Have you ever had something really stinky in your house but you didn’t know the source? Several days ago, I noticed something smelling kind of, um, swampy in the kitchen. I figured it was the trash, even though the smell was most intense a few feet away, rather than right next to it. I continued smelling something over the next few days, but the trash had long since been taken out, so I thought, what’s the deal???
I looked all over in the area from which the smell seemed to emanate, but I still didn’t see anything that could be the source. Yet the smell intensified. I was so perplexed, I must admit that the possibility of it being the stench of a disembodied spirit kind of flickered through my mind. I mean, what else could get that funky without showing itself?
Finally, it dawned on me what the smell was: Some old flowers. Several weeks ago, my husband got me some beautiful purple mums, which last for a long time. But obviously they don’t last forever, and when they go bad, oh, boy, do they ever go bad.
Actually, I had thrown out the rest of the bouquet a couple of weeks ago, but three of the blooms were still looking quite good, so I’d placed them in a small ceramic vase to use as a centerpiece on the kitchen table. When my in-laws and stepkids arrived the week before last, someone moved the flowers over to the sideboard to make room for playing cards. And after that, the flowers somehow just blended with the other stuff there (including a fake plant), and I totally forgot about them; they actually still looked not so bad. But the smell was so awful that when I pulled them out of the narrow-necked vase, I started gagging. We went from a mildly disgusted, “What’s that smell?” to a frantic, “That’s it! Oh, dear lord, get it out of the house!”
Lesson learned: Chrysanthemums make a fantastic cut flower, but change their water often, avoid pinched vases (poor air circulation), and for the love of all that is good and non-stinky, don’t put them somewhere that you might forget about them!