Mostly, it smells like dog and pine. At dinnertime though, garlic and onion wafts from the kitchen. During the winter, it smells like wood smoke and the pine smell intensifies. When Bern Porter (old eccentric poet) comes to visit, the whole house smells like old un-showered man and old cabbage. We open the windows and doors after he leaves. When the cats or Max are getting their monthly flea treatments, an unpleasant chemical smell lingers. In the summer, the breeze from the ocean carries in smells of seaweed and salt water. Also grass clippings. Summer evenings, the smell of Colonol Bruce’s barbeque seeps in our windows and screen doors. Max disappears. Occasionally, when Max rolls in something on the beach, the house smells of dead seal or rotten fish.
Before dinner, NPR plays loud from the kitchen – I hear the familiar jingle (doo doo dooo) and then, “This is all things considered, I’m Alex Seigel.” The sizzle of onions and mushrooms sautéing fills the quiet moments between segments.
In the mornings, I hear coffee perking; dad clicking at his computer; Max’s toenails tap on the wood floors.
During the day, I hear the “shake-shake” of Max’s kibbles as he pushes them around in his bowl. I hear the phone ring and ring – no one gets up to answer it.
In the summer, I hear a lawnmower most days (Dick and Bruce obsess and compete over their pruned lawns.) I hear a boat engine; sea gulls cawing; kids laughing on the beach; Max barking at them. I hear “NUMBER 42, YOUR ORDER IS READY,” the muffled woman’s voice broadcast from the Lobster Pound Restaurant across the bay. During the Bay Festival every July, I hear rock music, the clank of metal and girls screaming from down the beach.
In the winter, I hear logs drop as dad piles wood next to the fireplace; I hear the click-click-click as our heat comes on, the hot water filling up the cold pipes. Some nights I hear howling wind and waves crashing outside.
Delicious rainbow. Our dock. Big boat that's parked there every summer. Sigh.