The Case of the Missing… well, I’d rather not say

The call came unexpected and with little notice. We had a house showing in thirty minutes. But knowing the drill well, I got to work getting our house in order.

After wiping yogurt smears from what seemed like every window, mopping lingering crumbs off the floors, and meticulously cleaning the house to a pristine shine, I sent my oldest daughter, husband, and baby to the car to wait for me as I did a final check of the house. I headed upstairs to fetch my two-year-old son from his bedroom for an afternoon at the park while our prospective buyers hopefully fell in love with the place.

Upon entering my son’s room, an overwhelming smell assaulted me. I knew the odor well. After all, I’d been changing dirty diapers for almost five years straight now. But this was no ordinary diaper change. I was standing in a crime scene. The crime? Covering his floor, toys, bedding, and walls in, well, you-know-what. It was my worst nightmare come true.

Checking the clock, I saw I had 15 minutes before the showing. I hurried my son to the bathroom for a quick scrub-down (clearly he had way too much fun playing with it) and sent him to the car while I scrubbed his room from top to bottom, opening the windows and spraying deodorizer everywhere. I checked the clock–5 minutes.

I grew frantic. It still reeked. I couldn’t show the house with this stench. But after literally scrubbing every surface, the odor was still pungent… And then I realized I had never recovered the dirty diaper. Where was it? I upended the mattress, searched the toy chest, and meticulously looked over and under every object. But it was nowhere to be found.

One minute to go.

I had to find that diaper… fast.

On hands and knees I crawled along the floor, peering under the furniture, trying to smell where it was coming from. Although I saw nothing, it seemed as if it was coming from… no, it couldn’t be. The vent? That’s when I discovered my first clue. A smear on the grating. I scrubbed it clean, but something wasn’t right… The vent cover looked disturbed, slightly crooked. I lifted it and peeked inside.

In that moment I solved the case of the missing diaper.

Shoved in the vent was the culprit. I hurriedly retrieved it while stifling a gag and sprayed an extra dose of Lisol in the vent for good measure. I made it out of the house just as the buyers arrived, praying the whole way to the park that the smell had dissipated before they entered. We didn’t come home to find the buyers sprawled out unconscious on my son’s bedroom floor, so my guess was the room aired out in time. Only his mother could have survived the smell, I’m sure.

The investigative lesson I learned that day? Follow your inSTINKS. ha… ha…

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