For the past week, whenever I went into the shed (which is attached to the back of my house, off the kitchen) I've noticed that it smells a little funky. I thought maybe it was the trash, though it's certainly not warm enough for the trash to smell. Put the trash out Monday night, it still smelled. Tuesday, it smelled a little stronger, and I didn't like where my mind was going. Made Mario, who has the world's worst nose, smell it, and he said, "Have you accounted for all the cats? It smells like something died in there."
Cats were all accounted for, but it did indeed smell like something died in my shed. Or under my shed. Or in between the walls and vinyl siding on my shed. Originally, I planned to dedicate Saturday to emptying it and locating the source of the funk, but I couldn't take it. I was up Tuesday night obsessing, and yesterday at work I kept thinking how much worse it would be by the weekend.
So last night, I put on old clothes and tore into the mess. You may remember that a few months ago I had a leak in the shed roof. Other than cleaning up the immediate mess and paying for the roof repairs, I kind of neglected to deal with the rest of the problem. I procrastinated on the insulation and new piece of ceiling drywall, and I thought that's all I was ignoring. Well, apparently there was more water damage than I realized - the shed slants downhill to the far corner, and lots of water had run stealthily along the floor, making muck as it passed. At some point, the mouse must have gotten in, and at some later point, after much chewing and pooping, the mouse died. Possibly from eating potting soil, compost activator or the epsom salts I keep for my roses, all of whose bags and boxes were chewed open from the bottom and the contents scattered all over the floor. (This was hidden from view by my clothes drying racks, which were stacked up in the narrow center of the shed, waiting for spring).
Eight trash bags later and I'm still not finished, but I've found the body, disposed of it, and sprayed enough bleach cleaner in there to disinfect the whole house. I stuck my head in this morning, and the funk had definitely decreased. It's not completely gone, but that's because I haven't torn everything out yet. I'm debating ripping out the last of the old linoleum, because it too got water soaked and is probably accounting for a good bit of the smell that my mind has identified with the dead mouse.
I am completely grossed out by this. I know it happens - it's an old house, it was a cold winter, I had a situation building in there that basically set out the welcome mat for him, but I still feel like having mice mean I have a dirty house. So the reign of terror has begun. One little suicidal mousie - come on, sneaking into a house with 12 cats! how dumb was that mouse? and yet he died of other causes - and I'm ready to take half my house to the thrift store. I had to stop working in the shed around 8:30 because I lost the light, but then I went upstairs and tore through the workroom, getting rid of all the scraps I had that were too small to do anything with, dealing with the leaning tower of magazines in the living room that are mostly heading for the thrift store or recycle bin, and doing a good scrub of the kitchen while I was at it.
I took a break around 10:30 to work on another set of tshirts - Burdastyle for him, KS 3338 for me - and got the shoulder seams and neck bands finished before I felt the need to clean the bathroom. And so it went. I finally got to bed around 2:00 a.m., and I was so tired then that I couldn't sleep.