The dead mouse smell from the wall was just too much, so I took off some of the wood paneling (thank goodness for the junky old wood paneling we never got around to replacing!) and cut through the plaster and lathe in a few places. Not good. I found the place where the smell was coming from, but it was a small opening to an inaccessible space. All I did was improve the ventilation into the room. And meanwhile, we’ve got windows open and a fan running in February!
Today I had an inspiration. Why not see if I could rig an exhaust duct running from the wall opening to a window? It worked for Apollo 13 (sort of), didn’t it? Failure is not an option. So I bought a 20-foot length of flexible dryer duct and some extra duct tape. Also handy were some plastic sheeting and a “cone of shame” once used by one of our dogs after surgery. Here’s the result:
The dryer duct is stretched across the floor, which isn’t ideal, but who cares? That blob of plastic you see in the window is actually a powerful fan, with a big plastic cone and sheeting holding the duct tube in place. It works! Not perfectly, but we can close the other windows part way now, and actually stand to be in the rooms. Now we just have to wait for nature to finish the job. (Hurry. Hurry.)
Edit: It’s not working as well as I would like. The rooms are definitely better than before, but still not really a place you want to hang around in. And I still have to keep the windows open. (With snow predicted for Wednesday.)
I picked up another window fan to exhaust the room air and draw in fresh from neighboring rooms with windows open. Unfortunately, the fan — one of those dual-fan units designed to fit in a window like an A/C — doesn’t really move that much air. So… we’re still hanging out in the kitchen or the bedrooms or in my office. But at least we don’t feel like we’re going to keel over if we accidentally breathe when we walk through the dining and living rooms.
Edit: Three weeks later. The smell is finally gone, except for the very occasional, very faint whiff. I’ve put the walls back together. Life returns to normal. Thank God!