For some reason that I may never understand, I have a terrible sense of smell. Pretty much always have. And it's only gotten worse since I crash-landed on an icy sidewalk and concussed my poor "Sarah Bellum" two winters ago. On the bright side, a lack of smell can come in pretty handy (ie, picking up doggie deposits and such).
But there are 3 times in my life when my sense of smell roared to life. Ladies, you probably know what I'm about to say. My ability to smell rivaled any perfume tester's -- when I was pregnant.
On our 30th anniversary last week, Mr. B and I were reminiscing about this oddity (my ability to smell things, not being pregnant, although that is a rather odd state of being when you really think about it, but I'll leave that tale alone for now).
Six months into our marriage, I was a news reporter for the Houston Chronicle, covering a 4-county beat. Mr. B, much to his chagrin, had to drive 75 mile each way to his place of work on the outskirts of of Houston, because one of the conditions of taking my job was that I needed to be a resident in my beat. We settled in a little town in the Texas hill country called Brenham, home to some very happy cows.
One night, after making his 75-mile trek home, Mr. B. prepared dinner. He's always liked to cook, and on this particular evening he made kung pao chicken. And egg rolls. With peanut butter inside. I found the addition of peanut butter a bit peculiar, but, figuring I was lucky to have a husband who liked to cook, I did not make any remarks.
Another thing Mr. B. liked was his aquarium. I take that back. He LOVED his fishies, and he purchased brine shimp (aka "sea monkeys") for them as a special treat, which he kept in the freezer. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The morning after (hint hint) the Chinese dinner, I opened the fridge to grab something for breakfast. I took one look at the leftovers, the gelatinous kung pao chicken and the (YUCK) peanut butter egg rolls. And before you could say, "home of Blue Bell Ice Cream," I experienced (hmmmm . . . how to put this delicately) a tsunami of nausea engulfing me.
So much for breakfast.
Really, I thought? But we've been so careful. Just to be on the safe side, I made an appointment with the doctor. Mr. B came with me, I gave the nurses a little sample in their plastic container (why are they clear?) for proof positive, had an exam, and I received the happy tidings. I left the exam room in shock. Neither of us could say much as we drove away from the clinic, because, yes, I was very very very much pregnant.
And I could smell things. Terrible things. Horrific things. Things other people could not detect in the slightest.
We went home, and Mr B, as he is fond of doing when life feels out of control (and it was feeling so that day) went to the fridge and opened the door to look for a snack. Again the tsunami rolled in, chasing me all the way to the ladies' room.
After wiping my brow with a damp cloth, I stared at my pale face in the mirror and I made an important decision: The fridge door was was simply going to have to stay shut.
And so I made Mr. B promise that he would never never never ever open it again until Baby B arrived or the roiling seas settled. So for the the next few months, we stored perishables in an igloo cooler. (I'll bet there are stranger things pregnant women have requested, but, yes, this was way weird -- and absolutely essential if I was going to hold down food for the next 8 months or so, or until the roiling seas settled.)
About 3 months later, when I was just beginning to experience a morning here or there of freedom on the high seas, I leaned over the sink in the ladies room and applied some color to my cheeks. Now mind you, I was standing in a location that was as far away from the fridge as a person could get in our home.
All of a sudden, completely without warning, it hit. The smell, bananas + linoleum, the tsunami, the panting, the knees on the cold tiles, the wet cloth applied to my face. The profanity. I screamed a profanity that is very unlike me to scream. YOU b-----d!!!!! I shouted in a hoarse voice. You promised me!!!! You PROMISED me!!!
As is turns out, Mr. B had eked the freezer door open a smidgen to sneak out some brine shrimp for his fishies for whom he was feeling very sorry. How big could that be? An inch, maybe two? But no sooner had he done so, when he was assaulted by the faraway rantings of a hysterical, out-of-her-ever-loving mind, pregnant woman. His bride. Me.
He apologized profusely, telling me he was sure there was no way I'd be able to tell he'd opened the freezer compartment because he'd done it so quickly. And he was shocked at the speed between Point A (opening the fridge) and Point B (the profanity). Milliseconds. Maybe shorter. Seriously, how fast can odors travel? I still wonder if they set some kind of record that day.
The fridge was not, I guarantee you, opened again for months. At least not until the 2 friends who came to help us move back to Houston were pressed into action cramming the remaining half of our belongings into boxes, loading them into a van, driving them 75 miles, then unloading the unmarked boxes into our new apartment wherever they could find a place.
Because in the oh-so-familiar ladies' room, on the day of the move, I experienced a new sensation, which was not a tsunami, but rather very convincing evidence that our EarthDoctorSon would soon be making an appearance.
I came home 5 days later with the squirmy bundle to an apartment that looked like it had exploded with boxes. (But that's yet another story.)
The shiny new fridge door could be opened, a new life had begun, and I would not smell linoleum and bananas for another 18 months.
Truly, a blessing!
Image 1 from For the Love of Perfume blog, Aug 22, 2008 post, "Only the pregnant nose knows"
Image 2 from mainevelophile
Image 2 from Instructables.com