The Holiday That Almost Wasn’t

I decided to try my hand at competing in a British Sugarcraft Guild (BSG) show, and found a category to my liking at the Sugarcraft Southwest event in Taunton on April 18, 2015. So I registered for the cupcake category and registered Peo to enter a kids’ cake. We worked very, very hard on our entries in the weeks before the show, as you can see from my cake blog entry on it here.

cupcake toppers in box

Miniature Jack and Jill scenes as cupcake toppers, carefully packed and ready to go.

Corran and I also decided to have the show serve as an excuse to go on a week-long holiday in Dorset, so we rented a National Trust holiday cottage right by the Jurassic coast. We knew we wouldn’t have internet there so we pre-planned tons of activities to do, both indoor and out in case of various types of weather. We also set up for single-night hotel stays just before and after the holiday cottage so we could stay very close to the cake show on the first night and then in Milton Keynes on the way back home since the rented car meant a good opportunity to shop at IKEA and Costco.

All of this had been pre-paid, pre-planned, and arranged in advance.

On Thursday morning, Robin – who had been coughing through the night and seemed to be losing her voice – “helped” with the packing by climbing into my bag and refusing to get out.

Robin in my bag.

“All the attention for meeeeee!”
Later I’d look back and think that this could have been the last photo of her.

Even aside from Robin in the bag, it’s hard to pack stuff with two kids running around, especially when one is too young to understand about helping and the older one is so excited as to have gone completely spare. But I figured, “No problem, I’ve already written a mostly-complete list of what we need, I’ve got the kids’ clothes packed and ready, and I can finish packing when they’re in bed tonight after I get home from the Cambridge BSG meeting.”

Corran got home early so we could eat dinner early so I could get to my meeting on time. Robin was still very hoarse and making rattly coughs, but kids do that a lot in the spring so nobody was concerned.

I went to my meeting in a very good mood because I was excited that my entry for the show had turned out pretty well and because the prospect of a holiday is always fun. I was cheery enough that I snapped some cheeky pictures in the loo of the church where the local BSG meets because I thought I might blog a public service message to the world that bathroom door stops should not be brown and lumpy. After all, this is a loo-themed blog.


I seriously thought this was poo on the floor when I first entered the room.


It really is just a doorstop. A very poorly designed door stop.

The meeting included annual business of the club, so there were calls for people to step up and take on roles to relieve some of the folks who have been doing it for years, and there was little interest in helping other than from myself. I enthusiastically said I’d help out even though I can’t be a committee member because I haven’t been a regular member for a year yet. I offered to help them build a basic website so more people could find them. I offered to start a Cygnets monthly meetup (the kids’ version of the British Sugarcraft Guild) despite the club’s heads telling me about all of the obstacles in the way of that. I made promises of being available and helping out in many, many ways.

Then the chairperson began a demo on how to make a particular kind of flower, and a short time into it my phone started vibrating. I thought that very odd since Corran knew I was at a meeting and would not generally interrupt it. In the time it took me to see that it was indeed him calling, the call went to voicemail, but I thought that was strange enough that I’d better excuse myself and go call him back. So I politely left the room and went around the corner.

I kept dialling him but kept getting his voicemail on the first ring, indicating that he was still leaving me a message. The longer that went on, the stranger it was, and I started to worry. Eventually I went to text him to say I couldn’t get through, and that’s when I noticed these texts from him:


My blood ran cold. I texted him back:


And then I kept trying to call, getting more and more worried.

Finally my phone vibrated to tell me there was a new voicemail. I picked up the message and heard Peo telling me in a teary voice to come to the hospital – which was just down the street from the cake club meeting. She didn’t say why, but I could hear sobbing in the background, and I couldn’t tell who it was but it sounded like an adult, not a baby.

In that moment, I thought Robin had died, Corran was sobbing, and somehow Peo had gotten his phone to call me.

Which really doesn’t make sense now that I think about it in a more calm, and rational mindset. But it’s what my panicked brain concocted and ran with.

Then on the message I heard a strange man’s voice say, “Hello? Is this mum? Hello? Is anyone there?”

And that’s when I hung up on the message and ran for the door. I called out a panicked apology to the rest of the meeting as I barrelled through the room, saying my baby was being brought by ambulance to the hospital and I didn’t know if she was still alive.

Fran, the Cambridge BSG secretary, offered to drive me and for once I didn’t try to turn her down. In only a few minutes she was dropping me off at the emergency entrance. I thanked her – I think – and ran inside.

There were people all around, mostly sitting and looking bored. I ran past them. I didn’t join any queues or anything. I went right up to the first open desk I saw and said I didn’t know where my baby was. Because that was a totally useful thing to say, right?

I wasn’t exactly having my Best Moment.

Of course, emergency room (or as it’s called here, accident and emergency of A&E) staff are fairly used to dealing with people panicked to the point of stupidity, so they calmly got me to give them Robin’s information and tell them what was going on. She wasn’t there, but they could see an ambulance had been sent out, so they brought me back to a separate waiting room and brought me a cup of water.

Once in that room, totally alone, I experienced the “narrowing” I’ve read about from other parents who have had kids with terminal illnesses. That’s when all of that little stuff you’d been thinking about – whether it was keeping a mental list of toiletries that need packing and worrying about not forgetting the nail clippers, or being amused a poo-like door stops, or thinking about global political situations – is just gone. Gone. At some point it occurred to me in a fuzzy way that the vacation was off and I’d have to go home and throw out my cupcakes for the entry, because I was never going to enter a cake show again, but even all of that was ephemeral.

Because I was pretty sure my baby was dead.

In between bouts of crying I tried to reconnect with that voicemail, because it was 4 minutes long and I’d only listened to 30 seconds or less of it. I thought maybe on there someone would say Robin was fine. Or that she wasn’t. Or some other scrap of information that wasn’t about just sitting in a room not knowing.

As I dialled I thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this. Maybe I should live a few more minutes with the possibility that she’s not dead.”

But I had to know, so I dialled…

…and got no connection, because I was deep in a concrete building.

I closed my phone and sat staring at the walls. I don’t remember what was on them.

A man suddenly poked his head in the room and I leapt to my feet. He said he was another paramedic and wanted to let me know that yes indeed, an ambulance was bringing Robin in. I think I asked if she was dead because he went into “calm the mother down” mode and said she must be fine, because nobody had called the “red line”. Apparently if an ambulance is coming in with someone who is dead or dying, they alert the “red line” so hospital staff can be right and ready as soon as the patient arrives. He said if they didn’t call that, her situation couldn’t be that bad. He told me not to worry and headed back out.

I worried anyway, but with slightly less panic.

Only slightly.

A few minutes’ worth of an eternity later, I heard Corran’s voice followed by Peo’s, and I leapt up once more just as they came around the corner. There, in Corran’s arms, was a half-naked but very much alive little Robin.

I grabbed her and held her as the story on all sides got explained out.

Corran had the girls in the bath when Peo reported that Robin’s chest was sucking in. I’d looked up croup earlier and told Corran that if her cough turned into croup, everything on the internet said to watch for indrawing at the base of the throat. I’d checked Robin through the day and she’d had no sign of it. The web sites had mentioned that in severe cases, the indrawing moves to the chest area as well. So when Corran looked at Robin – who was otherwise playing in the tub – and saw that whenever she tried to cough her whole chest sunk in, he called 111. On that call as soon as he mentioned the indrawing, they upgraded the call to 999 and sent an ambulance.

Corran had texted me while waiting for it to arrive, then got Robin out of the tub and dried her and got her jammies on, and sent Peo to get herself dried and dressed.

In the ambulance the paramedics put a mask on Robin, which apparently made her howl, but because of the mask it was muffled which is why it didn’t sound like her when I heard it over the phone. Meanwhile Corran had dialled his phone for me and told Peo to leave a message to tell me to come to the hospital.

As he pointed out later, if Robin had been dead, nobody would have been phoning me in that moment. They’d have been coping with the emergency as it unfolded.

As this was told to me, Robin tried to cough and I saw her chest cave in. It was horrific; her whole sternum going indented into her chest. I’ve since Googled for videos or images to try to show you what this looks like but I can’t find one that is as severe as what Robin had. I’ve also learned that there’s a 12-point scale for croup where 9 through 11 are increasingly severe indrawing and that Robin was around 11. 12 is dying.

But thankfully we were now at a hospital and had medical staff monitoring her. She was safe enough at that point that she was lower priority than the other kids coming in with bleeding head wounds and fevered infants, so we waited a few hours before a doctor finally came to see us. He ordered a steroid for her and then had us stay an hour more for observation, during which time she improved to the point that she was only indrawing before a sneeze.

At the shift change, another doctor deemed her okay to go home. We mentioned about the intended holiday and were told we should still go, that Robin would be fine and that the sea air might actually be helpful. They said as long as we knew where the closest hospitals were – and I already knew that in the Google map I’d planned out since I knew we wouldn’t have internet – that we should go and have fun.

It was very surreal to start once more contemplating a cake show and a holiday at 1:30 am in a taxi ride home from a hospital.

I slept in Robin’s room that night, still spooked and needing to hear her breathing every time I stirred (which was often), but she was fine.

So Friday morning Corran went and picked up the rental car while I haphazardly threw things in bags, then we tossed it all in the car (except for the cake entries, which were of course placed on laps for highly controlled handling), and we drove off for Taunton. Robin was still hoarse which made for a quiet trip, but she didn’t fuss and seemed content to either stare out the window or nap.

And then the next morning in the hotel room before the cake show, she found religion.


“I don’t know what this book is but it has shiny words on the cover and floppy pages inside so it must be good!”

So…yeah. We got to have our vacation and Robin’s fine, tearing apart the living room in between beeping my nose as I type this entry.

So prepare to be pic-spammed with gorgeous Dorset and Wiltshire scenery over the next few posts, and go hug your babies a little extra today because the future isn’t as well-planned as you think, except when it is.

Freaky, huh?

Keeping Abreast of the Charity Shops

Back in the US I shop at Goodwill a lot, especially for kids’ clothes. They grow through them so fast and boutique prices are insane, but you can get the high-quality boutique stuff for dirt cheap at Goodwill. In addition to saving money, there’s a huge environmental boon to reusing clothes instead of always buying new. Plus if you have a hard-to-fit kid like I do with Peo, having lots of brands in one place makes it more likely that something will fit. And that variety often lends itself to really great finds of rare, weird clothing and other good stuff.

Protip: if you can find inexpensive used plates at Goodwill – especially holiday-themed ones – you can use those to give out holiday cookies to teachers, colleagues, friends, etc. They’re sturdier so you won’t risk collapses as can happen with cheap, disposable trays, they look nicer, and the recipient can either reuse the plate, give it back to you if they wish (make it clear to them that they don’t have to), or regift it forward. Major environmental win, nicer presentation, everyone’s happy.

Peo and I went on a quest to get some used dishes at the charity shops here in Cambridge in November so we could use them for cookies we were going to sell for a Christmas charity bake sale. There isn’t one big umbrella organization like Goodwill running the shops; instead, you have to go to a bunch of different itty-bitty shops for different charities like the Heart Foundation, Oxfam, Cancer Charities, RSPCA, and others.

Each of these shops has its own style in terms of what they carry, and the prices can vary significantly. But what they do have in common is the rare, weird stuff, and some of them have it more than others.

We didn’t find individual dishes as readily as we’re used to with Goodwill – the shops here tend instead to sell complete sets and we didn’t need that many – so we failed on that account. But boy howdy did we find some weird stuff!

We also had one great find: a giant tub of about 100 solid wooden blocks for Robin for Christmas for only £3.50 which now double as burglar-deterrent-caltrops all over the living room floor.

And in that same store was this gem:

Mr. Creosote Vomting Sauce Dispenser

It barfs sauce at you. I almost bought it just to put pea soup in it and call it a Python-Exorcist crossover. Nobody expects the Spanish Expectoration. Nobody.

You have to understand, this scene in The Meaning of Life horrifies my husband to the point of him not wanting to watch the film, despite liking the rest of the film. So I took this photo mostly so I could show it to him when we got home and say, “Do you see how much I love you because I totally didn’t buy this to vomit sauce at you?”

He was duly appreciative.

Anyway, you’d think that’d be the strangest thing we saw on our charity shop journey, but you’d be wrong. See, that’s just a bit of slightly disgusting Python silliness, which is pretty much what they’re known for and thus, by extension, what England is known for. That’s right, Brits…all Americans think you’re a nation lethal to parrots and that it’s easy to catch a train from Bolton to Notlob. Totes truth. Yes.

This is also why Peo and I almost lose it every time Robin’s music teacher here brings out the coconut shells to simulate a horse.*

But moving on to the Oxfam shop, Peo and I entered a world of weirdness that even our Python-filled brains were not ready to grasp.

First we found this, and would have bought it except that Robin would have eaten the pieces on account of her having no respect for invading aliens whatsoever.

Dalek Operation Game

I am horribly disappointed that they didn’t rename this version OPERATE!

But that’s not really so odd. I don’t think there’s a store in this country that doesn’t have at least some kind of Doctor Who paraphernalia in it. It’s pretty much a mandatory national industry at this point.

Where it got weird was with the naked bodies.

Yes, I said naked bodies.

Because if you’re going to have a mannequin in your home, why wouldn’t you decoupage it with comics and then ensure it had hooks for hands, navel, and nipples?

comic covered mannequin

So. This is a Thing.

hook nipples on mannequin detail

And if you’re going to have that Thing, I guess it should have these things. For…hats? Small paintings? Teacups? Probably teacups. This is probably how you’re supposed to hang your teacups in the UK, all dainty-like.


And if I said, “Hey, look over there, I see a Barbie mirror!” you’d assume I meant something like this:

Barbie mirror

And not this:

barbies stuck to a mirror

The zip ties on some of the legs really sell the horror, don’t you think?

Suddenly the Daleks’ strategy seems a lot less terrifying. They just want to exterminate you, not affix your still-smiling naked corpse to a vanity device.


* Waiting for the sharkreados on this one.

I Have Excuses

I have been remiss in updating because Halloween and the Birmingham cake show were kicking my ass. But those are over with now, so I hope to soon post lots of stuff that’s been piling up. I also need to post my cake show results over at Eat the Evidence.

But generally speaking, I get a lot less done than I intend each day because I am homeschooling Peo and Robin likes to climb up beside me whenever I’m on the computer and grin into my peripheral vision until I acknowledge how cute she is.

Robin grinning at me

Robin uses her CUTE GRIN. It is SUPER EFFECTIVE.

Or if that doesn’t get her enough attention, she just sticks her finger in my ear.

She's shoving her baby wisdom directly into my brain.  Lucky me.  Because nothing helps me write my next romance novel like a Wet Willie.

She’s shoving her baby wisdom directly into my brain. Lucky me. Because nothing helps me write my next romance novel like a Wet Willie.

So…yeah. Be patient. More monkeyloo goodness coming soon.

And someone pass the cotton swabs, please.


As we were driving yesterday Peo suddenly exclaimed, “Ooo, a hypermarket!”

I said, “No. You have more than enough hyper already.”

hypermarket street sign

I don’t know what a hypermarket actually is but as a parent I’m utterly terrified of the concept.

(Okay I looked it up but I swear I’ve never heard the term before.)

Of Sharks and Trains

As mentioned in my last post, driving in the UK is no fun if you’re not keen on roundabouts. So you’d think the busses and trains would be easier, right?


Okay to be fair, we all went to London for the first trip – meaning Corran was there to help with the girls – and it went fine. But the first time I took Peo and Robin to London on my own, our experience was slightly different.

Peo and I thought things were going well because we got there early and scored the rare seats with room for a stroller beside them. This is important because it means I don’t have to take Robin out and wrestle her for about an hour as she tries to wriggle towards FREEDOM and LICKING ALL THE TRAIN THINGS. So there we were, comfy in our awesome seats, when they started announcing ever-increasing electrical problems with the train. It ended up dying completely, so they transferred everyone from that train to another train that was already full. Further, the first train had no stops between Cambridge and Kings Cross, whereas the new one did.

Because there were no seats, I ended up sitting in the door area with Robin in her stroller over me. As in, my legs were under the stroller and I was effectively pinned there. The other half of the door bay was taken by a guy with a bike, so there was no room to move. Then at the stops, assholes who had been seated comfortably actually swore at me for being in the way, even as I tipped the stroller further onto myself to let them get by. Oh, and there are other doors on the car, so they could have bloody well gone down the car to the other door if it was such a big problem for them.

All of this meant we got to London an hour later than planned, which meant by the time we got to the Natural History Museum the line was up and down the block. We waited nearly half an hour to get in, and then decided not to wait in the estimated hour-plus line to see the dinosaurs. I convinced Peo to skip that line since we’d be going back when school was in (and we have been back since but the dinosaurs are “on holiday”, which is museum code for “OMFG we have to refurbish the dinosaur room after it was mangled all summer by people who lined up for over an hour and then acted like pent-up twerps once they saw the giant things that could have eaten them”).

Anyway, we did some other fun stuff at the museum and then headed home. Our train tickets are off-peak so we either have to make the 4:14 pm train back to Cambridge or wait until 7:14, so we headed back to the Tube with plenty of time to spare. However, it seems that rush hour on the Tube started in 1067 (shortly after William the Conqueror was crowned but in plenty of time to handle the rat traffic needed for the Black Death), because even at 3 pm the thing was jammed full.

Aha, but there were two seats available in those Priority Seats – you know, the ones for people like me who are dealing with a baby and have an actual disabled foot – so I sent Peo to get one and as I was about to sit in the other a woman actually jumped around me to block me and sit beside my own kid, so I had to stand with the stroller.

When an elderly lady got on a couple of stops later I had Peo get up to let her sit (again, this was the Priority Seating area) because nobody else offered a seat, including the spry young men who’d hopped off and on with ease and were joking loudly with each other further down the row. I’ve since been told this is normal in London and our continued experiences bear it out.

Then at King’s Cross we elected to not take the long Cambridge train that was boarding as we arrived, because we figured it’d be full, slow, and the 4:14 direct one would be better anyway. But the 4:14 didn’t list its platform until minutes before leaving, at which point so many people ran for it that they opened the gates and didn’t even check tickets because there was very real danger of a press.

We got a seat by the doors so I could have Robin in her stroller in the door area but still sit somewhat comfortably, so that was lucky. Luckier still was that we weren’t in the car that they mentioned on an announcement that had a “chemical spill” and “was projected to be rather uncomfortable for the duration of the journey” and they were recommending “passengers in that car find elsewhere to sit if possible and if not, we’re sorry for your impending discomfort.” O.o

Then we got on the bus back in Cambridge, and about a third of the way home some idiot pedestrian or cyclist leapt out from the sidewalk in front of the bus, so the bus had to come to a halt sudden enough that everyone on board went flying. Robin’s stroller went over sideways and crashed into the aisle, Peo landed on the floor, I crashed into the bar in front of me. My wrist swelled up and really hurt overnight but recovered by the next day, and I found random bruises on my legs later as well. Robin was fine, but Peo’s knees hurt.

Here’s a screenshot of texts to Corran to indicate what kind of day we were having at that point:


Then as we were close to home the bus stopped and some folks wanted to get on with two large strollers. I had the stroller spot, and there was a disabled old man in the other accessible spot. I stood up and said to the driver that we were getting off at the next stop anyway so I’d let those other folks have my stroller spot, and I stood in the aisle. And the buggers who got on were snippy about it and didn’t even say thanks. Nice.

Then as I whinged about all of this on G+ that evening, Robin tried to crawl into the fireplace and I complained that she didn’t even have any floo powder and thus was hardly any help at all.

Peo’s blog version of this transportation nightmare is here and contains an appropriate number of exclamation marks given her age and the issues at hand. Pre-teens use exclamation marks, adults like me just swear our fucking heads off.

Anyway, the next time we went to London everything went so much more smoothly that I kept thinking I was merely accumulating negative transportation karmic points and something terrible would happen any second, leading to this text exchange with Corran:

And I know it's not just me suffering from the baby nails.

1) I am a professional writer and can totally spell “deinonychus” and “sharknado”. Really. Yes. 2) “Shatknado” is either really smelly or boldly goes where no Shatknado has gone before. Or both. OMG I never noticed the poop joke in Trek’s tagline until just now. I feel like I missed out on a crucial part of childhood. 3) I know it’s not just me suffering from the baby nails.

I was planning to go to London again today but slept poorly so I’ve put it off to another day. Instead, Peo and I popped out to do some errands and as we walked I updated her on the forecast.  I said, “You know how last night when we looked at the weather it said 60% rain chance on Sunday when we’re in Huntingdon?  Well when I looked a couple of hours later, it was only 20%, but the Friday rain had increased to 80%.  And I said to Daddy that I was afraid to refresh because it was changing so fast, it might get worse.”

Peo asked, “So did you refresh?”

“Yeah, and then Daddy and I laughed because then it changed to predicting thunderstorms for Friday! We agreed we should stop or else it’d update to a SHARKNADO!”

radar image of storms near London

The rare Giant Amoeba Shark descends upon London. Someone call The Doctor. Wait, no, I’m sure London has him on speed-dial.

Then Peo sighed, “I wish I really could see a sharknado.”

I said, “I’ll find the trailer for you when Robin’s napping.”

“Wait – it was a movie?!”

“Yeah, and a really bad one. It’s pretty much only famous because it was such a lame idea, that a tornado would suck up sharks and somehow they’d magically stay alive and fly around eating people.”


Contains about as much plausible science as Shark Week.

“OH MY GOD LAND SHARK!” Peo said with a laugh, mostly because we are proper nerd parents who long ago taught her about land sharks. “I thought it was just a tornado made of sharks.”

“No, it’s sharks in a tornado.”

“That’s so much worse,” Peo said. “I still wish I could see one, though.”

“No you don’t. It’d be pretty gory.”

“So we’d just stay inside?”

Yes, oh child of mine. In the event of flying land sharks randomly eating people on the streets of London, we shall stay inside. Mostly because they also probably don’t give up their seats on the Tube.

shark skeleton and Robin

Here you go, Robin. You’re never too young to learn about the impending doom of flying sharks or British rail.

Introduction To The Loo

Let’s go on a magical journey of imagination, shall we?

Imagine you’re a mom to an eight year old and a one year old, and you’re going to go from the USA to England for a year where you’ll be homeschooling the eight year old at myriad museums and historical sites while trying to prevent the one year old from licking the displays. You need to pack up everything you own – and did I mention you and your husband are both hopeless packrats? – from your Austin, TX home into storage, and you’re behind because the eight year old hasn’t been getting her own packing done and the one year old has decided sleep is for the weak.

Now imagine it’s the day of the flight to England. You haven’t packed everything, the air conditioning has been going out most of this week in 41°C/105°F weather, and you’re in the position of deciding what stuff you love enough to make it in the last car run to the storage unit or to be shoved into the garden shed before rushing to the airport. You’ve had less than two hours sleep per night for a week and most of that has been on a broken, lopsided air mattress beside the baby’s crib. Oh, and all of the dust you’ve kicked up has necessitated being on allergy meds that knock you out so you’re completely loopy and you’ve upped the ante to declare that lungs are for the weak.

Now imagine you’re on the flight – which at least is direct since you paid an extra $300 per person to not have to transfer through Newark, NJ in the middle of the night with a baby – and while everyone else has gone to sleep, including the baby, you can’t sleep because your brain is madly going through what you left at home for the cleaners to throw out and you’re wondering just how much you can suck up to your friend with whom you left a key to cram some more stuff into the shed for you.

Now imagine you get to Heathrow, your husband gets the rental car, you all pile in, and you’re driving through the countryside trying to spot the castles and other romantic buildings you’re sure England must be stuffed with because that’s how it looks in all of the brochures, but mostly you just see a highway that is freaking you out because it’s on the wrong side of the road. You drift off a bit, but your brain is still wondering if it was worth it to sacrifice the vacuum back in Austin, not because it was a particularly great vacuum but it will cost a few hundred dollars to replace and the budget is already blown by the discovery of more mold in the front hall closet despite the $4000 you spent two years ago supposedly fixing the mold problem for good. So even though you drift off, you’re not really sleeping so much as experimenting with fun new ways to get neck cramps.

Now imagine you finally get to the Cambridge house you’re renting – which you’ve only seen in a couple of photos from an ad listing – and the landlord is showing you around, speaking what seems like a thousand words a minute because you’re utterly shattered from fatigue and stress and he doesn’t even have the decency to be closed-captioned like all the British people are when you watch Downton Abbey, and the baby is running shrieking through the house because THERE ARE SO MANY NEW THINGS TO LICK, and there’s something about putting salt and rinse aid into the dishwasher and the eight year old is stomping on the loud floor and the car is parked illegally outside and then you turn and see this:

monkey loo

The toilet sees you too.

And you want to ask about the monkey toilet, because it’s a god-damned monkey toilet and there are just so many questions, but you can’t because you have to run after the one year old and the landlord is going upstairs to talk about the weird electric shower and you haven’t slept and you have strange rashes popping up all over your body from all of the stress but there’s a god-damned monkey toilet.

So you go off and do some shopping so the baby has a safe place to sleep and there’s some basic food in the house but every time you come back into the house and go to the kitchen you have to pass the door that leads to the god-damned monkey toilet.

Then the eight year old announces, “I LIKE TO PEE IN THE MONKEY’S FACE.”

And in that instant you know deep in your heart – in that certain way that bypasses all neurological space because your neurons aren’t really functioning properly anymore anyway – that one day there will be a knock at the door and it will be Jane Goodall come to beat the living crap out of you.

So, naturally, you post that to the internet.

Thankfully, none of your friends bother to point out that Jane Goodall works with apes, not monkeys, because then you’d have to punch them (your friends, not the apes or monkeys, because apes and monkeys are really fucking strong and you don’t want to pick a fight with them, especially when you already know at some point you’re going to be answering for the part of the monkey toilet that has the hole blasted through the monkey face which you’ll be punching with your ass for the next year) because you can’t name an actual monkey researcher and besides, Jane Goodall is sweet and adorable so the idea of her maniacally wielding a machete through your house because of a toilet you didn’t even choose is awesome.

Plus, your friends are too busy to be pedantic at you about specific fields of research because they’re laughing at your exhausted rambling and sending you private messages about visiting you so you they too can rack up points in the coming Ultimate Zombie Dian Fossey Death Match between hordes of primates coming to wreak vengeance upon you for daring to shit through a monkey face toilet seat use the monkey loo.

Meanwhile as the first few days of your England adventure pass, you still can’t sleep because you keep mentally going through the Austin house wondering what you’ve lost, sending your poor friend driving down all the way from Pfucking Pflugerville to rescue items for you, and you keep finding the weirdest shit everywhere in this country you always thought of as an ancestral motherland, so somewhere amidst the fear and the fury and the fucking monkey toilet you announce, “I AM GOING TO START A NEW BLOG AND NAME IT AFTER THE LOO.”

And suddenly, it all makes sense. So here it is.