Several years ago, when sister was pregnant with this little man, she smelled a wretched, horrid burning smell. Having just moved into a century old recently renovated home, she was freaked out that the house was on fire. She called and was asking me about faulty wiring and the smell of a smoldering house. At last, she decided the situation was dire enough to merit calling the authorities, so she called 9-1-1. Down the street from the fire station came the big trucks, chock full of hunky, strapping firemen. She was standing on the porch big and pregnant (and barefoot, if I know my sister), wee niece hanging onto her apron strings. The fire chief pulled up in front of the big trucks in his suburban and started walking toward the house and said "OH, it's a skunk!" and turned around -laughing- to tell the other firemen before they dragged out their equipment. The skunk had crawled under the house and "uttered the inaudible discord of his race."(Thanks, Ambrose Bierce!) and everyone got a good laugh out of it, actually: she's quite pretty, and they were relieved not to fight a fire, and seeing as she was pregnant, they all just kind of gave her a pass on it.
So, the smell was not the city's problem. What to do about the odor? Well, what COULD be done? Nothing. Meaning well, and horrified that their progeny would be traipsing around town redolent of skunk, my folks and husband went over and rolled moth-balls under their house before sealing up the spot at which the skunk had been gaining access to the crawl space. Sister, moody, pregnant and just a mite tetchy at this point, was enraged at our folks. Naturally, they went over and removed the mothballs forthwith, and all of sister's rage was transferred from the skunk to the mothball brigade.
Well, I have to tell you, she and her wee bairns smelled a teeny bit skunky for a couple years. Their clothing had the faintest tang of skunk-action. It was weird. I got really used to it, but it was just part of the scenery, eventually, and always there.
If I called up mom today and brought up the subject, she'd probably get all pissed and start fuming about "those babies running around smelling like skunk."
If I called up sister today and brought up the subject, she'd swear she can still smell the mothballs.
It's like watching a tennis match, sometimes. I'm looking forward to the day when they both laugh about it.