Sunday, April 24, 2011

Antennas and Unmentionables

This blog is supposed to be classy. Maybe not all the way to elegant (this is me we're talking about here), but at least not the sort of low-brow humor so scurrilously and uncreatively dependent upon bodily functions for laughs. Delicate persons such as myself do not even have bodily functions, at least not that we'll admit to. 

Thus I feel the need to warn my gentle readers that this blog contains several mentions of the medical term "poop". Yes, indeed. Antennae and poop. My children have not yet learned how to avoid having bodily functions. You have been duly cautioned.

Thursday evening, Jack decided it was time to put up our antenna, which will allow us to get local channels and news. Our previous antenna had become elderly and outdated, and wouldn't work at all. 

That alone was an adventure in itself, and I'm thankful no stray camera people were lurking about.The antenna tower, also quite elderly, was flimsy, ever so slightly slanted, and about 8 feet tall, up on the very top of our steep, two-story roof. Now, there is nothing wrong with being elderly, unless someone is going to stand on you. It's a good thing I'm not afraid of heights. As the lighter of the pair of us, I was elected Chief Tower Climber. Jack was Chief Tower Holder and Keeper of the Wife from Plunging to the Ground. 

Darkness fell, the wind picked up and grew cold, and at last the job was duly accomplished. Jack and I took our trembling, over-strained arms and legs inside to bask in the glow of the evening news while the boys got ready for bed.

"MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM," Damon yelled from the other room. (Pronounced "mahhhhhhhhm", not "moom".)

Jack and I looked at each other. One of us would have to go. "He called you," Jack pointed out helpfully.

Grumbling and aching, I stumbled toward the location of the outburst, the bathroom. In my exhaustion, the full import of the scene didn't burst onto my consciousness like it normally would have. Really, it didn't even flicker. Finally, Damon had to point out the lighter on the floor, and the can of Febreze on the sink.

I sniffed the air, becoming belatedly aware that the bathroom now smelled like a spicy Moroccan bazaar...afire.

Fixing Devon with my best Evil Mom Eye, I asked in a steely voice, "What were you doing in here?"

Devon looked at me, wide-eyed. I could see every fleck of green in his beautiful hazel eyes, so different than the dark brown of the rest of the family. It took him a moment for him to get the words out.

"Trying to set my poop on fire."

I would have been a great proficient at poker, had I ever played. My stone face, though perhaps not as legendary as Dad's or even Jack's, has stood by me through some truly hilarious (but naughty) events. This time, against my will and every effort to maintain it, it dissolved into helpless laughter.

At last, holding my sides and gasping for breath, I wheezed at him, "You can see that I am laughing. What you did was still very bad, and very dangerous. If you EVER DO IT AGAIN, I will be laughing while I paddle your bottom."

I didn't want to ask the rest. Visions of taking him into the ER with rectal burns danced in my head. Maybe we would even get the same doctor that treated his mouse bite. Simply consoling myself that he didn't seem uncomfortable wasn't enough.

It was a great relief to find out the the attempt at incineration had not been made until the fecal material had taken up full residence in the porcelain immolation chamber. His lily-pink ahem person had not been directly endangered.

There remained only one question.


He twinkled up at me as he answered. "I was just trying to discover a Science Fact."

The preacher yesterday said that a group of 2-4 year olds were tested, and 95% of them were found to be extremely creative. By the time they were 7, only 4% remained extremely creative. The rest had the creativity ground out of them by adults telling them not to ask questions. So I want to be very careful how I phrase this.

Devon, questions are bad. Do not ask questions. Do not try to find out how things work. Do not attempt to explore, discover, or find out anything. Just a little class - is that too much to ask?

Here's to science,
Noni Beth

Monday, April 11, 2011

Got Milk?

Yesterday after lunch, I sat happily convalescing in my room, computer on my lap. The sun shone brightly through the window, and my ill husband snuggled close to me, neither happy nor convalescing. Life was good. 

The bucolic peace  was suddenly shattered by an awful commotion. The noise was indescribable, though I will surely try. With an underlying stampede of booted feet, the main symphony was a croaking, squawking, wheezing, gasping...something. I looked up, startled.

Damon appeared in the doorway like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, arms held out zombie-style in front of him. Indeed, he was the source of the racket, streaming a torrent of drool, snot, and another mysterious fluid. 

"What happened???" we demanded as one.


"Spit it out - what happened?" I barked.


"Damon!" Jack finally croaked. "Is that gasoline?"

The apparition nodded. "MMMMMMMRRRRG!"

I sprang into action. Calmly dragging him by the head, I led him into the bathroom and began vigorously washing his face and the inside of his mouth with soap. The fumes were overpowering, even for me. Still, I bravely scrubbed on.

At first, he was barely able to speak, though he did manage to answer "not much" when we asked him how much he had swallowed. Sigh. "Um, Sweetheart, could you please look up and see what else we should do for him besides giving him milk?"

As his mouth got cleaner, Damon got more coherent. In a manner of speaking. "Wheeeee! I think I'm hiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh!!!!!"

A couple more minutes, and he was even able to tell us that he hadn't actually swallowed the gas at all, only gotten a mouthful of petrol and a lungful of fumes. 

Then came the challenge of finding him some milk, since I haven't drunk real milk since high school. As the supervisor of the shower, on call in case Gasboy passed out, I couldn't run over to Mom and Dad's to get some, either. Rather than have to quit what he was working on and come over, Dad suggested the one milk product I did have on hand, that had slipped my mind.

And so it was that Damon, coughing and wrapped in a towel, sat eating a bowl of peanut butter cup ice cream. I couldn't help but feel that it sent the wrong message, somehow. Drink Gas, Eat Ice Cream.

Once the crisis had been dealt with, my small nephew, Bubba, had a chance to tell me his side of the story. The condensed version: "...And Damon was moving the gas from the three-wheeler to the three-wheeler and he sucked on the tube and he had me hold the tube and I said, "Damon, why not you just BUY some gas?"

The burning question we'd all like to know. Next time, Damon probably will buy some gas. That is, unless he wants some more ice cream.

Suffering from an excess of gas,
Noni Beth

I'm not sure that came out quite right.