Monday, August 4, 2008

Ode to Odor

Okay. Life interrupted last week, but now I'm back with my final entry on the three-part analysis of boys in general and mine specifically. You may remember from last week that they eat everything in sight and they tend to be rough (as Nicky's broken collarbone will attest.) Another endearing trait of my boys is this: they tend to stink on a regular basis.
Now, everyone stinks at some point, obviously. But somehow boys seem to generate odor almost without trying. What's worse is, they seem to enjoy it and even pride themselves on it.
For example, we have a basketball hoop in our church parking lot. We also have over a dozen boys between the ages of 8 and 13 in our church. After every service they get out basketballs and play in the parking lot. I finally had to lay down the law that no one could play basketball after the morning service on Sundays. But after the evening services on Sunday and Wednesday, the basketball hoop is fair game. So all the boys will play from fifteen to thirty minutes of basketball before we head home. Heading home is the worst part. Last night I rode home in a pickup with all five of my sweaty boys. (My nineteen-year-old decided to play last night, too.) I could not get a deep breath. I was reluctant to breathe at all. The odor in that pickup cab was more foul than you can imagine. Now, it's an extended cab so everyone has a seat and a seat belt, but there's no extra room so I have sweaty boys brushing up against me for the entire ride home. Ewww! All that sweat is also very detrimental to church clothes. Especially ties. Especially ties that are moved from the neck to the head and used as sweatbands. They don't last long that way. The ride home was like twenty minutes in a hot, steamy locker room. Thanks, guys!
Sweat isn't the only way my boys generate nose offense either. They seem to take pride in expressing themselves with bodily functions as well. Then they laugh and rate their efforts. They actually enjoy being known for that sort of thing and grossing out the guys around them. I do occasionally have to remind them all that they don't live in a boys' dorm and there is a woman in the house, but it's an uphill battle I'm fighting.
In a more general offense, their clothes stink. Obviously the ones they wore last night do. But these boys will come in from playing outside, or fishing or cleaning the boat and somehow they are soaking wet and reeking of various odors which I try not to concentrate on long enough to identify. Thank goodness we have four bathrooms! Four of them can shower at once. But then, although they are squeaky clean, they leave those awful offensive clothes lying in the floor of the bathrooms. In the floor, right next to the clothes hampers! Of course, stench like that should not be sitting in hampers either. Those nasty things need to go directly into the washing machine, but they'll never get there unless I'm continually on the boys to get it done. We have three hampers upstairs, conveniently located in all the bathrooms. But somehow, no matter how overflowing those hampers are with clothes, the nastiest ones end up on the floor of the bathroom or bedroom. Nicky doesn't have a dresser so he keeps his clothes in totes under his bed. One day he couldn't find something to wear, so I went to his room with him to look through his totes. One tote was overflowing with clothes, but when I asked why he couldn't wear something out of there, he told me that was his dirty clothes. Why he was saving them under the bed I have no idea. Some of them were quite nasty.
If they're not careful, my boys can even stink after they get out of the shower. Of course that usually happens when they're in a hurry so they skip the soap and shampoo and just get wet. Or if they're in the shower and then discover the shampoo bottle is empty. They can't seem to understand how I figure out so quickly that they didn't use all the cleaning supplies available to them! They don't pull that very often anymore since it means a second shower AND a punishment as well.
So there you have it on boys. But lest you think I hate my life, I love my family and I'm crazy about my boys. I couldn't do without any of them. But I think I'll put off hugging them until after they get out of the shower!

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