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Now That Was A Dumb Thing To Do!

February 5, 2012

What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done?

Up until a couple of days ago, that was a fairly tough question for me to answer.  Mainly because there were so many things to choose from.  Like the time I gave my bicycle a brake job.  Or the time I decided that I could do plumbing on the overhead pipes in my basement and it ended up looking like a German U-boat getting depth charged in the North Atlantic.

But all those things pale to insignificance compared to the deed I did on Friday.  When it comes to dumb, it towers like a sequoia over a forest of lesser foolishness.

First, some background.  A while back, I told you about the Bokashi method of composting which we use.  One of the byproducts of the method is something called Bokashi juice which drains out of the composted stuff.  All Bokashi advocates talk about this being really good stuff.  But let me quote from my previous post:

“Make no mistake.  Bokashi Juice is pure evil.  It looks like vomit and smells infinitely worse.  I have poured it on weed patches in the yard on a breezy day, come back hours later and the stench was still as strong as when I first poured it out.  Even the flies avoid it and the thought of getting some on me is now my number one primal fear.”

We use the system both at home and at the farm but we take all of the compost to the farm because there is more room to bury it.

Because of my abject fear of Bokashi Juice, I have developed elaborate safeguards for transporting it that would put the international standards for transporting plutonium to shame.

You can probably see where this is going.

Because the problem with standards is that over time, complacency develops.  On Friday, my wife and I were heading out to the farm and decided to take a load of Bokashi out for burial.  I thought to myself, why not dump the juice here rather than carry it?  Believe me, the stuff is so bad that even when it’s hermetically sealed, just being agitated by the movement of the car can cause unpleasant fumes.  So my thought was a good one.  But I said, No, you have enough safeguards in the system.

I thought of buttressing the Bokashi bin and my elaborate containment vessel with some additional weights to prevent any possible shifting or tipping.  But then decided that the web of bungee cords I’d mummified the whole thing with would be sufficient.

And away we went.

We took a new route because of some road construction and about halfway through the journey we noticed an odor.  As I mentioned, this happens so we didn’t panic.

But it got worse.  And worse.   At one point, I mentioned that the stench, in addition to being more overpowering than usual also was reminiscent of even more bodily functions than usual.

My wife suggested that we stop to make sure that everything was secure.  But in accordance with the rules of epic tragedy (which was about to unfold) hubris made me remind her of my fool proof safeguards and we continued, rolling down the windows.

We arrived at the farm and my worst fears were realized.  It was the Bokashi equivalent of the China Syndrome.  Not only had the container tipped, but somehow the containment vessel had also gone over and spilled unspeakably.  A major meltdown.

Like most cars, this one has a false floor in the trunk which opens to reveal the spare tire and a storage area for tools and stuff like that.  The Bokashi juice had permeated the removable fabric mat that covers the floor and had leaked liberally into the storage compartment, soaking everything and pooling into a vile mass at the lowest point.

I declared the highest level of emergency, but had no idea what to do.

 Because I didn’t have a Hazmat suit, the first thing I did was take off all my clothes except some old shorts which were expendable.  I didn’t want to risk getting any juice on clothes I might ever want to wear again.  Then I found some Vicks Vapo Rub and applied it liberally to my nostrils.  I figured if it works on CSI it may possibly work for Bokashi juice.  (It doesn’t).  I put on big rubber boots and gloves.

Flinching under the aromatic assault, I then took everything moveable out of the car and disinfected it with bleach.  Then I sopped up the puddle in the bottom of the car and doused everything with bleach.  I sopped up the bleach and then emptied a box of baking soda over everything.  All rags went into a sealed plastic bag and into the garbage.  Finally, I burned three consecutive incense sticks with the windows all closed.  Then I let the car sit all night with the windows open.

Two days have elapsed and I’m thinking that someday maybe we won’t smell that smell.  So question is, what will come first?  Will the smell go away?  Will I do something to surpass this epic act of foolishness?  Will my wife forget that if I’d listened to her things wouldn’t have been so bad?

23 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2012 1:05 am

    Despite the subject matter, this post is a rose! It doesn’t stink, one might say. My suggestion for getting rid of the smell is to sell the car to someone with anosmia.

    I love “When it comes to dumb, it towers like a sequoia over a forest of lesser foolishness.” I’m sure I have done something incredibly dumb, but I have conveniently managed to forget it and any other idiotic moves. Perhaps I can’t see the forest for the trees, or I should start embracing senility.

    (Pssst – I clicked on the Bokashi link, and it didn’t seem to work.)

    • February 6, 2012 8:49 am

      Thanks, AA! “Anosmia”–what a great word that sounds like what it means. Thanks for the heads up on the link–it’s working now.

  2. Snoring Dog Studio permalink
    February 6, 2012 2:49 am

    That’s horrifying! It sounds like the equivalent of nuclear waste, yes! My brother-in-law has a fly catcher bag hanging out near my back fence. The smell is beyond repulsive. I never asked him how he disposes of a a full bag of sodden, dead flies. I don’t even want to know. My best wishes for a lasting cure to the smell!

    • February 6, 2012 8:50 am

      A flycatcher bag? Is it the bait or dead flies that is giving off the smell?

      • Snoring Dog Studio permalink
        February 7, 2012 1:34 am

        Ugh. It’s the flies. Shudder…

  3. February 6, 2012 4:57 am

    Dumbest thing I ever did? 1985 walking into a bar(the Flamingo) in Buffalo, New York wearing my Miami Dolphins jersey. Lemme tell ya…….

  4. February 6, 2012 9:30 am

    After only a couple of days it’s way too early to tell whether this was a dumb thing or an impostor.

  5. February 6, 2012 1:20 pm

    You could always try one of the dumbest things my sister ever did … “borrowing” my first car to go and buy a new battery for her car and going around a corner too fast and having battery acid eat away half the seats. Call it the “scorched earth” approach to a foul-smelling car.

    • February 6, 2012 3:24 pm

      I didn’t know battery acid was that strong. I don’t think the smell is going to be as permanent as acid holes. How did you patch them up?

      • February 7, 2012 4:33 pm

        Neither did my sister. No patching was going to do that job 🙂 Sold it to someone who was willing to put in a new seat or two.

  6. permalink
    February 6, 2012 3:37 pm

    Oh Thomas – thanks for the heads up. My friend has been on and on at me to buy a Bokashi no she has no way of winning the argument. Great post though and it doesn’t smell here in Wellington so maybe you are winning. 😛

  7. February 8, 2012 3:31 am

    I bet you’ll never do that again.

    • February 8, 2012 8:28 pm

      I would like to believe that, but I never thought I’d do it in the first place either!

  8. February 8, 2012 1:10 pm

    I came downtown so can now read this suspenseful tale of olfactory meltdown.
    Well told. Is this smell worse than skunk odor?

    • February 8, 2012 8:27 pm

      I don’t know. I think it smells worse than skunk but it seems to be more managable (it’s already fading fast).

  9. February 8, 2012 8:28 pm

    I’m so sorry about the stench. I made a note in my journal tonight about husbands’ unwillingness to listen to a wife’s advice. And often mine adds a smirk along with his, “I don’t need to do that.” I guess it’s a man thing?
    Hopefully, you’ll find a counter-agent like tomato juice balancing out the stink of skunk scent. Good luck. Hopefully, you’re getting your wife a new car for Valentine’s day.

  10. February 11, 2012 9:50 am

    There is a substance called — as God is my witness — “Anti-Icky-Poo,” whose label asserts that if can eradicate (with time for the enzymes to work) the smell of urine, vomit, feces, and (drumroll) *dead body*. An oddly twee name for something used to clean up crime scenes after the CSI people have left, but you might want to try it if things don’t quite deodorize the way you want. I got my bottle on the Internet. I have cats, so it is a very important bottle to own.

    This is the sort of narrative that you preserve to read out loud to friends when they have had a drink or two and slowed down enough to appreciate the enormity of the predicament.

  11. Jackie Cangro permalink
    February 12, 2012 8:30 am

    Wow, that is one wretched stink! And here I thought living in NYC I’d smelled the worst of the worst, but you have me beat.

  12. February 29, 2012 6:06 am

    Oh no! Engaging post – sometimes the nastiest of experiences make for great stories. In this case, definitely true.

  13. March 3, 2012 5:58 pm

    Great post. I must have had a ridiculously busy February to have missed this.

  14. Len Skuta permalink
    March 6, 2012 11:28 am

    Are you sure that you did not get ahold of some spoiled Korean Kim Chi? I thought homemade horseradish was hot. Kim Chi beats the heat in many ways, The smell is out of this world, or should be. Len

  15. May 4, 2012 3:54 am

    Oy! Did the smell ever go away? And thanks for sharing. I don’t feel so bad now. Haha!! 🙂

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