Before we left Raleigh, I stocked up on some essentials like toiletries, paper goods, and favorite boxed foods. All of these were packed by the movers and shipped in the container on the long boat-ride to Germany. When our shipment arrived and the box containing the favorite foods was unearthed, I was never so delighted to see boxes of Macaroni and Cheese, Goldfish, Wheat Thins, Luna bars, and a single, giant box of my favorite, Honey Nut Cheerios. I know that makes me sound about 7 years old but I still love my Cheerios and had already tried the substitute over here and was bitterly disappointed.
So, the next morning, as I position bowls to pour the Honey Nut Cheerios for Nora, Jack and me, I notice a strong fragrance. It’s a good fragrance, but definitely not one that you want to associate with food. It’s floral and I realize it’s coming from my beloved box of cereal. I smell the whole box and realized it’s been doused with something perfumy. I say a prayer to the Cheerio gods, hoping the plastic bag inside somehow shielded the precious contents. After I pour the milk and take my first bite, I want to cry. It’s horrible. With a sliver of hope, I take another bite. Still bad. I look over the table at Nora and Jack to see if they’ve noticed. They’re eating it slowly but that’s nothing different. Ever since we got to Germany, they’ve been eating cereal slowly because they still don’t like the taste of the milk yet. I figure their sweet heads are thinking “this German milk even ruins our Honey Nut Cheerios.”
I take another bite and form my plan. I can’t bear the idea of throwing out a huge box of food, even if floral-scented. I decide to air it out for a few days and see what happens. In the meantime, I try to figure out where the fragrance came from. The movers are supposed to box food items separately from cleaners and other such things. After a few days, I run across the scented oil diffusers that I had purchased for shipment over here. As I unwrap the Gardenia one, I discover the source of my Honey Nut Cheerio misery. It’s Gardenia-Tuberose, to be exact. And, it’s making our front hallway smell really nice right now but I’m still cross with it.