Tag Archives: Bathroom

When Vacation Lowlights Become Highlights


The other night, I asked my son to tell me his favorite memory from our recent vacation in The Happy House. It was a good one. We swam in the pool and the ocean. We visited with neighbors and spent a day at Magic Kingdom. We planted palm trees and went bike riding. We even had a dinner party where guests came over to watch Syracuse University get crushed by the Wolverines in The Final Four.

“Sitting in my rocking chair and eating pie,” my son said.

Seriously. That was the highlight?

But then I remembered.

When my brother and I were young, we went on a family vacation to Florida with our parents. For weeks, they told us we were going to have the best vacation – ever.

After a long flight and what felt like an even longer drive, we made it to our hotel It was nighttime, and we were all exhausted, so my father left us in the car and went to check in at the front desk. After a while, he returned with a map, a compass, a walkie-talkie and a survival guide.

Not really, but it would have been nice if he’d had that stuff.

Because we walked in circles forever, trying to find The Nepa Hut.

Apparently, the clerk had given my father explicit instructions. We were supposed to walk down a path to where the crushed shells ended, take a left, then a right, being careful not to fall off the pier into the ocean. Eventually, we’d see a gecko sitting on a rock. Or something. I don’t really know.

What the guy at the front desk should have given us was a flashlight.

It was so freaking dark, we couldn’t find our damn room.

Dragging our bags behind us, we wandered back to the lighted lobby where my father confessed we were lost.

My mother must have caused a fuss because we ended up with a guide.

Once in the room, we started to unpack. Someone went to the bathroom.

I heard the flush.

And then I heard my father. “Oh no! he begged. “Omigosh! No!”


Click for photo credit

You guessed it. The crapper was overflowing. Water poured over the lip of the toilet, spilling onto the floor until the tiles were soaked.

Though my mother threw towels onto the tile floor, the icky water would not stop, and the carpet outside the bathroom door was soon drenched.

While my father dialed housekeeping, my mother chastised him for using too much toilet paper.

My brother and I couldn’t stop laughing. The poopie geyser in the bathroom? That was the best.

He and I danced around the ever-widening wet-spot as our father warned us to keep away from the bathroom door.

It’s one of my favorite vacation memories.

Memories are weird. If I think about it, I suppose it isn’t so much that I love the fact that our toilet overflowed. It’s more that my parents had set this expectation that our vacation was going to be totally awesome, and even when things didn’t go to plan, we found a way to make the most of it. I love the memory of all of us being together, flailing around, figuring things out, being perfectly imperfect with each other.

I suppose if my son forever remembers kicking back in a rocking chair eating a slice of raspberry pie, well, as the kids say, that’s the shit.

What is one of your weird vacation memories? What about memories involving toilets?

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Calculated Chances: A #LessonLearned by Darlene Steelman

Darlene Steelman grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: a misunderstood kid with a crazy mind. Finally, at the age of 38, she decided to put that crazy mind to good use and write. When she’s not stopping her car in the middle of the road to protect crossing ducks, she passes time with an office job, writing on her lunch hour, and singing off-key in the car.

By night she works on her first novel. (She also plays me at Words with Friends.)

Darlene’s blog is called Living Sober – Life at Full Throttle. You can also find her on Facebook and stalk her on Twitter at @DarleneSteelman.

Click on the teacher lady's nose to see other folks who have shared their lessons.

• • •

Calculated Chances

As I push 40, there are many things I have learned over the course of those years.  Always say please and thank you; hold the door for old people and be very sure to take the trash outside if it has raw onions in it.

But are any of these really lessons? Maybe the last one.  Maybe.

As a kid I (like most kids) did really dumb things. I once roller skated down my grandmother’s driveway straight into the garage knowing I would fall flat onto my face when I didn’t lift my feet over the lip to get into the garage.

I knew this.  But I wanted to know what would happen.  So I kept my skates on the ground.  Those skates stopped propelling forward when they hit that cement lip. I hurled forward, but not onto my face (thankfully!).  I landed on both knees.  My knees screamed in a bloody fashion as I cried for my grandmother.

My grandmother (who grew up a poor, coal miner’s daughter) called me a horse’s ass and said, “Darlene, get up. Stop crying.  You’ll be fine.”

I was an eight year old in shock at that point.

“Get up?” “Stop crying?” Fine?!”

Turns out my grandmother’s refusal to coddle and baby me worked to my advantage as the years passed.

Well, most of the time.  I still have that “ooh I wonder what will happen if I do this?” mentality.

When I was somewhere between eight and eleven years old, I was in the bathroom at my parents’ house and brushing my teeth with Crest toothpaste or something. My parents used Pepsodent, which is the equivalent of brushing your teeth with gasoline.

Pepsodent toothpaste

Pepsodent toothpaste (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mind started going as my eyes drifted over to the Pepsodent.  Pepsodent.  Hmm.  This stuff is pretty strong.  I wonder what would happen if I put it on my eyelids, like eye shadow?

Yes.  That is a thought process I actually had when I was a little girl.

And to keep you from suspense any longer, I did put the toothpaste made with real gasoline on my eyelids.  It burned like hell.  Yet, there was a cool mentholated feeling.

I really think there was potential there to permanently blind myself.

The next three minutes in the bathroom went something like:

“Owwwww!” as I frantically searched around for a towel or something to wipe the damn gasoline off of my eyes.  It was piercing the lids as it seeped into my eyeballs. As I write this I am laughing because I can see myself with flailing arms (much like Jodi Foster in the dark room in Silence of the Lambs) trying to find a wash rag or towel or something in the bathroom to wipe off my eyelids.

Nope. Nothing.  Had I prepared I would have remembered there was never a towel in the bathroom at my parents.  Never.

“Oh my God, I am gonna go blind!” I whispered to myself as I refused to cry.  I could not cry.  Only sissies cried.  I was no sissy.  Gram would not tolerate me crying.

I managed to get myself out of the bathroom and into my bedroom (which thankfully was right next to the bathroom) and get the toothpaste off of my eyelids.  I was able to see clearly about an hour later.

The lesson I learned was this: take chances!  Unless it involves putting chemicals in a creamy mentholated form on your body, then be sure to read the fine print first.

Calculated chances are important.  They build our character and sometimes we learn that the one thing we feared became that thing we loved the most.

When is the last time you really took a chance at something? Did you succeed or fail? Or did you burn your eyelids?

Lessons From The Bathroom

Please enjoy this playful sign that was forwarded to me by one of my readers.

How much do I love Admiral Grammar?

The good Colonel seems to have forgotten about capitalization as well. 😉

There are so many things to love about this picture.

Personally, I enjoy the elbows.

What stands out to you? You know besides the grammar.