For as long as I can remember, I and everyone else in my immediate family have always been able to tell when an item has been inside my grandparent’s house. You see, my grandparent’s house has a distinct aroma. It is a combination of potpourri, mothballs and something else I can’t quite put my finger on, so I’ll just call it gorilla dust.
Whenever they brought a care package over to our house (magazines, homemade potato salad, lawn gnomes, etc.), the items would be soaked in “grandma house” residue. Years later, having been away from their normal environment for all that time, the items will still carry their trademark fragrance. I don’t pretend to understand the science behind it, but it’s nothing short of magical.
About a year ago, I found myself in need of a new residence. Around this time, my grandparents, who had been at the same location for my entire life, moved to a new place. Their old place was vacant and they desperately needed a tenant. Partly because I am a loving grandson and partly because I knew I’d get a great deal on rent, I agreed to move in.
When I moved in, the house’s smell was overwhelming. You could smell in on the walls. You could smell in on the floor. You could even smell it on the ceiling if you climbed on top of your couch and pressed your nose up against it as your brother walked in and laughed at you (hypothetically speaking).
It took a little time, but I was eventually able to air out the house. I opened all the windows. I filled the house with my two fragrances of choice, vanilla and cinnamon, in the hopes they could kill the old smell. Slowly, the smell began to go away. I had won.
I was mistaken.
You see, that smell had been living in the house for several decades. It had become a living entity. It was alive, it was powerful, and it was angry.
What I thought was the smell slowly going away was really me slowly becoming immune to the smell. I was getting used to it.
It was… attaching itself to me.
After almost a year, I have become one of those care package items my grandparents would occasionally bring my parents. I have the smell on me. It’s on my skin. It’s on my clothes. It’s in my hair.
I can’t escape it.
At church yesterday, my mom leaned over to me and whispered, “your jacket smells like grandma’s house.” I couldn’t smell it, but I knew she was right. After church, I made certain to stand at least five yards away from anyone to which I was speaking.
I went to my parent’s house immediately afterward so that I could wash my jacket. I had to wash it and let it air dry somewhere other than “the house.” Otherwise, the smell would get right back on the jacket.
My jacket can never enter my house again. From now on, before entering, I will have to take off my jacket and leave it in my car. That’s the only recourse. However, by now I am certain the inside of my car smells like grandma’s house, too.
What can I do? I would try to destroy the house by setting it on fire, but I’m sure that would only make it more angry.
I need ideas, people. And I need them fast. I’m afraid I don’t have much more time.