Friday, April 17, 2009


I’ve recently noticed that I’m a very “smelly” person. (And Hubster’s head just exploded as he thinks of all the things he could say in response to that statement).

Not to say I never smell bad, I mean, come on, I’m only human… but what I mean is that I’m very sensitive to smell. I think I always have been. It used to get me into trouble. As a kid, I smelled things very obviously, much to the embarrassment and frustration of my parents. Yup. It made them nuts. But I really couldn’t help it. As I got older, I learned how to notice smells without sticking my head into my dinner.

I recently bought a bar of Cetaphil soap. As I unwrapped the package, I noticed that I smelled like the lotion my grandmother used to use – Nivea. I didn’t really like the feel of her lotion, but I loved the smell of it. Every time I walk into my bathroom right now, I’m reminded of her.

Smells are very important in my memory. My mother used to use Oil of Olay face lotion (I used to joke and call it oil of Old-age). That’s a smell I always associate with her and my childhood. I still remember the smell of the laundry at my grandmother’s house. It always smelled like fresh air and sunshine. I wanted to bury myself in her blankets when I visited and just absorb all the smell I could.

I can still remember the exact smell of the apartment we lived in when we moved North to be with my stepdad when I was 8.

I love the smell of toast and of coffee. I used to love the smell of the top of my dogs head, now I love the smell of the girl’s heads. I loved the cologne my husband used to wear when we were dating. I love the smell of laundry that’s been dried outside. I love the smell of my house when the windows have been opened with a breeze running through the house. I love the smell of roasted chicken. I love the smell of my linen closet. I love to smell herbs. I love the crisp smell of snow in the air. I used to love the smell of the blanket I carried around as a kid. I love the smell of marshmallows and that first scent when onions start cooking in a pan. I love the smell of curry powder. And of clothes washed in Ivory detergent.

I hate the smell of popcorn, especially microwave popcorn, cheap alfreado sauce or cheap parmesan cheese, ramen noodles, boxed mac and cheese sauce, the pavement after it rains (that smell makes me feel like I can’t get my breath). I hate the smell of lilies. I also hate the residual smell in the house of bacon after it’s been cooked. And the smell of cigarette smoke and anything musty disgusts me. I have a hard time with the smell of tea with milk in it. (why I have no idea). I hate the smell of milk.

I remember when we were selling our house in Eastcoastville and had a showing. We’d gone out for ice cream to get out of the house and when we came back and walked into the house, it smelled ALL WRONG. I could smell the people who had been in there. I hated that I could smell them and opened windows/doors to air the house out. It felt wrong and actually, these people tried to buy the house and the sale fell through multiple times and caused us much stress last summer. I wonder if in hindsight, I knew this. (I had my reservations about that transaction, but we proceeded anyway).

I HATED the smell of the temporary house we had last summer. It made me feel like a caged animal. It was musty and dank and just was just wrong, wrong, wrong. We really didn’t have a good experience living there.

I think my sense of smell is helpful. I think it helps to make me a better cook, and it helps me to know when I’m sick or my kids are sick. It helps me find problem spots in the house – like where the cat was peeing (gross, but true). I know my kids by smell – good and bad – any time.

It’s not so helpful when I’m pregnant. Ugh. And annoying when I’m in a situation where I can’t get away from a smell.

Good or bad (don’t worry , I’m not going to go around smelling you and judging you – but I will laugh if you start sniffing your armpits) I’m curious about the way things smell. It must be some left over feral instinct or something.

I know that Mouse, to a degree has inherited this. I remember the first time she came up to me, grabbed my hand and sniffed my arm. She took a deep breath and said “You smell good. Like Mommy”. I totally identified with her in that moment.

We had been out somewhere the other day and when we walked into the house, the scent of our house wafted over me and I thought “Ah, the smell of my house. It smells like home. And I love it”. I think it took a while for this to feel like OUR “home” to me, but now it smells just right.

1 comment:

becprints said...

I'm with you on this.
And yes, shudder to think of how you tolerated my house and its orchestra of smells.
Funny you mention the bacon, its been 4 days and when I come through the front door I'm still hit with that stale bacon smell. Ugh.