Prescription for Disaster

Friday, 30 May 2014

My kids forgot we even HAD iPads!

My kids forgot we even HAD iPads

There is nothing quite like camping in a virtual monsoon to bring a family together under a cheap blue tent with a floor that isn’t quite attached. I’m not certain why it isn’t attached – but I do know that we stayed up and chatted from either sleeping end of the tent with a small river flowing between us and past our cooler. I also realized this camping trip that you don’t actually need all that much to really entertain kids when they are presented with the great outdoors – that when left to their own devices our kids had a pretty good time.

We had ventured down to Cornwall – having always wanted to go there but not quite being sure of why. It was a ‘why not?’ kind of trip, which often turn out to be the very best kind. Something about the end of the world, I don’t know. My husband dragged us out in the pouring rain without rain coats to see some signpost out in the ocean that we couldn’t make out through the rain. I squinted so hard I hurt myself.

But back to the actual camping.

We had stayed at Franchis Holiday Parks ( as part of AFF and I’ve got to say, we had a pretty great time. The camp had a separate area for tents which greatly reduced the chances of our kidlets getting smoked by a motorhome while running about like wild howler monkeys in the open play area – which was much appreciated. This also, however, introduced us to our very first proper ‘hipsters’. At least, I think they were hipsters. At first Paul thought that they had come from a wedding as the couple were dressed so nicely, flowers in her hair and a flower in his coat pocket, she had brought a blow dryer tenting and they sat on blankets in their elaborate retro clothing to cook stew with rocks. I’m pretty sure they were hipsters.

As usual with nearly anywhere we go (like expensive hotels in Norway!) my kids loved the bathroom more than anything else. I do not profess to know why. Something about the bathroom at this place completely captivated them – it functioned as a sort of communal hang out area for campers like we were part of some backwoods broccoli farming commune. There was the little girl outside the bathrooms making ‘magic potions’ with leaves and bugs. The friendly and understanding woman my three year old followed into the shower, asking the lady for help with her coat zipper. There was the outdoor dish washing facility attracting local gossip like an office water cooler – though this was still Britain and full of Brits so really all we talked about was the weather. Then there was the other friendly woman that my dog followed into the bathroom and right into the stall. It’s a good thing he’s reasonably cute. And evil.

We had warm bread in the morning fresh from the camp store and I darted back and forth between the library/tourist info room to our tent like an excited flamingo – lifting my legs high as I ran to avoid puddles and flapping my arms in excitement; Paul! PAUL! We can go deep sea fishing! Get your stuff! Or Paul! PAUL! There are these giant cliffs we can go hike on! Or PAUL! PAUUUULLLL!!! SEAL WORLD! SEAL WORLD! Start the caaaaarrrr!!!!!

All in all, despite having given ourselves food poisoning with veggie burgers (I didn’t even know you could do that), having run down some painfully slow senior citizens on my way to the loo at a rest stop, having gotten completely lost time and time again AND having camped in a near monsoon we had a fantastic time, and can’t wait to go again.

Except this time we’ll bring Paul’s mom to take better pictures as we deface a local street sign.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

I have a dirty, dirty mind

So I'm at this Sarcoidosis support group the other night and we're all sitting around a hospital boardroom table talking about everyone's issues, as you do. I got hopelessly lost within a strange hospital and came in late so I missed all of the introductions.

We're sitting there and this posh-looking business guy at the head of the table says "Look, I need some advice on medications. I'm having serious issues with my performance." and makes circular motions toward his lower abdomen.

Immediately I stifle a grin. No WAY are we about to hear about some stranger's bedroom issues, right?

So he goes on:

"I can barely perform at all right now. It's really affecting my life"

I can't believe the turn this conversation has taken.

He continues:

"I build up slowly and strongly but when it comes to the grand release...nothing" and makes explosion motions with his hands while thrusting out his chest.

Oh my God I am dying. HOW is nobody else giggling at this?!? How can I be the only immature one in the room? I made eye contact with my friend and was shocked to see that she didn't seem too phased by this.

He continues:

"My self esteem is shot. My performance is even affecting my home life now."

ZOMG is he talking about sexual problems OUTSIDE of his marriage?! With US?!

I let out a teeny giggle of discomfort and awkwardness- looking around the table but NOBODY else is blushing and giggling like a 14 year old boy. How is this possible?!

He continues:

"I'm afraid my career is ruined."

OMG what does this guy do for a living?!?!? This has quickly become the BEST SUPPORT GROUP EVER. I am DYING in my chair. I had to turn my head away because I absolutely could not keep a straight face and then-

An elderly woman around the table kindly asked him how The Adams Family went. 

Wait, what?!

Turns out he is an actor in London's West End. Musical theatre. He's currently playing Lurch.

I turned to my friend and whispered "wait, so none of that was a sexual reference?" and she was like "what is WRONG with you?"

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Airplane Bathroom

The Airplane Bathroom

I don’t really have a fear of flying – I just don’t like it. We’re not meant to hurtle through the sky at the mercy of a faceless airline pilot with a suspected drinking problem. Flights go missing, flights go down – and I’m certain that if I ever were to survive a plane crash in the ocean the sharks would then get me.

I just don’t like flying.

So, like everyone else with an irrational phobia, I read about horrible flight accidents and incidents and terrorists and watch TV shows about mysterious illnesses on an airplane, snakes being loosed on passengers and incidents in which both pilots died and a passenger aircraft was landed by a blind librarian with his guide dog, just to ‘prep’ myself. See, I’ve heard of these things called ‘air pockets’ – random bits of air space without gravity or something, so everyone not wearing their seatbelt is thrown up out of their seats and concussed by the overhead baggage shelves. So I do not take off my seat belt, for anything.

And the thing that makes air travel worse than riding through packs of lions on the Serengeti on a slow, chubby camel in the dark covered in zebra steaks?

The bathrooms.

Fine, they’re gross and overused. That I can live with. But the suction. The unholy suction! Like opening a portal to the netherworld and having your innards sucked out if you don’t get up fast enough. When being absolutely forced to use an airplane bathroom I do my business in lightning speed, slam the lid down, push the flush button and pray – one foot already firmly outside of the open bathroom door, holding on for dear life lest I get sucked through that tiny hole and blasted out into the airspace through the bottom of the airplane.

Yes, I know that this probably won’t actually happen. But that’s the beauty of irrational fears – they are delightfully irrational.

I looked at my daughter and then up the aisle to the nearest washroom only four rows away. I know exactly what is going to happen. I’m going to take off my seatbelt, putting my life at great peril, grab Lochie and run up the aisle to the washroom, hoping that it wouldn’t already be engaged. I’d grip onto the headrest of each row in turn as we made our way up there, only to be caught out by a beverage cart being pushed along the aisle. A Mexican standoff would ensue, neither of us willing to back up to let the other through, even though I’m the one holding a squirming toddler gunning for the bathroom. The drinks cart would reluctantly back up the aisle, slowly, giving me just enough room to squeeze into the tiniest washroom of all time while squeaking ‘don’t touch anything!’ to Lochlynn as she flailed helplessly under my arm.

In the dim light and over the roaring hum of the plane’s engines (why are they so much louder in the bathroom??) I’d scramble for toilet paper to wipe down the seat before plonking Lochie down, gripping the filthy handle under the sink in case we hit an unexpected air pocket in one hand and the back of Lochie’s shirt with the other so I could hopefully keep her down as well. Then there is the law of nature in which kids pee lightning quick when on their own but doddle the hell out of it when you are stressed and bent at a painful angle in front of them.
“Are you done yet? No? Why aren’t you done yet? Please be done. We have to go. Come on, you must be done. What do you mean there’s more? No there’s not! YOU’RE DONE! LET’S GO!”

The plane inevitably hits a bout of turbulence and the seat belt sign pings, stopping my heart along with it. I don’t even wipe the poor kid – pants up, lid down, door open, toss her outside, one foot out aaaaannnnndddd flush-and-bolt. Get the hell out of my way the seatbelt sign is on and I need to get us back into our seats, pronto. I will go over that drinks cart if I have to, move it!

An urgent tug on my sleeve jerks me back to my seat belted and white knuckled reality – “Mummy, I’m going to go in my pants!” I’m still sat there safely buckled in my seat eyeing up the bathroom, the entire scenario having played through in my head.  I look at my daughter, gazing back at me with such trust and faith. I’m her mother, I can do anything. I can do no wrong. Such love, such belief in me.

I turn and whack Paul awake from across the aisle, handing him our squirming child. “You’re up sweetie, she’s got to pee and you’d better hurry - this one’s gonna blow!”

I undo that seatbelt for NOTHING.

Ooh! And here comes the drinks cart!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Airport Bathroom

Despite what you may read on here, we are actually a very nice and relatively well-behaved family. About to go on a mini-break to Norway for a couple of days we were sat at a London airport (which will not be named!) letting our kids run wild in the play area and watching groups of stag-do's in increasingly bizarre get-ups pass by. (one guy was dressed as a full French Maid. It was incredible)

Even though I had just taken them about half an hour before, Kaitie came running up to us dancing with her knees pressed together - she had to pee and she had to pee now. This one was Paul's turn so he picked her up and darted away down the length of the airport in search of a loo as I guarded our assortment of bags, coats, dolls and snacks - a typical airport family.

Five minutes passed and Lochie wandered up wondering where her twin was. 

Ten minutes passed and I began to wonder too.

Fifteen minutes passed and I became a wee bit concerned. Not a big deal, I'm sure there was just a line or something.

Twenty minutes later and I see Paul speed-walking toward us off in the crowd, carrying Kaitie over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and mouthing something urgent to me. 

Bewilderment registered on my face as Paul frantically mouthed something about a Gate and made wild, swirling arm motions for me to pack up and run. What in the world was going on over there? Nobody else was hurrying like he was and we still had a good hour to kill before our plane would be boarding. I mouthed "What?" and he shouted "Gate 51! Go go go!" from across a sea of people. Trusting in my husband I gathered up Lochie and threw on our luggage, coats, bags and started booking it to Gate 51 - Paul caught up and burst out with 'no time to explain! Just get to Gate 51!'

I looked over at Kaitie while we hussled down the wide corridor packed with people - she seemed happy, fine... breathing. Her pants seemed dry, what the hell happened?

I stole a glance at Paul and huffed "What happened? Are you guys okay?!"

"We're fine - everything is fine. We just have to get far away from here, let's just go to the gate."


We finally made it to Gate 51 and after catching our breath Paul told me what happened.

He took Kaitie, who was near to bursting, to the men's room at the other end of the airport so she could go pee. However, us not having thought this through particularly well he came to find that within the fairly large men's washroom there were only four stalls, all with lines at least three people deep - and a wall of urinals. Kaitie couldn't hold it - she had to go so badly she was almost crying, he said. So he did the unthinkable.

He pulled down her jeans and held her, backwards, over a urinal.

This would have been awkward enough - with the looks he was getting of mixed disgust and admiration while Kaitie held on to him for dear life shouting 'don't touch anything daddy! It's dirty!' yet he held her there while she let loose a torrent of pee, his knees buckling with the strain of his half-bent position holding his three year old daughter above a urinal... until her little legs shot out in front of her, stiff as a board as she strained and grunted with all of her three year old little might.

"Wait, Kaitie, what are you doing?!? You're not pooping are you???"

Oh yes, yes she was. She was straining like a champ and, before he could stop her, she was pooping in an airport urinal. He tried to stop her but it was too late - a little deer poop nugget had already landed in the pristinely white urinal underneath her. Witnessing his dire predicament another man called over and let him take her into a stall so she could finish - but it was already too late for the urinal - there was nothing to be done.

Except to get the hell out of there.

That poor, poor airport bathroom janitor. I can only imagine what he thought must have happened.