Wednesday, January 02, 2008

All That Gas

I was checking my email a few moments ago when I heard CJ wildly laughing in our bedroom. I had set him up earlier with an Animaniacs DVD and decided to go investigate to see what was tickling him so.

It was a Great Wakkorotti cartoon. In this one, Wakko "sings" Blue Danube completely in belches, unhinging his jaw in more and more impossible ways until a great big burping finish. That was what my son was finding so funny. It reminded me of something I wrote about five year ago, when I actually owned slippingreality dot com and was giving running a website a try (it died a painless death, but that's ok. It was a fun experiment with FrontPage).

Anyway, here's what I wrote--please to enjoy:

Farts are funny.

It's a fact. Everyone knows this, even children. When I was a kid, my dad would make a production number out of his farts, leaning in the doorway and cocking one leg up, knee bent, to let one rip. He did this to much amusement from my sister and me, and to much consternation from my mother. I used to think his beaming expression after one of these displays was in reaction to the giggle fit coming from us; now I know that his grin was the result of his own amusement.

When visiting the family last March, I babysat my nephew, 5, and my niece, 2. We were watching Nickelodeon for the eighth hour when a commercial came on featuring an animated lawn mower which ate grass and belched. My nephew loved it. He imitated the noises and laughed, and looked at me and said, "Burps are funny." Then my niece, who was nestled in my lap, looked at me with her angelic face and announced, "Farts funny, too!"

Farts are usually dismissed as a juvenile attempt to make people laugh without substance, but Aristophanes used flatulence as a humor device in many of his early plays, most of which are considered classics. Some modern movies are falling back on the fart jokes, and are becoming box office hits.

Why are farts so funny? Part of it is the word. Fart. Fart fart fart. It's fun to say, and it's hard not to laugh when someone says it. Part of it is the sound. The fart doesn't have to be real; a polyester clad posterior on a leather chair can provide hours of entertainment if the weather conditions permit. The sounds can be tiny or thunderous, and can sometimes contain harmony if done just right. Tom can sound like a brass band after eating popcorn. This is why we don't go to the movies very often.

Sometimes farts are funny only to the ones who smelt it, and not the ones who dealt it. During that same visit last March, Tom's niece wanted to show us her dance routine. To the Backstreet Boys. I won't go on that tangent now. Her dance contained mostly gymnastic movements, and at the height of her cartwheel, she erupted with a blast that was rather impressive for her small size. Initially, she was embarrassed as Tom, his brother, and I resembled three monkeys who could speak no evil as we fought laughter. She yelled at her brother, who was singing the praises of her flatulence from the doorway, until he began to blow fart noises on his arm and she started to laugh and finished her dance. The noises brought her back from the momentary horror. Of course, she had to start her song over, but again, I won't get into that.

Me? I don't fart.


Farts are funny. It's an incontrovertible fact. And I'll try to remember that tonight when Tom pulls the covers over my head.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The New Year's Day University of Phoenix Insight Jobing.Com Tostitos Fiesta Post

It's been a very good vacation, the longest we've taken at home in sometime. Tom goes back to work tomorrow, and CJ returns to daycare, but I'm still off through Monday. I'm hoping to continue the progress we've made on the homefront, and complete a bit of online training before returning to work.

We started off slowly, recovering from last minute Christmas shopping, birthday festivities, and general stress. Since last Thursday, we've managed to reorganize some clutter in the living room, tackle Christopher's messy bedroom (truly like entering the Heart of Darkness, I emerged muttering, "The horror; the horror." My fault for buying him all those toys, I suppose), and do a complete Clean Sweep of our bedroom.

I don't know if you've ever seen Clean Sweep on TLC--homeowners get help clearing out their junk rooms. A decorator and carpenter redo the rooms while the homeowners sort out the mess before it goes back into the house. I watch for two reasons: 1) I feel a little better about being such a packrat compared to people who have rooms so full of stuff they can barely open the door anymore, and 2) It gives me ideas on how to tackle my own clutter problems and make things more manageable.

In the living room, I got some large baskets to fit under the coffee table and end tables for CJ's toys. I know a lot of parents have those huge trunk-type tables, but we foolishly bought our furniture in our child-free days without thinking about where we would need to stash crayons, puzzles, and several plastic dinosaurs. In CJ's room, I sorted through his clothes to pull out what he's outgrown and stashed them in a container that fits under his bed. We'll put the clothes out at a yard sale in a few months. Our bedroom was a much larger effort--it had become a catchall for various things throughout the house, my clothes were stacked on top of my dresser for lack of room, and Tom wanted to change the furniture arrangement.

First, Tom helped me go through my clothes and I pared quite a bit from my wardrobe. I felt some guilt; as a kid, we didn't have a lot of money, so anything I bought to wear I had to wear, whether I liked it or not. I don't buy clothes often, but I have a closet full of blouses I've worn once and then realized I didn't like them, shirts and pants that didn't fit right after a few washes, and other t-shirts and things that I hesitated to throw away once they became ragged, thinking I would fix them. I was pretty ruthless--I made a big pile for yard sale and made enough space for everything to fit. Then we went through baskets and boxes of junk and sorted those out, and managed to store most of it under the bed. Finally, we moved the furniture around per Tom's idea, and it's like we've discovered a whole new room! We now have space for a couple chairs in there so we can sit and watch cartoons with CJ in there, or get away and read.

I should mention this is all stuff we've been wanting to do for most of the year, but got derailed through various means.

We also managed to get out of the house a few times. Today we went to get coaxial cable and special fasteners so I could run cable over the bedroom doorway from the outlet (we moved the TV to another wall), stopped at Chik-Fil-A for yummy chicken, and all got haircuts. There were a few moments where I began to freak while Tom got his haircut--Christopher didn't recognize Tom without his glasses and long hair while dressed in that black cape and got rather upset, insisting I go with him to help find Daddy. Once Tom took the cape off, put his glasses on, and spoke to CJ, CJ was fine with it. Tom watched CJ while CJ and I got haircuts. My stylist was very good, but was a little too enthused by my "virgin hair". Apparently, hairdressers don't see untouched, uncolored, unpermed, completely un-product-covered hair like mine, and she ran her fingers through it quite a lot. Enough so that Tom asked if she was hitting on me, but I don't think she was.

Right now, Tom is in bed sleeping since he has to wake early tomorrow. Christopher is still fighting bedtime, so I'm still up until I'm sure he's asleep. For the past two hours, he's tried laying on the couch in the living room, then I brought him back into his room. Last I checked, he was busily covering pictures in a board book with black crayon then wiping it off with a diaper wipe. It's one of his favorite bedtime activities.

Hope the New Year brings good things to everyone. I'm hoping it brings more great moments to my family like the ones we've had this week. As boring as the events may seem when written down, this has been one of best vacations in a long time.