I’ve always had a keen olfactory system, but over the past couple years, it has become my unwanted super power. Or maybe it is my kryptonite.
Not only do I smell everything, but seemingly ordinary smells can nauseate me. Last night, cooking dinner, I had to walk away from the stove twice because I was on the verge of gagging.
Gagging! Until my forties, I had to be cleaning up vomit for my gag reflex to kick in. Now, the smell of mayo can do it.
On a bad day, if my husband breathes within a six foot radius of me after eating licorice, it can trigger my gag reflex. On a good day, he can eat it on the other end of the sofa.
My poor husband! He thought I was joking when I first told him about the hyper-smell-reactivity, but now he asks me if it’s okay to eat near me.
Sometimes it’s not.
Smells I’ve always disliked now turn my stomach upside down. The heavy vinaigrette my husband loves on salads will drive me out of the room, and hot dogs are revolting. On the worst days, even foods I would eat, like scrambled eggs, have the same effect.
Carefully chosen, lightly scented candles have become kitchen necessities, because I do not like to wake to the aroma of last night’s dinner, no matter how good it was. (I will never again buy a house lacking an exhaust fan over the stove.)
It’s not only food that offends me. Last week, I
made my husband throw away a bathroom waste bin because I could smell it from my seat on the sofa. Through a closed door. After I had thoroughly cleaned the bathroom. I tried spraying the bin with Lysol first, but ended up with a Lysol induced headache. So it had to go.
I refuse to go inside MicroCenter because it smells like mildew. My husband and daughter insist it doesn’t, but I doubt they would notice the stench of old dishrags or sponges either. (I change my kitchen linens every day, so this is an untested theory.)
I slipped my shoes off in the car the other day, only to be assaulted by my own stinky socks/shoes/feet. The shoes were quickly on again as I exclaimed, “Oh, sorry! I didn’t know my shoes were so stinky!” My husband hadn’t noticed.
Unfortunately, I notice and tell him that he smells all the time.
Other people, and their houses, smell, too, but no matter the circumstances or smells, I try not to react. If I feel gaggy, I go home where my own family gets to hear things like:
- Did you have onions/mustard/coffee/pickles/chocolate while you were out?
- You can’t smell that?
- Did you buy a new shampoo/deodorant?
- Where did you wash your hands? That soap is nice/spicy/perfume-y.
- I can smell you from way over here. You need a shower.
- Please wash that pan; it’s stinking up the whole house.
- Prop the door open so the washer doesn’t get stinky!
- You smell like sunshine and dirt. (That one is a compliment.)
- Do I smell like bacon/garlic/smoke/curry to you?
- How can diesel be clean when it nauseates me?
- Put that in a ziploc and then in a container so it doesn’t stink up the fridge.
- Your room smells. Open the window for a bit.
- That blanket smells like dogs.
- Why does it smell like old cardboard in here?
- Please brush your teeth.
- The air smells like creosote today.
Most days I feel worse for my family than I do for myself, and my husband takes the brunt of it. I must annoy the bejeebers out of him, but to his credit, he puts up with this new kind of weirdness. He often laughs, but he rarely complains.