You do not know the meaning of "stench" until you've tried to mummify a chicken.
It looked like such a neat project in the book: mummify an actual chicken. Make your own King Cluck! How cool can that be? Well, my older two kids refused to try, but my younger boys were game.
The older ones were by far the smarter.
For weeks, the Alex and Liam bothered me about when we'd mummify our clucker, so on Thursday, they were bouncing with excitement when I pulled it out of the fridge to start the project...
Until I told them we had to pull out its guts first.
They're boys! How can they get so squeamish about some giblets in a bag?
Well, Mom came to the rescue and it was decided to trash the giblets since the book said they'd stink even after mummification. (Of course, I'm savoring the irony of that statement now.) In the grand tradition of Fabian First Aid supplies, the rubbing alcohol had disappeared, so we decided to do things the Egyptian way and bathed it in wine.
Merlot, actually. Napoleonic Egyptians.
The boys were more than happy to mix the salt, baking soda and baking powder, plus the herbs "to improve the smell." The instructions said to double-baggie it, but not what to do with it then, so it sat on the counter.
Friday, according to instructions, we (read Mom) went to brush off the salt, which had absorbed the moisture of the chicken. While the boys made a new batch of salt, I opened the baggie--filling the kitchen with an aroma that defies description.
Think baby diaper, open sewage plant, and the Rappahannock River on a really off day. With oregano.
But it's all part of the learning experience right? So I wiped down King Cluck--now King Cluck-Awk!-Oh, Man! in honor of his royal stink. We filled him again with salt and double-baggied. This time, he went into the garage. We have to open the garage door regularly to air it out, but it's bearable.
Today was change the salt day. I was alone in this endeavor.
I didn't get to it until late evening, and while the older kids did homework in the school room, I dragged the malodorous, foulodorous project out of the garage. It immediately announced its presence.
"What's that Stench?!" Rob exclaimed.
"King Cluck! Be done with him in a minute!"
Well, it was more like 10 minutes of tending the fetorous foul, followed by 20 minutes of sterilizing everything from counters to floors to gloves. I bumped it against our Pur water filter. It may never be Pur again. I found the rubbing alcohol and used about half of it. Afterward, I took a long shower. We've discovered new meaning for the word "foul."
And the smell? Well, it's crept all around the house. I've got the windows and doors open downstairs and all the vent fans on. Rob has the window fan putting positive pressure in our room to keep the reek out. The dog is hiding up there, but the cat's being nonchalant about it all.
Next phase is Saturday. It will definitely be done outside.
I'm not sure if we'll be able to go the distance in preparing Ol' King Cluck for the Egyptian afterlife, but I if we do, I have a pretty good idea what Anubis will say.
And it's not, "Is that oregano?"