Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mommy's Great Evacuation -- Happy Spring!


  Dearest Best-Friend Anna,


    Did you ever hear about Saint Augustine’s “Confessions?”  He was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church back in the fifth century for confessing his sins in emotion-drenched sermons he delivered throughout all of Europe and parts of Eastern Minnesota.
     You’re still Catholic, right?  So I am wondering if there is, at least, a Christian Forgiveness Card I can redeem at Shaw’s if I confess my sins. I know that I, for one, will feel better getting this off my chest, so allow me to confess to you my… special journey … with unspeakable physical atrocity.
     So there we all were, all of our available family members, together for Movie Night: it was me, Jonathan, Abigail with Zachary due in a bit later. We were watching Robin Hood, Men in Tights. I'm lying on the sofa and Abby is lying with me, her head on a pillow on my hip, and we're laughing and laughing. At the movie.  At each other.
     Jonathan is in a rocking chair by the staircase, and he's about to get up to go catch a little cat-nap, but the movie is too funny. He's had a long work day -- plus I made him meet me at a tennis court for a rousing one-hour game. (I am about to become a mother-in-law in five weeks, so I have embarked on a crucial fitness craze and carb-restricted diet.)  Anyway, I am TEEMING with energy.  Jonathan is laugh-yawning.
     Ten minutes before the movie ended, Jonathan took his case of Bilateral Eyelid Dropsy off for a rest. But Abby and I finished the movie, laughing and laughing. Which is when a strange rumbling in my belly started. I laughed at a particularly funny part of the movie... and unexpectedly experienced what I thought was indigestion.  A spontaneous ...  southerly belch.
     That is not – precisely-- what happened.
     Abby bolted upright, taking her pillow with her -- stood -- and screamed.
     You know last year’s TV ad for Travelocity, when the vacationing husband tells his wife she looks like a beach angel, and his wife scream-giggles? Exactly the sound Abby made.  Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSVEQHDyC9A

     Plus, Abby’s face was wearing the same trauma-expression I’d seen in 1998 when she got off a now-condemned rollercoaster:  her mouth wide open, tears brimming, face purple, and the only noise issued from her throat was a strangled gasping snort.
     Finally she managed, "My pillow is ... MOM! WHAT KIND OF GAS WAS TH... OH... Mom... UGHHH!"

     I had forgotten the secret side effect of sudden exercise and diet change: malaria-style dysentery you don't know is en route because there is simply no warning. One minute, you’re lying sideways enjoying a movie, and the next, misadventure ensues.
     I’d experienced this side effect only once before on a similarly-unsafe fad diet. But at least I had been in my own powder room, startled … but safe. I surely was not prone on a leather sofa with my daughter’s head resting on my haunch, giggling uncontrollably.
     I am now collecting the saggy sisterhood of the traveling pants ... giggling and screaming myself. I couldn't recall ever before experiencing a public befouling.
     That is when Jonathan appeared in the hallway roused from slumber, unaware of the tragedy that befell my compression shorts, and he inadvertently blocked my path to the bathroom.
     "Why," he began, "are you guys so NOISY and--UGH... my GAWD.  Something in the house smells like …”
     "Uh, Dad,” clucked Abigail, hands on hips. “Your WIFE just crapped herself."
     "Is THAT wh—Jesus, Carolyn. You smell like dead people. My GAWD."

     I am still laughing... still evacuating...  he is still in my WAY.
     I’d never experienced this kind of 'people proximity’ in a moment of personal crisis.
    Abby is jumping up and down next to Jonathan, micrometers away from me, and I can barely squeeze over the bathroom threshold for the crowd... trying to contain as much of myself and my trail of sadness as I can.
     I close the door... they are LEANING on the door, talking directly ONTO it...in Wood-Muffle voices.
      "I bet," Jonathan boomed, (he is enunciating carefully, so the hollow door can BEST amplify his words) "that you're feeling pretty unhappy you didn't wear cotton foundation garments today. Without SOME kind of barrier, all the evacuation just runs downward from gravity and-- "
     Abby is now making gurgling snort-squeaks but I can't worry if she's choking because I'm busy with the holocaust in my loose, nylon-mesh tennis shorts.
     But I managed to answer Jonathan.
     "It's not so much anything running from gravity.  It's all pretty contained in the seat... but I'm worried about the sofa and pillow because this sports-mesh is designed to expel liquids. I'm wearing... an atomic SEIVE. OH LOOK! Hot PEPPER seeds!"
     There is a thud outside the door where Abby has collapsed from hypoxic pig-squeals and Jonathan is still speaking directly into the door... "I hope you don't think WE are cleaning the sofa. My GAWD this hallway smells. Why don't I hear the bathwater running?"
     Abby has regained her ability to speak, but can only discuss Depends Undergarments. And also, "Why are we pinned against the bathroom door?"
     "I am thinking the same thing," I shouted, still fairly occupied with Dante's Fifth Circle of Hell in my ex-pants.
     Now the two of them are pretending to talk to each other, but they are using the Door Speaker Phone. Abby is noting the "essence" is eeking through the space under the door.
    Assuming they're both flat on the floor like caught fugitives -- nostrils flaring to huff as much evac as possible through the gap -- I open a bottle of peppermint conditioner and squeeze the whole thing at the bottom of the door.
     "Gawd," Jonathan gasps, "It smells like shit and a breath mint. I still don't hear the bathwater running."
     There is conversation about the use of sponge baths and face cloths -- the hope that everything I use in there will be sent to the landfill -- more hope that I find the bottle of Febreze in the linen closet and use it on myself. AFTER I fill the tub and put me in it.
     Eventually, Jonathan returns to his nap.  Abby gets online.  She did not share my story. I asked. It would, she said, be far too embarrassing. For her.
     I did actually throw away my sieve pants and got the sofa et al springtime fresh. Tilex, Murphy's Oil Soap, Orange Pledge with a Febreze chaser. I did eventually turn on the bathwater. And I did get in it.
     I also wore a clean pair of Abigail's pajama bottoms.
     "Oh. I see you're wearing my Sushi Swimming Fish PJ bottoms. You know WHAT? They look REALLY cute on you. They're yours."
     That's when Zachary came home. We decided not to say anything to him... about any of this.
     He didn't seem to ‘notice’ anything, so I assume the exorcism was successful.

     I have SOOO much energy-adrenaline from the Great Evacuation. I may never sleep again.
Gurgle, rumble... :)... I am SO glad I am sending this confession to you. Does this qualify me for canonization?  Please do not post this on the internet,
xxoo carolyn