I was going to post this last night along with the turtle story but decided it would be just too much to share for one day. Here goes nothing… So my husband and his family are not from this country (nor South East Asia) and although they’ve been here nearly 30 years, exactly half his mother’s age, she has some habits that are hard to drop. The collection o’junk is one thing I get. She is proud as can be that she can make money and spend it however she likes. She has a very fancy taste, but is just not clear on what exactly fancy means. So there are a lot of gilded items. Porcelain woven dishes. Crystal animals. Mix-matched china. Portaits of Don Juan in ornate frames hung too high on the wall to appreciate but safely out of your reach to protect them from your reach (’cause you know you want to touch the canvas). Statues of Standard Poodles wearing nautical captain’s hats near the fireplace. You know, that sort of thing.

Another thing she collects is clothes. She has a walk-in closet full of clothes though I can say with relative certainty I’ve only ever seen her wear about 10 combinations of the same clothes in 16 years. The other several hundred pieces are stuffed in her closet on rods bending under their weight, draped in plastic from the dry cleaner. She insists on keeping the closet fresh and her clothes safe with mothballs. I can also say that in a lifetime of living in this area I’ve never seen a garment destroyed by a moth. As a result the house smells like mothballs. She smells like mothballs. It’s overwhelming on top of the garlic and onion scent she carries from her cooking.

Last night in lab, we were examining the results of our pure culture attempts, then staining and identifying microbes on slides. I don’t know why I did it, but I opened my plate and sniffed it. The smell of Staphylococcus aureus was quite distinct and hit me good. Then I realized it smelled like mothballs and my sweet mother-in-law. It will be nice to take her to work with me in sensory spirit whenever I get to clinicals in nursing school!

In other family news (and in keeping with the Stinky title) the moral dilemma was raised to me by the ever ethical Mother Mary Mom about whether or not I should warn my sister-in-law that her husband is going to be renting her a one bedroom apartment while he bails for a bachelor pad when the close the sale of the house they currently live in. If you read back, I’ve tried to intervene with useful information in the past but have been told (by her no less) to mind my own business. So I haven’t said anything. I asked my husband about it and he said that his brother has told her he is planning to leave her at the end of the month. The only problem is that he has been telling her he is going to leave her, divorce her, send her back to the Mother Country, <insert threat here>, for the last 7 years. He cries wolf daily so there is no point to getting involved.