Oddly Soothing Things: Part 1

We have this beast of a rug that sits under our kitchen table. It takes a ridiculous amount of abuse from three kids, being in the middle of the highest trafficked area of our house, the west sun that beats in on it from our patio windows, and all the crud that gets tracked in from the backyard, sandbox and garage. Really, it’s pretty amazing how this poor thing has not just rolled itself up and fled from the the horrible exploitation it has suffered.

Frankly, I can relate to how it must feel. Being a mom sometimes feels like being the poor, neglected, trod-upon kitchen rug. How many times haven’t I been peed/pooped/puked/spilled/ jumped upon, used as a human kleenex, and just generally abused? Sometimes when my kids threaten to call 911 on me because I’ve done something so horrid to them (like taken away their electronics or failed to provide dessert,) I tell them, “You know what? Go ahead. Getting hauled off to jail would be a joy compared to living here right now.”

Think about it. I wouldn’t have to cook for a bunch of ungrateful whiners (in fact meals would be prepared for me,) I wouldn’t have to share a toilet with boys who couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with the wind at their backs, and there would be plenty of opportunities for naps and reading. I’ve lived with my own inmates long enough that I’ve become my own special brand of crazy, and I could take on any kind of violence and horrid behavior any fellow prisoner could throw at me. I could give the corrections officers lessons I bet…

Now wait. Where was I? (Sorry I drifted off into fantasy land there for a bit.) Oh yes. My poor neglected kitchen rug. So my friend Kevin and his brother Tim own Next Generation Oriental Rug Cleaning, and I follow their Facebook page. On it they post these addicting videos of them cleaning the rugs that are brought into their shop. I know. It sounds totally weird, but it is so oddly soothing and satisfying to watch. The swirling shampoo is mesmerizing. And then the rinsing! Oh, the rinsing! Seeing all the dirt and grime come pouring out of these rugs is about enough to make your toes curl in pure delight. Holy Hannah, it’s heaven! Then after the water runs clear, they put them into a fancy dancy rug centrifuge that spins out the rest of the water. Next comes the grooming and final drying. I swear the whole process is like watching a poor abused dog, covered in filth, fleas and matted gunk that has been rescued by the ASPCA get a bath, haircut and groomed. (Cue soulful Sarah McLachlan music.) Just like that… voila! A beautiful pup emerges, his tail wagging in joyful gratitude. I tell you. Watch these rug cleaning videos. This is how magic carpets are born, my dear reader. Swear to God.

I decided it was high time that our kitchen rug had the New Generation rug spa treatment. It was beyond hope that even the best Dyson money could buy or any attempts by me and my Bissell carpet shampooer could help. Kevin and Tim came out, rolled up the beast, took it to their shop and performed their magic. And they filmed it for me! So now I get to share the gloriousness with you!

Here’s Kevin shampooing the rug. Ahhhh….so soothing! Swirl, swirl, swirl…

Now here comes my favorite part: the rinsing! This is where it really gets cleaned. See all the brown sludge pouring out? That my friends, is years of kids not taking their shoes off at the door, a few gallons worth of spilled milk, ground-in petrified PlayDoh, forty pounds of sand from the sandbox, and a quart of dried tears that have been shed by my kids from being forced to eat their vegetables and other foods they’ve deemed inedible. (I wonder if I’m going to have to give Kevin and Tim hazard pay from seeing that horror show or all the filth clogging up their drain. I really hope they didn’t have to call Roto-Rooter.)

Check out the centrifuge. It spins at 1,000 RPM and wrings out nearly all of the water.

And there she is, in all her happy clean glory getting her final grooming to set the pile.

Check out these before and after pics too. They honestly don’t do it justice.

After watching all this mesmerizing cleaning, I think I’m going to bring my pillow and a blanket downstairs tonight and sleep on my clean, non-crunchy, mystery odor-free rug. It will probably be the cleanest thing in my house. Now I won’t be able to let my kids step foot on it, much less eat at the kitchen table. Guess they’ll be dining out on the deck or in the garage from now on.

Guess what, dear reader! If you live in northeastern Illinois, call New Generation Oriental Rug Cleaning and mention My Pediatric Psych Ward to receive 10% off your rug cleaning! Thanks, Kevin and Tim!!!

Next Generation Oriental Rug Cleaning
847-313-0433
http://www.nextgenrugcleaning.com

I have some more oddly soothing things I’ll share with you in the next post. If you have any suggestions, please share in the comments! Stay tuned!

My Boys Will NOT “Be Boys.” They Will Be Respectful, Decent Human Beings.

Normally I like to keep my blog posts on the lighter side and about the insanity of parenthood and other oddball things I come up with. Today’s post is not one of those. It’s taking me way beyond my comfort zone to write this, because I loathe discussing politics and polarizing issues. Debate and confrontation generally make me want to hide under the covers and hope it goes away. I hate that I cannot have discussions with some of my friends for fear of offending and losing a friendship. As I type that I realize how ridiculous it all sounds.

But I’m not here to go into my opinion on the Kavanaugh hearing or the political motivations of either side of the aisle. That has been hashed out ad nauseum on line and in the press. It exhausts me. What still is sticking with me and keeping me up at night however, is how we treat assault — both the victim and the assailant. In the case of sexual assault, how come it seems that the assailant is inherently believed over the victim — that a victim’s perception and memory of events is far less reasonable and accurate than that of the assailant?

This past weekend, my husband and I were talking about the hearing and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s upcoming testimony. He asked me, “If that had happened to you as a teenager, you would have told your parents, right?” I answered him honestly. “Most likely not.” He was surprised, so I explained that I wouldn’t have for multiple reasons. First, I would have been afraid that I would have gotten in trouble for being at a party with underage drinking. Second, I would have worried that they wouldn’t have believed me. But far scarier to me than getting in trouble or not being believed, was the thought of what they most likely would have done: help me report it. The thought of all the drama, humiliation and pain it would have caused personally and publicly would have been unbearable. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to go to the police and relive the event, to be asked a million embarrassing questions, to have it turned on me as to what I was doing to have somehow “deserved” it. I’m sure the rumor mill at school would have burst into flames from working overtime. Mostly, I couldn’t bear the thought of what something like that would have done to my parents — the pain, hurt, embarrassment, sleepless nights or even the financial burden it would have caused. Wouldn’t it have just been far easier for me to hold it inside and deal with it myself instead of causing even more pain and suffering? And what if I didn’t get justice in the end? What would have been the point?

A friend of mine recently posted a powerful story on Facebook. I will paraphrase it here and hope I will have done it justice. She described how she was attacked as a teenager. She tried to remember details of the night, who exactly was with her or how long it lasted. But she does remember that her parents knew where she was, she was not dressed scantily, had not been drinking or doing drugs (although others around her may have been.) She has no idea what became of the others who were there that night. Unfortunately, she was in the right place at the wrong time. Then she asked, “Do you believe me? You know me and the kind of person I am.”

She went on to say, “Now, what if I say I was robbed, not raped? Because that’s what happened. I worked at a Wendy’s, and while we were closing the store, two men came in and robbed us [at gunpoint].” She went on to describe the tiny, little details she remembers about what happened during the robbery and how she thought she was going to die that night when one of the men held a gun to her head.

Then she asked, “Does that change your mind about whether I am telling the truth? If it does, maybe ask yourself why.”

Luckily no one was injured or killed that night, she and her coworkers were able to report it to the authorities, and the perpetrators were found and brought to justice. She was not ashamed or embarrassed to go to the police to tell her story, she didn’t have to ask herself what she may have done to “invite” this to happen to her, and she was believed. Think about that for a moment.

Back when I was single, younger and cuter, I was a director of special events for a health charity. I ran a variety of fund raising events, including high-end golf outings which consisted of mostly privileged white men. By the end of the evening when the alcohol had been flowing and the auction was coming up, I often was felt up, had suggestive comments made to me and even remember a guy grabbing me, pulling me onto his lap and sticking his tongue in my ear. Other men saw this and did nothing. I politely removed his hand, got up and walked away. I felt I couldn’t risk making a scene, bringing down the night and potentially losing thousands of dollars in donations for the charity from these men showing their machismo and bulging money clips. It all felt like “part of the job” and in fact, a co-worker called it “losing lipstick.”

I told my husband this story and he could not fathom how men could do such things to me. “I can’t imagine ever treating a woman or other human being that way.” Well, I know this and that’s just one of the reasons I married him. His honestly, loyalty and doing what is right even when it’s hard are some of his very best qualities.

The most important job as parents of our two sons and daughter is to teach them how to be respectful, kind and caring to everyone no matter their gender, race or views. I refuse to believe or accept that, “Boys will be boys” and their gender somehow gives them a pass on poor behavior. Do my boys do crazy “boy” things and misbehave? Absolutely. And I’m sure my daughter will do things to make me want to pull my hair out as she gets older too. What I do believe is that “Boys …and girls…will be respectful and decent human beings.” I want my sons and daughter to know this and live it. I already see it in so many of the things they do. There is hope.

It is our job as parents to help our children navigate through their lives, learn to make good choices, and that when we make mistakes to apologize when we’ve hurt someone. No one is perfect and sometimes we all need to be better about forgiving or giving someone the benefit of the doubt. What is never okay is to disrespect another person’s body and his or her power over it. It’s never okay for someone to disrespect our own body and power over it either. This goes for everyone, male or female: respect others and themselves. Furthermore, by allowing assault to happen or doubting the victim, we too are taking away even more of that person’s power over themselves.

I hope and pray that my husband and I can instill this in our children and that they will know they can always come to us for help and unconditional love no matter how old they are or what the circumstances. May we all be…and raise…good human beings.

 

 

Why Kids’ TV in the ’70s was the Best

For those of you who born in the 80s or after, listen up and take notes. I am here to educate you on why TV in the 70s was freakin’ awesome.

“Wow. That’s pretty random,” you say. Well, I’ve had a pretty crappy day today, so I IMed a friend:

“Having a really shitty day. Tell me something funny.”

She immediately shoots back:

Shazam. Totally what I needed.

This used to be one of my FAVORITE vignettes from Sesame Street. I can still feel the soothing sense of calm that would wash over me whenever it would come on. “Milk….Miiii-lllkkk” – heaven. The kitties getting their special little tray of milk from the farmer, then the satisfying milk pour into the bucket…Sigh…Oh! And then that dear sweet little baby who just wanted her bottle! “Oh, hold on baby girl! The milk man is going as fast as he can! Look! He’s running! He’s gonna bring you your milk!” And then she finally gets her bottle. Oh, pure bliss. [Fans self]

So this got us going on all the great skits and songs from Sesame Street and other shows from our childhood.

Then she sent me:

Oh. My. God! I LOVED this song! And I thought it was SOOO cool that this girl had a pet llama. In the CITY! And she really loved this llama because she took it to the DENTIST! As I think back on this, I have so many questions though. Like, 1) Where did she KEEP her  llama? On the fire escape? The roof? WHERE?! 2) Where were her PARENTS?!? I mean I’ve heard of “Free Range Parenting” but this is a bit ridiculous. 3) Who knew there were llama dentists in the city? Seems a little boutiquey for back then. 4) How did said llama dentist not get spit on and the shit kicked out of him by Nicki the llama, who surely was nicht pleased to be having her gnarly teeth scraped by this dude. It made MY teeth hurt just watching! 5) How did the writers at Sesame Street come up with the idea for this? Were they majorly tripping on acid one day, “Hey! Did you just see that girl walking down the street with her pet llama? FAR OUT!!! Maybe she’s taking it to the dentist! Quick! Get me a pen! I need to write this bitchin’ song down RIGHT NOW!”

So, not to be outdone by the Me and My Llama song, I shot back:

Bam! I used to go nuts singing and dancing to this song. I mean I looked like I was a poor white girl having convulsions or a mouse was running up and down my pants or something, but I really thought I had the moves! “Onetwothreefourfive sixseveneightnineten eleven TWELVE!” Did you know the Pointer Sisters sang that song? I know, right?! And the mesmerizing pinball zooming through the machine. Totally trippy. I still sing this song when I’m counting with my kids. They think I’m totally weird, especially when I throw in the mouse-down-my-pants dance.

You know how those “How It’s Made” shows got their start? Yep. Sesame Street. Who remembers the ever-so-satisfying crayon making video?

I still find myself looking pensively at my orange crayon and think, “Hmmm…I wonder how they made my orange crayon.” Oh how I’d like to dig my hands into those huge trays of crayons and run my fingers through them!

But wait. There’s more. Remember this show??!

To this day, I still bellow at my kids like Rita Moreno, “HEY YOU GUUUYYYYSSSS!!!!!!!!” Again, my children are not amused by me. That show was awesome! When you look back at who got their start on that show, like Morgan Freeman!

Even Bill Cosby was on The Electric Company.

(I’m guessing Rita Moreno regrets not punching and kicking him way harder back then.)

I learned all about punctuation from Victor Borge.

And yes, when writing long hand, I still find myself doing the “Ffftt pttt” sound whenever I do an emphatic exclamation point! FFFTT PTTT! See?!?

Last but not least, who doesn’t remember the silhouettes?

Husband and I randomly say words like this to each other. “Bitch…ing…BITCHING!” da da DA da da…(Try it! It’s fun!)

I could go on and on forever about the cameos and the societal elements of these shows. Please. I won’t even mention Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. That man was a saint and he deserves a blog post all of his own (although I don’t think some of my posts would give him “such a good…feeling…”) And I’m sure you, dear reader, have some oldies but goodies that bring you back to your 70s childhood. What were the good ones that bring you back to the days of orange, avocado and goldenrod? Please share some in comments!

Now I think I’m going to go pour myself a nice, tall glass of Milk…Miii-lllk! So good, so warm and white!

The Epic Sleepover

First Born Male Child has an awesome friend who lives up the street. I call him “Jiminy Cricket” because he is often FB’s conscience when they are together. I credit JC for saving FB from himself and me on a regular basis. I’ve even offered him a lifetime supply of grilled cheese sandwiches (his kryptonite) if he would come live with us to be a constant good influence on his friend. Alas, he turns down my offer every time, because he regularly witnesses the crazy factory that is my house. Smart kid.

Over the Labor Day weekend, FB had a sleepover at JC’s house. They informed me that it was going to be “epic.” Now normally if FB says that something he’s going to do is going to be “epic,” I get twitchy, nervous and come up with a million ways to say NO. Epic things never end well. But I know JC’s mom and she’s pretty awesome. They have five kids and she runs a tight ship. She’s actually sort of my idol — I mean she makes it all look so easy compared to the psych ward I run over here. I figured if anyone could handle an “epic sleepover” it would be her.

So FB and JC packed up the wagon with FB’s important slumber party gear, which included a ridiculous number of pillows, blankets, electronic devices, probably a few light sabers and other essentials including toothpaste. (Go figure. Toothpaste but probably not clean underwear. Hmmm.) Off they trudged up the street the quarter mile to JC’s house looking like preteen versions of Fred Sanford hauling the bizarre collection of junk. Good luck Mrs. Cricket. They’re all yours.

Fast forward to 2:00 AM. I’m awoken suddenly from a deep sleep. There is a fierce storm raging outside — torrential rains, house-shaking thunder and daylight-like lightning. “I swear I heard the doorbell ring! Nah. Must have been my dream.” A few seconds later, there’s knocking on the front door.

“Holy hell! What is going on! Who’s out there?!?” I violently shake snoring, comatose Husband awake. “There’s someone at the door!!!”

“Huh? What? Who’s at the door? Which door? What?!”

“I DON’T KNOW!!!!! GET UP!!!! GO FIND OUT!!!!!” He stumbles around looking for his robe and goes to investigate. I’m thinking it’s a bad prank, or something horrible has happened and a neighbor needs help or it’s the police.

Then my phone rings. It’s Mrs. Cricket. My blood ran cold.

“FB left our house and walked home. Mr. Cricket is coming over to find him.” I’m not sure what I answered her with, but it was probably something involving a lot of profanity. I ran down the hall yelling, “IT’S MR. CRICKET! FIRST BORN WALKED HOME!!!!

Husband starts freaking out too, “WHAT?!?! WHERE IS HE?!?!”

“I DON’T KNOW!!!!”

Then I hear behind me from the kids’ bathroom, “Mom! I’m right here! What’s going on?!?”

I think I screamed and spewed some of my better curses. Husband went and let a very soggy Mr. Cricket know FB is safe, apologized profusely and returned to bed, leaving me to deal with the wreckage. I ran back to find my phone so I could call Mrs. Cricket to let her know everyone is okay. I found three missed calls, a voice mail and four text messages. CRAP! My ringer had been turned down, and I didn’t hear it over the storm, Husband’s snoring and the crazy dream I’d been having. I was practically in tears when I called Mrs. Cricket, just imagining the sheer panic she must have been feeling…that was caused by my child! She was relieved, and we agreed to talk in the morning.

I went back down the hall to FB’s room to demand an explanation. He was completely befuddled as to why everyone was freaking out. “But Mom! I told Jiminy and his brother that I was going home. Jiminy’s brother was snoring so loud I couldn’t sleep at all!!”

“So you decided to walk home?!?!? The Crickets are FREAKING OUT. WE ARE FREAKING OUT! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?!?” 

“But I TOLD Jiminy and his brother! I don’t see what’s the big deal. I came in through the garage and came up and took a bath. What? You didn’t hear me?!”

Ummm…Evidently not. I guess I’m a deeper sleeper than I thought. Jeez. What a cluster. I sent him to bed and told him we’d talk about it in the morning. I felt the toxic levels of adrenaline trying to exit my body and decided it was no use going back to bed. I stayed up until 5:30 trying to calm down and to figure out what to do with my dear child in the morning. As much as I wanted to throttle the living daylights out of him, he hadn’t done it to be malicious. He just wanted to get some sleep. “BUT WHAT WAS HE THINKING?!?!? Oh the poor Crickets. I couldn’t imagine the sheer terror they must have been feeling, thinking they were going to have to tell me that they lost my child!” I cried awhile, then decided that FB was going to write the most sincere apology card ever known to man, buy flowers for Mrs. Cricket with his own money and then humbly deliver them to the Crickets in person.

The next morning we talked, and I explained to FB the seriousness of what he did. He felt awful that he had created such a drama and had scared everyone so much. He worked hard on a card and carefully picked out the best bouquet of flowers for Mrs. Cricket. We delivered them and had a good laugh together over the insanity of it all.

Turns out they did the regular boy sleepover things like played video games, probably laughed about farts and other stinky boy stuff and eventually went to bed. JC’s an early-to-bed/early-to-rise kid…FB, not so much. He’s a night owl like me and the trucker-like snoring of Jiminy’s brother was just too much for FB to get to sleep. Instead of covering his ears with one of the multitude of pillows, going downstairs to sleep on the couch, or even going in to ask Mrs. Cricket to call me to pick him up, my First Born Male Child decided to take matters into his own hands and felt it necessary to prank Lumberjack sleeping away across the hall. This is where the toothpaste…and shaving cream…came into play. *SIGH.* Yeah. I don’t really know the extent of it but from what we were able to piece together, the bathroom garbage can was filled with shaving cream, toothpaste was all over and poor JC’s brother ended up with crunchy and minty fresh hair.

So I guess I’ll be adding, “don’t walk home in the middle of the night during a violent rainstorm” to the list of things to remind him of before he goes to another sleepover. To my First Born’s guardian angel, I offer my sincerest gratitude and apologize for how hard she must have to work on a regular basis.

PS: Could you do me a huge favor? The stats I get on my blog views are being wonky. Could you please “like” this post at the bottom here so I can see if my stats are accurate? I hope this little gem gave you a good giggle and made you realize you do indeed have your act together compared to me. Thanks for reading!

 

 

The First Day of School Eve

In less than 9 hours, the boys will be whisked off to their first day of 5th and 2nd grades. Part of me is rejoicing that I survived summer with my children 24/7. The other part of me is feeling a bit bitter-sweet that they’re already this old. Those days of innocence are coming to an end I fear. If I’m finding these years challenging, what’s going to happen when the teenage years begin?! I’m screwed.

Today was Supply Drop Off and Meet the Teacher Day. I think I’ve written about this before, but the way our school district does this is completely maniacal and sadistic. There are about 2,000 students among the elementary, intermediate and middle schools which are all clustered together within walking distance of one another. Supplies are to be dropped off, teachers met, lockers found, bus tags gotten, lunch accounts filled etc. For ONE HOUR. For all 2,000 students and their parents. It’s pure, raw hell. When Amazon Warrior Princess starts 1st grade, I’ll have to do this for three children. I better start medicating now.

I have no idea why they do it this way. I’m assuming there is some good reason for it, but perhaps it’s the Administration’s last jab at parents before they are stuck with our kids for the next 9 months. I can’t say I blame them. Educators are all saints in my book, and an hour of revenge seems okay considering.

Other times I think that it’s some annual social experiment in which students and parents are unwitting participants. I picture the principals in some big control room monitoring all the halls and classrooms from a giant screen.

“Okay, turn off the A/C in the 2nd grade hallway. Good! Good! That made the vein on ten mothers’ heads start throbbing! We’ve got a complete melt down in the 1st grade hall! Well done!”

“Cue jams for locker numbers 127, 359 and 785. Wait for it…wait for it! RELEASE! YES!!! Nailed them all in the head! Initiate lingering dead sock smell!”

“We’ve got escapees! How did they get done so fast?! Fire Drill! Time for a Fire Drill!”

After the bedlam has died down, they begin to assess the parents they broke. I picture Count Rugen from “The Princess Bride” after he sucked one year of Wesley’s life away, “So let’s just start with what we have. What did this do to you? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterityso… be honest.” Then they start culling the herd. Only the strong survive.

Whatever the reason they do it this way, I managed to survive another year. Tomorrow is the first day of school. To all the teachers, bus drivers, school nurses, lunch supervisors…God speed. We parents appreciate you more than you can know.

 

 

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