She is Mad but She is Magic: How I Hacked My Family’s Genome.

And Something’s odd –within—

That Person that I was —

And this One – do not feel the same—

Could it be Madness –this? – Emily Dickinson

When I decided to hack my genome in between washing my toddler’s socks and making a scrapbook of her third year, I should have known there would be a few surprises lying in wait. Many people in my position would question whether they really even wanted to know what predestiny held for them in their genes or at least give it a second thought but not me. My overly curious nature determined that I had to know everything about my DNA from the moment I knew it was a possibility. I also had to hack the DNA of all my relatives who could be convinced to give up their saliva for a DNA test that I inevitably bought them for their birthday. They pretty much thought I was crazy, and how right they would end up being.

“A Beautiful Mind” the biopic of the late John Nash, who died this past weekend at 86, is a portrait of a man burdened by schizophrenia and brilliance, what is popularly known as touched by fire. As it turns out, a beautiful mind might be closer to my own reality than I would ever have imagined before spitting in a test tube. My genetic predispositions have made me feel the weight of my 46 chromosomes worth of underachievement and at the same time intensified my awe of men like John Nash who under the darkness of schizophrenia made startling advances in mathematics, game theory and our conception of our world and ourselves. I may be an underachiever but at least I am a profoundly curious one, and what I have come to discover is that there is probably a gene for that.

After hacking my DNA, my mother’s, my father’s and my daughter Eva’s father’s DNA I have put together an interesting picture of our collective medical risks, personality quirks, and a lot of odd facts that I can categorically say I am no better off knowing. For example I have a gene SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) that predisposes me to sneeze when exposed to sunlight. This has plagued me my entire life, and now we are all better off for knowing that I wasn’t coming down with something it is just a genetic mutation on rs10427255, also called a photic sneeze reflex, an oddity I share with about 25% of people.

On a more concerning note both my mother and I have a ten fold higher risk of breast cancer, and my mother is a survivor, something I believe I am better off knowing, especially as my daughter will likely have inherited at least half of those SNPs. Out of the numerous Snps that predispose a person to cancer we have two of the possible 25 causal mutations on the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes in addition to a host of other SNPs.

After surmising my discoveries I called my mother and father together for a genetic meeting of the minds or rather bodies, my two genetic donors to let them know all about their DNA and what they had given me other than a good education. “I have one gene for hazel eyes like dad, and three for blue eyes and blonde hair like mom, but that one hazel gene makes a lot of sense because my eyes are not blue like mom’s and a lot of people think they are green, now I know why.” They were bored already so I decided to take it up a notch.

“I am going to die at 11am.”


“Your genes, tell you that?”

“No, I am going to commit suicide.”


“I’m joking… but I have a gene mutation on SNP rs7221412 which means I am an intermediate riser, I don’t wake up early or late, which is true. Research also suggests that I am more likely to die on a morning, shortly before 11am.”

“Is there any good news in our DNA?”

“We all have obesity genes and are part of the 88% of the population who cannot maintain weight loss unless by high energy exercise- SNP GS281. Sorry mom walking doesn’t work.”

“I suppose we knew that anyway.” Mom said.

“We all have sprinting muscles though.” I countered with optimism.

“I don’t think I have ever sprinted to anything but the fridge,” Mom said.

“Well we would all benefit from a low fat diet and staying away from carbs but lucky us we all have the genetic mutation that allows us to digest lactose so we can eat all the cheese we want as long as we don’t care about getting fat.”

Mom reaches for a cracker, I pick up the cheese knife and point it at her.

“Put the cracker down, carbs will add at least five pounds over night.”

Then I reconsidered, “But don’t worry you will live long enough to waste away so you might as well have a few slices, you both have longevity genes unlike me who drew the short straw and have but one gene for a shorter lifespan.”

“Are we going to get Alzheimer’s?” Mom asked.

“No, but I will probably end up with dementia- better hope you don’t live past 100.”

“Good news?”

“Dad and I have an enhanced hippocampal volume, which means we have a higher IQ.”

“Than me?” Mom asked.

“Who knows but this one might ruin my life,” I say reading from my report, “I evidently have a higher risk of diarrhea and susceptibility to the Norovirus. This alone has solidified my decision not to have any more children.”

“You need give us the good news now.”

“I have a better episodic memory- it must be why I am really good at remembering everything for my blog.”

“And I don’t have such a good memory?” Mom asked.

“No mom you just have cognitive impairment with ageing on snp…”

“Okay enough” She said interrupting. I ignored her.

“To tell us all something we already know- we all have at least three addiction genes, especially for nicotine.”

“What no cigarettes, no booze, no carbs, no cheese?” Mom shook her head in profound disappointment.

“Yes and you are still going to get Gout.”

“Good news?” Dad asked again.

“You have high good cholesterol. Must be all the cheese!”

“Well isn’t that the cherry on the top!”

“We probably shouldn’t eat ice cream we have a gene snp for higher sugar cravings.”

By the time I introduced the hacked family genome to the siblings, there was a family backlash brewing. When we went to Government House in Bermuda to celebrate my parent’s dual Queen’s Badge of Honor for community service, the topic naturally came up over cocktails.

Here we are at Government House: Mom, Dad and the siblings:

Government House

“We should be on spritzers, or we will end up in the Mid Atlantic Wellness Center.”


“We have a genetic mutation on snp rs1800497 for addiction.”

“Half the family is in AA.”

“Or should be.”

“Well mom and I have an officially bad gene snp that predisposes us to really BAD hangovers- our dopamine receptors don’t recover as fast as other people, but in this case I think it might be a protective gene.”

“That is optimistic.” My sister said.

“There is a gene snp for that! Mom and I have a gene for optimism and more sociable, less aggressive behavior.”

“Maybe we should try cocaine instead.” Mom offered sipping her wine with an sly smile.

“Oh no mom, we both have a snp predisposing us to cocaine and heroin addiction.”

“We shouldn’t be discussing this at Government house.”

“I don’t believe a word of it, sounds like airy fairy BS.” My sister said.

“You aren’t going to find this on you know, it’s all written up on PUB MED, this is hard science.”

“Remember what I told you?” my sister asked. I felt a Psychology 101 lesson coming on from her degree twenty years ago.

“What? – that I have an external locus of control, because I read my horoscope, talk to psychics and am now hacking my DNA.”


“Oh I remember, you believe this stuff too- you always told me with horror when we were teenagers that one’s sexual proclivities are inherited from one’s parents, therefore what you like in bed is probably what your mom likes too.”

“No I was going to say you and dad, and Giles must have a gene for being out to lunch, away with the pixies.”

“Oh well there is probably a gene for both, at least we don’t have a gene for liking to be peed on during sex.”

“Thank god for that.”

“We really shouldn’t be talking about this at Government House.” I agreed with my mother for once.

Later on over dinner, Anna Laura’s husband said to me, “I know I am not supposed to notice, but your boobs look huge in that dress.”

“There is a snp for that. I have three large boob genes, lucky me and a ten fold increase for breast cancer so Ill probably have to cut them off eventually.”

There was a collective family eye roll.

“Maybe that’s why people were staring at you at Government House.” My sister added.

“You probably have the gene snp that mom has on rs10246939 – the ability to taste bitterness.” I said with glee.

Saving the best for last, I described to everyone the difference between an Orchid Child and a Dandelion Child. Orchid children tend to be difficult toddlers, prone to externalizing and grow up to become sensitive children who need specific parenting techniques and be coddled into adult existence. Orchids need a greenhouse to thrive, whereas Dandelion children can grow and thrive anywhere, a sidewalk, a metaphorical ghetto, the fifth child of a welfare mother.

“I am definitely a Dandelion.” Announced my mother.

“Me too.” Said my sister.

“Well I’m an Orchid, at SNP rs 1800855 so someone else is an orchid.”

Everyone looked at Dad, who shrugged.

“I think you are an Orchid,” I say to my sister.


“Because you have middle child syndrome- still.”

“What happens to Orchid children who get a Dandelion upbringing?”

“They become drug addicts or generally fail at life, or become highly functioning sociopaths.” I look over at my sister; she looks at me. We laugh.

“What happens to Orchid children who do get a greenhouse upbringing?”

“Orchid children become capable of blooming spectacularly. Eva is an orchid child and I am starting to understand that her raging intemperment and sensitivity is about more than being a toddler, she is an orchid toddler.”—-how-your_b_6158588.html

Another collective family eye roll.

“What is so fascinating is that all of this underlies a new genetic theory which suggests that the very genes that plague us as a species, addiction, orchidery etc evolutionarily persist in our genome because in the right environment they can create the most successful people. “

“An Orchid Bloom.”

“Yes, and what is interesting is that not only are dad and I orchid children we also share the mad genius gene.”

“Does that mean you are mad or a genius?”

I suddenly had a vision of all of my exboyfriends dressed in chorus gowns swinging back and forth in rhythm, singing “Yes Jesus!” and nodding in unison.“Crazy.”

But scientifically I answered, “Possibly both, or schizophrenic. We have a homozygous T:T allele on the Rs6994992 SNP on the neuregulin 1 gene, a 65% increased prefrontal lobe activity, high academic performance, high creativity, high psychosis risk and addiction. Touched by Fire. There is a legitimate link between psychosis and creativity, think John Nash, Sylvia Plath, Lord Byron, Van Gogh.”

“Perhaps this is why most of my followers are mental health bloggers?” I added.

“Genetic Delusions of Grandeur,” offered one of my siblings.

“Leave me alone I am blooming,” I responded.

“Are you going to cut your ear off now?”

“No but I probably would if I had become an accountant, instead I am a writer and artist in a long line of writers and artists with the same genetic predisposition for creativity, madness, and addiction. Can someone pass the red wine?”

“Somehow Dad survived thirty years as a lawyer.”

“He drank a lot of scotch.”

Our genetic conversation could continue for years, but I decided as a coup de grace I would make the following prediction for my life based on what I have discovered about my genetic predispositions:

I will die at 11am at age 70 while making love to a man half my age ( rs2811712 lack of physical impairment with age) of an exercise induced stroke ( RS1024611 increased risk of exercise induced ischemic stroke) or heart attack (rs5174 increased risk of myocardial infarction) but what a way to go ( rs53576 more likely to be an optimist) and my substantial estate ( rs6994992 mad genius gene) will be bequeathed to AA and the Mid Atlantic Wellness Center, and my very own orchid child, Eva who is mad like me or like the line from a Charles Bukowski poem, “She is mad, but she is magic, there is no lie in her fire.”

Sylvia Plath-Mommy


If you would like to hack your own genome, order a basic gene test for $99 on:

And then when you get your results download the raw data off of their website and then run it through this website for $5:

I’ll Hack Yours, You Hack Mine


Last weekend, in between cutting my toenails, drinking two pints of coffee and folding laundry I decided like a typical middle aged mother to sit down with my laptop and instead of reading about Hilary’s campaign for the presidency I spent my all too valuable free time hacking my genome. We all have secrets locked away, encoded into our DNA, and that accident of conception and human mutation over centuries that resulted in you and me is just begging to be hacked so hack I did.

Believe it or not this all started over a year ago with my ambition to become a member of the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution. To become a Daughter, you must prove your bloodline to a revolutionary solider through birth and death certificates or other evidentiary methods like published genealogies. This is no small deed, and the process usually separates the dilettante from the serious. It’s been a year and I am still an “in process member” or dilettante but I have not given up. I have proven the first three generations back and then the hardest generation, the oldest one but I have two in between that elude me proving on paper that I have revolution in my blood.

However, this was but a starting point for something much deeper. The same revolutionary line, my mother’s father’s family has been traced all the way back to European royalty and Charlemagne himself on one branch. Not to scoff at royalty but another line of his family intrigued me more. My grandfather always maintained to all of us that his grandmother was a Cherokee squaw and was very proud of his Native American heritage. This has been passed down to all the branches of the family but we have no photographs or proof? In my pursuit for revolutionary status I discovered that we could probably find out if my great great grandmother was Native American by simply spitting in a test tube and testing our genetics. How novel!

During the last year I have made my father, mother, husband and finally myself spit into test tubes and have our DNA extracted. I have been warned that this was not a good idea, to send off your DNA to be held in a database for fear someone might want to clone me one day. My curiosity in my own DNA far outweighs any one’s desire to clone it, and that counts triply for my mothers DNA, who is by far the most cynical about the entire process. She spat in one test tube of DNA then held off for a few weeks on the other kit, alternatively holding it over my head like a carrot with hopes I would brush my hair more often, and then decrying it as “ridiculous” and then confessing that, what she really wanted for her birthday was “ a purse” not a “rubbish DNA test.”

I gently reminded her that it was the only way to discover if her great grandmother was really a Native American. That would pique her interest just enough to work up a bit of spit. My mother has always wanted to identify herself with a minority for the shock value if nothing else as my mother pretty much looks like Heidi from the Swiss Alps.

Eventually she mustered enough saliva, no doubt by fantasizing about a bucket of fried chicken, to warrant a DNA test. Then you have to wait a month or two or more for them to process it before they send you a login to access a complicated portal that sucks more time from your day than Facebook.

In the meantime, distraught with anticipation I endlessly read blog articles about genetics, and became even more upset with the idea that if the DNA test came back without any Native American genes, it does not mean that my great great grandmother was not a Squaw, it just means we haven’t inherited any of her genes, which is entirely possible if not probable after four or five generations. Perhaps DNA was not the answer to all my questions after all.

My mother’s dna results arrived at the same time as mine. It felt like I was a talk show guest on Maury Povich and he just handed me an envelope and at any moment I was going to find out if the trailer trash guy my mother had been hanging around with years ago was really my father. I opened the envelope and there was the answer in my DNA 99% European, 1% Native American, and in my mother’s DNA 93% European, 7% Native American. The Squaw’s DNA had persevered five generations to convince us not to doubt my grandfather’s word, and to give us some sort of proof for the skeptic relatives and acquaintances, and for me an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.

In my web surfing and narcissistic fascination with my own genome I discovered that far beyond tracing my European and Native American ancestry, I can actually discover what genetic predispositions to disease I carry around with me waiting to be flipped on like a switch through environment, stress, or just the ravages of time and age. So last weekend in between loads of laundry I hacked my genome.

While my mother was probably building a teepee in the backyard “for the grandchildren,” tying a chicken feather to her headband and practicing her drum circle chanting, I was hacking not only my own genome but my father, mother and my husband’s. It’s kind of like looking in their underwear drawers but 21st century style.

What it turned up was quite surprising. It turns out its not just my husband who says, “You are just like your mother.” We both have at least ten gene SNPs which give us something like a ten fold increase in risk for breast cancer, and my mother is herself a survivor. I will be getting a mammogram soon. Both my parents have longevity genes. I drew two short straws and inherited one gene for a shorter life span and increased risk of dementia with age. What a pity, looking after my parents as they approach 100 ( they both have a greater likelihood of living to 100) will probably kill me off at 70 or at least give me breast cancer but then again that could be all the booze. Turns out we – that means everyone in the family on all sides including my husband- have rampant addiction genes, for me I inherited more of the high likelihood to become addicted to nicotine genes, and a dodged the stronger desire for alcohol gene both my mother and husband have but we all have at least two or three more for alcohol dependency. The nicotine genes make me very very happy I somehow had the personal drive to quit smoking after my freshman year in college when I smoked about twenty cigarettes a day. That one year of smoking is probably still chipping off days from my genetically abbreviated lifespan- at least it was fun in a Bette Davis chain smoking kind of way.

To counteract the alcohol dependence genes my mother and I share a gene SNP that unifies us in commiseration, we share an SNP on the dopamine/serotonin feedback loop that leaves us with the genetic disadvantage of suffering from terrible hangovers. I always marveled at people who recover from hangovers by 3pm, for me they tend to get worse as the day goes on.

If hacking my genome didn’t have me running out the door to get a head to toe MRI, then it did at least depress me somewhat, but there are not just bad SNPs there are also good ones. Somehow my three genes for “unlikely to go bald” did not bolster my mood any, considering chemotherapy looked almost inevitable but you know I even have an SNP for intolerance or greater negative reaction to chemotherapy drugs. I now felt like I had read my own diary, and knew things I might be better off not knowing and I haven’t even said anything about my personality genes. Yes there are gene snps for personality too. I will devote an entire post to this next week.

Another reason I hacked my genome was to find out if I had a common and at the same time potentially catastrophic mutation in my methylation genes. Methylation is a necessary cellular process that governs many fundamental functions in the body. My father and I share a mutation on the A 1238 gene which can affect methylation but is far less problematic than the central mutation of the AC3677 gene which is far worse. Thank god we dodged that snp.

If you are interested in hacking your genome read this article by Suzy Cohen, which explains the process really clearly.

This is what I did… order a basic genetic test from for 99 dollars. They are better and easier to understand than and the other services out there. They will send you the kit, spit into the test tubes, send it back, wait, then they will email you. When your results are ready login and download the raw data. Then upload your raw data into:

for $30 dollars and it will list all your SNPS and if you have two plus signs you are homozygous for that SNP and will most likely display the trait, if you are heterozygous for the trait plus/minus you may or may not display the trait. If you have two minus signs you will not display the trait. There are good and bad predispositions and traits. Click on each one and it will take you to the page devoted to your SNP mutation on You better devote an entire day to this process. analyses your health snps but if you go another step further and upload your raw data for 5 dollars into:

you will find it analyses personality and other traits, like big boobs or small boobs, blue, green or brown eyes. Then do the same for every member of your family so you know who to blame for what you got in the genetic roulette of conception. I also uploaded my DNA to to find out what supplements I should and shouldn’t take- however a lot of what came back was contradictory- so best to have a naturopath or holistic doctor interpret the data in reference to your symptoms rather than a computer program… more on that from Chris Kresser.

Start with this Suzy Cohen article:

Then watch this podcast with Bulletproof diet man Dave Asprey and Dr. Ben Lynch of, the website I used to analyze my genome.

And this podcast by Chris Kresser called Methylation 101:

Chris says in his podcast that genes make up about 10% of what will happen, and your environment is the other 90%, so there is no such thing as inevitability just predisposition. Dr. Ben Lynch echoed this when he referenced the wonderful book Biology of Belief, which is on my reading list and found on amazon.

I wonder if there is a predisposition to being revolutionary, and if I submitted my DNA to the DAR I could be granted membership based on a gene SNP. Joking aside the DAR have just opened up DNA as a course to membership but you must have a direct male descendant and be able to match his DNA to yours which is a possibility in my lineage. I wonder if he would let me hack his DNA too. Ill Hack Yours, You Hack Mine.

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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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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

Hurricane Recovery and a Naughty Halloween

What should you do after a Hurricane? After you finish cleaning up?

It took us a week to finish and after the dust settled I decided to….

Enlist the indentured servitude of my two year old, and her handy Radio Flyer wagon, to collect the fallen fruits of Gonzalo’s labour, our family crop of limes.

Radio FlyerEva's lime

When we surveyed the damage from the Hurricane and ventured into the citrus garden to check on Eva’s much adored and feared Bee Hive to find that the wrath of Gonzalo spared the lime trees but not its crop, but for a few scraggly weather beaten ones that managed to hold onto their stems by some godly miracle. Looking at the two that remained on the tree, reminded me of how I felt after the first year of motherhood, and Hurricane Eva. Now that she is nearly three I have learned to buffet the changing wind and tide of motherhood, but now the monstrous storms have clinical names like salmonella, septicemia, or hand, foot and mouth and impetigo. As Eva has made it through the alphabet of diseases I have gotten less and less freaked out by disaster and to more or less expect it. So when Hurricane Gonzalo set its sights on us, all I could think was thank god I don’t have a breast pump dependant infant anymore, there was always a worse time for a Category 4 Hurricane or a better time to stop pumping if that had been the case. Anyway now that Eva is almost three, and we had a few dropped limes and missing trees, we were happy eventually to celebrate the passing of Hurricane Season 2014.

Super Eva and her radio flyer amassed several wagon loads of limes, which after a few rounds of pressing them on my juicer to freeze in little jars with a broken hand like the penny pinching artist I should be, but am not — I thought F…THIS… lets break out the Tequila. I was given this idea, by my aunt who informed me we are going to make my uncle’s 60th birthday party a Tequila party.

Patron Silver was the perfect muse to bring us all back to reality, after spending most of the week cleaning. In the true spirit of coming clean I have to admit that I had almost never cleaned Eva’s play pen in the several years it was in operation. After taking everything apart in preparation for the storm surge, when we came to put the playpen back we sorted through every toy and missing puzzle piece with the idea of restoring it to its former glory, just cleaner. To this end Chris cleaned the multicoloured padded flooring which had come apart into a million pieces in letters and numbers and weird corners and parts. After all the parts dried we did not have the heart, or could not be assed to put it back together so we normalized the living room and called it Eva’s big girl playpen. And she bought it – Phew.

The other casualty of the Hurricane recovery week was Eva’s unspoiled vocabulary. She has always had a robust vocab for her age, ever since she said her first word at the early age six months; it was “mama” of course. We almost made it to three without a terrible word escaping Eva’s mouth, or anything worse than “yucky” or “poo poo” until a terrible event spoiled everything. Last weekend, Eva was perched on Daddy’s knee while he watched the Spurs vs. Newcastle game. When Newcastle scored, he yelled “Fuck Off” and the little parrot on his knee echoed him back “Fuck Off” she roared toward the T.V. I laughed, finally, we had a bad parenting moment I did not have to take credit for!

Great I thought, in another six months she will be shouting “Yid army!” be wearing camo cargo pants and be unrecognizable underneath the Spurs regalia and swear words. It was probably predestined that I would give birth to a football hooligan and it was beginning to materialize before my eyes.

Maybe I will become one of those really bad parents who dress their kids up on Halloween as a football lout to explain away their potty mouth. But I am not sure that I will be able to explain why my two year old dressed up as a turtle is yelling “Fuck Off” to the princess and the witch instead of chewing on lettuce leaves.


I am sure Daddy won’t appreciate this revelation on the blog but he does have his own way of seeking revenge. Like when he came home from work last Friday and made a mischievous promise to Eva.

“Eva I promise that Mommy and Daddy will both dress up for Halloween.”

“Don’t make a promise to a two year old you can’t keep.” I said

“I bought you a present.” He said with an evil grin.

“What?” I asked in dread.

He went out to his motorbike and came back with an unsuspicious plastic bag, and gave it to me, still grinning.

I took a deep breath and opened it. Inside was another plastic bag, one of those all in one costume packages. I pull it out, and with one word, ruined my Halloween.


“You are dressing up as Velma Dinkley for Halloween.”

I looked back in the bag.

“If I am dressing up as Velma, where is your Fred costume?”

“They didn’t have any other Scooby characters.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“It’s true I looked.”

“Then we will make one up, we need to get you a yellow ascot.”

“Okay. Will you try on the red wig?”

“This is not Naughty Velma is it?”

“Maybe it is Naughty Velma!”

And so Naughty Velma was born a week ago, out of revenge and a plastic bag.

And so it was that the morning of Halloween Friday, I dressed Eva in her first of three costumes, the turtle and took her to school. When I left I made her my own promise.

“Eva when mommy picks you up from school I will come to get you in costume.”

She was so excited.

When I pulled out of my driveway at a little after five in a red wig and glasses my neighbors gave me a triple take.

“It’s Halloween people!”

More and more people stared at me as I drove by them in my familiar car with an unfamiliar look as if I couldn’t possibly be doing something as innocent as going trick or treating, they looked at me as if I was going to rob a bank, or maybe to everyone else in the world, Halloween is just for kids.

When I arrived at Eva’s school she burst into tears.

“Eva it’s mommy I’m dressed up as Velma.”

“I wanted you to dress up as Mommy Turtle.”

“Oh dear. Next year I can dress up as Mommy Turtle.”

After I wrestled my baby turtle into her car seat we headed home to unpack her school bag before heading out Trick or Treating. On the way home we passed a young woman on the side of the road dressed up as a playboy bunny, now I am sure she got a lot of looks, and I am equally sure no one thought she was going to rob a bank.

“Look Eva it’s a Naughty Bunny.”

“He He” she giggled, “A Naughty Bunny!”

“What are you dressed up as Mommy?”

“I told you Eva, I am dressed up as Velma.”

“Naughty Velma.”

“Okay fine, Eva whatever you want, Naughty Velma! “

We trick or treated our way down to Eva’s classmate’s house where Eva resumed their ritual fighting over toys, while Naughty Velma had a glass of wine.

When Daddy finally turned up from work right in time for trick or treating he showed up looking every bit as dapper as he usually does on a Friday evening.

“What happened to Fred?”

“I ran out of time.”

“You broke a promise to Eva.”

“Naughty Velma is more than enough of a surprise.”

“It was the yellow ascot, you weren’t man enough.”

“We need to immortalize this moment with a picture.”

Chris photographed Naughty Velma at the party, to which my only response following the lead of my naughty turtle, was F*CK OFF.

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On a side note, I have long wondered if hoarding was genetic and I think it is. Eva did not want to be just one thing for Halloween, so she dressed up as both a Turtle and a witch, and then when she went to bed she had to wear her skeleton pajamas because what is a holiday without at least three costumes. Or perhaps just perhaps my little Eva is turning into my mother and is already designing her future walk in closet.

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I hope everyone had a HAPPY HALLOWEEN.

Xx Derelict Mom aka Naughty Velma.

Gonzalo: Force Majeure

When I started my blog in January and committed to blogging once a week, I thought it was a tall task I would have trouble committing to, therefore I made it a New Year’s Resolution. I imagined all the obstacles that would come my way, a sick child, surprise work deadlines, holidays, exhaustion, a family wedding. Until today all of those things have happened and been successfully negotiated, and my blog has gone up every week either on a Thursday, Friday and on one occasion a Saturday morning. Its 2pm on Friday October 17th, I was supposed to be filming Founders Day at the Berkeley Institute but instead I am hunkered down with shutters closed. We just finished moving the bottom floor of our house up to the top floor in anticipation of the inevitable flooding which will be coming along with Category Four/Three Hurricane Gonzalo. Eva is supposed to be napping but she is instead crying from the comfort of her crib in the safest room in the house. Chris and I are exhausted already and we are taking a break while Eva naps to take advantage of the power while we still have it. I am writing, Chris is watching tv. Whether or not I make my blog posting deadline this week, depends on how fast I type and how long the electricity stays on. It is a race.

If I don’t make it, I am claiming an Act of God or Force Majeure, that clause in a contract you never think will apply for you which may extend to next week too because who knows when the power will be restored. It is a miracle I got any work done this week, as just five days ago we were all surprised while we were sleeping ( or partying) with an unforecasted small hurricane, Fay. The week before, Chris was away and Eva had vomiting and diarrhea, in the midst of my evening workshops, and one of my closest friend’s weddings. I couldn’t do it all, it was one of those weeks I was just trying to show up and deal.

Last Friday, I became very concerned about Eva’s condition, her belly swelled up, she wouldn’t let me touch it and my mind jumped around before landing conclusively on the assumption that she had an obstruction because who could possibly have stomach flu for an entire week. I considered taking her to the emergency room, and I half packed a bag for an overnight in the Gosling ward, but instead I took her down to the doctor’s office, having to wait a few hours for an appointment. Right as we were about to leave, she requested the potty and after several minutes of contortions, noxious fumes, and loud echoing boofas (farts), her stomach became less of a pregnancy and more of a soft toddler belly. The occasionally diligent derelict mother that I am, I photographed the toilet explosion, partly to show the doctor and partly to show Chris what he missed while on holiday, I mean while on his trip for his Grandmother’s funeral.

Rushing down to the doctor, they looked shocked to see me five days after I had called, concerned with what seemed a worse than usual stomach flu. After close examination but without looking at my diligently photographed documentary evidence, he concluded that Eva may not have a case of the stomach flu, but rather be suffering from a seven day case of Salmonella poisoning. There is no treatment.

When Eva and I returned home and looked up salmonella poisoning on the internet I saw that it is most often contracted by consumption of raw eggs. I racked my mind, and remembered that on Sunday, only my second day of single parenting with eager enthusiasm and a desire to become at least for a day or two, the fun parent, I made her eggs benedict for lunch. Toast with butter, smoked salmon, a poached egg and home made hollandaise sauce made from…raw egg yolks. Eva helped me crack the eggs, and somehow contracted salmonella, just the perfect little microbe to ruin our week and make a derelict mother even more derelict. I poisoned my child.

By Saturday though I felt Eva had recovered enough for me to leave her at home and attend my friend Elena’s wedding, as I had missed a cruise and several parties and if I missed her wedding it would have been a disappointment for years to come. I am not sure many parents would have done the same, but I did not want to be a derelict friend in addition to a child poisoning mother.

Chaos follows us so, enroute to the wedding we managed to leave someone behind. The weather had picked up early in the day because they had forecast a bit of a blow so the bride at the last minute had to move the entire wedding to the tent on front street at Pier 6. It was an amazing act of organization that they were able to pull it off, and pull it off they did. The wedding went off without a hitch, by the witching hour my mother was dancing on stage with Uzimon. A perfect night.

But it was an imperfect morning. I wasn’t sure at 7am if it was the banging in my head or if it was the shutters banging that woke me up. Within a minute or two of consciousness and noticing that the power was off, I realized that we were in the midst of a hurricane. Home alone with a small child, and a large hangover I wasn’t even sure I had shut the front door the night before never mind moved Eva’s toys, or the lawn furniture. We had no choice but to wait it out.

When the winds subsided, we realized that no one knew more than we did, and that there were winds recorded up to 155 mph, a Hurricane. It was a frightening thought that I went to bed, husband less, having had too much to drink, in charge of a small child recovering from mother induced salmonella poisoning and completely unaware of what was happening. However Hurricane Fay was but a warning.

I could not have been more happy when a world weary husband walked in the front door at midnight, fresh off the BA flight from London, the only flight that arrived the day after the freak Hurricane. I regaled him with tales from the wedding and boats upon the reefs, and showed him a picture of the wedding tent, which only a few hours after the party ended was but tatters on the ground.

When Monday morning dawned and Chris got up to survey damage to the house, he was pretty surprised to see that like the Hurricane had downed trees, and broken branches, that inside salmonella poisoning had wrecked the house. There were clothes everywhere and crayon scribbles all over the wall confessing all my derelict mom moments where I just let her take my sharpie pens and do so with them what she would- which was draw on the wall, probably while I was in the kitchen pouring my self a nice big glass of wine or a tequila and probiotic lemonade.

Little did we know that the next five days would kick the chaos up a notch. Within a day or so a grim forecast was issued by the Bermuda Weather Service, who we weren’t sure whether to trust or shun. All of the responsibilities of the salmonella week that I offloaded into this week were again cast off, in favour of spending way too much money panic buying with the rest of the island at the hardware store, and the grocery store. Chris would say I do this every week, but at least I could clear my schedule and be that parent, the one who organizes everything.

To make matters worse, drunk with the chaos of the moment, I tripped backwards over a paving stone and storm detritus falling backwards and hurting my hand which I reached out behind me to break my fall. The following day, while refilling a prescription I decided to show the doctor, who said it would be best if I had an x-ray because if it is broken I may have to have surgery to put a pin in to stabilize the thumb. Two days before the storm I rock up to the Fracture clinic without an appointment, after about an hour of arguing it was agreed I would be seen. Meanwhile in the waiting room I have visions of having surgery and being trapped at the hospital during the worst hurricane in a decade and separated from Eva and Chris. Although I would probably get more sleep than I had in the preceding ten days, it was not the best version of events. It was eventually decided that I did not need surgery but a brace was required.

I am not sure being one handed slowed my shopping down at all, but it did create a problem for hurricane prep especially considering my husband ever the loyal employee, did not arrive home from work to begin prepping the house until 4:30, approx. three hours before nightfall, whereas I had been preparing for at least three days.

So here we are on Friday October 17th at almost 3pm crowded into two rooms with a dog and a three year old, and all our worldly belongs waiting for that Force Majeure otherwise known as Hurricane Gonzalo and its wrath. Gonzalo was named for the character in Shakespeare’s Tempest famously inspired by the wreck of the Sea Venture in 1609 and the survival of the castaways in Bermuda leading to the island’s colonization by England. In the play Gonzalo was stranded on a remote island when Prospero conjures up a storm to wreck a ship. The conjuring is amping up now so I better sign off. Until next time. Waves are crashing in the garden and friends have lost power, I will post now or never! 1700 words in almost an hour- that must be a record. Lets see how fast I can cut and paste.

Forgot to mention, I have been on a cooking spree and made gluten free pizza, vegan fudge, ham, spagetthi squash, potato salad, gfree bread, quiche, deviled eggs, guacamole. We will not go hungry for days, and now I just have to decide if I am going to make gazpacho or bloody mary’s with my bottle of V8? Votes?

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

Family Holiday Part II

Family Holidays should be a time for children and parents to reconnect outside of their regular routine and for those of us whose kids go to daycare it is time to find out what they are really like. For some reason although you have 24 hours a day together during a holiday it is always the necessities of life like eating and sleeping that become an enormous struggle for one main reason, you have abandoned your routine. The routine of paying someone else to look after them, while you work which most of the time feels like a vacation from your child. I think the only reason we take a family holiday is to escape the relentless drudgery of doing the same thing at the same time every day over and over again, and also to make us appreciate the life we have created and that routines are good even if they are boring.

We also have shopping to do, so when I arrived in Boston, Nana, Eva and I went off to the Apple store so I could have the keyboard on my laptop replaced after Eva the toddler turned computer eating tiger destroyed several keys. The young man at the genius desk returned with bad news,

“I am sorry Mame, but your computer is what we now term – vintage, and we can no longer replace parts.”

In the same sentence he called me Mame and called my computer vintage. I was left reeling by multiple disappointments.

“So what you are telling me is I have no choice but to buy a new laptop.”


I felt like an insurance company that had just been told its client was going to have to undergo an organ transplant. I wish toddlers came with a warning alarm, one that would sound when they were about to cause you $3000 dollars in damage. Eva the pretend tiger was getting a lot less cute by the minute.

This horrible realization was made worse when the Apple genius bar tech called all his friends around to look at the dinosaur computer I had brought in.

“Take a look at this machine, it has about 30 seconds of battery life.”

“What year is that from?”

“2008” I say preempting their About this Mac search.

“Look,” one tech says to the other, “ She has no apps on her computer!!!!”

“Listen boys, I know I am old, and my computer is old but I have never had any problems with it.”

“They are built to last.” one of them answered.

“It’s that over there I have problems with.” I say pointing at Eva with Nana playing with the apple ipads on display on the Kids table.

“Are you sure you want her playing with your ipads?”

They walked me through the specs of my hypothetical new laptop, hypothetical because I had no idea where the $3000 was going to come from or when.

When we finished Nana and I had to pry Eva off of the ipad where she had discovered the kids app “Endless alphabet” which helps you learn letters and spell different words and had the unexpected bonus of increasing her vocabulary which I discovered when trying to feed her dinner that night.




We gave up and ended up going out to eat at Legal’s seafood. They gave me a kid’s menu but I ordered Eva a meal off of the adult menu since she preferred real food to pasta and fish sticks, and maybe just maybe mommy was schooling Eva to be a food snob in the fine tradition of food snobs in the Spurling family.

I ordered her smoked salmon with toast points, and Mussels for myself. In an unpredictable toddler rage, she began shrieking at the top of her lungs, making the nearby childless diners grimace and wince and cut their eyes in our direction. If I could have anticipated her screaming fit, if I could have done anything to prevent it,

I would have. So Instead I cut my eyes back at the wincing childless diners next door. I later discovered through sobs that I had done something terrible. I was guilty of precipitating the toddler rage because I used the blanket attached to her bunny to wipe up a spot of milk she had dripped on my lap. Well I won’t do that again.

This scenario and in fact the whole trip, made me realize the problem with toddlers, you can’t lock them inside, nor can you take them out in public, so you do each equally and terribly hoping to spread out the torture of other people’s ear drums.

My solution is that when I am old and grumpy and don’t want to be around children, I will not choose to go out to dinner at a family restaurant like Legal’s seafood, and I will certainly think twice about trying to catch the early bird. There are so many thousands of restaurants in cities like Boston, if you can’t take the screeching choose somewhere else. People without children have plenty of choice, but those of us with kids are limited to restaurants with kiddy menus and highchairs- there aren’t nearly as many or even enough.

And my darling Eva just to be unpredictable for unpredictability’s sake sat on my lap and ate my entire order of mussels and I got stuck with the salmon. Our waitress brought her, her very own seafood bib, and she moved up a ranking in food snobbery. She will soon be coming out with bumper stickers that say “Say No to Fish Sticks.”


The other thing with toddlers is that like horse and miniature daschschunds, they need to be exercised and when visiting a city, you have to find the nearest park. The next day Nana, Eva and I decided to head down to Boston Common to find the free yoga class Nana had spotted on a flyer. We hadn’t read the fine print and missed the yoga class by 24 hours so we found a grassy spot and did a little bit of stretching ourselves.

Our yoga class soon turned into sprint training, when Eva realized that there was miles of green space where she could out run her mother. When I was close to exhaustion a man appeared with enormous magic wands and began blowing bubbles the size of me, and sending them floating in the sky over the park. Like the Pied Piper children flocked around him as he dipped his wands in buckets of bubble juice and sent them off chasing bubbles from big to small and everything in between. Eva’s eyes lit up and she chased the bubbles around with all the big kids for at least thirty minutes while I tried to make sure she didn’t run out into oncoming traffic, and trailed behind her apologizing to all the little boys she mowed over chasing a bubble- there were a few.






When it approached twilight and the bubble man had had enough, he started to pack up and I took Eva up to him and asked her to say Thank You.

“Thank you for the bubbles” came a little voice.

Then in an instant he made my entire holiday when he said,

“Your little girl, she will go far in life because she is so persistent.”

“Yes that is her to a T, you can tell that just from bubbles?”

“ Yes, I see children all the time, and very very rarely do you see a little one like her, I have only seen a few myself over the years.”

“You are just saying that because I look tired.”

“No, its true, she will go far.”

I know he is just a bubble man, not a child psychologist but it made my toddler induced exhaustion bearable and it was a lot better than getting eye cutting glares from other people. Yeah! For the bubble man.

I also asked him to tell me his secret recipe, which he did, for the perfect Bubble Mixture:

Here it is:

Home Made:


1 Part      Dawn (Classic)

1/4 Part  Vegetable Glycerin

1/4 Part J&J Baby Shampoo

12 Parts water


On humid days use  13 to 14 parts water

How to make:

put into container hot water

gently  add and mix the Dawn, Glycerin, Shampoo

best if left uncovered one day before use


For the rest of our time in Boston, we hit Marshall’s a tourist attraction if you are from Bermuda, but also made time to go to the Boston Aquarium. There were more people there than there were fish but we were able to satisfy Miss Eva’s craving to see a shark. We found a perfect spot in the window of the large several story coral tank, at the top where we could watch the sharks lap the tank and the enormous turtle taking a nap on a coral bed. Eva was frightened by a fish which swam right by her head, and I think she in turn frightened the fish, but it made for a fun day out even if Eva refused to pat a sting ray but insisted that mommy pat one instead.


The following day when Daddy and Pops flew in from Bermuda, we went for a duck tour and they had to detour our route because of the annual Puerto Rican parade, so after we got off the duck boat, we walked a few streets over to catch the parade.


“ I feel like we haven’t left Bermuda.” I said watching the majorettes.

“I always wanted to be a majorette in primary school but my mother wouldn’t let me. In Hindsight I think she must have known I would have been really really bad at it.” I thought as I watched the young girls in tight sequined jumpsuits twirl batons.

“We watched a parade back in March when we visited Madeira.” Nana said.

“ Really, was it anything like this one?”


“What was it like?”

“Well, I was a bit shocked.” Nana Giggled.


“The Madeira people paraded down the street, not with floats or cars or majorettes but enormous paper Mache penises.”

“Really! “ I giggled

“Like a Bacchanalia?”

“ I couldn’t really believe it myself, but there were huge effigies of the penis.”

Eva looked up and pointed and yelled “Penis! “

She has a point I thought, especially as the parade went on and on, the cars got bigger and bigger and the sound systems got bigger and bigger and louder and louder and louder. I wonder if the paper Mache penises got bigger and bigger too. Certainly the final car that came through, even though I didn’t have my measuring stick out ,was very impressive… Check out my phone snap below, yes those are speakers. Yes it was loud. Yes there were men driving it.


Then Eva announced

“I have to go pee pee.” So I weaved her through the crowds to the Lennox Hotel and used their bathroom. Eva took her undies off and then very loudly told me,

“You and I are girls so we pee like this.” And she squatted in the stall.

“But Boys pee like this with a penis” She whipped out her imaginary penis and held it over the toilet bowl then shook it dry.

“Yes you are right Eva.” I said wondering if it were me, Nana, or Endless Alphabet who had taught her the anatomical name for the male appendage but what did it matter she was building her vocabulary. At least Eva wasn’t a repressed Catholic.

The next day we drove up to my parents house in New Hampshire: mountains, quiet, bliss = no cell phone reception.

When we arrived Eva said, “ I remember here, there is an orange and green froggy potty.”

“Really?” I said.

I hunted around the house, and what did I find in one of the bathrooms, but an orange and green froggy potty. She was right. Now I believed the Bubble man- my child is brilliant, she remembers the color of the Froggy potty she used a year ago. Sign her up for Junior Jeopardy.

The only thing missing from our week in New Hampshire was sleep, because we decided to put Eva in a big girl bed with protective sides. Looking back it was probably a mistake but what followed was a week of not napping, not wanting to go to bed and frequent night wakings paired with early morning rises. Holiday? Send me back to work.

Sleep deprived Eva loses all of her charitable nature and so she became a fussing Mommy hater, insisting that Daddy put her to bed, sit next to her, and otherwise become her sole parent and entire world. I would try to put her to bed but she would scream until Daddy came running, we would switch places and then she would look at me with her big blue bossy eyes and point at me from the crook of her Daddy’s arm.

“ You, You go downstairs and on your way out turn off the lights and shut the door.”

“Yes Mame.” I answered and Little Eva nestled into her favorite person in the world.

P1020401P1020252 (4)

Later on, I said to Chris, “I think Eva is your soul mate and you must have known each other in a past life.”

Nana said, “That could be true.”

“Who is my soul mate then?” I asked.

Chris without hesitation answered, “Your soul mate is Piccolo.”

“That could be true.” I said imagining my overweight aging Miniature dachshund who spoons me every night at home.

“I miss him.”

A few days later we went to the summer festival at The Fells, a historic house, and park. We patted Alapacas, and built a fairy house. Eva learned how to paint watercolors with real food, using black berries and spinach to create dies and paint a picture on a card. Then she frosted a cookie with spinach frosting, and devoured it. We waited and waited and finally the Face painter arrived, and Eva patiently waited her turn to be metamorphosed into a tiger. When we got home horseplay went to another level. I became the Tiger’s prey, and Eva stalked me around the house continually, catching me off guard and sinking her teeth into my leg and arm flesh.


The next day was my birthday. I woke up with Strep throat- it had returned. The night before I asked my husband to bring me coffee in bed in case he wouldn’t think of it. Before we had Eva, Chris used to bring me coffee in bed every morning, but our life is different now. My birthday morning started off on a caffeine high with little Eva coming to jump on my bed and give me her present. I unwrapped it, and it was a hot pink Bermuda t-shirt.

“Thank you little Eva.”

She smiled proudly.

“Mommy and Eva can dress in matching pink for mommy’s birthday.”

“Yes” she replied.

Eva is obsessed with pink, if anything I encouraged the opposite. Her favorite colors in the past were purple and red, but now that she has settled on pink, everything has to be pink. She will only wear pink and if I try and dress her in something else she complains,

“But Green isn’t my favorite.”

I used to hate pink, but not anymore, now I accept it and even wear it if it will make her happy. Later on, on my birthday I ordered a bright pink dress for myself off the internet to make Eva happy. I also added a wonder woman bathing suit, because even if I don’t feel like a super hero, I might as well dress like one. It was my present to myself.

When I came downstairs my in-laws gave me their birthday gift. An ionic hairbrush, promising : brilliant shine with active frizz control ionic generator, releasing conditioning ions directly into the hair to remove static and smooth the cuticle for noticeably softer hair that looks and feels, shiny and manageable.

Yes my hair really is that bad, to brush it I need something with an on and off switch. They used to call me: Hairzilla in college. Those were the days. Some people’s hair thins when they get older, I think mine has just gotten worse, added by the infrequency of having time to wash it.

Their gift inspired me to tackle the mane, and I retreated with an army of bobby pins in an attempt to style my hair in pin curls, let them dry for seven hours, then brush them out with the ionic hairbrush and wala… I would reappear more Lauren Bacall than Hairzilla.

We didn’t do much on my birthday, we took the trash out, filled up with gas for the return trip and took Eva to the playground, and on the way back stopped off at the graveyard, just the way to make me feel every year of my thirty eight, and in pin curls no less!


When we got home I told Eva that Bunny was going to make mommy a birthday cake, but unfortunately Bunny didn’t know how to bake yet, mommy hadn’t taught her.

Later on I tried to brush out the pin curls, and a few minutes and a lot of static later I looked exactly the same as Lauren Bacall- Nope- not even close, I looked exactly the same as I did the day before.

“I think this hair needs a professional.” I said to my disappointed family.

“I just have too much hair.”

The next day we drove back to Boston, when we got back to the apartment I started the never ending process of unpacking and repacking. At some point in this process I managed to knock the bottle of hot pink nail polish my mother had leant us for the trip to paint Eva’s nails with, and it shattered on the bathroom floor, splashing me from head to toe in hot pink paint spray. Unfortunately nail polish is not meant to be easily removed, so I sighed and accepted my new splattered look as part of my derelict mom décor.

A little while later the concierge called up to the apartment.

“Hello, this is Shucredev downstairs, I was calling to let you know that we just received a very important federal express package addressed to you from Pin Up Girl Clothing.”

… Pin Up Girl Clothing… I sighed. You know as a mincing nosy front desk man, he took pleasure in making calls like these and imagining what kind of whips and chains were inside.

“Would you like me to bring that up to you, or would you like to collect it.”

“I will collect it thank you.”

When I went downstairs, I had the elevator ride down eight floors to contemplate how sometimes people just get the wrong idea about things. I looked down at myself, covered in splattered hot pink nail polish, called “Kiss Me I’m Brazilian.” If I drew his attention to it, Shucredev might have been able to recognize the shade. As I felt for the edges of my hair to see in what direction it was frizzing and I kept finding stray bobby pins in my hair suggesting some previous attempt at decorum. Then I looked over my arms, legs, and neck, every visible area of skin was covered in bites, not mosquito bites but human bites, from a toddler impersonating a tiger. I could have tried to cover up the bite marks up with band aids, but all we had, were- you guessed it- hot pink Peppa Pig plasters—and I figured covering myself in those would do more to draw attention to my wounds than to distract. Looking at my reflection in the elevator door, it occurred to me that I looked like I had spent the last two weeks in some kinky sex camp instead of on a family Holiday with Eva’s grandparents. I couldn’t wear a turtle neck in August, like we used to do as a teenagers when we came home with hickies from an eventful date. I could have covered myself in concealer but I didn’t have the time or effort left after the last two weeks with Eva and the last time I bought make up was in 2005.

I approached the front desk.

“I have come to pick up my package.”

Shucredev went hunting through the Land’s End, LL Bean and Talbot’s packages.

“Ahah, here it is, one package from Pin Up Girl Clothing.”

I saw him feel the package up, trying to discern its contents.

“It’s a wonder woman bathing suit.” I said satisfying his curiosity but disappointing him as well in some way. But he still had plenty of time to wonder about the bite marks.

The next day we flew home. When we arrived, Hamma and Gigi greeted us,

“How was the trip, did you have a good time?”

“We had a great time, Eva cost me a 3000 dollar laptop, She bit me, ruined my reputation at Trinity Place and she might have left a scar.” I say pointing to my neck.

“What did you expect, you went on a Family Holiday.” Gigi said.

“We have made you dinner, come over with Eva tonight for your birthday cake.”

Derelict Gigi had really pulled out all the stops, she might even have missed us.

“Hurrah we are home and Bunny learned to bake! “ I said.

A couple days later when my wounds had healed and the hot pink nail polish had flaked off my skin, I asked Chris, “So where are we going next year?”

Xx Derelict Mom.




Fair Warning

It is officially the middle of July, its hot, the social calendar is full, it seems I spend most of my free time trying to teach my two year old how to swim so she doesn’t drown if someone leaves the gate open. I gave up exercising when it hit 80 degrees and 99 percent humidity, but some how my day seems more full, and when your days are full the forward planning gets much more complicated. My motto when Eva was a baby, was “wing it” but now that she is two, that plan isn’t really working anymore and I have come to the begrudging realization that I need to be more organized, kind of like my sister who has probably already filled her kids Christmas stockings six months in advance. Part of my disorganization comes from my eternally changing schedule of employment as what I do everyday often changes on a clients whim, an unexpected equipment failure, and other more important people’s schedules which can be tricky with a two year old. Many people are astonished when I say I am not available except between 9 and 5pm, as if there were no such thing as a working mother, or like I grew another head right in front of them.

The phrase “summer holiday” used to bring images to mind of relaxing in a sun lounger reading a stack of books sipping a pina colada, and I know that I did this back when I was a young bronzed teenager before real life hit like a rogue wave in a horizon pool. When I heard the words “summer holiday” for the first time this year back in January it was from Auntie Zoe, Eva’s second mother when she let us know of her plans to take a holiday for two weeks in July, of course I winced dreading Eva’s last day at school but we all need a holiday, especially Zoe. Back in January plans were hatched to go away at the same time on our own summer holiday, therefore minimizing our own work days without daycare for Eva. My plan was elaborate, it was six months in advance and it involved three countries and as many airlines. My plan was to fly Chris’s parents from the UK through Ireland to Boston Massachusetts where they would stay overnight then fly onto Bermuda, after a week in Bermuda, they would fly with us back to Boston, and we would drive up to my parent’s house in New Hampshire for a week. We could enjoy our “summer holiday” with an adult to child ratio of Four to one, which if we couldn’t abandon Eva all together, was the next best thing. The plan was flawless, my mother in law booked their Aer Lingus flights to Boston and I booked our five non refundable sale tickets from Bermuda to Boston and back on delta. I had checked the: plan our summer holiday box in January I was ahead of the game, or so I thought.

About a week later I asked Zoe,

“Zoe I just thought I better double check with you, you are going to be away the first two weeks of August- right?”

“Oh no we changed our plans slightly we are now going away on July 16th and coming back on the first.”

“Oh shit.” I said I booked our tickets to leave on August 1st.

When Chris came home we discussed it.

“Why does it matter you don’t have a job anyway.” At the time a project had fallen through.

“I don’t think I will be unemployed six months from now.” I said ever the optimist.

“Oh really how can you be sure?” Chris said, ever the pessimist.

“Maybe we should see if we can change the plane tickets?”

“Why would we do that and pay more money?” Chris said.

“Because otherwise I will have to take a month off of work between our summer holiday and Zoe’s.”

“You don’t have a job.”

“Okay.” I relented I was not going to win this one.

I started to realize that planning in advance might not only be not my style, it was fraught with its own innate difficulties. There was one innate difficulty that always seemed to crop up in my life, my very own mother. She was especially good at appearing when everything else was going wrong already and deciding that the most important thing at that very moment was that I was in desperate need of a new shower head, or lawn furniture. If I spent $8,000 dollars on a new patio set at Island Trading all my problems would miraculously go away. She also had a knack for ruining plans and she was beginning to rub off on my father.

At some point she decided to bring an important detail to my attention.

“So have you booked your flights for your summer holiday in NH?”

“Yes I told you we booked them a few weeks ago.”

“Did you do it in time for the Delta seat sale I told you about?”

“Yes mom.”

“Are they flexi tickets?”


“You might want to call and check or see if you can upgrade them.”

“Why?” I started to get suspicious.

“We just put the house in New Hampshire up for sale, it’s on Sotheby’s Real Estate.”

“What? !!! Mom I just bought five non refundable plane tickets six months from now. What am I going to do?”

“It won’t sell.”

“Why did you put it on the market then?”

“To sell it, eventually.”

“What if it does sell tomorrow?”

“There is usually a period of exchange.”

“Not six months! “

“You will have to make other plans if that happens. It won’t happen.”

“Oh my god, I thought you were going to give us all a year or so warning.”

“This is fair warning.”

As we are about to set off on our holiday next week, my mother was in fact right the house has not yet sold but it could have. It is usually my mother that takes pains to deliberate what might happen, in fact it is one of my mother’s favorite excuses for her least favorite activity, babysitting, which I will explore more fully next week in Part II, GiGi Goes AWAL.

“But Eva might throw up?”

“But Eva might not eat dinner?”

“But Eva might not go to bed.”

“But Eva might not be as good as Sadie and Trystan.”

Xx Derelict Mom