It was a beautiful spring day in 2003 and I still considered myself a newlywed. We finally owned our first home. A modest 2 bedroom 1 bath house in the New Jersey suburbs. Perfect for us. No kids yet. Just spunky Norman, our yellow lab. We had lots of friends that would stop by and visit without warning and we encouraged that. We actually loved that. Friends have always been a big part of our life. We spent a lot of time in our basement back then. It was our hang out room. We used it to watch sporting events, shoot pool and throw darts. Occasionally, we would use the space to enjoy a frosty pint. We had a futon for a couch and we were ok with that. It was comfortable and oddly enough the arm rests were a perfect place to rest a pint. It was a man cave before man cave’s were hip. A portion of the basement was dedicated to the laundry room. It was a separate area closed in with a wall and a door. It was functional and we could close to the door to hide our laundry room mess or muffle the sound of the washing machines while watching television.
We had so many good memories in that house but there is one memory that still makes me smile. I like to consider it a right of passage in a marriage. It was a Sunday afternoon and Ming was watching the early football game. Unannounced to me, he invited a few of his buddies over. The Patriots were playing that night and I wanted to relax and enjoy the game with him so I took advantage of the afternoon to get some laundry done. The laundry room section was the one part of the basement that was a little dark and scary. A huge boiler took over half of the room . It was very old and had cob webs all over the backside of it. I knew they were there but I wasn’t walking behind it to clean them off. We probably should have replaced that old boiler but we were young and every penny counted. Along with the old boiler and cob webs, lighting was another issue. We had a small basement window in the laundry room that overlooked the driveway and allowed some light to come in but on cloudy days or at night the only option was a pull chain light. On this particular Sunday, I had tons of laundry to do. It got lonely in that drab laundry room so I was folding laundry with the door open. I could hear Ming clapping and carrying on about the football game. He entertained me. I was folding away and I had just started the third load in the washing machine and started drying the second load when it happened.
Oh no!!! Here we go again! I should not have had Mexican last night. This always happens. It’s a sort of delayed response and I know it will happen yet I keep eating it. I loooove it. Melted cheese and salsa….mmmmmm…how can you say no? I heard a gurgle and then felt a sharp pain. I think I may have even turned a little pale. I sat down on an old wooden bench and held my stomach for a minute and then I got restless and began pacing. I knew what I needed to do to feel better but I avoided things like that as a newlywed, especially when we were together in the same room. Where was he anyway? I peeked around the corner. There he is. I can see him now, completely engrossed in football. Multiple televisions blaring. He doesn’t even know I’m down here. Perfect! I sneak back into the laundry room and gently close the door…..sweating now. It’s loud in here. The washing machine is spinning and the dryer is humming. He won’t even hear it. I’ll just let a little out at a time. I relaxed my stomach muscles and let it go. It was supposed to be dainty, controlled and light…. but it had power. Lots of power. Like a fog horn or something? I don’t even know. It had a life of it’s own. It scared me. I actually got out of its way. I mean…I immediately felt embarrassed and I was the only one who heard it?????? [I think to myself] “Wow! That was crazy. A little louder than I imagined it would be…. that’s for sure! Mmm? Well? I definitely feel better but what was that thing?” [shaking my head in disbelief and disgust]
I grab a clean t-shirt and begin to fold it and then it gets quiet outside the laundry room. Ming is asking me something. The televisions are muted. Uh oh….panic sets in. [I think to myself] “Did he hear me? Noooooo? He couldn’t have heard. Could he? The door was closed, the TV was blaring and the laundry was going. There is no way! Oh god. He can’t come in here. It’s still fresh. He might smell it. He will have no respect for me. Quick! [heart racing] Answer him! Answer him now” I yell through the door “What honey?” Then I hear his question “Is Paul here?” Confused I answer “No honey!” [thinking: “Paul???] Then he scares the daylights out of me and swings the laundry door open. [thinking to myself] “Lie and deny, lie and deny.” He looks in my eyes and asks “What did you just say?” I smile and respond “Nothing. I don’t even know what you are talking about?” I check on the clothes in the dryer and ignore that he is still staring at me. He puts his arm on my shoulder. “I heard you. You said something. What did you say?” I answer in an irritated way, “I did not say a word! Go watch the game.” Now he is confused and we argue. “Yes, you did! Is Paul here?” “What are you talking about? No… Paul is NOT here!” He steps around me and looks out the laundry room window at the driveway to see for himself and prove me wrong. “mmm? I guess he’s not here. But…I heard you say it?” [I’m giggling now] “Say WHAT? Dude? Let it go!” Then he repeats what he swears he heard me say in his deepest baritone voice. “You just said: Paaaaaaaaaauuuuuuullll! I heard you!” An uncomfortable pause as I am at a loss for words. It all makes sense to me now. I start giggling and the more I think about what happened… the more I giggle. The giggles snowball into a full-fledged laugh and within seconds, I’m laughing so hard that no sound is coming out. Ming is annoyed, confused and wondering if Paul came and left or if I know something that he doesn’t know about Paul. “What the hell is so funny?” he asks. I try to talk but I’m laughing too hard. He laughs too because he feels left out and I look like I’m having fun. “What????” he says with a smirk. Then I tell him….I have to…I know he will never let me live it down but I tell him..”Well you see?… I didn’t actually say “Paaaaaaauuuuuuuull” but…. I might have….accidentally… farted it, maybe? Apparently…my ass speaks its own language? Who knew?” [My confession was followed by an uncomfortable, stuttered giggle as I await his response.]
I’m not sure if he was embarrassed, relieved, grossed out or impressed but he started laughing too. Thank goodness! We laughed until our bellies hurt and tears were pouring out of our eyes. He hugged me in a sweet way because he knew I was mortified. I reassure him, “I am still a lady, ya know?” He raises his eyebrows like I’m not being honest and kept hugging me anyway. It was a right of passage. That magical day when you admit to your spouse that you are human and you do occasionally fart. Since that day in 2003, I can’t even look at a person named Paul without giggling. It doesn’t matter if it’s Paul the postman, Paul at the grocery store or Paul the catholic priest, they will all forever be [in a deep baritone voice] “Paaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuul” to the Doherty’s.
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