by VINCENT CARDEGIN
AWARD WINNING COLUMNIST
It’s old news that I don’t like fragranced things. No perfumed soaps, sprays, cones, plugins, or sheets for the dryer would ever be in my house if I had complete say so. But lately I’ve discovered a practical use for scented candles.
My wife’s cats finally got old enough for me to put a flap in the door that opens from the kitchen to the garage, and so the box, and the bowls, are out there instead of in the laundry room. The combination of feline poop and pee and my wife’s attempts to mask it are now out of the air-conditioning in which we practice domestic bliss. I was so happy!
But my wife seldom goes in the garage, so she doesn’t clean the cat box as often. Instead of every one or two days, it’s every three or four—out of sight, out of mind—and so the litter fumed the ambient air with stinky clumps. Even when I kept the garage door open all day the odor was often prevalent, depending on the dewpoint and the speed and direction of breeze.
Soon after, my wife took her tween cats to get neutered and spayed, and I was delighted. Fix them before the male starts spraying all over the house and the female begins presenting its backside to everything that moves! For the following week my wife kept the box and bowls back in the laundry room so the female wouldn’t damage her stitches when leaping through the flap (apparently the male’s stitches were too far back to worry about) and I was surprised to find that nothing smelled at all. Wow, I thought new veterinarian technology had eliminated the stink in cats poops, and I wondered if the same could be used for dogs and even humans.
When it was apparent the cats had healed, I put the box and bowls back in the garage. The next day, late morning, I went out to get a jug of lemonade from our second fridge and I couldn’t do it. The reek was so overwhelming that I lunged back through the kitchen door and was about to rip the cap off a shaker of garlic salt to fill my nose and throat with that, when I spotted my wife’s candle next to the sink. I grabbed it and inhaled deeply, risking the chance of jabbing burned wicks up my nose. Later I read that the candle was Wild Honey. I’m not sure what that means, free-range bees, wild clover? All I know is, I was able to quickly cleanse my scent glands of cat stench.
For the first time in my life I’m going to shop for scented candles, possibly even at Exwork, which has a bewildering number of them. They probably don’t have Beer-Soaked Carpet or Full Ashtray, two of my favorite office aromas, and probably nothing like from my younger days of Hot Soldering Iron, India Ink, or New Guitar Strings. I’m also pretty sure there are no Kimchee Candles. I’ll have to nasally peruse what’s available to find the perfect smell that neutralizes feline excretions.
You may wonder why I don’t use the gas mask hanging on my office door. It’s not easy. You have to put your chin in first, and I have a beard, and then rake the straps across your head, and I believe that doing so routinely is a significant cause of military baldness. No, I’ll hold my breath for the quick can of tea or jug of lemonade, and if I have to dig in the deep freezer for supper I’ll carry a candle with me.