1. Downey Fabric Softener, with an April Fresh Shit Scent. You’d think with a name like “softener” they’d actually make the thing smell soft, but I can smell this stuff outside when I’m standing in the yard picking up dog poop. When I’m actually standing in the basement taking clothes out of the dryer I feel like I’m being strangled by a maniacal, blood-thirsty Snuggle monster.
2. Lint, the color of the walls in the basement, and the rug covering the concrete floor in the basement. The man who owned this house before us thought it would be cute to paint the entire storage room in the basement — floors, walls and ceiling — a sea foam turquoise that is so horrifyingly vibrant I’m confident the room is emitting measurable amounts of toxic radiation. My husband and I are very tall people and therefore our clothes are made with more than the average amount of fabric and therefore the amount of lint that comes out of the dryer could choke a fucking continent of bison.
3. The Costco bulk-sized container of Herbal Essences Shampoo sitting in the shower. Again, you’d think with a name like “essence” that it would smell like a dollop of herbs, or that, crazy me, it would smell like the essence of herbals. But I can guarantee that some nut job at Clairol headquarters, some little marketing or account guy with stubby fingers and tapered linen pants convinced a room full of decision makers that if they could fit every single smell in the entire world — herbs and flowers and trees and dirt and sand and dust and rubber and plastic and festering, rotting compost — into one shampoo that the shit would fly off the shelves. They have magically created a bottle that contains every bad smell on earth, and people actually believe that it gives women orgasms in the middle of the grocery store.
4. Softsoap hand soap. Say it with me, there’s nothing “soft” about it. The only reason it’s still sitting on the countertop in the bathroom is that we need to go find a replacement hand soap, and that involves walking into one of those bath and body works type stores, a veritable reservoir of insipid soap smells, and for a pregnant woman that would be like walking into a gas chamber. Jon will come back from the bathroom with the Softsoap stench on his hands and it makes me wonder whether or not he is intentionally trying to kill me. I know he is just practicing good personal hygiene, but if it comes down to a choice between your wife spontaneously gagging or having moderately dirty potty hands, are a few germs really going to hurt you?
5. Eukanuba wet dog food. This will only go to prove just how spoiled that damn dog is. Chuck is a picky eater, and when faced with a decision between dry dog food and starvation, he will choose starvation EVERY SINGLE TIME. We spread a tiny amount of wet food on his dry food because we’re pussies when it comes to puppy-face manipulation, and the smell and texture of the wet food is not unlike baby diarrhea. Oh, the sacrifices I make for that dog.
6. Beer. At first it was just Budweiser Beer that made me ill, but each passing week of this pregnancy adds another brand to the list. Jon and I have never been big beer drinkers, opting for hard liquor whenever presented with an opportunity to sin, but Jon keeps a few six-packs of First Amendment Lager stocked in the fridge in the case that a non-Mormon stops by and is parched. It’s important to support locally brewed beer in Utah, what with the outrageous liquor laws and beer taxation this state suffers, but it’s especially important to support a beer that has the quote “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” on the front of its packaging.
7. Coffee grounds. I haven’t had cup of coffee in over two months, and while I thought I would suffer headaches and irritability at the first sign of withdrawal, none of that compares to the excruciating punch in the gut I experience when I even see one granule of wet coffee grounds. I would have to say that coffee grounds are the worst smell in the world, worse even than my dog’s feet.
8. The theme song to the HGTV show “Designers’ Challenge.” This show is a before and after type makeover program that takes a “problem” room in someone’s house and challenges a designer to make it all better. We usually watch the first five minutes of the show to get an idea of the “problems” of the room and how much the homeowners are willing to spend to make it all better — usually in the range of $25,000 – $35,000 — and then skip to the last five minutes of the show to see how some fuckwad interior designer blew all that money on faux paint finishes and really offensive brocade tapestries. I don’t know what makes me more nauseous, the theme song or the fact that these people waste more than a school teacher’s yearly salary on FAUX PAINT FINISHES. I would venture to say that the theme music to this show is even worse than the theme music to “Trading Spaces,” but at least on “Designers’ Challenge” I don’t ever, ever have to see Frank Bielec and his Hawaiian-print coolots.
9. My dog’s feet. Not as bad as coffee grounds, but PRETTY FUCKING BAD.
10. My dog’s breath. All I can say is that as I type this my dog is at the foot of the bed licking his rectum hole.