'Ewwwww. What is that smell?' Katie asked me when she opened up her dorm room closet.
'Everything is just a little musty. It happens with an old building that's been closed up all summer. Let's open a few windows and air it out. Everything should be fine.' I told her.
Now, I feel the need to point out that Mills is an OLD school. Not the kind of 'there's no school like the old school' with big fat gold chains and clam shell Adidas.
I mean like established in 1852 old school. There are bound to be funky musty smells. Think of those two men up there after not showering plus wearing some Icy Hot and not changing their underwear for a few days. Funky/musty smells are part of the charm. Just like old guys. I know, I married one.
Moving is always stressful. Then add moving into a strange smelling dorm room with your mom, your father, and step-mom... all who are trying to be polite to each other which results in no one speaking to anybody unless it's about the traffic or weather and after 45 seconds those topics are exhausted. No one even makes eye contact with each other, there is a weird tense vibe in the air PLUS whatever that smell is. Trying to make sure everyone gets just enough attention so later on you don't have to hear about how rude it was to exclude so and so with the inside jokes. Just exactly who are the adults in the room? Plus that god awful smell. WHAT IS THAT SMELL?
This makes for a very high strung daughter. I mean Katie, it is fair to say is already high strung enough as it is but this? This just takes the proverbial cake.
I begin sniffing around her room while everyone is unpacking her stuff. There it was... in the corner, on the ceiling in her closet. Water damage but not just a water mark that comes from living in an old building but a paint bubbling saggy ceiling problem.
'Ummmm, Katie? You are going to need to report this.' Pointing up to closet ceiling. 'Also, this is why your room stinks. Move your clothes someplace else in case the ceiling decides to fall in.'
Cue the squawking baby pterodactyl.
The next day the building maintenance crew comes in to take a look.
Building Dude #1 confers with other Building Dude. We will call him Charlie. Charlie and Building Guy #1 start talking. There is some silence of silence, then some muttering... and some hmmmmm's. I imagine some rubbing of chins in deep thought and scratching of heads in puzzlement going on with Building Dude #1 and Charlie.
'We need to go see what's on the second floor to see what could be causing this damage.' BD#1 and Charlie tell Katie. After awhile BD# 1 and Charlie come back. More hmmm's and muttering go on. They then turn to her and say, 'There's a problem. Last year we had a raccoon infestation and it looks like they used the crawlspace above your closet as a litter box. Someone will be by to fix it tomorrow.'
When Katie calls to tell me this, I ask, 'Repair how? Because you understand this isn't a scrape the bad paint and repaint? This is replace the drywall, re-plaster the ceiling type job. And if it's really bad.... hazmat, replacing the whole ceiling and insulation if it's in there, maybe replacing the wood beams if the urine has soaked through and hasn't dried. Also mold and because it's an old building there might be asbestos AND you know there has to be lead paint. Which means don't eat the paint chips that fall on the floor.Watch, they are going to repaint the ceiling to get you off their backs trying to do the cheapest thing possible because this is just a Pandora's box waiting to happen and all it's going to do is result in you having a urine paint smell in your room. Be prepared to move... eventually.'
Do I need to tell you what Building Dude #1 and Charlie did? There wasn't enough foreshadowing in that last paragraph for you?
Yup, they went the cheap route. Which resulted in a urine/funky/musty/paint smelling mess.
A month later. Katie gets moved out of her dorm room because THE RACCOONS ARE BACK and using the same spot above her closet as a litter box. It's like how salmon always go back year after year to the same spot to spawn. Apparently, raccoons go back to the same spot to take a dump.
This being the Bay Area and a very politically correct school, the raccoons will be humanly caught and released somewhere else. So before making the repairs, the raccoons have to be caught. Bully for the raccoons!
Which would be great and all... if some student stopped releasing the raccoons from the traps before the professionals get to them.
Oh yes, you read that right... at night some student is going out and releasing the raccoons from the traps. Katie is starting to feel a little like this...
To be continued.
[Katie, this ice cream is waiting for you when you get home!]
pumpkin gingersnap ice cream: sunset magazine october 2011
1 pt. whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely crushed gingersnaps
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)*
Whisk all ingredients except gingersnaps and bourbon in a bowl to blend. Strain into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Scrape ice cream into a bowl and stir in gingersnaps and bourbon. Freeze, covered, until scoopable, 2 1/2 hours and up to 1 week (gingersnaps soften somewhat after 1 day).
*Because this ice cream doesn't contain eggs, I highly recommend adding the bourbon to keep this ice cream from freezing into a massive brick. See this comment thread explaining why. Also, since you are adding the bourbon at the end of this recipe make sure to use something that isn't rotgut because you will taste it. Makers Mark is nice.
Posted by krysta at 6:00 AM