The Skunk House

We go on a walk before bed nearly every night. It tires out the kids and the dog is happier too. We do a loop around the hills and we usually use the same route.

A few blocks down there is a house that absolutely reeks of marijuana. Not in the daily smoker sort of way. In the contact-buzz-just-by-walking-past-the-house sort of way. Even when nobody is home. Maybe they are growers, who knows. I’m in California. Nobody cares.

Anyway, so Crappy Papa and I have laughed about it a few times because inevitably, one of the kids will say they smell a skunk when we are nearing that particular part of the hill.  On every walk. Over and over. “Hey, I smell a skunk!”

Finally, Crappy Boy notices a pattern:


I’m stalling with my usual, “Well…”

I start to explain that the smell might come from a particular type of plant.

That is answering the question honestly without going into further details. This is how I handle questions surrounding topics like sex and drugs and rock and roll. Answer the question that was asked. Then shut up.

But before I can say anything, he answers his own question:


Then he gets really excited about prospective skunk ownership.

He jumps up and down and asks, “COULD WE GET ONE, MAMA?!?”

He then suggests that I knock on their door and ask if I can buy one of their skunks.

For a pet.

“No honey, we can’t get a skunk. They’re illegal here.”



*It’s true, skunks really ARE illegal in California. You can’t even get a prescription for one. 

Later I did tell them that it isn’t likely that they raise skunks. Mostly because I was sweating the potential for us to run into the guy who lives there and having my kids yell, “Hey, do you raise skunks? Can we have a skunk?” Actually wait. That would have been funny.  







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114 Responses to The Skunk House

  1. Nikki H says:

    I think you should let them ask the guy if they can have a skunk. That might really surprise him.

  2. Annie says:

    REAL skunks apparently make great pets (as long as the stinky parts are removed!)

    • AmandaSue says:

      skunks make GREAT pets! and they’re all spayed/neutered AND de-scented before they can be sold in the states they’re legal to own in (same goes for ferrets!). they never fully lose their ‘funk’…they have a chronic musky odor to them… also, they come in a RAINBOW of colors- my favorites are the solid reds. it’s kind of odd to see a classic ‘black and white’ skunk as a pet. i’ve never owned one, but i’ve seen many as clients (i’ma veterinary technician) and i love them!

      • Jodi says:

        I just Google Image searched ‘Red Skunk’ and pictures of marijuana came up! And no images of red skunks lol.

        • jen says:

          Ok…I had to try it….you were right!! I had no idea weed was called red skunk…I’m obviously sheltered :D. Hahaha crappy boy and crappy baby are right! He IS raising red skunks!

      • Amanda H. says:

        I dated a guy in high school that had a pet skunk (it was his mother’s and she looooved him). He neglected to tell me about it until I was in his basement alone and it came strolling by, lol.

  3. Katie says:

    LMAO!! The same thing happened to us once on a beach in Florida when we walked by a group of people smoking. “Mommy, I smell a skunk!!!” The whole group of people laughed and I just nodded and urged us farther on down the beach. LOL.

  4. Lori says:


    Omg. Nice.

  5. Lisa the human says:

    Skunky! Even more hilarious when you know skunk is another slang word for marijuana in some countries 😀

  6. Tina W. says:

    My uncle had a pet skunk named Flower when I was little!

  7. Kayla says:

    You must apply for a license first, and there are cage requirements. The facility will be inspected before obtaining a skunk and it will be decided if a permit can be issued or not. The skunk must have a form of ID, micro chip or tattoo. To import a skunk into the state a health certificate must be obtained; a vet in the state the skunk is coming from must call the SD Animal Industry Board to get an Import Permit Number.

  8. Bridget says:

    Ha! That’s awesome! We bought a 2nd hand camper and absolutely cannot get rid of the skunk smell. My husband and I have imagined a whole story where the previous owners were pot smugglers, using my clothes closet to hide the drugs… They did travel to Graceland, so the sticker we took off the back of it says… so you never know. 😉

    • kris says:

      I’ve heard that citrus cleaners will tackle any type of smell, have you tried that?

    • Chris B says:

      Bridget, once a skunk came into my house & my dog barked at it – yep, sprayed inside my house. Here’s what worked. Close up the doors and windows and boil a pan of white vinegar for a good 45 minutes. Don’t stay inside the whole time, trust me, your eyes will be burning and you’ll be crying if you try. (Trust me.) But after that, open up all the windows and doors and let it air out. Something about the vinegar eats up that nasty skunk smell. The next morning, you couldn’t tell there had ever been an incident.

    • Mike says:

      Try using a product called “Takedown” mixed 50/50 with water. For clothing, dogs, and people use woolite.

    • Anna says:

      My camper had a persistent septic odor *in the kitchen cabinets* from bad decisions by the previous owner. I fixed it by painting the whole thing with B.I.N. primer (two coats). BIN will seal in all sorts of things, so you might try it on your camper…

      • wilma fingerdoo says:

        We had a big, dumb labrador who had a thing for skunks and was constantly getting skunked. Our vet suggested (after a direct spray) to use women’s douche to get rid of the smell after we tried everything else.

        Since Darby was 120 lbs, I had to buy some 8 boxes of douche and the cashier gave me strange looks. When I said it was for my dog, he looked away horrified. I didn’t get to explain the skunking part and took my change and ran…I never went to that store again.

        • Kristen E says:

          Oh my goodness! This literally brought tears to my eyes, as I was laughing so hard!

        • Kristen E says:

          Wilma, your comment is so funny that I shared it on my FB page for my friends to have a great laugh. They all loved it too! And I’ve read it over and over again, giggling every time. I can only imagine what was going through the cashier’s mind! LOL

  9. AnonnyMommy says:

    We live in a state where pot is legal and our kids have been around it so it wouldn’t be news to them but this was hilarious! California will come ’round soon.

  10. Leli says:

    I doubt they realize how bad it smells. I had to help a customer who smelled like he’d been smoking weed in a confined space for a week. I was six months pregnant and almost threw up. When I saw him coming back I beelined it for the back room to avoid smelling him again. But until I was probably 18, I too would have thought he had run over a skunk. Had nooooo idea what weed smelled like.

  11. Angela says:

    Oregon is the place to be! Both kinds of skunk legal here. 😉

  12. Sasha says:

    Here in Colorado, we smell ACTUAL skunk and the kids say, “Hey, it smells like marijuana.”

  13. Rach says:

    Aw, come on Crappy Momma, don’t you puff of the magic dragon? 😉

  14. Lindsay A says:

    Imagine how high that home owner probably is all. the. time. The response to the skunk request would likely be even funnier than the request itself. THAT is a post I’d love to read!

  15. Wendi says:

    “You can’t even get a prescription for one.” ROFL

  16. Karen says:

    When I was a kid we had a family of skunks frequent our yard. Apparently one of our neighbors asked if he could trap them to keep as pets. I wonder if it was illegal back then too (we’re in CA as well).

    Pretty much every cool pet is illegal in California.

  17. jodi says:

    When I was a kid (about 5) we lived in an apartment for three months while our house was being built. It reeked of weed. Occasionally through the years I would recognize the smell, but I was in college before I put 2 and 2 together and figured out what “apartment smell” really was…

  18. Jackie says:

    OK, I’ll admit it, I smoke on occasion. I haven’t in front of my daughter and she has no idea what it is so I’m wondering how I’d handle a similar situation if the topic came up. Food for thought, hilarious post as usual!

    • Danielle says:

      I have a prescription. I don’t smoke it often, only when my rheumatoid arthritis is flaring up. Still, I completely hide it from my kids and only do it after they go to sleep. I’m nervous about them bringing it up with friends at school but then again I hate that I’m hiding it because I don’t think it is something that should be hidden. I’m conflicted about how I’d answer questions too.

    • kris says:

      Ditto here, there is still such a stigma and a fear surrounding it and even though we know several families that smoke it regularly I still have trouble talking about it with my kids. Alcohol on the other hand seems like no biggie since they see it so often.

    • AmandaSue says:

      same here. never in front of my 4 year old daughter…usually outside the house since our place is TINY and we live on a secluded 5 acres. i’m not very shy about it, even though here in FL it’s still illegal…not sure why. so ridiculous. we have enough drunks in this state, and alcohol ruins lives…. but i have to hide a habit that leaves no hangover, doesn’t affect my job, makes me SUPER HAPPY and very easy to entertain, makes people less violent (unless theres only one bag of cheetos…then it’s ON. slowly and with lots of giggles, but it’s ON!)…etc. ya’ll know. i don’t need to explain myself. 🙂

    • Mabel's Mom says:

      Ditto here. I don’t smoke in front of them.

  19. Sara says:

    So funny! Glad you are back!

  20. Alexandra says:

    That is so funny, I live in Colorado and its legal here, and the house a couple blocks from us definitely has some kind of grow operation. It smells like skunk all the time too. Luckily my kids havent noticed yet.

  21. Pen says:

    Such a funny post!

    I followed the Dead and sold pot brownies. Then I got married and had a son and now I live in a small town and bring brownies to PTA meetings. A long way of saying I decided to make it not taboo with my son. I told him that people smoke it just like cigarettes or cigars, only it is a different plant. His response was, “Why would anyone want to smoke something that smells like a skunk?” I explained it was the same way that people like to drink beer even though he thinks it tastes terrible.

  22. Kristen says:

    Too funny! We threw parts of our herb garden we pruned in a firepit once. Oregano, sage and parsley together smell like ‘skunk’ too. Made us wonder what the neighbors thought that night! Lol.

  23. kris says:

    I loved this!

  24. Jen says:

    My parents used to “raise skunks” when I was a kid.

    I always liked the way that particular “skunk” smelled. Maybe I’m just a weirdo.

  25. Charlotte says:

    Hehe, I have the opposite story. When I first moved to the US, hubby and I got a tiny 1 bedroom apt. And like EVERY single night, those horrible people above me would smoke pot. Except in the winter time for some reason. Having lived in the Netherlands, I was very familiar with the smell of pot, so I wasn’t impressed.

    It wasn’t until we moved into the suburbs, I realized that hey, maybe it wasn’t pot I smelled. But skunk. Unless all my current neighbours are pot-heads too.

    In my defense, I don’t think we have skunks in Europe.

    • Ruby says:

      Please don’t tell me you think they were horrible just because they smoked pot.

      • Charlotte says:

        Oh, no, they were just horrible because they were rude and played loud music at 3am, had loud parties at all hours and other “fun” stuff.

  26. Chelsie says:

    That is hilarious! Good story to tell him when he’s bigger & actually knows about MJ…once my grandparents came over & wondered if a skunk had gotten in our house. heh Of course my pot smoking parents said yes lol My parents, aunts, uncles, friends all smoked in front of me growing up and I remember once when I was about 4 or 5 that they were passing a joint and I reached up to take it, and someone was all, no no honey you don’t get that and I was all like I know! I was just gonna pass it! Geez… they thought it was hilarious and I was SO mad that they laughed at me. Still haven’t tried it to this day and I’m 36. Figure I got enough 2nd hand to last me a lifetime 😉 Just be honest with your kids. They deserve that, and they’re smart. Many of them probably already know things you think they don’t…

  27. Kristen says:

    Maybe the neighbors really DO raise skunks.

  28. Amy says:

    My fave so far hahahaha
    That’s how I answer questions too, short honest and avoiding unnecessary details. But, its getting harder!

  29. angela says:

    I love it! Yet another post where some of the comments were even funnier than the post itself. (And this post is pretty stinkin’ funny) 😉

  30. Anna says:

    I have a friend with a teenage daughter who is ruining her life with drugs. My friend was lamenting that she only ever cautioned her daughter about smoking (which she never took up) and wished she had told her drugs were bad too. She told me to talk about how bad drugs are with my kids. So now I talk to my kids about drugs. I tell them that they are an addictive substance and illegal, and that some people get addicted because they feel good when they take them, but then I explain all the bad things that happen when they wear off. Now my kids know about drugs, and they know they are bad. If my friend hadn’t told me, I would have avoided the conversation too but I am glad she did…. Kids are smart and they are never too young to learn about the good and bad parts of life….. Leaving it until they are teenagers is too late! PS: I think your blog is awesome and hilarious and you are a super momma xxoo

    • Mary says:

      While I agree about being open with children about drugs, marijuana is not addictive. Alcohol is, however, and I’d be more apt to discuss the dangers of alcohol than demonize marijuana smokers.

      • Ruby says:

        MJ most certainly is addictive. I don’t know where this myth comes from that it’s not. I’ve been an addict since I was 18. However, I do agree that alcohol is a far worse drug.

  31. SLTA says:

    I am SO GLAD you’re back. Seriously.

  32. azrael says:

    i heard of pet foxes but not pet skunks but i know it stinks last year i was a junior in high school and the entire year the back of the bus smelt like some one was smoking it’s was disgusting

  33. Naomi says:

    Don’t be cruel and ask him about skunks. Then he’ll just get paranoid about them. Or hungry and want to eat one. Either way it’s not good.

  34. JeanBean says:

    Or, it could be an herbalist burning herbs? I have an acupuncturist friend who burns herbs with her treatment. She does it at her home and when she first moved there, her neighbor reported her! Although they say it is definitely a different smell, for many, it’s hard to tell the differences. 😉

  35. Kate R. says:

    Growing up, we had something stinky growing nearby that my parents used to tell us was skunk cabbage, so maybe they would buy it if you told them it was that. (I will admit that after reading this post I googled it to make sure it wasn’t a euphemism, lol! , but it really does exist!)

  36. Pam says:

    Move to Wisconsin.. from your link it appears you can have a skunk here!

    btw – fascinating that there is a website w/ all the skunk details!

  37. Vicky says:

    I admire how neutral you are on topics like this. You neither condone nor condemn marijuana, for example. I absolutely can never get a read from you and while I’m always curious (is she liberal? Is she conservative?) I realize it isn’t the point of your blog and makes no difference. It is brilliant how you strip away the controversy and just focus on the hilarious part of the stories without alienating anyone. Well done!

  38. Laura says:

    So freakin funny!!

  39. Sarah Almond says:

    Aw… no pet skunks in California, even descented ones? So sad! 😉

  40. Shelley says:

    TOO funny! How clever of you to say only what needs to be said and then follow their lead.
    And, I agree that the replies are almost funnier than the post itself!

  41. Stephanie says:

    Butt Stamp used to be my fav post, this one is def number one now! Too hilarious. And ya, I totally wish you’d let them knock on the door or wait to ask the neighbour about his skunks! Hahahaha

  42. Stacy says:

    Oh my goodness! You should definitely let him ask 😉

    Also we have a skunk that frequents our porch. He likes to eat cat food and poop. My husband likes to open the door (presumably to give me a heart attack) and watch him.

    You’re welcome to come get our skunk.

  43. Jules says:

    I went for a long bike ride a few weeks ago and passed through several “ghetto” parks. When I got home, I told my boyfriend that it was just the darnedest thing that there was a skunk in every park I rode through! He didn’t get it, even though he is a former smoker (long ago).

  44. M.J. says:

    HAHA!!! Trying to give a simple answer to why the house smells odd and the boys want a skunk. 🙂 Childrens’ comments are hilarious!

  45. Rani says:

    Oh Thank you!! That just cheered me right up after a very long day! As an extra reward, I inadvertantly taught my son how to say “Oh Crap” tonight. Turns out he JUST NOW got to the age of repeating everything I say. Don’t they give you a warning period or anyting, I mean come on?! I suppose it’s time to start wearing clothes all the time, particularly before we go to the grocery store again. Those damn check out lines can be tricky.

  46. Amber says:

    I think skunk is actually another name for a kind of marihuana:

  47. Zelda says:

    That was awesome! ‘Can we knock on the door and ask to buy a skunk’…rofl.

  48. Andrea says:

    We went to a rap/pop concert recently. At one point in the show I smelled a skunk, which wouldn’t have been out of place in the semi-rural setting. It was so strong and hung around so long that I wondered if Jay-Z could smell it while he rapped his way through “Empire State of Mind.”

    Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a concert.

  49. Michelle L says:

    I would totally print this out and share with the homeowners! 🙂

  50. Laurie says:

    I’m definitely showing my age but if you want to read a funny short story to Crappy Boy & Baby about a boy who had a skunk for a pet, go to the library and borrow Homer Price by Robert McCloskey (he of Make Way For Ducklings/Blueberries For Sal/Time of Wonder fame.) It’s the first chapter called “The Case of the Sensational Scent.” However, my favs are “The Doughnut Machine” and “Mystery Yarn.” There are lots of McCloskey’s wonderful illustrations so it makes it a little more accessible for kids more comfortable with picture books. I think there was a video that was made from the book as well.

  51. SD Murray says:

    So the same route (past the reefer hut) every night because it wears out (mellows) the kiddos & the dog? I see what you’re doing there!

  52. Lisa says:

    OMG. I’m laughing so hard. I have never, ever thought that weed smelled anything like skunk. But obviously I’m wrong!

  53. Oh boy. I had a little heavier discussion with my 13 y.o. recently on our summer vacation to Colorado. We walked into a sandwich shop post-dinner crowd and I think someone was toking it up somewhere outside. It was really powerful and my daughter kept asking, “What is that SMELL?!” I just told her what it was because I didn’t want to lie to her at this point. Each day on our vacation I kept smelling marijuana at weird times of the day and in weird places. Turns out it’s a wildflower bush/plant of some sort that gives off the same smell as pot. My husband and I had gone for a walk in the middle of the day and we both smelled it right away but it then it was gone in an instant. We retraced our steps and started sniffing bushes. Sure enough. And it wasn’t a marijuana plant. 🙂 Sort of felt stupid because I made all kinds of wise cracks about the locals “It’s LEGAL!!!” attitude and I think what I was smelling was just some stupid bush. Good luck with your “skunks”!

  54. Erica says:

    Where we live there are trees that at certain times of the year give a smell like sperm. Very strongly. Can’t tell you how many times my kids have asked “what’s that smell?”

  55. No joke…I just realized why my mother’s-in-law backyard has smelled like skunk all summer.

  56. Julia says:

    Not that I’m doubting the likelihood of neighbors who smoke pot a lot… But I am doubting the likelihood that you’d smell it all the way out on the street all the time. There’s a very common landscaping plant called “Society Garlic” that reeks of skunk. You could just be passing by a patch of it. I hate the stuff because of the smell, but it’s really very pretty. It looks like decorative grass with purple flowers. You might look it up. If that’s what it is – trust me – you want to know so you can keep your dog out of it…

  57. You should totally ask about the skunk smell and let your little ones do all the talking.

    Ha ha ha!

  58. Funny Foreigner says:

    My English is quite good but I occasionally say stuff like hold your jets and cool your ponies.
    What do I say this? Because I read “skunk” a little differently. I read “skunk” with another vowel in it, an “a” to be precise, I mixed those words up. The joke still worked though.
    But it was a rougher joke (with its share of unfortunate implications and all of that) and I tend to prefer gentler humor.
    My mother grew a little skunk when I was a preteen, I knew exactly what she was growing. Mayhap that’s what steered me in a non-skunks path. It was my way of rebelling.
    Then again, my ma fancied herself way cooler than she was. The plant died because she didn’t take proper care of it.
    She went back to normal cigarrettes after the disapointment.
    I actually think the best way around drugs, sex and rock and roll is not freaking out. If you don’t see it as such a big deal, why would you be so curious about trying everything out as soon as possible?
    Oi! Nah, that sounds too serious for my liking. Best not try and get morals outa everything, that’s my rule.

  59. Ginger says:

    I usually take my 2 year old for a walk around the block before bedtime too. And I also have a house on the same block that smells of skunk. My niece was visiting this past summer and she would always ask why this particular house smelled like skunk. I simply told her, maybe there’s a skunk living in the yard (it was pretty unkept). But obviously something’s growing in there 😛

  60. HL says:

    I know that feeling. I live in Oakland and when we were house hunting, there were houses that were obvious former grow houses. With the smell, outlets, etc.

  61. Steph says:

    On a similar walk a while back, I heard a kid remark that something in the air smelled like sour dog poo. Oh, Canada.

  62. Tiph says:

    I live in South Florida and there actually is a native plant called a White Stopper that smells like pot/skunk. Not sure if it grows in California. My neighbor has a friend who had a bunch of them and finally removed them because the cops had been called on him several times. I only have 1 so I think I’m in the clear.

  63. Amber S. says:

    I took my children into a used CD store once to sell a bunch of old CDs. We walked in and there were HUNDREDS of glass pipes in cases. Pipes. Everywhere. My five-year-old daughter immediately asked “Mama, what are all of these things for?!” It was then that I saw, out of the corner of my eye, that the store had their very own shop cat.

    “Oh look, honey! A kitty! They have a sweet, friendly kitty!”

    And, magically, I no longer had to explain the use of the pipes.

  64. Ana says:

    My daughter just asked over dinner what a dispensary was (we live in CO, so it would make sense for her to ask). Horrified at the thought of having to explain it my husband and I shot a nervous look at each other with the “do you want to handle this?” undertones. He started in with, “Well, a dispensary is a place where they sell….” and she cuts him off and says, “No. Like with napkins.” The husband and I both laugh when we realize she meant a dispenser. It then made me think about this old post.