen if you added various foodstuffs to it and let it sit for a long, long time. At least it sits until Mom discovers it in the corner of the bedroom and dumps the works into the nearest toilet while doling out a lecture on Gross! Unhygienic! Smells! Freaking DISGUSTING!). Naturally I blamed the Team and did a thorough cleaning of every nook and cranny to find the cause. I came up with a huge load of random crappe to drag to the dumpster or the thrift shop and I found several missing items of clothing, but nothing smelled unusually bad.
The smell continued to linger, sometimes a faint scent like that of phlox brought across the yard on a summer breeze, sometimes an overpowering stench like a room full of sweaty seventh graders. I kept the windows open to ventilate after ruling out the possibility of the garbage dumpster beside the garage being the root of the odor.
I then ascertained that the smell seemed prevalent in carpeted rooms--the rooms with tile floor seemed fine. It occurred to me that when I cleaned the carpets this summer, perhaps I had inadvertently created the smell--had I used too much soap? Maybe I should've hired professionals to clean the rugs. I considered calling a cleaning service, but on a whim opened the closet containing the furnace upstairs (we have a small furnace, an auxiliary heat source to assist our radiant heating system). PHEW!
I'd already made an appointment for a guy to come check the thermostats before it gets super-cold and decided I'd consult with him first before hiring carpet cleaners. Yesterday he arrived, agreed that we need to replace 2 thermostats and then I opened the closet door for him.
"Dead mouse," he proclaimed after inhaling once.
"Can you do anything about it?" I prodded.
"Nope. You gotta call somebody who cleans ducts."
Now it makes sense--all that odor is getting vented through the ducts that coincidentally lead to rooms with carpet. Somewhere inside the duct work some varmint is decaying and decomposing. I unscrewed a few vent grills to poke around but found nothing. The verdict is in: I need professional help.
(And I'm secretly glad I didn't find the varmint when I unscrewed those grills.)