My son’s room has an odd odor. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s clean – which is rare – or a pigsty, which is common. Whatever state I find it in, the unpleasant stench remains.
Strangely enough, I’m the only one who seems to notice. When I open his door I’m immediately assaulted by the stink, but whenever I ask about it, no one else has a clue what I’m referring to.
“I don’t smell anything,” my 12-year-old son will say as he takes a whiff while playing video games with his friends.
“Yeah,” his pals will agree, looking at me with concerned expressions as though I’m a confused old lady. “We don’t either.”
Even my husband barely notices it and will say it's so subtle that it's nothing. Yet for me and my keen sense of smell, it's not nothing, and although I can't pinpoint what it is exactly, I find it offensive. It’s like a weird mixture of stale air, sweaty socks and moldy something or other.
I’ve tried sniffing it out, tearing his room apart, sweeping everything from under his bed and cleaning out his closets. But even after I’ve changed his sheets, washed his floor, thrown out his garbage, opened the windows and put my eager nostrils to everything I can find, I’m still left wondering what it is.
His backpack, thankfully, is far more obvious. Last week I opened it and the reek was overwhelming.
“What in the world?” I asked as I pulled out a mashed banana and a rotting, half-eaten apple. “What else is in here?”
Dumping the contents of the bag on the floor I also discovered a punctured orange, another bruised apple, an open tube of yogurt and a stack of wet homework that had disintegrated into pieces.
Revolted, I looked at him like I’d found a dead body.
“This is a brand new backpack,” I scolded. “This is exactly how the last one got ruined.”
Apologizing, and promising to put his leftover lunch in the fridge in the future, he meant well, but I knew this would happen again. It’s not that he’s a bad kid, he’s actually a terrific one – he just can’t seem to remember to take care of his stuff. Apparently it’s not all that uncommon amongst his peers.
After he failed to find his missing ski jacket and the three hoodies he’s been looking for over the last couple months, I decided to check out the lost and found at Sam’s school. It was like a store in there.
Unclaimed shoes, jeans, shorts, t-shirts, sweaters, hats, gloves, hoodies, coats and bags filled several large bins.
As I went through the huge piles, I wondered if other parents knew about this crazy corner of the school where lovely presents go to die. If their kids are anything like mine, maybe they’ll luck out and recover some of their valuable items in there.
I, unfortunately, did not. I’m still on the hunt for his misplaced jacket and hoodies.
The true mystery that I’d like to solve, though, is the culprit behind the nasty smell in his bedroom. Now that would satisfy my senses.
Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be contacted at www.LoriWelbourne.com