Telephones and toilets don't mix

Last week, I was on the phone with a teacher from Hannah's school.

See, Hannah has recently started going one day a week to a creative learning campus* and the adjustment has been a bit of a struggle. She feels lost, is frequently in tears, and is begging to return to her home school.

I have worried and wrung my hands about how to help her. I feel that to let her quit something after such a short time goes against everything I am trying to teach her about commitment and endurance.

When she faked sick last Friday to try and get out of going, and my tears mirrored her own, I decided it was time to ask for help. I made calls and sent emails to the school counselor, as well as her morning and afternoon teachers.

One of the teachers eventually found a few minutes in her busy day to return my call. As we chatted, I shared with her the struggles that Hannah has been having. I found myself pouring out my anxiety and worries quite tearfully over the phone. I begged and pleaded for her wisdom as an educator to help me help my child.

And then, over the phone I heard --

-- the distinct and disgusting sound of a flush.

Followed shortly thereafter by the sound of running water.

And the unmistakable crank of a paper towel dispenser.

Her 'mmm-hmmms' suddenly seemed a little less attentive than I thought they were.

I was horrified and repulsed. She could not take two minutes to go to the bathroom BEFORE calling me back? She couldn't mute her phone? The fact that I was crying and pouring out my soul to her while she sat on a toilet did nothing to reassure me that my daughter was in good hands.

Albeit, very clean post-toileting hands.

I must beg the question of you, dear internets -- have you ever made a call whilst on the pearly white throne? Do you flush and dial? Are you a pee talker?

I. am. not.

And I'll try not to judge those of you who are.

*Hannah begged and begged all last year to be tested for admittance into our district's Center for Creative Learning. I finally acquiesced, she was admitted this year, and absolutely hates it. In spite of the phone/toilet interaction, we have come up with some good strategies to help her and she is feeling better about it. I, however, will likely be scarred for life.

One more story of shame to add to my life's work

I had a lovely little lunch date with the Husband today. He happens to be in town this week, and I most decidedly took advantage of that rare treat.

We finished eating, and I got up to go use the, um, facilities.

After inquiring with our waiter, I was pointed towards the back of the restaurant. I pushed open the door to what I thought was a multi-stall restroom.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear?

Some poor woman, pants down around her ankles, her big white cheeks planted on the single toilet in the room. She looked up at me and shrieked, "Oh sh#@! I thought I locked it!"

I ran as fast as I could to our table, told the Husband that we had to leave, LIKE. RIGHT. NOW. Good man that he is, he didn't question me. Just grabbed his coat and we vacated the premises faster than if we'd robbed the place.

As we booked it down the block and I told the Husband what had happened, he roared his head back in laughter.

Somehow, I didn't quite see the humor.

I mean, if I had known it was a single, of course I would have knocked. But we were in a restaurant, and I figured there would be more than one. There's always more than one. And since the door was not locked, and there was no knob, I pushed the door open and marched myself right in.

And so today, somewhere out there in St. Louis, a woman sits on her couch probably feeling very, very embarrassed. And maybe just a teensy bit angry with the chubby girl who walked in on her while she sat on the toilet.

And also today in St. Louis, a woman sits on her couch and vows NEVER to make an assumption in a restaurant again.

[Tell me I'm not the only one this has happened to. Lie to me, if you must. I need some commiserating.]

I'd like some condiments for this foot in my mouth, please

This weekend, we attended the baptism of a very good friend's daughter. This dear friend had family coming from all over the country for this special event - family of hers that I was reacquainting myself with, and family that I was meeting for the first time.

So I am sitting in the chapel, waiting patiently for the event to commence. I am thoroughly enjoying myself as I make small talk with those around me.

I turn when I notice a tall, handsome man approaching the pew where I am sitting. He starts chatting with the family on the bench next to me, who I know to be relatives of my good friend.

I reach out my hand to this tall stranger and say, "Oh, you must be Stuart's Dad. It's so nice to meet you."

He smiles, chuckles and says, "Um, no. Actually I'm Craig, his brother-in-law."


I cringe and felt the oxygen sucked from the room as I realize that I have just mistaken a man in his early 40s FOR ONE IN HIS MID-70s. I reel with horror at my most ridiculous mistake yet, and immediately look to see if it would be noticeable if I crawled under the bench to hide. Better yet, I think, would be a shovel with which I could dig my own grave, and hide in my shame for all eternity.

The Husband, ever on my side, leaned over and told Craig that the only fitting rebuttal is for him to turn and ask me when my baby was due.

Touche, dear Husband, touche.

The very youthful victim of my verbal faux pas

Honestly. How did I mistake him for a man in his 70s? I don't know what I was thinking at the time those awful, irretrievable words came flying out. I have no excuse but my own stupidity.

Fortunately for me, Craig has a sense of humor. Throughout the rest of the day's festivities, he joked and laughed about his old and infirm state. He even smiled and posed the next day while I took some pictures of his darling - AND VERY YOUNG - family.

I think from here on out, I will keep my big yap shut.

These feet of mine don't taste as good as they used to.

Have you ever? (The parking edition)

This afternoon I decided to brave the below-freezing temperatures and head to the mall. The kids were home for a half-day today, and Hannah was in need of some entertainment. The boys were having a play date, and she was stuck at home with mom (a fate worse than death, I know).

She has become an ardent scrapbooker (read: she likes to rifle through my stuff) and I figured an outing to the local scrapbook store would serve several purposes today. One, it would get her some new supplies and increase the chance that she actually leaves my stuff alone; two, it would give us something fun to do together; and, three, it would enable me to spend more of the Husband's money on pretty paper, ribbons, and such (which just so happens to be one of my favorite things to do with his money).

So we bundled ourselves up and headed out. Seeing as it is literally eight degrees today, I circled the parking lot repeatedly, looking for a spot close to the doors. I spied one on the front row, and headed toward it with glee. That glee was short lived, however, when I noticed it was designated parking for expectant mothers only.

Oh, for half a second I actually wished I was pregnant.

I stopped. I hesitated. I mentally debated whether or not I looked pudgy enough in my winter coat to be able to get away with it (which sadly, I probably do). But in the end, the thought of some poor actual pregnant person having to walk farther in the cold because of me was enough to compel me to do the right thing.

With a sigh, I resigned myself to the mile-long walk in the cold, and headed for a parking spot farther out. As Hannah and I approached that front-row mother's spot on our way inside, another car was pulling in.

And to my horror, a very obviously-not-pregnant person was getting out of the car. How could I be sure, you ask?


Yes, a lone man was parking in the expectant mother's parking spot. You can be sure that my frozen face scowled as fierce as one could in the sub-freezing air.

I don't think he noticed, what with his short, warm trip inside the mall.

So, once again, I reminded myself not to judge, and prayed that a real pregnant person was not stuck in the cold longer because of him.

But it begs me to ask -- have you ever parked in that spot when you weren't pregnant? How about the handicapped spot? Ever parked there when you know you shouldn't have?