I wake up every morning and try to make the house cuter.

Not a ton cuter.

Not a giant change.

Nothing overwhelming.

Just enough to make it cuter than it was the day before.

I change out furniture or switch out pillows or change the direction of my rugs or add a new table or paint a piece of furniture or shop yardsale for the perfect new find for the room with a really good story.

And sometimes?

I’m successful. Sometimes the birds sing and sunlight dances across the floor and the stars shine and I can hear a faint Hallelujah chorus in the background.

And then?

Sometimes there’s nothing but stink.

Last week I had a group of ladies coming to my house.

They are part of a local club here in my town that wanted to hold it’s meeting here at Thistlewood and the club sent a group of hostesses on ahead to scope out the house.

They wanted to plan out the centerpieces and discuss the menu and decide on traffic flow and seating and where the hostess table would be and a million other details.

I was a little bit nervous.

These are ladies I’ve looked up to my entire life.

Ladies with amazing outfits and amazing homes that I used to visit when I was little and stare in awe at.


These ladies (and their homes) look like they stepped out of a magazine.


I worked overtime to make sure the house was cute.

I rearranged furniture and make sure the floors were shiny and dusted the chandeliers and got fresh flowers and fluffed the pillows.

And finally, after days of preparation, the house was ready.

The morning they were supposed to arrive, I woke up to sunshine.

I put on the cutest outfit I own and fixed my hair and applied red lipstick and headed downstairs.

All I needed was to make sure the kitchen counters were wiped down and the shades were open and the house would be ready.

I ran downstairs and turned into the kitchen and reached for a dishtowel…

….and sniffed.


What was that smell?

I walked around the corner by the back door and sniffed again.

And then?


I almost gagged.

I almost threw up.

I covered my nose and ran out of the room and YELLED for my husband at the top of my lungs.


And right there in the middle of my stinky kitchen, I started crying.

I cried because it was 102 degrees outside.

And heat makes stinky things stinkier.

And I had fancy ladies coming over to the house in one hour.

But mostly I cried because the house wasn’t cute anymore.

It was just stinky.

In the end, we never could find the stink.

My father-in-law and my husband searched everywhere and came to the conclusion that some furry thing with a tail and whiskers had met his untimely end in our walls.

My mother-in-law and my friend brought over air fresheners and candles and diffusers in a vain attempt to un-stink the stink.

But just between us?

The stink was just too strong.

The ladies toured and the house stunk and I told mouse jokes to try and diffuse the situation.


Maybe tomorrow the house will be cuter.

I’m staying away from the kitchen until then. 🙂

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  1. Image for Lilly Lilly

    LOL!! You just made me laugh. It's terrible but isn't this the way it always works out? When you need everything to be perfect, it just isn't. Just like when you need your children to be in their best behavior and at the most important moment they act up. Or you dress them with the most amazing outfit and make it to the function perfectly, only to trip getting out of the car and dirty themselves or better yet, rip their outfit. Sigh. I hope the ladies still loved your house and their sense of smell wasn't working. lol

  2. Image for Sevahn Sevahn

    Oh no! Well if I were one of those fancy ladies coming over to your lovely home I would have said do not worry! All is well! We are healthy and safe and there is tea and nice things to eat. It was out of your control, dear KariAnne!

  3. Image for Ann Ann

    I feel your pain. A year ago I had a baby possum fall between the walls of my dining room and kitchen where it died. It was late August and we finally cut a hole in the wall of our pantry and retrieved its body.

  4. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Oh, yucky! We had that smell once. Mice! Several. We were dumb enough to use D-con and the mice went into the walls and died! So gross! Praying the stink has quickly dissipated and the ladies decided to come back to your cutest-ever home. :D

  5. Image for Eileen Eileen

    Did you check the attic or the air conditioning system? Something in the vents? You have to play bloodhound until you find the point where it’s the strongest and start moving and digging until you find it. Or call in a pest control company and use them as a sponsor. If one thing has died, it may have a family left behind. Good luck.

  6. Image for june june

    I don’t even know how to respond😳. You took my ho hum mood today and put a smile on my face. Your home is beautiful and I am certain they loved it and you. Keep us posted if you discover anything.

  7. Image for JC JC

    Oh no! I'm sorry the invasion of stink happened at the most inopportune time! It is alittle funny, though. Can you laugh about it yet? Your home is absolutely beautiful, but I'd hope those ladies could rise above all that and enjoy your sweet and witty presence. Most of all I think God sometimes allows these things in our lives to keep things "real." He has a sense of humor too! Try vinegar....though not my favorite smell either, it seems to overcome anything! Hugs friend for a sweeter smelling day!

  8. Image for Laura Laura

    That is sad! When I was early pregnant with Baby #2, something died in our den wall around Christmas time. That is our favorite living space and I wanted to be near the guys, so I would lie on the couch with a clothespin on my nose. Sometimes I would cry because it smelled so bad and I was so queasy! At least it was December in Texas then and not August! May the cool front and the rain bring you some relief from the stank.

  9. Image for Be Be

    Sorry, but I just can't control my laughter. OHHHHHHH it always happens, and it is most humbling. I KNOW you pulled it off beautifully. PS It's not funny at the time.

  10. Image for PJ PJ

    My sister had a mouse die in the wall of her powder room. She was told to close off the room for six weeks. That's about how long it took for the smell to go away. I hope that yours leaves sooner. I love old houses, but this is one of the challenges that come with owning an old house. Our traps are ready for the mice that will try to make a home inside now that the weather is cooler. You might try asking an auto detailer what they use for stinky cars.

  11. Image for Dana Dana

    This reminded me of our first home. We had a creature crawl into the walls of the dining room and die. We couldn't use the room for a year or more! We had wood wainscoting and couldn't tear it out, It was also a home that we built and poured our hearts into. Thank goodness the room had two doors that we could keep closed! I'll never forget that stink! We've also had our fair share of dead squirrels in the fireplace that always happened when my hubby was traveling out of town. My neighbor rescued me more than once. Finally bought those chimney caps and saved the day. Nothing worse! I'm sure you'll laugh about it all one day!

  12. Image for Corinne Shanahan Corinne Shanahan

    Yes, I’m sorry your house stunk, but love the way you tell this story anyway! SMELT is a word WAY underused, and it needs to be worked into our weekly language! As always, you crack me up, and your beautiful way of writing makes us, your readers, feel like we’re in your house with you! ❤️

  13. Image for Dianne Miley Dianne Miley

    That is so horrible. What awful timing. And yet... I'm sure the ladies understood and appreciated your mouse jokes. And remembered that even Kari Anne Wood's house isn't perfect ALL the time. :) Love you, girl! And thanks for your bravery to share!!!!

  14. Image for Marion Marion

    Oh Karianne, sorry to hear about the stink - timing is everything, isn't it? A few years back I had my husband's aunts coming for a visit and wanted to make a great impression and so, like you, I fussed about the house. Feeling confident when they got there I served the meal. One aunt kindly asked me for another glass because hers had PINK LIPSTICK on it! YIKES.........You are not alone! It is funny now, but not then!

  15. Image for Claudia A. Claudia A.

    I can totally relate. After having foot surgery I was camped out in living room. The smell kept getting more intense every day. The Hubs looked and looked couldn’t find anything. Our cable went out a few weeks later. The cable guy came and had to crawl under the house. He was fortunate enough to find a dead something. He removed it, but didn’t tell me what it was. Which was fine because I cried anyway. He just said it was big and ugly.

  16. Image for Sue Sue

    I feel your pain. It has happened to us several times in our 1840 house. The smell DOES go away. Your house is beyond beautiful. I'm sure they looked beyond the smell. On another note. I'm not sure I've noticed your sofas before. Can I ask where they are from? Love the style. Thanks :)

  17. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Oh!!! Bless your heart, and I mean that in all sincerity!! That is the absolute WORST, especially in summer. If it helps, I'm sure all those ladies have had to live with some "stink" in their lives at some point when it was very awkward to do so! But life goes on, and we hold our heads high! Love you, friend!

  18. Image for Marty Marty

    OMG, this is terrible. I know your friends loved your home anyway and thought it was the cutest ever. What an awful experience. I am so sorry. Whatever it is or was I hope is gone now. The #1 thing is, you are so cute that nothing else could possibly matter.

  19. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    I'm so sorry to hear that. I do hope they decided to have their party at your house! It's beautiful just like you!!

  20. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    We used to have mice die in our air conditioner ducts - blew that smell everywhere! It was AWFUL!! And, it happened more than once. They would chew into the styrofoam joints... UGGH... I feel your pain! Just one more reason I'm happy to be a city-girl again.

  21. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    Ha Ha...thanks for always keeping it real dear! I'm sure many of us can relate. We had sewer gas that came boiling up out of the basement one summer every time someone took a shower! I was mortified but guests just laughed and we survived and finally fixed the problem. Happens to the best of us. :-) Happy Tuesday!

  22. Image for Sharon Smith Sharon Smith

    Oh Karianne, how terrible. I feel your pain and tears. That is the worst smell in the world. I hope it has gone away and that the ladies came. Even with the smell, I would never turn down a visit to your house. Hugs to you!

  23. Image for Kris Kris

    Aww, you needed a hug. Here's a belated one. :) May years ago, I lived in a lovely older townhouse. Birds were able to get into the attic and nest. One year, one of them somehow found its way into my living room wall and I could hear its wings flapping .... slower and slower .... until they stopped. There was really nothing anyone could do without tearing the walls down, so I just had to live with it. Weird things happen to us all .... I'm sure your fancy ladies could tell you a story or two from their lives!

  24. Image for Esther Esther

    That happened to me once. I finally called one of my friends after they had all left and asked if she had smelled it. She said yes, it smelled kind of like meat had defrosted and the blood was at the bottom of my refrigerator! I took that frig apart and sure enough, there it was! I was so thankful for an honest friend!!

  25. Image for Carrie Carrie

    YOU have the GRACE to pull off a bit of stink and make people forget what they are smelling and only focus on what they are seeing and hearing! ( A perfectly perfect HOSTESS!)

  26. Image for Jenn Jenn

    Real life. It happens to everyone, we've all had a stink at some point! Sure makes for a funny story though! It's always easy to laugh and enjoy it when it's someone else! Ha!

  27. Image for Joanna Joanna

    Oh no!!! I am so sorry...how horrible. Talk about timing!!! YIKES!!! Anyways, I hope you get to the bottom of the "stink" and I am sure that they ladies loved your home like we all do. A suggestion for getting rid of the stink...once it is located...buy a bag of charcoal. Then, put some out in paper bowls in random places. It will help absorb the odor. You can through all of it away after a few days. You might need to repeat with the bowls but it should be gone soon. Good luck!!!

  28. Image for DBLori DBLori

    I know that smell all too well. We live near fields so occasionally a field mouse will find it's way into our house (usually in the winter or when it starts to rain). One year, everyone was experiencing rats. We walked into the kitchen one day and smelled something God-awful. Took almost 1 week to find what it was. Turned out a rat (we had never had a rat in the house before) did something to our stove/oven and electrocuted himself. He was in the housing of the stove/oven but luckily not in the oven itself so we didn't have to toss out the stove/oven. We hauled our stove/oven outside and doused it many times with 100% bleach, used bleach everywhere else. Haven't had a rat since, thank goodness.

  29. Image for Mary Anne Saunders Mary Anne Saunders

    You poor thing! This happened to me in my master closet when we lived in Mobile (You know how hot it gets there.) We cut a hole in the wall and removed a few tiny mice that got trapped there somehow. I had to wash or dry clean everything in that closet. 🥴

  30. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Yucky!! That really stinks 😂. Had to say that, lol! Usually for me, it’s the garbage disposer that’s the culprit. I feel your pain 🥰

  31. Image for K K

    Oh KariAnne, I can totally sympathize! We had just that happen a couple weeks ago! I'm just thankful it happened AFTER our weeks of having visitors staying with us! You totally lucked out though, we had the stink, and the flies that come with the dead thing! I think they were coming in the house through the spaces near/under the air vents. Thank goodness for a good fly swatter! It was practically a sport in our house for 2 days! )shudder(

  32. Image for Gabi Gabi

    Oh, You poor thing! I'm sure that your beautiful home wowed them regardless! And if some didn't have a sense of humor over the situation, then shame on them. We all could have such a thing happen to us, be it a dead animal in our walls or the pet cat or dog coming home after being chased by a skunk--both of which happened to me. We came home one time after a short vacation and entered the house to a horrific stink. Turns out that one of the mouse traps we had set in our powder room vent had sprung on one and we only realized what had happened when I was sitting on the John and saw a tail hanging through the vent in the ceiling!!

  33. Image for Cristie Cristie

    You poor girl!!! Really! I can feel your pain! My stomach hurts just thinking about it... but girl, your the cutest thing since sliced bread and no way could that Stink out Shine you or your lovely home!

  34. Image for Kim Lawrence Kim Lawrence

    Had the same exact thing happen at work on a Friday right before a big in-house conference on Monday. Had an exteriminator come in and they used a marigold-based deodorizer and by Monday we were good to go. Unfortunately, over the weekend we battled "death" flies ... coming from everywhere. Had to tape up all the holes we could find. Awful. May your house lose it's stink and be flieless!

  35. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    I know it was terrible for you after working so hard but, i'm sure those ladies enjoyed your beautiful house so much they hardly could smell the stink. I have an Arrowhead Viburnum, it's like a snowball bush, it has beautiful white flowers then berries, then leaves turn red but, those white flowers that bees and butterflies love stink. I can't pick them and bring inside and no one tells you that.

  36. Image for Naomi Shelton Naomi Shelton

    How awful for you, KariAnne! I guess it just proves that "the best laid plans....." So sorry you had to go through that, but it does make a classically good story! Some of the worst episodes in my life now make great stories to tell. Some funny, some ridiculous, so a little sad, but bottom line: I survived to tell the tale. As did you. AND as did the fancy ladies! You may not remember Gilda Radner who was on Saturday Night Live many years ago. Her by-line was "It's always something." And that is so true! Thanks for sharing your little story of THE BIG STINK!

  37. Image for Laura Harrie Laura Harrie

    KariAnne, once again you have told an amazing story! I realize how horrible this experience was to go through, but the joy you brought me was great! Thank you, I needed a good laugh. We did have a couple of dogs that made our old living room stinky. People would say it smells like dog in here. Solved that problem with great candles and only lit them when we were expecting very discerning noses!


    I feel your pain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We had the same thing right at our entry way-laundry room. We could not find it- until we had solar installed and the electricians dismantled our old electrical panel and found a mouse had fried itself in the electrical panel back behind so you couldn't see it. So sorry it happened when you were expecting guests-hope they come back at a later time to see your wonderful place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. Image for Brenda Brenda

    My sister in law tells the story of a family who had to rip out sheet rock. They had a skunk nosing around the air unit when it suddenly turned on. It scared the skunk so bad he sprayed into the running unit. I'm not sure how much sheet rock had to be pulled out, but it was pretty bad. I'm sorry about your dead creature. I hope your week gets better!

  40. Image for Phyllis Phyllis

    Based on the above comments, you can see that a stinky house is a more common occurrence than you might have imagined. That probably doesn't make you feel any better, but I hope that the situation is resolved by now. Please don't leave us hanging...we need to know the end of the story. If it makes you feel any better it's good that you were able to smell the odor. Can you imagine if you had a smell in your home that you were so accustomed to that you no longer knew it was offensive? Would your nice visitors have told you??? Hope you are smiling now.

  41. Image for Jan Fusco Jan Fusco

    Oh bless your heart! Well on the bright side they had your vivacious, exuberant preciousness to entertain them.

  42. Image for Mel Mel

    We had skunks get into our house. In December. In South Dakota. It has taken me nearly 10 years to be able to laugh about that incident. I really do feel for you.

  43. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    Anyone who is above a little stinker in their home, doesn't live a normal life!!! Lol Carry on Karianne with or without the ladies!!!

  44. Image for Denise V Cox Denise V Cox

    I've been so busy that I couldn't comment until now, even though I read your post early this am. You are one crazy woman!!! 😜🤣😛. That is ALL I have to say!! I was LOL in the therapists' office this am. You are tooo much!! So funny, witty charming, sassy, and adorable!! I wuv ya to pieces!! 😍❤️😘💜

  45. Image for Teresa Teresa

    Isnt that the way it always goes...the worst possible timing is when sometime is going to go haywire. No doubt, stink or no stink the ladies had to be impressed by your beautiful home! This story did make me think about an old episode of "Leave it to Beaver" when June was hosting her ladies bridge club luncheon and Beavers pet monkey got loose from his cage while Beaver was at school. Just as the ladies where preparing to go into the dining room to fix their lunch plates the monkey came running in jumped on the chandelier was swinging over the punch bowl! So at least you didn't have a live critter running around the house terrorizing your guests.

  46. Image for Barbara C. Barbara C.

    Did you clean the underside of your garbage disposal? I'm talking about the rubber piece that is just below the sink drain. I have found that gunk sticks to that. I take a wad of paper towels, shove it down into the hole and bring it back up. It will pick up a lot of gunk that sticks to the underside of that rubber piece.

    1. Image for Teresa P Teresa P

      I know that smell!! I cleaned mine often and it just wouldn't go away. Finally bought a new one on Amazon that haven't had an issue with it being smelly!!!

  47. Image for Kimberly C Bruhn Kimberly C Bruhn

    ALWAYS happens when it's important, right? I went out to get some last minute thing and left my husband at home with our one-month-old first baby...with a huge pan of baked beans in the oven on low...somehow between the time I left and when I got back (hour and a half, at most) the oven got turned on BROIL and my husband never heard the smoke alarm, the timer from the oven nor smelled the most horrific burnt stank that would greet our Bible Study group (of like 40 folks) in about a half hour. THANK goodness it was nice out and I could open every window and door...at least the smoke cleared but not the stank. Ugh. I can ship you the most fierce, nasty, little girl cat with almost 15 kill marks on her collar...her prowess in hunting is unheard of!

  48. Image for Erin Crowell Erin Crowell

    FWIW... my amazing Mama was one of those ladies, and she thought that you AND your house were absolutely lovely!! She called me immediately and instructed me to follow you :-) Everyone can relate!! I once had a giant, never before seen, cockroach dart out from beneath my couch and across my unusually spotless floors while hosting a PTA meeting. Everyone jumped to their feet... especially those who were sitting on the floor! I wilted.

  49. Image for sandi sandi

    Recently we had the worst ever smell coming out of our laundry room. I was sure it was the washer so DH cleaned it thoroughly along w/the dryer hose, etc. It did not take away the smell. I finally realized the problem. Every week I make low-carb cauliflower bread where one cooks & wrings out the cauliflower in a tea-towel. I had washed the towel by hand & thrown it in the washer for a 2nd wash, which it had not yet had---yes, it was the stinky towel & a good wash fixed all. It is not a sweet smell.

  50. Image for Theresa Ball Theresa Ball

    It appears that the country life you left behind in Kentucky finally was able to track your whereabouts in the big city and showed up at the most inopportune time!

  51. Image for Terry Cross Terry Cross

    Hey sweetie, I need to send you some of my peppermint spray cleaner, I spray it all over the counters and it hides anything yucky! I had guys delivering a table and chairs this morning (my dream farmhouse dining set yay!) and they walked in the kitchen and these young, housecleaning oblivious guys started raving about how wonderful the house smelled : ) : ) : )

  52. Image for Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap

    Isn't it just always the worst possible moment when something like that happens? You probably noticed it more than anyone else did but that doesn't make the situation any less awful. I hope the stink dissipates soon and permanently.


    How horrible for this to happen to you and especially when you were having those ladies come to your gorgeous home. KariAnne, your smile and your graciousness would take care of anything! You are such a special gal!

  54. Image for Kathy Kathy

    Oh, KariAnne! This is hilarious and you are such a precious doll for letting us “fancy” ladies come over and invade your beautiful home! Everything was just perfect that day and you commented on the smell, and honestly, I couldn’t even smell it at all - an advantage of older age is smell goes - it was really helpful when I was teaching 7th graders that had just come from PE! We loved your fabulous home and are so excited to be coming tomorrow morning to hear you speak. We’re having more members than usual attend because they are excited you’re doing our program! And I’m really laughing at what you said about our “perfect homes” - haha that was never my house. You girls were the most fun ever ever and our kids would be laughing lots and lots and having the best time and that does make for a “perfect “ home! Love you, sweet girl, and you are just amazing!

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