2.11.2010

{ Why Do Your Pants Smell Like Popcorn? }

I have a very sensitive nose.  I once saved my husband from what I'm certain would've been a nasty case of food poisoning or possibly death by smelling one mold spore on his sandwich bread from 10 feet away.  It was very impressive.  I do not subscribe to the "just cut the moldy part off, the rest of it's fine" way of thinking.  When I was in 6th grade we learned about mold and what I remember is (as I am constantly reminding my family) that mold is a continuous filamentous structure.  This means that it tunnels along, unseen in your food, and then at the last minute looks you in the eye and laughs.  Basically it's the mole of the fungus world... only grosser because you might accidentally eat it.  (By the way, if you are some kind of mold scientist and are going to leave a comment telling me that mold is not a continuous filamentous structure - just walk away now.  If I have to stop sounding smart because you are a know-it-all, I might have to cut you.)

Because of the aforementioned sensitivity, I have some very definite opinions about smells.  I love the smell of lilacs at Easter time. I love the smell of my baby's spitty breath. I love the smell of a sink or bathtub that's been scrubbed down with Comet.  (I have a childhood memory of my grandmother cleaning her tub with Comet once before I took a bath.  I also remember wishing that she would've let me have more water because it seemed like she had a really big bathtub and I was pretty sure that I would be able to pretend I was a mermaid or a whale.  I tried this once at my own house as a child resulting in the flooding of my parents ceiling and me running nudey across the kitchen trying to escape my very irritated mother.  The problem with the wet/nudey escape is that you end up not so much running as sliding on your belly across the linoleum.)

One of my least favorite smells?  Burnt popcorn.  It's not so much the initial smell that bugs me, but the fact that it creeps along like that smoke monster on Lost taking over every part of the house.  Also, once burnt popcorn has made itself at home, it is pretty hard to evict.

What I learned this week is that when the motor on your washing machine burns up half way through the spin cycle, leaving plastic shavings on your still really wet clothes it smells like a bag of burnt popcorn.  Only this bag of popcorn was being popped by one of those crazies who are trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for something really obscure like "largest bag of popcorn ever popped"... but because they left the room to check on their huge ball of tinfoil, they couldn't hear the popping slow to every few seconds and instead became the world record holders for the "largest bag of popcorn ever burned".

My family (as always) had a lot of suggestions about how the situation should be handled.  It basically became an episode of Solve-the-Crisis-Family-Feud.

Solution #1 - Plunge and scrub the clothes in the bathtub and tell your family and friends that you are doing it because you care about the environment.  Challenge them to wash their clothes in the bathtub too so that you look authentic and passionate.

Solution #2 - Plunge and scrub the clothes in the bathtub and tell your family and friends that you are doing it as research for a book that you intend to write about how giving up modern conveniences is liberating and character building - or some other such nonsense.

Solution #3 - Load up the little red wagon and walk the mile to the Laundromat/Keno Parlor/Dry Cleaner.  Tell your friends and family that you enjoy the exercise.  Also, come up with a smart sounding theory about how paying to do the laundry actually saves you money.

Solution #4 - Use the salad spinner.  I'm not sure how I would fit my husband's jeans into the salad spinner, but I'm fairly certain that I shouldn't tell my family about washing the baby's poo-explosion clothes in the same place where I wash their food.

Solution #5 - Craigslist.  You can get a replacement washing machine for $50 bucks... as long as you "don't mind holding the lid down during the spin cycle" or are not concerned that "the inside smells weird, but the clothes come out pretty good."

My mom had the best solution, "buy a new washing machine".  I have long believed that the people that claim that money can't buy happiness are either liars, stupid or rich... and now I have proof.  Money can buy jeans that don't have baby vomit on them.  Money can buy little boy shirts without juice stains.  Money can buy running clothes that aren't covered in old sweat.  Money can let you send your kids to school in clothes that smell like fabric softener instead of burnt popcorn ... and that, people, is happiness.

(ps- thanks to my mom for our new washing machine and to my sister who took my laundry to her house and returned it washed, dried and folded.)
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7 comments:

The Laundry Queen said...

I had my washing machine motor burn out, too. As I also have a sensitive nose, we vacated the house for 2 days while the smell dissipated. Luckily we knew someone with an empty house AND washing machine. Glad you have a new washer!

(And you're right about the money thing-- my grandma always told me that lack of money should never stop you from doing anything. She was rich.)

(ps. re-read your second sentence.) ; )

e. said...

Thanks LQ - I need to read more slowly when I edit.

e.

Chelly said...

Oh wow~ I could SMELL every single thing you mentioned here just reading about it~ my husband has referred to me as a bloodhound on steroids (and lilacs are my favorite smell in the world besides baby smell and little ones fresh out of the bath smell.) My problem (as if that wasn't enough) is that my sense of smell is hotwired to my gag reflex. I don't think I need to expound on that ;o) SO glad you got a new washer! Nothing like clean clothes *mmmmmmmm*

(and LOL @ Laundry Queen's grandma! :o) )

mrs. olson said...

Yay for a new washing machine!!

Shelli said...

Burnt popcorn is the worst! If I ever come to your house for dinner again, I'll bring the salad. :D

carmar76 said...

Great story! Happy the washingmachine worked out. And apparently the power of suggestion is strong in this one - I am suddenly smelling non-burnt popcorn!

Amy Jo said...

Yay for new washing machines! Glad you got the problem taken care of AND that you gave me a few chuckles with the story!