The Tale of the Burning Stench

Last weekend, we had a few friends over on Saturday evening for dinner and some board games. When it's not the summer, we try to do that once a month or so, and last weekend marked the very first one after the summer craziness had mostly ended. It was also the first time that we were hosting it, since our prior apartment couldn't hold eight adults and four kids. I guess you could say it was a trial run for us and our house.

Side note: we do a thorough house-clean every two weeks on Saturday. We'll wake up Saturday morning, eat our cereal, put on some junky clothes, and clean. This Saturday morning happened to be a cleaning day, so we did exactly that, plus running the dishwasher and some weeding/Round-Up. It also should be mentioned that I mowed the lawn for the very first time in my life that day, but that doesn't play a part in this story. I'm just amazed that I got through 25.5 years without managing to do that. #brothers.

Eventually, we finished both the inside and outside work and collapsed on the couch momentarily before going to get ourselves cleaned up for the day. Carefully. We didn't want to get outside dirt/cleaning products/sweat on the couch. I was gearing myself up to launch myself off of the couch when I suddenly noticed something.

J: "Do you smell...burning?"

C: "Yeah...let's check the basement."

J: "No, it's stronger in the kitchen."

C: "Oh wait - is that the dishwasher??"

Sure enough, we opened the dishwasher and out poured a cloud of very likely toxic steam that I promptly inhaled. Sick. At the bottom of the dishwasher, right below the heating ring, was a puddle of black, dripping, disgusting goo that was giving off the most foul odor, which was now wafting into our nice clean house. Turns out, Nalgene water bottles are NOT INDESTRUCTIBLE. Or at least their plastic lids are entirely destructible when they make prolonged contact with hot metal heating rings. 

We scraped it up as best we could with a wooden spoon (that will never be the same, unfortunately) and let the dishwasher finish its work on the rest of the non-destroyed dishes, and I opened all the downstairs windows, figuring that the ungodly scent would dissipate in short order.

The leftover evidence - not what you want to have sitting in your dishwasher, but it will. not. come. off.

The leftover evidence - not what you want to have sitting in your dishwasher, but it will. not. come. off.

Afterward, we got ready for the day, and I ran a couple of errands in preparation of having people over that evening. But when I came back in through the door, the smell of burnt plastic hit me in the face as soon as I opened the door. No! I thought. This is NOT the way our house should smell on our trial game night! So I pulled out every candle I could find in the house and lit them all. 

About an hour later, Chaz looked up from his book, sniffed the air, and said, "You know...I think it's time to blow out the candles. We don't want it to smell like the Yankee Candle store in here." 

When people arrived that evening, no one commented on the smell, so it had either disappeared or they were just being nice. The smell really is gone now, but if you open the dishwasher, you may still catch faint traces of the stink. So a word to the wise: if you're having guests over, make sure to wash all of your plastic dishware at least a day before they arrive.