Age At Time of Travel

I am 39. Tomorrow I will not be.

This tick of the clock first came home to roost, several months ago while planning my summer birthday celebration, a trip to the Cote D’ Azure. At my desk in January I was booking an easy jet flight from London to Nice, France dreaming of summer weather, fancy wine and rich food. While drawing up the sum total of the cost of the trip, one I had dreamed of since 1998, I contemplated whether it was possible for me to actually wear all my clothes on the plane to avoid the baggage fee, like the 20 year old I had seen on YouTube. Impossible! What would I do with my shampoo? Never once did I think I might be too old to try that, nor did I think that by now I should have learned to be sophisticated or at least pretend to be like all my relatives. Certainly by now I should earn enough to shirk off baggage fees like pennies at an arcade or hundreds at the supermarket but alas I have yet to grow up.

In 1998 I was on a coast train from Italy to Paris enroute to London after six weeks of inter-railing through Europe. Watching the sun set over the beauty of the French coast line we passed through a train station with a sign for Beaulieu Sur Mer. It struck a cord; we were passing through the very town where they filmed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Captivated by the beauty and enchanted by one of my favourite films, I vowed one day to return.

That was almost twenty years ago. How could that be? Impossible! To avoid my reservation timing out I clicked the purchase tab. I was finally going to cross something off my bucket list. Filling out the obligatory personal information, passports etcetera, my cursor blinked at me from an empty fill box. Easy Jet was asking me an uncomfortable question that in January of 2016 I was not prepared to answer: AGE AT TIME OF TRAVEL?

I am turning 40 and it was the first time I had come face to face with my impending birthday. A milestone birthday can’t help but throw you into evaluation mode, binge eating, overwork and general burn out because you are old but you still think or worse act like you are young. That is the crux of the matter of turning forty.

I suppose it is a chance to look back at what you have left behind and what is still ahead. I heard a woman at the pet food store yesterday expressing to the much younger cashier how “happy I am to have all that young stuff behind me, thank god I don’t have to go on dates, and have boyfriends all over again.” She was pushing a cart full of overgrown children and kibble. Hmmm, I thought looking down at my own cart, and checking my phone to see five phone calls from the same number.

When I was in my twenties I would have thought it was one of my numerous stalkers calling from a new pay as you go phone number… but now alas no such thought crossed my mind. I checked the messages and there were three from the psycho nurse at my OB/GYN. In true stalker form, she never said what she wanted just that it was important I call. I was one step ahead of them; I knew what they wanted; they want me to have a mammogram. As I turn forty the only thing I have to arguably look forward to is a cold machine with extra large pinchers feeling me up. Can’t they wait to harass me until the realities of middle age have sunk in, at least give me until the middle of next week?

As I approach the wisdom of middle age I realize that achievements go hand in hand with disappointments. I went on a vegan cleanse in February and lost eleven pounds, then I went to France in July and gained fifteen. My boobs are so big that they scare small children and grown men which necessitates a new wardrobe of sunshirts to wear over my miracle suit. I “pretend” these are for preserving my already wrinkled skin… Ah the trials of the pudgy.

My parenting has hit its high and low this week. Eva came home from camp with a black eye so I dutifully asked her how she acquired it. With her coy reserve she told me that Ethan had punched her. Ethan is at least three times the size of Eva and five times the weight. Attempting my best tiger mom, I texted Ethan’s mom “to make her aware of the situation,” which was met with much shock and apology and assurance that she would question him the next morning.

I felt I had done my duty until the fatal wiggling of doubt arose the following morning probably around the same time Ethan was under interrogation.

“Eva, tell me about your black eye one more time.”

“No,” her big blue eyes gave a coy flick and she buried her nose in her bunny.

“Tell me why he punched you?”


I pick up the telephone and ring my sister as I am sure Sadie, Eva’s cousin, would have seen the entire incident at camp.

No answer. I leave a message.




I open the fridge door and dangle a bag of food dye free organic gummy bears. (It’s 8:00am)

“If I give you a gummy bear will you tell me why Ethan punched you?”

Eva eyes the gummy bears like a hawk hunting its prey.


I hand over an orange gummy bear, revealing a red one in my other hand.

She scoffs it, and matter-a-factly announces, “I punched him first.”

Any hint of shame had been swallowed along with the gummy bear, but I relinquish my grasp on the second one with a sigh of defeat. She chews it triumphantly as I contemplate my next move.

I send a flurry of apologetic text messages to Ethan’s mom explaining how I had found out the entire story through bribery. She confirms that it corresponds to Ethan’s account.

I return my attention to my daughter,

“Last week when you came home with a bruise under your other eye, did the other girl really hit you with a stick by accident?”


I retreat to the fridge, and return with a yellow gummy bear.

“Are you sure?”

“Her stick was bigger than mine.”

She puts her hand out for the gummy bear and I place it in her sticky sweaty paw.

“Eva, You don’t have to turn everyday at camp into David versus Goliath.”
“Whose Goliath? You?”

“No! Why would you say that? Never mind.”

I know my daughter has spirit, but I am left wondering how have I managed to raise a pint sized swashbuckling, punch throwing, whisp of a child who looks like an angel, but fights like a gladiator and insults me without even trying.

Next a thought fleets through my mind… If I had another child how they would turn out, would I do a better job, would they sleep better than Eva, would they be as smart, or as quick with a right hook?

Now that I am 40 (there I said it) I can safely assume that it’s too late for any crazy thoughts or irrational behavior like getting pregnant.

And then I remember to be grateful for the wonderful child I do have, my elderly dog who I am catching up with in age and temperament and a happy family.

A family I am celebrating with tonight. While I was in France my mother sent me an invitation to celebrate my birthday at a Wild West BBQ at her club. But there was a catch; there is always a catch. It is to be a joint celebration with my niece, Sadie, who turned five two days before my fortieth. Five and Forty have so much in common.

I am promising to let Sadie blow out the candles if I get to eat the first piece of cake. I have bought us both pinwheels for the occasion and I plan on demanding at least two party bags to satisfy my increased appetite since I overate in France. The invite says there will be a mechanical bull so I hope my Shirley temples are spiked with vodka so I can try it with my mother’s permission of course.

I am planning to let my hair down this birthday, after all I worked hard this past year; perhaps it was the looming anniversary reminding me of all those hours I wasted in my youth. I wrote a 120,000 book, one screenplay about Bette Davis and co-wrote another untitled screenplay. This of course has come with a sacrifice, namely this blog, which I have missed.

One gift forty has given me is a damn good excuse to bring back my blog. I got a Variety alert a few days ago informing the world that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is getting a remake. Hurrah! So is my blog. I hope to upgrade the interface and move on up in the world of the forty somethings so stay tuned.

As Bette Davis always said, “Old Age is Not For Sissies,” and neither is being Eva’s mom.

Xxx Derelict Mom


Will I or Wain’t I

I am never sure what next weeks blog will be about until something happens to me, and at the moment it is unfolding- I think- yes this is it…

The other week when I was in Miami I was walking down the street and I passed a rather large man sitting on a bench. He was a down and out, who probably sits on the same bench every day, wearing the same clothes (of that part I am certain) and probably spouts the same vagabond wisdom to other passing tourists.

He saw us coming and I could of sworn he was looking at me but I couldn’t tell because he was wearing sunglasses- the CVS variety, which some drunk South Beach reveler probably left on his bench. He leaned in and said/sang in his down and out alla breve:

“Some will and some wain’t

Some can and some cain’t

Some are REAL and some AIN’T”

I laughed appreciating the spirit, especially as we were in Coconut Grove and Miami has to be second to Los Angeles for silicone and Botox and all things plastic surgery- calf implants anyone? Some are certainly real and some ain’t.

We came to Miami for the wedding of a good friend and at the festivities I met plenty of thirty eight year olds who had already started with the facelifts, boob jobs, eyebrow lifts, botoxed lips, so much so they looked simultaneously unreal and much much older than they really were, which is clearly not the objective – or perhaps they were lying about their age too. I think there is a bottom line with plastic surgery, which I keep telling my mother who doesn’t listen: Don’t F_CK with your face.

Because we spent our week in Miami celebrating a wedding, I figured that perfectly delivered vagabond wisdom was symbolic of the institution of marriage and the sometimes, institutional world of dating.

Like boobs, some marriages are real and some ain’t. Plenty of people get married to stay in a country or leave one. In Bermuda, where I am from, you have to be married for ten years before the spouse of the Bermudian can become a bonafide resident without fear of being redomiciled to their country of origin, or even allowed to become a majority owner of a business.   This is a sticky issue for many people, and more than one divorce petition has followed a status application.

I myself might as well be a bond girl because I have three passports from three different countries. My one passport only, British husband and I have been married for seven years. He is probably worried I will get the seven year itch, evidently women come down with this but men don’t- I was told by a divorcee the other night. What my husband should be really worried about is me getting drunk at the wedding, standing over a subway grate and lifting my dress over my head like Marilyn Monroe in the movie of the same title, or shall I say rather not like Marilyn Monroe. I had escaped our three year old daughter and a party was destined to ensue.

The bride and groom were on the older side of a first marriage, and so a lot of the guests had ditched their children for the weekend and escaped the everyday grind of parenthood. The multitude of people just like me, made it feel like Spring Break in Ibitha or the first time you climbed out of your bedroom window and went to a night club. We were free, uncork the wine, turn up the music – there isn’t a kid you are responsible for for ten thousand miles.

Our friend Martin was walking past another hotel in Coconut Grove on his way to the sports bar when he passed an couple sitting on the stoop outside the Sonesta puffing away on cigarettes, head to toe in fake tan, and the Primark summer line.

“Its not difficult to spot the British holidaymakers, smoking fags, fake tan!” he laughed.

On the return trip, passing the same hotel a few hours later, there they were again – the same couple and more cigarettes. But this time he was with Chris, and Chris went up to the couple, “Mr. and Mrs. Hill, “ how are you?” Martin was mortified. It was the mother and father of the groom. I suppose it takes a Brit on holiday to spot a Brit on holiday.

Given our age there were a fair share of divorcees attending the wedding too and the divorcees were particularly hilarious people perhaps because of or in spite of their experiences in marriage and divorce. The couple, Brett and Mollie who were sitting at our table at the wedding dinner met on and after their respective divorces and had a sum total of four children between them. It turns out that the Bride and Groom actually met on too and were now entering that special place, the one on prime time television commercials for couples that met on Match and got married- an internet dating success story.

In my dating life, I never tried Match but perhaps I should have considered it and perhaps I would have if I had not ended up back resident on an island where a good percentage of the population would respond to the title, Cousin. Learning your extended family tree is not just a history lesson but a dating protocol, however that doesn’t stop some people. I was asked out on a date by a cousin way back in 1998. My response- that of horror- was “but we have the same great grandfather and the same last name! ” How many people can say they have been asked out on a date by a relative, at least he did have a full set of teeth.

I suppose there isn’t anything desperate about admitting you would like to date someone who doesn’t disgust you at first glance and shares in your interests and priorities and who you haven’t known for most of your life or god forbid- are related to. I am sure is far more successful than that other dating establishment which I was also horrifically subjected to in the past – the blind date.

When I moved back to Bermuda from England the dating pool was pretty slim, so when I met a wonderfully extroverted woman from Texas who said she had the perfect man for me, I believed her. I had no good reason to believe her. I don’t even remember his name but Blind date guy called me, and I agreed to meet him for drinks on a Friday after a cocktail cruise. My friend Julie was in town for a wedding so she would be with me and it would be a relaxed meeting between Blind date guy, Julie and myself rather than create any expectations like him buying me dinner or anything serious. This was my first blind date, I was taking it slowly and as it turned out it was also to be my last, after the assault.

Julie and I arrived at the bar on time and I looked around for blind date guy but didn’t see anyone that met his description. I told him precisely what I would be wearing that night and between that and a description of my hair there could be no confusion. Julie and I ordered a drink, and then another. By ten pm it was clear he was not going to show up. Julie and I ended up – full hot- with me running around the bar telling everyone that I was stood up by a blind date- “Can you believe it! He’d be disappointed if I ever meet him,” and on and on. Eventually after the clock struck midnight we decided to leave, and we disappeared down the dark ally way next to the bar in the direction of home.

Out of nowhere a car screeched to a halt. A man jumped out of the car and chased us down the ally. He grabbed my arm violently or maybe just drunkenly and with my free arm I took my purse, which was heavily weighted with an early generation digital camera the size of a small melon, and clocked him over the head, not once, but several times. Clearly I thought this stranger was trying to rob us, but it was in fact my blind date. He was shorter than me and four hours late so in the end I felt I had dodged a bullet, even though he had not dodged my digital camera.

A few days later I was in the grocery store and happened to see the woman from Texas, I was trapped by distracted women and grocery carts so I pretended to be looking at the expiration dates on the milk cartons ( they were all the same) but I could not avoid her.

“So have you had your blind date yet?”

“No. We were supposed to meet up last Friday but it didn’t work out. ”

I felt it was the simplest explanation of something that had no hope of succeeding. I don’t think she knew about the assault or at least she didn’t let on.

About a year later she tried to set me up with someone else at a party, who was just as short, about my height five foot three at the most. At the risk of sounding completely superficial, I think I told her that I was only interested in men who were at least six feet tall. The moral of the story is that if I had used ( was it around then?) it would have prescreened all the short and late men out of my dating pool, and it might have saved me some time, and a digital camera.

Typical of a Generation X, I am fascinated to hear about people my age and their experiences on Match. Their stories did not disappoint. At our table at the wedding, Mollie’s match, Brett seemed like quite a catch, but his Match stories were well—horrifying– but there is just something about love that convinces you to never give up- until he met Mollie.

Brett described going on a date with a woman who lost no time in letting him know that she, “likes sex with liquids.” He said he told her he would be up for that, thinking to himself, honey, melted chocolate, candle wax- worth a try- not too weird. As the night wore on she confessed that her overwhelming desire was to get naked and pee on him. There was no second date.

Brett said when he got home he mulled over in his mind the eternal question, “Maybe I am really a prude? Am I a prude? ”

I told him categorically, “No.”

On Match you have to put your age down and select an age range of potential candidates. Perhaps they could do with a box for whether or not you like to be peed on. Brett said his range was 35-50. A woman sent him a message saying that she was 51, and he agreed to go on a date as she was only one year out of his range, which was not a big deal to him. The date was going well and Brett said she didn’t look a day over 40, his own age at the time. On their second date she said,

“I have a confession to make.”

“What?” at this point he was probably worried she would say she was really a man.

“I lied about my age.”

“Okay, how old are you?”

“I am not 51, I am 62.”

Brett found this hard to believe, he thought she looked like she was 40 not his own mother’s contemporary.

A few days later, the 62 year old emailed him on Match declining the possibility of a third date, “ You are too old for me, I like younger men.” Brett was twenty two years younger, but somehow not enough.

Just to out due his own stories Brett had yet another one. He took another prospective out for dinner one night, afterwards they went to a local bar for a night cap. Everything was going well for a change, until after drink number three.

“I have a confession to make.”

You can imagine what Brett was thinking… “Are you going to tell me you are really 16 or 84?” but just to out due any of Brett’s other dates on the crazy Richter scale…

“I was abducted by aliens.” She said with utmost sincerity.

“ I’ll pay for your cab home.” Brett said with a matched sincerity masking his horror, and disbelief. At this point Brett was wondering not only if he was really a prude, but what question he filled out on Match that paired him with a bunch of crazies.

I laughed hysterically hard at his final dating disaster story, because something very similar had happened to me in college without the help of There are some people that attract crazy all on their own, I am a beacon. No one has wanted to pee on me yet however.

Back in college when single men were everywhere, there was a house of three boys and my roommate was dating one of them. One of the boys- I think his name was a deceptively simple- John -was quiet and mysterious and piqued my curiosity. Eventually one Saturday night after a show at the Mermaid Lounge in the Quarter in New Orleans, I ended up in his car. After he kissed me- for the first time (and last) – he went into a twenty minute story about being abducted by aliens on a beach in Alabama. During which time I was desperately trying to figure out how I was going to convince him to let me out of the car, which had automatic interior locks. I think I was overcome with a parched throat and had to get another beer. I don’t think I ever saw him again, not sure if he graduated or if he was returned to the ether, some plaything of alien men and their anal probes. I am pretty sure he told me he was probed. I think I would rather be peed on.

And then there was the time, also in college when the boy I liked had a psychotic break and for some reason decided to run around our New Orleans Garden district neighborhood naked clutching a bottle of Captain Morgan’s rum. We had to chase him down in my friend Jane’s car. He didn’t drink and I think at this moment I discovered why. He is now married with three children and I assume off the Captain Morgan.

“Some are Real and Some Ain’t” or as I will tell my Eva when she grows up- you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. However you can also drink too much, tell dating stories about alien abductees and have fun at a friend’s wedding, and I did!

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Hello Vodka This is Mommy Calling

I was thinking the other day, that Reza could be my mother. If my biological mother had decided to leave me on the side of the curb in 1976, Reza would have adopted me, I know she would have. It would have made her a teenage mother, and in someways I am surprised she wasn’t a teenage mother, her big heart is always taking in strays. Stray dogs, stray people, stray people’s problems, stray teenage adoption- not such a stretch. I distinctly remember showing up one Saturday morning sometime last year to see Piglet while Reza was out, and noticing a suspicious car in the yard. It was an unmarked car parked next to the swing set with two men wearing matching grey suits and ray bans. It was then I knew her latest stray who she was hosting in the spare room, was a bit more trouble than the usual alley cats. A few weeks later something happened between them, someone called the cops, Reza kicked her out, and has been locking her door ever since. She won’t tell me what happened, and although I wish Piglet could talk he doesn’t divulge any of Reza’s secrets.

Reza, much like my own mother, also gives me parenting advice. She tells me Eva needs a sibling. I tell her … “Just like I need to saw off my arm.” She is horrified, tells me I spoil her, and looks at me suspiciously when I say no then give in and say yes because by the time Eva has had two lollipops what harm does a third one do? kind of like wine. It’s irrational but I am sticking to it – but only on Saturdays. Then mid sentence Reza runs outside and starts mowing the lawn in her way too small nightie with bizarre and at the same time random timing, like she left the kettle on or something. The noise makes me loose concentration and I start thinking I am in my own version of the Truman Show.


Reza is always trying to convert me to religion, to save me, to earn her golden ticket to heaven, and be my spiritual guide. My cynicism of religion has not budged but I was searching through my drawers last night for a pen and found a poem on a card about Motherhood with an image of Mary Magdalene. Reza probably gave it to me, slipped it under the door, or with her bill. It read:

Dear Lord,

It’s such a hectic day, with little time to stop and pray. For life’s been anything but calm, since you called me to be a mom- running errands, matching socks, building dreams with stacking blocks, cooking, cleaning and finding shoes, and other things that children lose. Fitting lids on bottled bugs, wiping tears and giving hugs. A stack of last week’s mail to read- where’s the quiet time I need? Yet when I steal a moment, Lord, at the sink or ironing board, to ask the blessing of your grace, I see them in my little one’s face, that you have blessed me all the while. And I stoop to kiss that precious smile.

I thought of my own mother and how she is still doing a lot of these things, she still nags us all to be her best version of ourselves, she has taken in our partners and all the grandchildren in kind of like strays and nags them too. Last weekend she was throwing a dinner party and wanted Chris and I to attend, but we declined not because we had a better offer but because it was the only night we have off all week because life with a three year old and jobs is otherwise hectic. She twisted our arm and convinced us to come for a drink.

“Why do we have to come for a drink?”

“Because the Gig man is here and he is English.”

“Who is /What is a Gig man?”

“Your father has brought him over to start the pilot gig racing program in Bermuda.”

“Reza’s father was a pilot.”

“The Gig man does not want to meet Reza he wants to meet Chris.”

“Why does he want to meet Chris?”

“Because he supports the same team as Chris, he is a Tottenham Hotspurs supporter.”

“Oh they have a huge game on Sunday.”

“So you have to bring Chris over for a drink.”

“Okay fine.”

We came over, my mother had hired staff for the evening, unbeknownst to me I was drafted too and spent cocktail hour passing canapés. Then my mother requested that Chris make her a cocktail. We started gossiping together in the kitchen like Anna and Bates in Downton Abbey. Chris was fixing her a drink, while I was arranging toast points.

“Do you think that is enough vodka?” he asked me looking down at the two finger vodka he had poured.

“For my mother, not at all, why don’t we double it and make it a four finger and just put a touch of soda water in it.”

“We can’t do that.”

“Yes we can, she can send it back and we can water it down if need be.”

“You are going to get her drunk.”

“Not off one vodka, it will be funny, come on.”

He poured the stiffy.

“I want to see if she flinches.”

I took my almost seventy year old mother the drink.

“Chris wants you to taste it to see if it’s okay.”

She raised it to her lips and drank with reverence.

No flinch.

I returned to the ante room and reported back to Chris.

“No flinch.”


I looked down and started laughing.

Chris said, “What are you laughing at?”

The cocktail napkin, its so mom.

Chris looked down and read it: “I laughed so hard tears ran down my leg.”

A Life in Cocktailnapkin002

Then I started to think…. It would be a pretty hilarious character portrait to hunt through all her stuff and find all the cocktail napkins in her collection.

“It would be quite a portrayal.” Chris said…and so I did, like the good researcher I am, collecting all her cocktail napkins my mothers own pracied memoir, a life in cocktail napkins. Maybe that is what I will entitle her eulogy.

Here goes:

I tried jogging but I couldn’t keep the ice in my glass

A Life in Cocktailnapkin003

At our age swimming is dangerous, lifeguards don’t try as hard.

A Life in Cocktailnapkin007

SLUTS: Southern Ladies Up to Something

A Life in Cocktailnapkin006

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle

A Life in Cocktailnapkin008

You will always be my best friends, you know too much!

Hello Vodka, this is mommy calling.

A Life in Cocktailnapkin004

This last one is especially fitting. I am thinking the three of us kids, should ask her to choose one for her epitaph.

Later on, when we were invited out of the kitchen, Chris finally got to meet the Gig man.

“Hey, I hear we support the same team – YID ARMY! Woot. Woot.”

“Huh? Oh You are a Spurs supporter? “


“You have a big game tomorrow.”

“Yes WE have a big game tomorrow.” Chris said.

“ I support Torquay United. “



“Maybe we did give her too much vodka.” I said later.

“It’s almost impossible to get a third division team like Torquay confused with Spurs.”

“Almost isn’t good enough.”

“Write that one down.”

“What for?”

“Your life in cocktail napkins, the abridged memoir.”

“We should do one for Reza too.”

“If Reza was my mother, I would need a four finger vodka.”

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WANTED: Personal Assistant… God Needs a Day Off.

The closest I ever got to self help was reading a book called the Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. There was one chapter which talked about how creative people often have crazy makers in their lives, people close to them who sap all their energy and time with demands, crisis and otherwise high drama. Hmmm. Sound familiar.

The book recommends that you either cut these people out of your life completely or distance your self from them in order to nurture yourself. I have several of these in my life, we all probably do but instead of distance myself I have decided to mine my experiences for the blog, but sometimes it gets me down. I have a hard enough time managing my ridiculous career, my own expectations, a three year old, and I could go on but it wouldn’t be flattering.

My mother unsubtly suggested during a moment of unemployment last year that I become her friend’s personal assistant. It was never a career I aspired after or even looked up to nor would it be something that I would be good at because it would be really hard for me to have my heart in personal assistance and when it comes down to it, I am just too stuck up.

Maybe it was the threat of divorce or maybe it was the book’s advice but I finally came to the decision last year to re-home Piglet who had been driving the household crazy for eleven years with his bullying and fleeting attempts at murder of his brother, filicide . Everyone had finally had enough. It was me or the dog.

When Reza agreed to adopt Piglet I was relieved but I was of course inheriting another crazy situation, just different kind of crazy, crazy on a different day but still crazy, belovable crazy.

It became even crazier when someone ( not me) took Julie Cameron’s advice and decided to create some distance, and as of January Reza was out working on her own instead of for her brother’s company which before neatly took care of all her taxes and health insurance, depositing a sum every month in her account. Now she was out on her own, and Piggy was diagnosed with diabetes, all of which added to the stress of her situation and mine.

“Don’t worry, I am not worried, God will provide.”

So in January God lined up at the bank got a token and all the information, sat down at her computer with Reza, devised passwords and set up internet banking. God also typed up information sheets for all her clients to fill out with their details and contact information. God organized a photo shoot and designed a business card. God also monitored all her ashamble finances for the last two months, tracked down missing payments and worried about how she would pay her car registration or even get the car passed through TCD. God then realized that Reza had not signed up for health insurance, so God will take it upon herself to sign Reza up for the government program, and pay for it directly.

“God will provide.”

The problem with Reza is she is not an effective communicator. It took me weeks to understand the communications she had had with clients over the missing payment. She seems to commune with God just fine but he is not providing the translation. She also has a short temper which is made worse by hunger, sickness or tiredness and Reza like myself seems to always be afflicted by one if not more of those.

The other day when we did her photo shoot it took about an hour to get one usable picture because she was shouting and yelling and carrying on, sending one dog, east, another west, and at least three cowering. She was shouting at me, at her self, at all eight dogs and the sky. She was Fing and blinding and then apologizing to Eva who wasn’t even there.

Then there is the old station wagon God helped her buy last year and its various afflictions. Every car Reza has owned or driven has ended up with a bumper tied on by a piece of string. Reza’s impulsivity drives her to careen over small objects, perhaps even dogs, she has certainly mounted my small boundary wall every now and again. A ding or a dent in a car over the span of a year is hardly news worthy, but fifteen dents and the body work she had to organize before taking the car in for its test. To my sheer amazement, Reza told me the other day,

“You know I used to drive buses. I loved it.”

“You mean public buses with people on it, who pay for you to get them home safe and sound.”


“Lets not go back to that.”

I thought to myself it either didn’t work out because she was sideswiping customers or letting them ride for free, or both. When a bus took out a sidewalk of cars while I was away I was convinced Reza had taken a position as a substitute.

I lay awake nights waiting for the phone call from Reza and then it came one morning.

“The car has broken down, and I have no food or insulin for Piggy.”

“Reza we were just at the vet with Piggy for his glucose curve three days ago, I told you specifically that there is no need to be in this situation, you can charge on my account at any time, I told you to keep at least a week supply at all times. You know you cant mess around with a diabetic dog.”

“I know I know, I am just so worried can you get me the food and insulin.”

“I wasn’t planning on driving to town today, but I will- it will take me two hours out of my way, but I will deliver the food and put the insulin in the fridge.”

“Thank you Thank You Thank You.”

“Reza, don’t let this happen again. “

“It will never happen again.”

So instead of working I spent my Thursday afternoon driving up to the vet and without telling Reza got a case of food and a vile of insulin to keep at my house. I can say with Darwinian certainty that this will happen again.

It turned out to only be her spark plug, the week before she had been leaking oil down Speakers Drive, so we had her oil filter replaced. God provided again.

While I was at the vet I rested my head against the counter as they rang up my credit card and I thought… to myself,

“My god I need a personal assistant.”

Then my second thought made my mother’s suggestion bear fruit.

“My god, I am Reza’s personal assistant.”

This weekend when I came to visit Piglet, and brought Reza some vegetables from the family garden. ( my god maybe I am an enabler.)

She told me that by some miracle her car had passed its inspection. God gets a day off.

Then she started on about politics.

“Do you know that they are taking away our post office, did you know that we only got the post office in St. David’s in 1966, we were last, and now they are taking it away.”

“Reza, that was almost fifty years ago.”

She continued unabated.

“I heard the only reason they kept our medical center open was because they were going to put all the people with M-BOLA in St. David’s. Can you believe the nerve. I don’t want M-Bola.”

And she continued.

“And why did they close the Severn bridge, if something happens to swing bridge no one who lives in St. Georges will be able to get medical attention. They should have kept Severn bridge open, it was all made out of wood- it wouldn’t have cost anything to maintain.”

“Reza they closed Severn bridge in 1937, before you were born.”


She has a little backpack which had the PLP ( Progressive Labour Party) logo, and it was crossed out with a ballpoint pen and in her handwriting the letters OBA for the current government’s party etched on top. I imagined she would be crossing it out again soon and writing Say No to M-Bola.

I decided to try and steer the conversation away from politics and decided to bring up the lack of health insurance.

“You have to have health insurance Reza, so this is what is going to happen, when I get back I will set you up with HIP insurance and I will pay it directly, and then pay you anything else I owe you for walking Piccolo. “

“Okay, thanks that would be great but don’t pay me anything extra, you keep that, whatever it ends up being.”

“No Reza, I won’t keep it.”

“I want you to have it.”

“Are you trying to tip me Reza?”

“Well you should get paid something for being my secretary.”

There was nothing to do but laugh, so I laughed.

“My Secretary…. I think I prefer GOD.”

Reza photo

A Moment of Brilliance

If you have read my blog at all in the past year, you will know the moment of brilliance I mention in the title is most certainly not my own. The terrible irony of the scene I am about to recount is that the discovery occurred as I plumbed the depths of my own derelict motherhood. It reminded me of all those accidental discoveries in history when the inventor is trying to invent something else but the experiment’s unintended byproduct changed the world: silly putty, play dough, dynamite, Velcro, LSD, Viagra and its antidote penicillin. Now who could live in a world without all of those things! Eva’s world would certainly be less without play dough, but I digress.

Last weekend, I let Eva stay up late again so I could finish my extra large cocktail before putting her to bed. Bedtime is always a specter that hangs over me, as I know I will have to deal with it at some stage, and all the whining and excuses that come with it. We read her three stories because she is three, and then she has to use the bathroom at the last gasp, she needs a drink, she is hungry, she is scared, she needs several scary toys removed from her room before she could possibly consider shutting her eyes. After she shuts her eyes, the lullaby machine must be turned on, her pajama pants rolled up to the knee and her legs stroked until she starts to drop off. Then I unfurl the pajama bottoms, tuck her in and sneak out of the room.

On the night in question, both her Daddy and I were in her room to kiss her goodnight and Daddy was going to read one story and mommy was going to read two stories. Daddy and I decided the best way to deal with this situation was to skip chapters, pages, sentences out of her new Disney storybook, and she would not be the wiser. My sister is moving house and gave us a bunch of her children’s books including an anthology of five minute Disney stories we have been reading to her over the last week. Five minutes doesn’t sound like a long time but five times three is fifteen minutes plus the bedroom routine I described above with Friday night wine and dinner on the other side of the bedroom door. Completely selfishly Daddy and I decided to skip a chapter of the story.

Eva did not miss a breath and began yelling, “No Mommy. No Mommy, you missed a part!” and started to claw back the pages of the book.

“She doesn’t miss a trick.” Said Daddy. We resumed where we left off, then I decided to miss just a page. “No Mommy, No Mommy, you missed another part.”

“Okay Eva,” and I returned to where I had left off. Undeterred by Eva’s attention to detail, I decided to skip just a sentence. Eva sat bolt upright, looked me in the eye, and with a forthright but polite manner, as if she was speaking to a complete dunce Eva said, “You missed a line mommy.” Then with extra slow pronunciation just in case her dumb as a post derelict mother might miss a syllable, she began to recite the story word for word from where I left off until the very end, Verbatim.

“A movie called the Invisible Monster with Ten Foot Claws was just beginning. Minnie and Daisy watched as an actress entered a spooky mansion. The door slammed behind her with a Bang! “Eeek” Minnie and Daisy jumped. “You’ll never get me monster! “ the actress cried. But soon she heard the scratch scratch scratch of the monster moving toward her. The monster chased the actress all over the house. Luckily she managed to escape. But Minnie and Daisy watched the rest of the movie with the lights on.” ETC ETC.

Her father and I stared at each other scratching our empty heads, wondering if what just happened was our imagination, her imagination or the vodka we just consumed.

“Eva can you read?” I asked.

Eva shrugged. I pointed to a word, “What does this say?” She shrugged again. It was then I realized that she wasn’t even looking at the pages; she was reciting them from memory.

“My god, “ I said to Daddy, “I have only read her this story a few times and she knows it word for word.” Mom’s love to state the obvious.

“Maybe she is like her uncle Mark and has a photographic memory?” I added.

“Maybe, she isn’t looking at the pages, she remembers if from hearing it, she must have an audiographic memory- is there such a thing?” Daddy asked.

Of course after ten minutes of stroking and rolling down the pajama pants and sneaking out of her room, I ran to Google and looked it up. Evidently there is something called Eidetic memory that occurs in a small number of children (2-10%) and generally is not found in adults, because if the ability is not nurtured it can fade by the age of six.

“Ugh,something else to do… How I am going to nuture this?” I wondered, then at the same time marveled that if I was a teetotaler and had never tried to short change my daughter out of her nite nite story for purely selfish reasons then I would never have discovered this amazing talent.

Now I just have to figure out how to put it to use/ turn a profit, before she is six. Vegas? The Circus? Daddy will probably just have her memorize the almanac of Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Maybe I’ll have her memorize all of my favorite Bette Davis movies. She can’t go around quoting Minnie mouse forever.

The following day I ran around telling everyone in the extended family that my child is “Gifted” to their collective expressions of doubt and skepticism. Is it so unbelievable that we could have a “gifted” child? Maybe it is? Maybe she will pay for her own college education, maybe I am dreaming? Maybe, Maybe not!

Here’s to the Gifted and to the Derelict and to all that is revealed in a Bedtime Story!

Xx Derelict Mom

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The First Unfairness


Eva has a new mantra for 2015,“It’s not fair!”

I am not sure what gave rise to her newfound acuity of what is proper and deserving and right but it is emerging alongside the equally important skills of empathy and manipulation. This understanding of equality is as fundamental in humans as it is in dogs. Dachshunds particularly have an almost sixth sense for when one is given a bigger treat than the other, or when one was greeted before the other, or petted for a fraction of a second longer, an imperceptible injustice, which dissolves into an all out war, a forced reconciliation after battle, and eventually exile. I am reminded now reminiscing about Piccolo and Piglet’s well hewn warpath that dogs are believed to have intelligence equal to the average three year old and this fills me with dread for Eva’s year ahead. My experience with warring dogs is a powerful argument for not giving Eva a sibling as life is at its worst when every child at nursery or home wants a turn on the same metaphorical yellow swing at the same time.

The yellow swing is about all I hear about every day when I pick Eva up from nursery. Rogan or Ethan, or Sadie wouldn’t let me have a turn on the yellow swing. And the worst part is I am currently mother to at least three children with the mental age of three ( Eva, Piccolo and Piglet (in exile)) but back to that yellow swing:

“I am sure they did let you have a turn.”

“It wasn’t long enough.”

I pause unsure of my answer and manage to muster,

“It was long enough, it just didn’t SEEM long enough to you.”

I flounder as I am not sure how to raise a child who is to the power of ten times more impatient than the average three year old. All parents say this I am sure, but they haven’t met Eva. Her rage at not getting what she wants is only as powerful as her resolute will to never admit she is wrong.

The other day Eva hit Piccolo and I with a plastic stick that came off one of her Christmas presents.

“Eva please apologize to Mommy and Piccolo.”


“I insist Eva”

“no, NO, Na, Na, NO.” sung to the beat of a Beyonce song. The Diva has arrived.

“You will have to sit on the naughty step.”



I pick her up and put her on the bottom step of the stairs. She cries for forty minutes, every ten minutes I ask her,

“Are you ready to apologize to Mommy?”


Every ten minutes for forty minutes.

Eventually I asked her father to convince her to apologize. He took her off the naughty step without my permission, wrapped her in a blanket and finally ten minutes later, a whisper as loud as it was meaningful eked out,

“I am sorry Mommy.”

“Apology accepted.” I whispered back, arms crossed.

“Now get ready for bed.” No wonder I am the least favorite parent. I put her on the naughty step, Daddy whisks her off, he feeds her chocolate, I make her go to bed. He devises treasure hunts, I wash her ears out, he carries her around the house on his back, I spend most of my waking time following her from room to room plucking her off furniture like a baby monkey, a simile she enjoys bringing to life. I turn the TV off. Daddy turns it on.

Now that she can count it has infiltrated her logic of equity, her comprehensions and assessments of what is fair. About a week before her birthday she started saying that because she was two she should be allowed to watch two cartoons before bed, as that was only fair because she was two.

“Okay that sounds reasonable.” I said not willing to argue the merits of one cartoon, and only one cartoon.

Then Eva more than one step ahead of me as usual added,

“And when I am three I get three cartoons before bed because, I am three!”

“Okay, three cartoons before bed.”

Eva gives me a look as if she was thinking, “Fantastic she bought it.”

Noticing that Mommy’s energy has been flagging lately she has started to use her newest skills of argument, reason and toddler justice to give voice to her most base desires.

When we get home from school, she opens the fridge, “I want chocolate.”

“No chocolate before dinner.”

“That’s not fair.”

“Yes it is!”

Eva bursts into a fit of tears like I had made up a new rule to prevent her from getting what she wants, to eternally get in her way like only mothers can do.

“Eva, no chocolate before dinner has always been a rule and it should never be questioned.”

“It’s not fair, you never said I couldn’t have chocolate.”

“You never asked before dinner.”

“Anarchy” I murmur under my breath.

For Eva the stretch between getting home and finishing dinner is enough of an eternity and so I have discovered that the upside of an impatient child is that she has forgotten about chocolate by the time her deserving hour arrives.

Eva’s other daily habits are also evolving as she grows into her year of being three, or as a blogger wrote the other day her year of becoming a “ Threenager”. Eva is now scared of the dark and calls for mommy to come and take her to the potty at all hours, which I do of course and then lead her back into bed, tuck her in and kiss her goodnight for the umpteenth time. To my amazement these midnight potty trips have meant her diaper is dry in the morning and I am beginning to dream of never having to buy a diapers again until I need Depends.

Eva has always liked to hold my hand while using the potty especially when she has a bowel movement. I guess it gives her fortitude. Now that she is three, she prefers the back of her toddler chair, which I have to move in front of her when she is expecting a movement. Her blue chair is a symbol of independence at last. She holds on to the back of the chair and grunts away reminding me of my Lamaze class. She is very territorial about her blue chair and over the last few days she has been greatly offended by her father. I am relieved it is for once not me who is guilty of such offence.

“Last day, Daddy bit my fingers, these three fingers right here, AND he put HIS shoes on MY blue chair, his shoes on my blue chair!”

She says this with great expectation wondering when I will put Daddy on the naughty step. If Daddy is going on the naughty step it will be for a host of other reasons, not for putting his shoes on Eva’s blue chair but in her world and especially within her potty moments, it is all about the blue chair.

The other day her Daddy and I were discussing his new job and I said, “You will have to play the bad guy at work.”

Eva was shocked, and repeated for days to come, “You called Daddy a bad guy, Daddy is not a bad guy. Mommy you said Daddy was a bad guy.”

“I meant he should pretend to be a bad guy like when he pretends to be a monster.”

At some point Eva is going to wonder why she is the only one that ever has to sit on the naughty step. I am sure Daddy would like to put mommy on the naughty step for my offences against husband-kind: burning the potatoes, leaving the washing in the washing machine, never making the bed, earning too many sky miles on the visa card.

Eva’s other new and disturbing habit is that every night when we are laying in her big girl bed reading stories, she asks, “Mommy can I lay on your boobies?”

“Why do you want to lay there?”

“Because they are soft.”

“Okay put your head right here” I said patting my right breast.

“Mommy you have big boobies, can I touch them?”

“Yes.” I say half disappointed that I cannot for my life recall the last time anyone said anything that romantic to me.

With a wicked smile, Eva does her best belly flop from an upright standing position landing splat on top of my chest, winding me with a WWE Banzai drop.

“Owww, why did you do that, you are hurting Mommy.”

“I want somewhere to rest my belly.”

“Okay, just be gentle.”

Every night I do my best to get through reading her bedtime stories. It’s hard to keep my eyes on the page, while recovering from the nightly Banzai drops, trying to eek out, “Mary had a little lamb, little lamb” while being held in a chest lock.

Last night. I tried to convince Eva to assume another position.

“No, I like it that way.”

“Mommy doesn’t like it, it is uncomfortable.”

“But that’s not fair.”

I could hear my mother in my head,

“Life’s not fair,” but I know better than to say that to my three year old. Instead, I sucked it up and remained in the chest lock for yet another night. The moral, life’s not fair, is perhaps a better lesson imparted on the mother than the daughter.

Year three has already brought many new questions and some tough ones too. Since Eva overheard the headline breaking that Teresa Giudice and her husband of Housewife fame were going to jail she has been asking me,

“Mommy, What is Guilty?”

She hasn’t bought my most recent, explanation:

“Guilty is when someone does something that is not fair, and they are punished like the naughty step, or when Daddy yells at Mommy, and then there is jail too when you are really bad, or when you don’t wear your car seat straps.”

This week’s big toddler probing into the mysteries of life question is,

“Mommy what is Ebay?”

“It’s a place to sell things you don’t want.”

“You mean like Piccolo?”

“We aren’t selling Piccolo.”

“What about Daddy?”

“No we can’t sell Daddy.”

“But he bit my three fingers and put his shoes on my blue chair.”

“Life isn’t fair.” I thought.

Last night I finally finished rereading Peter Pan. It was one of my new years resolutions (2014 not 2015.) I laughed when I came across this passage about a child’s First Unfairness, it reminded me so much of Eva.

“Quick as thought Peter snatched a knife from Hook’s belt and was about to drive it home, when he saw that he was higher up on the rock than his foe. It would not have been fighting fair. He gave the pirate a hand to help him up. It was then that Hook bit him.

Not the pain of this but its unfairness was what dazed Peter. It made him quite helpless. He could only stare, horrified. Every child is affected thus the first time he is treated unfairly. All he thinks he has a right to when he comes to you and yours is fairness. After you have been unfair to him he will love you again, but will never afterwards be quite the same boy. ( or girl) No one ever gets over the first unfairness; no one except Peter. He often met it, but he always forgot it. I suppose that was the real difference between him and all the rest. “

Eva’s Daddy has a few more chocolate coin treasure hunts in his future to make up for putting his shoes on Eva’s blue chair, Mommy will forever be the one who wouldn’t let her have chocolate before dinner, and her friends will never be forgiven for not letting her have a longer turn on the yellow swing but amidst all of this inequity Eva still loves us and we love her back from the prone, clearly unequivalent position beneath a Banzai drop.

Xx Derelict Mom


The Best Posts of 2014

If any of you are interested click on my blog 2014 in review report below for my top read blog posts. The top one is Family Photos, with Meet the Fockers coming in fifth. My biggest fan is my mother in law, who comments the most, even more than my mother and that’s not because I blocked her. Thanks Shelagh!  I wish I had more followers like you 🙂 If you like my blog why not go to the website and put your email in the Follow window and you will be email inboxed whenever I post, make sure you don’t miss any in 2015. The facebook newsfeed is unreliable and a bit of a mystery. XxDerelict Mom

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Ornamentation of Christmas

The Holiday Season is almost upon us, and although I have the best intentions of sending Christmas cards, I never ever get around to it, in fact I probably wouldn’t have a Christmas tree if I couldn’t order that online. Every mother knows success in life is about those extra twenty minutes in a day, whatever corners you have to cut to get there, most importantly abandoning family traditions. Why send a Christmas card when you have a blog and facebook and twitter!

I have been inspired early to start posting about the holidays by Patience Brewster, an artist and a designer of beautiful Christmas ornaments. Check them out at this page. Ornaments even a derelict mother can appreciate!

Every Christmas my mother very generously gives everyone in the family a Christmas ornament and my uncle has also started bringing ornaments back from his travels. Eva is still young enough that her favorite thing about Christmas is the tree, and well maybe I am now finally old enough that we share the same love: the tree, the lights, the ornaments, the smell as it slowly dies, those pesky needles that get everywhere. There is one level to which I will not stoop- the plastic Christmas tree. That is never happening in my house.

When I finally purchased my first Christmas tree in the dawn of my delayed adulthood I had about five ornaments, mostly hand me downs from my mother. She was really disappointed I had not spent half of my pay cheque “investing” in ornaments, but really she was even more depressed that I didn’t have any children to make them for me. The glitter and glue star that I made out of popsicile sticks is enjoying its thirtieth Christmas this year, on her tree. It was around this time (the dawn of my delayed adulthood) that she started a tradition of her own, we call it: tree inspection.

Fast forward several years to 2014, a marriage and one grandchild later: our Christmas trees-mine and my mother’s- arrive at the same time on the same day aboard the same truck because she – a savvy grandmother- orders hers online too. Hers usually goes up on its stand first, the decorating takes the better half of a week and when she is finally finished with its half seventies, half contemporary chique look, she begins the lengthy process of comparison. Keeping up with the Jones’ we all know is a dangerous game but my mother is like the domestic version of a chess master. After every Christmas Cocktail party, she asks someone in the family,

“What did you think of their tree?”

“It was nice.”

“It was way too puny for that enormous and ostentatious living room.”


“It would have looked better if the lights twinkled instead of flickered.”

“What’s the difference?”

“There is a huge difference, I might come down with epilepsy from looking at that tree for too long, I had to turn my back.”

“Does your tree twinkle or flicker?”

“Of course it twinkles! Who do you think I am?”

“A Christmas Nazi”

After mom’s Christmas tree has been finished in all its glory she takes to yelling at me as she drives out the driveway,

“You better put that tree in a bucket of water or it will die on your doorstep! “

“Okay mom, Ill make Chris do it tonight.”

A few days later we would get the tree up and she would again drive by.

“I don’t see any lights on that tree.”

“We are planning on decorating the tree this weekend.”

As soon as the lights are up she arrives on the doorstep,

“Here is a gift, it’s a (2014) ornament, why don’t I put it on the tree to get you started with the decoration.”

A few days later if she sees anything hanging off the tree, the star, a Christmas Mickey Mouse, or her ornament, she arrives, dressed head to toe in red and green, with a santa hat, and musical earrings playing “Joy to the World.” She looks the tree up and down, shaking her head.

“You need to put ornaments around the back you know.”

“Why no one is going to see them?”

“But everyone will be able to tell by the way the tree leans.”

“No one will know.”

“You never brush the back of your hair either and it’s a rats nest!”


“You need to put more ornaments lower down and higher up.”

If I didn’t distract her she would start rearranging the ornaments.

“Don’t you have any more?”


I think she thinks of a Christmas tree as some sort of emblem of how well you are doing in life, how creative, how affluent, how organized, how family orientated and how much you care about Christmas, and lets not leave out Jesus Christ. He should be at the top of every Christmas tree.

“Where is the nativity?”

“We don’t have one.”

“You have to have a nativity!”

“No we don’t.”

“You have to have a nativity now that you have a child.”

“I am a heathen, remember.”

“Your husband was an altar boy and its your duty as a mother not to spoil Eva’s religious soul.”

I had no answer for that so she bought a Fisher Price nativity on amazon to be kept at Hamma and Gigi’s house. Of course Eva loved it, and has not stopped talking about Baby Jesus and Gigi’s perfect Christmas tree ever since.

Personally I would like a tree that leans a little to the side, a tree with character. I am really suspicious of people whose trees look like they shoplifted one from the department store, or stayed up for seven consecutive nights decorating it. Why?

My mother would disagree. She has been known to try and return her Christmas trees for not having the perfectly shaped form. Maybe she should think about a plastic tree? Personally I embrace the imperfection of nature, and imperfection in all its forms.

“You need tinsel on that tree.”

“We all need tinsel, mom.”

Perhaps this year, I will purchase a few new ornaments for my tree from Patience, if only to please my mother. Eva, because she is only two years old, gets off easy she can make me something with glitter, glue and popsicle sticks- the messier the better as long as she makes it with love and dereliction. As my husband says,

“Eva takes after you, arts and crafts are not her forte.”

Xx Derelict Mom



Eva’s Law

The occasion of one of your best friend’s weddings should be memorable for all the right reasons but when you are the mother of a two year old Murphy’s Law applies more often than not to each day, week and special occasion. I now call it Eva’s law, if something can go wrong it will go wrong. And Eva has lived up to her rule for this week has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.

I was anticipating a challenging week last Friday night when Eva and I dropped Daddy off at the airport for his nine day trip home for his Grandmother’s funeral. I could barely remember the last time he went away on his own over a year ago. It was to be my foray into single parenting, something many mothers do full time with multiple children, on one salary and in much worse circumstances but I can’t help feeling sorry for myself when the puking begins.

I made it through the weekend just fine, but then again it was the weekend and my energy was high and we even had a chance to go out on my parents boat on Sunday for an evening swim at Paget’s island in the middle of October. We live in paradise, how nice to have a moment to appreciate it I thought. Of course it was the calm before the storm. There were clues but I chose to ignore them, like the ill fated optimist I am. Eva was fussy when she woke up from her nap and had a tantrum about nothing. When we were on the boat she ate very little, and of course it is October, which always means trouble but alas I always pretend everything is okay.

As I was on my own, and did not eat dinner until after I put Eva to bed on Sunday night, I decided to stay up late and watch Boardwalk Empire, which I usually record to watch later in the week. Eva’s law applies here, because it is always the nights I choose to go to bed late that Eva gets sick, like it was always the nights I decided to go to bed with no clothes on that Piglet and Piccolo would get into a huge fight and I would have to try and separate them, wondering if I should let them kill themselves while I put a dressing gown on and call for help. At least on Sunday night I was clothed and caught up on laundry.

At 2am I bolt upright in bed and hear crying coming through the monitor. I race to Eva’s room ever the dutiful mother, determined that during Daddy’s absence Mommy would rise to the heights of favorite parent, the one that didn’t abandon her. It seemed to be working over the weekend and she even started calling me Daphne for a few moments, but after the sickness set in I was back to Scrappy do. I lift Eva out of her crib at about the same time I notice the tell tale stench of vomit. I immediately think of the hotdog she had for dinner, could an applegate uncured hotdog be at fault? I flipped on the light sat her on the bed and stripped her of her clothing. In fear I look into the crib at all the blankets, sheets, toys and books that are covered in puke and sigh. If Daddy was at home I would have woken him up and one of us would have cleaned up the puke and one of us would have tried to console the sick crying Eva. I put her on the big bed, and went about stripping her crib. Bundling the dirty sheets, toys and books into a ball and I tossed them out onto the lawn pretending they didn’t exist. Eva and I changed clothes, and I got settled in for what would be a long four hours till morning.

“Mommy is going to sleep with you in your big bed so we can cuddle, because you don’t feel well.”

“Okay mommy,” Said Eva throwing her little arms around me.

“Would it be okay if Piccolo slept in your big bed with us?” I asked.

To my surprise, “Yes,” was her answer. She usually never even lets Piccolo come into her room.

I had just finished tucking Piccolo in at the end of the bed, when Eva turned a shade of pale, became uncharacteristically still, and tilted her head over. I was a pro at vomit, so I threw a towel underneath her, as fast as a cowboy withdrawing a gun from his holster in a shoot out. Just in time. I bundled it up, wiped her mouth with a wipe, and took the surprise package to the growing bundle on the lawn. I then retrieved several more towels and lined the bed with them, before climbing in and draping myself with a sick crying child, it was at this moment that reality overtook my optimism and my denial and I had to admit that she had the dreaded stomach flu.

I think she vomited another four times before the sun poked its head above the horizon at about 6:45am and we got up for what I knew would be an even longer day. The pile of vomit laundry outside looked like Mount Everest to an exhausted mother of a sick child so I continued to pretend it didn’t exist, until my father came over to check in on Eva, and I took the opportunity to hose down all the sheets, books, toys, blankets, towels etc and begin the mountain of laundry of which four days later, I have whittled down to only one more load.

Now that Eva was almost three a pattern had finally revealed itself. Since she was 1, she ( and I) had contracted the stomach flu every April and every October. Evidently the virus springs to life and high contagiousness when the seasons begin to change. I promise to myself of future Aprils and Octobers to undertake some immune boosting measures before this happens again, as it will during another future, terrible, horrible, not so good, very bad week.

Needless to say work deadlines, schedules, errands, phone calls, emails and writing time were all postponed while Eva continued to vomit through the workday. It was far worse than usual so I put a call into the doctor’s office, who said what I expected.

“There is really nothing we can do about it.”

When the vomiting seemed to stop things got a little easier for a few hours, Eva laid on mommy watching Scooby Doo and then I put her to bed for her nap. When she woke up, I could smell something pungent but it wasn’t vomit, it was diarrhea. I am kind of on the fence about what is worse vomit or diarrhea, but my poor baby Eva had both making this virus the worst she has ever had.

By nightfall she seemed better and would be back to school the next day and we would both be rested, but at midnight she started crying again, and I rushed into her room only to find the same scene from the night before, a carnage of vomit. Like groundhog day I picked her out of bed, stripped her clothing, wiped her down, stripped the bed, added it to the now growing again mountain of dirty sheets, clothes, toys and books outside, and settled in for night number two in bed with Eva.

By Wednesday I managed to get back to work, and finally sleep through the night (both of us,) but by Thursday (today) the poor little baby is still having diarrhea. Today was scheduled as a day off for me, on a cruise boat celebrating one my best friend’s weddings, instead I am feeling like crap, writing this blog post and praying I don’t come down with the stomach flu and four day diarrhea, and god forbid- even worse give it to the bride – so I missed the cruise. I am hoping, however that Eva’s law does not continue its rule and render me unable to attend the wedding. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened, as last October Eva had the stomach flu and had just recovered before Chris and I flew for our first and last holiday without Eva for three days to New York for a friend’s wedding. Upon arrival in New York I contracted the same stomach flu and remained in bed for the duration, missing the wedding and barely making the plane home. I have no intention of reliving this experience. Of course, I am also looking forward to Chris’ arrival home on Sunday night and the triumphant return of co-parenting.

Xx Derelict Mom

Eva's Law


In an uncharacteristic moment of gratitude, I want to say that I am really thankful for the growing network of parents of young kids in my small historic town of St. George’s and it makes me happy that Eva will have nice friends to grow up with, and it makes me even happier that I won’t have to trek up to Warwick parish for a play date and back. Hurrah!

Two weeks ago, a new friend and our neighbors invited us out for a cocktail cruise on Friday evening with the kids. I couldn’t wait, so I rushed home with Eva and got her prepared for the occasion. I had RSVPed for Chris saying that he would probably not get home from work on time, because Fridays are always his busiest day when he has to close off but the press continues to print over the weekend. He said he would call me when he got home and maybe the boat could swing back and pick him up if he wasn’t too late.

The boat slipped into our dock at 6pm sharp, and as I am always running late perpetually, Eva and I were the last ones onboard around 6:30pm. Chris was nowhere in sight, he had as expected missed the boat.

The plan was to pick up pizzas at the Wharf Tavern for the kids, so the boat motored into the dock of our local pub and restaurant a little later than planned. Sarah hopped out to pick up the pizzas, leaving us on the boat. When she came back, she came back with pizzas and a huge surprise for me. There standing on the dock in his Bermuda shorts and work blazer was Chris. I was stupefied. Chris was stupefied.

“What are you doing here?” I said as my mind began to whir.

“What are you doing here?” he said buying time.

“We picked up pizzas, that was always the plan.” I say stating the obvious.

I look over at Sarah who is holding the pizza, standing a few feet away looking as if she had grabbed him by the ear like a naughty school boy and dragged him off the bar stool to have a very public scolding by his wife.

“What are you doing here?” I ask again.

“I went to Somers Supermart and then stopped in to have a beer with Gunter.”

“Really?” I said still confused.

“Who stops in to have a beer with Gunter?”

“You do I guess.” I say answering my own question.

“You were supposed to call me and we were going to pick you up.”

“It’s 6:30, I thought you would be long gone by now.”

“You know I am never on time! “


Everyone chimed in, insisting that he board the boat immediately. He tried to hesitate and I gave him a glare. So he went back, poured his pint of beer into a plastic cup and boarded the vessel.

“Now you have me wondering how many times you do things like this?”


“Pretend to be at work while having a sneaky pint at the Wharf?”


“Never except today.”

After first being really annoyed I realized that he never gets to have five minutes alone ever to be his own person, not someone’s boss, not someone’s employee, not someone’s wife, not Eva’s father, not Daddy monster, or Eva’s horsie, or Daddy shark. Sometimes, even Super Daddy needs a break, even if it is a stolen few minutes over a pint of beer with Gunter of all people!

On Sunday morning the same weekend Chris went into work to prepare for the week ahead so when Eva woke up he had already left the homestead. The first thing she asked me was,

“Where is Daddy?”

Annoyed I sucked my teeth at her and demanded that she first say “Good Morning.”

“Good Morning Mummy.”

“Good Morning Eva.”

“Daddy is at work.”

“Once I found him hiding in your bedroom.” She said

“You can check if you want, but I am not lying,” says the mother to the child.

She toddled into our bedroom and looked high and low for him.

“You see no Daddy.”


“He will be back later, we can call him if you want?”

It was the moment when she accused me of hiding her Daddy as if he was a stuffed toy, that I realized it could be worse, Sarah could have caught him in a Hawaiian shirt, with a suitcase, and a travel itinerary. And if Chris wants to sneak around behind my back with Gunter- of all people, it is okay by me. But I have one condition, and that is that he continues to be Daddy Monster, continues to model Eva’s Hello Kitty Jewelry line and give up all his beer cozies for her bottles. I think that is an agreement we can broker and anyway Eva loves you more than me, or so she says.

Xx Derelict Mom

Sarah took a picture of us on the boat cruise to immortalize the evening.

Boat Pic copyIMG_1703Hello Kitty