My husband and I were having dinner at a lovely restaurant one night when I stopped eating mid-plate.

“I’m done,” I said.

“What? Why?” he asked.

“This pasta and shrimp is delicious but I’m full. I can’t eat any more.”

“Take it home,” he said.

“Where? Who’s going to eat it? When?”

“Our house. Me. Later,” he replied.

“But we’re not going to be here this weekend.”

“I don’t know,” he said. “What is this, the Seafood Inquisition?”

I scowled. I hated to waste food when we ate out, but I also hated when we brought it home and nobody ate it and then it turned into the Leftovers from the Black Lagoon. Before I know it, the fridge starts to smell and then the whole kitchen starts to stink until finally the only way to decontaminate it is to bring in one of those crime scene cleaning teams.

I wouldn’t have made a big stink about it, but we have a long history of this kind of thing. When the kids were little, there were always leftovers. We would bring it all home and in no time, we would have the Mac and Cheese from Mars in the fridge. Of course, the kids thought it was a cool science experiment when the food turned green and wanted to bring it into school to show their teachers until I reminded them there was a “no spore” policy in the school.

Anyway, after much debate with my husband at the end of our dinner out, I ended up bringing the food home, where, unsurprisingly, it languished in the refrigerator for a week before I threw it out. By that time, not only did the refrigerator smell, but the whole downstairs smelled like a shrimp boat in the Bayou after a storm, and nothing I did seemed to get rid of the stench.

I tried baking soda, air freshener, burning candles, burning incense, and even contemplated throwing the whole fridge out the window. I debated opening the door and all the windows to let the fresh air in, but couldn’t decide if it would be better to freeze to death or be killed by the noxious odor of the rotten shrimp. Thankfully, the smell did start to dissipate on its own, but it still stubbornly lingered in the air for over a week and I had to wonder how much the smell might affect the resale value of my house. I thought we might be in trouble unless we sold it to a fisherman.

Then one night not long after the big stink, my husband walked in the door from work and immediately covered his nose with his scarf.

“Whoa, it absolutely stinks in here,” he said.

“I know,” I sighed.

“I thought you got rid of the shrimp?”
“I did,” I replied.

“Then why does it smell so bad again?”

I sighed. “The dog went and rolled in something really nasty outside.”

“Well, there’s one good thing,” he said. I looked at him and narrowed my eyes.

“What could possibly be good about it?” I wondered.

He waved the air in front of the dog.

“At least the dog masks the smell of the shrimp.”
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