After we picked up Drew from camp, we headed to a mountain cabin right outside Asheville to stay from Sunday to Wednesday, when we would drop Finn off at camp. After the harrowing adventure we endured driving up to camp the first time, I wasn’t going to drive home on Sunday and make the same trek up and back on Wednesday.
The first night I let the boys rent Richie Rich. I was taking them to tour the Biltmore Estate the next day. I couldn’t decide if it was going to be a child-friendly adventure or not. I figured a movie about a rich kid would be an efficient way to get them primed for what would be either a mind-blowing mansion tour or a dull furniture junket clogged with gaggles of little old ladies.
As the movie started, Drew went to do a big job in the bathroom. When he rejoined his brothers on the sofa, they complained loudly about the lingering stench from his rear end.
Always eager to please, Drew returned to the bathroom and wiped his bottom again. For good measure, he sprayed his buttocks with the Pure Citrus air freshener thoughtfully provided in every bathroom and then returned to the couch.
Moments later he began to scream and cry and jump up and down. I came running from my room where I had been reading, oblivious to all of the above activity.
“My butt stings!” he sobbed.
I grabbed him and took him to my bedroom and stripped off his clothes. His fanny was bright red, and he was grabbing it and shaking.
“Did something bite you?” I asked. “Did you get stung?”
He shook his head as tears continued to roll down his face.
I inspected his pale posterior carefully. I couldn’t see any sting or bite marks. The only thing I did notice was the overpowering smell of oranges. It was then that I recalled seeing the air freshener in the bathroom.
“Did you spray bathroom spray on your bottom?” I asked.
He nodded through his tears. “Finn and Porter said I smelled bad and I wanted to sit on the sofa with them to watch the movie,” he explained.
I had a flashback to my own childhood experience with an unusual burning sensation. When I was about five years old, I sat on the floor of the
kitchen with a washcloth and a pepper shaker. My mom wasn’t paying
much attention to me as she fixed herself a gin and tonic and then
started making dinner. I wet the yellow washcloth and sprinkled it
liberally with pepper. Then I scrubbed my whole face, including my
eyes. Soon I was screaming in pain.
As my mom cleaned me up, she kept asking, “Why in the world would you put pepper on your face?” I didn’t have an answer. It seemed like an interesting idea until I experienced the searing pain from hell.
At least Drew had a benevolent reason for his burning butt. I could see how spraying his derriere with air freshener would have seemed like a fabulous idea if his both of his brothers had been complaining about his smell. He had been really enthusiastic about seeing the movie and touring the estate.
The air freshener can said “AVOID CONTACT WITH SKIN” and “IN THE EVENT OF CONTACT THE AREA INVOLVED SHOULD BE THOROUGHLY FLUSHED WITH WATER FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES.”
I ran a bath and stuck Drew in it. While he soaked, I got his shampoo (blueberry scented) and washed his hair as well. Soon the stinging subsided and a clean boy smelling like fruit cocktail emerged from the tub.
While he dried off and put on his pajamas, I went into the den and told Finn and Porter how much Drew had suffered in order to make their viewing experience more enjoyable. I advised them that a word of thanks and inquiries about how he was feeling would be appropriate.
Drew returned to the room and sat down.
“Hey dude, ” Finn said, “That was cool of you to spray your butt for us.”
“It was,” Porter agreed. “Do you feel better?”
“Yes,” Drew said in his almost inaudible voice.
They settled down to watch the rest of Richie Rich, three brothers and the lingering scent of oranges.