You know the smell. You catch a whiff of something . . . something not quite right. But you’re on your way to another room, so you walk by and forget the smell. Later, you notice it again, and it is familiar but unsettling. “Can you smell that?” you ask your family. They sniff around, and some of them can smell it, and some of them can’t. The family project evaporates in indecision.
A few days (or weeks) later, you walk by and there, there is the smell. It is more noticeable now, more disagreeable. It cannot be ignored. The phone rings, you’re expecting a call; you forget the smell.
On a sunny, breezy day you open all the windows and air out the house. More days pass.
Later, puttering around the sewing room, you move a forgotten box and EEEEEEEwwwwwuuurgh, you find the source of the smell. Poor wee mousie. He is not so cute now.
Cleaning the sewing room becomes an all-day project. You find small caches of sunflower seeds, a few kibbles of dog food carefully hoarded behind a stack of books. And then, horrors, your special length of black sparkly fabric is enshrouded in fluff. Black sparkly fluff. It has become a glamorous mouse nest.
More horrors appear. By the end of the day there is a body count of three. They were all tiny babies — sad for them, but lucky for you, because the body mass was small and the mess and smell, therefore, minimal. You recall the day your little cattle dog caught a mouse in the house. It was probably the mama.
But good has been done. The fabric stash has been sorted: this stack to wash and give away, that stack to wash and keep. Bits of uncompleted projects have been reunited, labeled, and packaged securely in tight-lidded boxes. Forgotten books are reviewed and remembered as sources of inspiration and delight. Childish art, now several years old, is rediscovered and treasured.
And you vow never to ignore that smell again.
p.s. Mom, I found the Civil War quilt blocks.