I had a very good reason for appealing for all of y'all's help the other day, and thank you, those who answered me. I've figured out what to do for the shoes... now to figure out how to deoderize the shin guards, which have reached degrees of awfulness that would boggle the human mind.
I had noticed this... odor... floating through the house. It was oddly familiar, and yet... I couldn't place it. It was driving me nuts though, and I kept looking and looking for the source, because it got stronger, and stronger, and worse and worse, until I began to dread that something had died under our house, something large like... an elephant. A large, semi-decayed elephant must have died under our house after being force-fed Limburger cheese... and sauerkraut. With onions. At high tide. On a manure pile. You get the picture.
The Husbandly One joined me in my quest, walking around the house, sniffing, frowning, lifting things, thinking maybe one of the kids (possibly the Impossible Son) had left a food bomb somewhere, even after all our lectures about throwing things in the garbage, etc. Or maybe one of the cats had killed a rat/mouse/rodent of unknown origin and it was rotting next to the elephant.
I pretty much stumbled over the answer. I was walking through the hall between my kids' rooms, and fell over the Impossible Son's shoes, shinguards, and socks, which he had let fall in a little pile against the wall. I started to walk past it when the central air came on, and I paused to look back at the little pile, frowning. Took a minute for it to click. They were all lying in a little pile RIGHT UNDER THE INTAKE VENT!!! In other words, there they sat in a reeking little pile, emitting nearly VISIBLE clouds of eau de PONG, and IT WAS BEING SUCKED INTO THE AIR CONDITIONER AND CIRCULATED THROUGH THE HOUSE!!!
You bet your BIPPY, I picked the pile up, dropped it in the laundry room, then went to open the windows and air out the house!!
I think I would have preferred the dead elephant!!