Chatty Gassy Kathy

We’ve all had that one co-worker whom we’ll never forget. Some are those inspirational people who accomplish more in an hour than you can in a week. Maybe it’s that person who had the most epic creative ideas that made you wonder what drugs they took (and why weren’t they sharing?) Or maybe it’s that boss who was always yelling and throwing chairs. Well, the co-worker I’ll never forget was Chatty Gassy Kathy.

Kathy was near retirement age and was the receptionist in the small office of a non-profit I worked at long before I was married or had children. As I look back, perhaps God put her in my life to help prepare me for what was to come.

I can remember the day I went in to interview for the job. It was right before Christmas, and I walked into the office which was eclectically decorated for the season with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the corner and motion-sensing ho-ho-ing Santa sitting next to it. Kathy greeted me cheerfully and told me to have a seat. She immediately started chatting me up — it was more of a dizzying monologue of sorts.

“I need to go to Sam’s Club tonight after work and get a big pack of nice toilet paper. See my husband and I are going to a Secret Santa party at my niece’s house tonight. The theme this year is ‘comfort’ so Bob decided that he wanted to bring toilet paper. If you’ve got nice soft toilet paper, it’s comforting he said. So off to get toilet paper I go! I better get a big roll of wrapping paper while I’m there too.”

Two things to note here. 1.) Bob is not to be confused with Young Son’s tooth fairy — two totally different guys. 2.) This was not a white elephant party. No. Kathy was going to a Secret Santa party where people were expecting to get a spa gift certificate, a fancy candle, a pair of cozy socks or a bottle of Bailey’s and hot cocoa mix if they were lucky. But no. One poor idiot was going to be stuck with year’s supply of toilet paper from Bob and Kathy.

She continued on, “Do you shop at Sam’s Club? I love it there. You can get the best deals on things. Bob really likes their big containers of beef jerky.” Lucky for me, before she could tell me more, I was rescued by the person with whom I was to interview.

She took me back to her office and said, “I see you’ve experienced Kathy.” I nodded and nervously laughed. In the end, the interview went really well and there was a job offer on my answering machine when I got home. (Yes, I said answering machine… it was that long ago.)

On my first day I was standing next to Kathy’s desk, and she told me all about the party. “There was some real nice stuff. I got a pretty blanket and some gingerbread lotion, but I don’t think I can use that stuff because it made want to lick my hands all day when I tried it.” I asked how her person liked the toilet paper. “Oh, they really appreciated it. I mean who doesn’t need nice toilet paper?”

computerAll the while she was extolling the highlights of the party, her computer was making lots of clucking, grinding and percussive sounds like it was backing up some big file or something. (Remember this was back in the day where computers used 3 1/2″ disks and were the size of a carry-on suitcase.) Come to find out it was not her computer making these sounds. It was Kathy. Turns out Kathy had an epic flatulence issue and this was just the beginning.

She would walk down the hall to deliver a phone message or to refill her vat-like mug with black Folgers coffee, and you could hear her coming. Fart Fart…Fart Fart Fart…all the way. Then she would stand in my doorway and tell a good Bob story, punctuating the exciting parts with a fart or two. (Turns out my friend’s father-in-law does this too. Who knew it was a thing?!) These stories would go on for ages and sometimes I’d just put up my index finger, pick up my phone and start dialing to get her to go away.

Kathy was an equal opportunity farter too. Volunteers, major donors and delivery people would visit the office. She farted for them all. One time I was in the conference room getting a volunteer set up to work on a mailing. Kathy came in and chatted up the volunteer and suddenly let a good one rip while she continued on with her story. The volunteer looked at me wide-eyed, mouth agape. I just closed my eyes, hung my head and slunk back to my office to put my head down on my desk for a few minutes.

One day I’m surprised someone didn’t end up hospitalized. We were all in an endless meeting in the conference room. When it finally wrapped up, Kathy walked out to her desk and unleashed the most horrific, deafening 20-second fart in the history of mankind. We all thought she had died. But no, she was just fine. The rest of us nearly stroked out from stifling gales of laughter.

At first I was concerned Kathy had an underlying health problem causing all her intestinal distress. But no. Turns out Kathy enjoyed a very high fiber diet. Every day for lunch she would eat two pieces of this ridiculously high fiber bread (I think it was guaranteed to have a whole tree ground up in every loaf.) Then she’d eat it open-faced with sliced apples on top, which she’d meticulously cut one by one with a dull paring knife. Every. Day.

double bubbleIn addition to Kathy’s chattiness and gassiness, she chain chewed Double Bubble. You know — that really crappy rock-hard gum in the yellow, blue and red little wrappers. She’d chew piece after piece all day long, spitting it back into its wrapper as soon as all the flavor was chewed out 20 seconds later. By the end of the day she would have about 4″ of spent gum in her trash can. Maybe she had such a high fiber diet because she had a fossilized wad of Double Bubble stuck in her colon and she was trying to dislodge it with methane.

As I look back, I am amazed at how “normal” this all became. Honestly, I probably should have made an anonymous call to the EPA or at least OSHA to file a complaint about toxic air quality in the workplace. I shudder to think about all the Kathy ass-air I inhaled during my tenure there.

I’m sure you’re wondering, “But what about the smell??” Honestly, they were basically benign. Sadly, I’ve given it some thought and I think it was her diet of fiber and Double Bubble which accounted for the lack of odor. Where one gets into trouble is when farts become SBDs (silent-but-deadly) due to a rancid diet. If Kathy were malicious, she would have dropped off a SBD as she did a drive-by of your office. But no. Kathy was pretty forthright in her flatulence.

I have no idea what became of Kathy. For all her quirkiness and insanity, she was a sweet lady. I hope she and Bob are doing well. I imagine them sitting together on their porch snacking on their colon-blow bread and beef jerky from Sam’s Club…and I’m guessing their bathroom is well-stocked with nice toilet paper.

 

 

Running on Fumes

Oh hallelujah! Less than a week until First Born Male Child and Young Son go to school! I feel guilty that I’m so excited for my kids to go back to school, because it feels like I’m wishing away their childhoods. But really it’s more than wanting them out of the house. It’s me wanting some of me back.

You know how I’ve said that as the summer progresses, things just go down hill? June is great because I’ve got plans and ideas…and energy! The kids are drunk with freedom and loving life. But then July comes along and it’s like the 2nd hour of a long car ride. “Are we there yet?!” The movie is over and the snacks were devoured 50 miles ago. August is like hour 6 when lunch was ages ago, car games are boring, fights break out over things like, “Mom! He’s blinking too loudly!” — and everyone has a sore butt from sitting for so long. Just put us out of our misery. Please!

I’ve screwed myself again this summer, and I really wish I’d learn. Instead of keeping myself “fueled” with self-care for me every once in awhile, I put all my energy into keeping the kids busy, happy and not killing each other 24/7. I honestly can’t remember the last time I spent time with a friend. (I’m guessing it was May.) Basically I tried to get in all the miles as I could on one tank of gas, didn’t dole out entertainment for the inmates along the way — basically I blew it all on the first half of the trip. Yep. Total rookie mom mistake and I should know better. Right now my low fuel light is on and my engine light has been flickering for the past 27 miles.

I do enjoy the slower pace of summer and the break from after school activities, homework, strict bedtimes and the spontaneity that affords. But after nearly ten weeks of being with my kids ALL. THE. TIME… I’m burned out. No matter what I’m doing, there’s always a kid in the mix destroying something, fighting, interrupting or doing something weird. Fer crissake — I found a pair of YS’s underwear in the backyard today! HOW and WHY did this HAPPEN!? I swear if I don’t hear or see them doing crazed things, I go on high alert because I know they are plotting. It’s exhausting.

I was trying to write earlier in the day and had to resort to using noise canceling headphones. Our kitchen had turned into the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for Pokémon card trading between YS and his friends. There was yelling, weird hand gestures, paper strewn all over the floor and I think there was a hostile takeover at one point. It was epic. I finally had to ring a bell and banish them outside.

So here I am at 11 PM trying to have a complete thought for the first time today. I just remembered: Bob needs to come tonight. In case you’ve forgotten, Bob is YS’s tooth fairy. Gladys (FBMC’s tooth fairy) has retired since FBMC figured out she was in the same boat as Santa and the Easter Bunny — it’s been a rough year. So here’s what Bob’s leaving tonight. (The Pokémon handbook is FBMC’s.) Lord help me, I hope YS remembered to pick up his Legos before he went to bed!img_20180816_224601775_ll1

Living with Preadolescent Boys. Joy Redefined.

A few posts ago, I wrote about how summer break goes: June is lovely, July is when the boredom kicks in and then August is filled with hatred and homicidal thoughts for all involved. Yep. Right on schedule.

I recently asked a friend who has two daughters, “Do your girls always talk about their vaginas? Because my boys are CONSTANTLY talking about their private parts — penises, balls, junk, butts, buttholes (and even anuses if they’re being all classy about it) … and poop. Oh the poop references. I basically live in a preadolescent frat house. Except for the lack of beer drinking, the smell, filth and mentality are right there.

Here are a few examples of things you’d hear them screaming at our house on any given day:

“If you don’t knock it off, I’m going to punch you in your penis!!”

“Your face looks like a butt crack and your breath smells like a butthole!”

“Hey anus face! I’ve got something for you!” Then FBMC sticks his butt at YS and farts. (He performed this trick on me one day. It did not end well for him. At all.)

“Balls! Balls! Balls! Balls!”

“Hey, FBMC! What does this look like?? POOP!!!” followed by gales and gales of laughter and rolling around the floor while covering his junk. (What’s worse is when my husband stifles a snort of laughter and tries to frown away a smile — this is pure crack for them and then I’m done for.)

If they are being extra creative, it gets set to music like this one sung to the tune of “Do Your Ears Hang Low”

Doooooo your balls hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot?
Can you tie them in a bow?
Can you throw them over your shoulder
Like a continental soldier?
Do your Balls. Hang. Low?

At that point I close my eyes, rub my temples and sing quietly to myself while trying not to cry,

Yes Jesus loves me,
Yes Jesus loves me.
Yes Jesus loves me,
for the Bible tells me so.

Some days I try to ignore it. Other days if I’m feeling all Glenda the Good Mommy, I come up with positive reinforcements like, “The person who can last the longest today without saying potty words gets a popsicle.” They can hold out for about 15 seconds until one can’t hold it any longer and a whopper comes flying out. The “winner” goes and gets a popsicle, followed by the “loser” snatching one too (because clearly it was going to be a tie,) and then they run outside with their “rewards” yelling more potty words. At least they’re out of the house at this point. Score one for Glenda. To my neighbors, I tried. I’m sorry.

Other days I send them each to their room (this is one of my favorites because I get a little peace and quiet.) When it gets really bad, I threaten to take away electronics. This however, is a slippery slope fraught with danger. If they keep at it, they lose electronics, which in all actuality means I am the one on the losing end. At least if they’re using electronics, they are not tormenting each other and hurling insults.

I think I’m going to implement a new strategy, sort of like a curse jar. Every time they use potty words, they have to pay $1. I figure by the end of the week they should have their freshman year of college about covered, so I consider this a big win for me. And speaking of college, I hope they get into good ones. I’m guessing one will be a proctologist and the other a urologist based on their current obsessions. This will also end well for me because they’ll be able to put me in a really nice nursing home later on.

So yeah. I’m totally ready for school to start. In case you were wondering, here’s the latest countdown:

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Be strong, fellow mamas. The bus will be here soon! If they don’t kill me by then.