Monday, March 8, 2010

Snow and Smells

I agree with Alana about bad smells (and thanks to Marigold for the link), but because my blog's subtitle doesn't include "things I dislike," I don't want to spend too much time on this topic. Those offenses I like to nip in the bud, but it's not always possible. When we moved into this house 20 years ago I began to strip it of the smell of cigarettes, and it took a few years before people started to say that the house smelled as mine ought--whatever that meant.

But that odor was released again and assaulted my sensibilities this week when B. and I went at our ceilings with a will and removed the decades-old acoustic junk, a.k.a. popcorn or cottage cheese, stuff I hate because it can't be cleaned. Perhaps because I clean so infrequently, I'd like to do a thorough job of it. At least that dirty thing on the bottom of the room, the wall-to-wall carpet, can be replaced when one wants to remove everything that offends.

On the other hand, I grew up in a house filled with the smell of cigarettes, so I don't think of it as vile, exactly. All the time I thought it was gone, it was probably melding with the me-smells (what are those? cookies and eggs, lemon oil polish and grapefruit dish soap?) the way my mother's heritage melds with other parts of me. Now that it is more gone than before, the house will smell different again, like the new me.

Spring winds are blowing away everything stale in the olfactory department, I think--at least in my marine-temperate zone. But one last picture reminder of the piney forests about 3,000 feet higher up: these gumdrop-colored houses that got a recent blanket of smoothing snow all around, reminding me of candy decorations on gingerbread, and royal icing.


Deborah said...

We just arrived home from a vacation and I noticed the smell in our house. It's what I would call the "us" smell. I was happy to notice it because up until this year, our home always smelled of a moldy basement. Thanks to some major renovations, that smell is almost totally gone.
I totally understand offending smells.

Love the colour of that house!


Pom Pom said...

Smells are fascinating. I wish for one more whiff of my childhood home. I loved that fragrance. I love the smell of coffee in the house and pot roast cooking because those are smells that remind me of my mom.

Matt said...

Due to asbestos liability I don't let my tenants even touch the popcorn on the ceiling. As long as it stays in place and is covered with a fresh coat of paint every couple of years no one gets hurt.

margaret said...

The house I grew up in smelled of coffee and cigarettes. I don't mind the smell of cigarettes either unless it's old and ingrained.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I hate the popcorn, too, and one of the things I love about my house--which we've lived in for three years--is that it doesn't have any. I think it's the first house I've lived in that doesn't.

When we moved in, the house had a strong mildew smell, most likely emanating from the shag carpets that we removed right away. Once they were gone, the smell, for the most part, was gone, too. But sometimes on warm days, just as you open the door, you can smell that smell still. I like it, because it reminds me of the excitement I felt moving into a new house.