Mommy Musings

The Stinky Basement Mystery of 2007

Every year when I put away the Halloween decorations that are scattered haphazardly around the house, I can’t help but think of a chilly October day in 2007 that has lived in infamy in our little family. Our home at that time had a very large partially finished basement. For months that year, there had been a weird odor coming from the basement but we could never figure out what it was. I finally gave up trying to locate the source of the smell and just tried to avoid the basement as much as possible. (I don’t recommend doing this, however.)

A couple of weeks before Halloween, with my three year-old wanting to “help” and my one year-old that never let me put her down, I  decided to go dig in the basement for the Halloween decor and feebly try to concoct some sort of fall wonderment in our home for my little girls. It took me quite awhile to locate the Rubbermaid tub labeled, “Halloween/Fall Decor.” That sounds like I’m really organized and my house is sooo put together doesn’t it? Just wait.

I grabbed the big tub (that smelled odd in hindsight) and headed upstairs. As I peeled back the lid that was already partially open, I was hit with the most foul smell I have ever smelled in my life. After gagging and dry heaving, I noticed that mold and things I didn’t recognize were growing on everything inside the bin. I had visions of mice and rat carcasses but there weren’t any signs of dead (or living) animals. Thank you, Jesus! I was already horrified enough. I very hesitantly picked up each item one by one and inspected them for the cause of this awful smell.

After inspecting a few items, I found a paper bag covered with more mold than anything else in the bin. I opened it and discovered what looked to be the remains of a pumpkin. All that was left (whatever it was) was green, brown and liquified. My mind instantly jumped to the previous Halloween when my oldest had painted a small pumpkin at a friend’s Halloween party. We displayed it proudly in our living room for a couple of weeks. In my haste to clean up Halloween and get out Christmas stuff the previous year, I must have absent-mindedly stuck her pumpkin in with the decor instead of throwing it away. The mystery of the never-ending basement stench was solved and I went on a massive cleaning spree that day. I didn’t find any more rotten pumpkins but every fall I have an overwhelming urge to go through our storage bins.

Today, as I was putting away the remains of the Halloween decor I thought about my infamous mishap. There has to be a lesson in that story somewhere, but all I could think of was this, “Don’t be in such a hurry that you end up smelling rotten pumpkins for a year.” I know some deeper spiritual truth could be pulled from this unfortunate tale but I can’t think of anything so here is your weekly dose of practical “wisdom”…when you put away your Halloween or fall decor, remember the year of the rotten pumpkin and make sure that each item you put away is actually supposed to be in storage and not in the trash!



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