Sniffing out a mystery

I love a good mystery

Every now and again life throws me a little mystery just to shake up my day.

Does that happen to you? Something strange either happens or you come across something that you don’t quite understand and it takes a little time for the truth to come out?

It happened to me the other day.

I went into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. It was my first cup of the day and any of you who know me at all will know that I need two cups (which is really 4 cups because my mug holds a full 16 ounces) to really get my day off on the right foot. I refuse (can’t, truth be told) to think with any clarity before I have had at least my first cup.

I went to the cupboard to get my mug – the right mug is a very important part of my morning ritual – and I was greeted by something odd.

Here’s where it gets mysterious

There was a puddle on the counter.

It was in the vicinity of the sink but not close enough to be from the tap. Annoyed, because it was a little early to be cleaning up after whoever couldn’t be bothered to clean up after themselves, I grabbed the dishcloth and wiped up the puddle.

I had my coffee – it was delicious as usual.

I came back to the kitchen for my second cup. At half-caffeination I give my brain some credit (half) for problem-solving because there is a problem.

There was another puddle on the counter.

Because I was half-caffeinated my other senses (besides sight – that one already works) kicked in and I gave the puddle a sniff test. I’m a smeller. I smell everything…well almost everything…even if I know it’s going to smell bad I still smell it. My husband (and probably everyone else outside of my siblings – because we are all smellers) thinks it’s weird. I tell him someday my sniffer will save his life. I don’t think he believes me, but we’ll see…

Anyway, I smelled it.

Follow the clues

It smelled like the lid of one of my Mom’s home-canned jelly jars that’s been open in the fridge for too long. You know that tinny, rusty, sweetish smell?

I started looking around and I saw a single drop of liquid hanging from the cupboard door above the counter. My mind started evaluating the contents of the cupboard, trying to think if there was a jar that could have gotten broken somehow. So I started evacuating the cupboard, pulling out cans of soup and tuna and tomatoes and I was all the way to the back of the cupboard when I pulled from the dark depths an ominously bulging can of mandarin orange slices.

Mystery solved

That explained the smell and the liquid slowly dripping onto the counter below. Needless to say the can was tossed and the area cleaned with Clorox. If you want to know what causes a can of food to swell and bulge, click here. It’s a great explanation.

I made my second cup of coffee and carried on with my day and forgot all about that bulging, leaking can of fruit – until a couple of days ago when something happened that made me remember that tin can.

It wasn’t even a big thing that happened, just a small annoyance really, but I guess it happened at just the right time – or the wrong time, depending on how you want to look at it. Someone criticized something I had written. It wasn’t even a ‘thing’, it was a sentence. Two sentences actually. Two separate sentences that used a punctuation someone didn’t like. Yes. Punctuation. Don’t get me started.

That little bit of criticism settled in a discontented part of my heart and it lay there and festered. I couldn’t leave it alone. I kept going back to it and poking at the annoyance to make sure it was still there. It was.

It irked me all day until it started to spill over just like the spoiled fruit in that can. Unkind words spoken under my breath. Frustration welling up and out, blossoming into indignation. Until finally, I couldn’t stand the injustice (that’s a gross exaggeration but it felt that way at the time) of it any longer and I did SOMETHING about it.

Actions speak louder than words?

I can’t actually tell you what I did except that it was the kind of passive-aggressive behaviour that I usually dislike intensely.

Did I feel better?


So I talked about it. I talked to (talked at is more like it) my husband. I talked to my friends. I talked to my co-workers.

And the only thing I accomplished was to spread my discontent and a substantial amount of verbal poison.

If I had done the right thing in the first place, which was to simply let go of the criticism rather than taking it so personally, I would have been much better off and so would everyone else.

I don’t usually hold onto little hurts like that anymore. I’ve gotten much better at recognizing them for what they are and then letting them go. I’m not sure why I couldn’t manage to do that this time. I guess I just wasn’t paying attention. Honestly, I was more than a little disappointed in myself for the way I handled things.

Clichéd though it may be, every day is a chance to start again, to try again, to do better, to be better.

I’m not perfect. I’m pretty sure I never will be, but I can keep trying to be the person I want to be. I can learn from my mistakes.

Heck, I can even learn from a bulging tin can of mandarin oranges. Maybe all hope is not lost.

Love and light to you all…

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