Never, Ever Again
Oh man. There's nothing like breaking a bathroom and nearly soiling yourself in a church.
So after toddler Kung Fu (as you do) yesterday, we went to a nearby diner for Saturday brunch before the girls' ballet class - held at a local church. I had the 'sensible' vegetarian breakfast- scrambled eggs, toast, hash browns and a veggie burger patty while the girls had an omelette and pancakes, rather harmless. Paul had the 'meat feast' of veritable 'death on a plate' - eggs, sausages, bacon, hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes and some other kind of meat. His was so large and so over the top that he hung his head in shame as he handed the waitress back his plate with a full, untouched sausage still remaining explaining that although he tried, he just couldn't do it.
I looked at him, wide eyed with concern for both his stomach and his heart. He said he was fine, but suggested a brisk walk before ballet to burn some of it off, as we still had 45 minutes to kill. Fine - that sounded good and off we went.
We wandered down the high street and followed the signs to a local flea market on that day - only to find the saddest flea market of all time hidden in a run-down community center just off the high street parking lot. It was one of those moments where you realize how badly you don't want to be there the very moment you walk in.
An elderly man looked eagerly at us from his haggard table with a small box of change. It would cost us a pound to enter the market. It was too late to back out, that would have been rude - so we fished around in our pockets to produce a rare pound (who carries change around now?), paid the man and stepped inside.
Inside was the saddest flea market of despair. A total of eight tables and we were the only customers. They looked at us with eager anticipation, proudly displaying their wares. We gathered the kids close and put on awkward smiles, shuffling in a nervous quad formation down the first 'aisle', politely feigning interest at homemade knitting (was that a pashmina with one sleeve or trousers for a war-vet?) and snarling at the girls not to touch anything. We passed a table full of toys not even our children wanted. 1/2 price puzzles with only 1/2 pieces. Children's cassette tapes of Christian nursery songs. Books with human bite-marks on the edges. We passed that table with wide smiles and forced 'ooh's' - as we moved on the woman looked ready to burst into tears. At the next table the man stood up to greet us - oh God no. The awkward level had reached an penultimate high.
We continued around the flea market of despair when I was accosted by what seemed to be the market manager - an elderly woman looking for a chat. Oh no. Oh no no no no no. Were we from around here? Did we live nearby? Did we like anything we saw? She then went on to tell me that the woman who sells honey and chocolate isn't here today, she usually draws in a pretty big crowd. We should definitely come again next week.
We finally escaped, cheeks sore from humored grinning and eyes wide from the awkward ordeal. Even the kids were speechless. Until we got outside and saw an old woman on a red mobility scooter, speeding down the parking lot toward the market with fierce determination.
Oh, she was ready. We could hear her engine maxed out from the other end of the parking lot. neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Recovering from the flea-market fiasco, we took a short detour through the woodlands to circle back around to the high street, our car and the church hosting ballet class. I commented to Paul that my stomach wasn't feeling particularly well. The girls picked daisies and dandelions. I commented to Paul that I was having a bit of chest pain. He didn't seem overly concerned as I'm not generally the healthiest of people and my body tends to do random things just to make life interesting. We continued to walk as a charming family, hand in hand down the woodland.
My left arm started to ache and I felt an overwhelming need to use the washroom. I told Paul that we needed to hurry back to the Church as I had to use the bathroom. He picked up the pace a bit. I started to speed-walk, dragging the twins behind me as I clenched my bum cheeks, shouting back to Paul that we needed to move, I was about to have 'an incident'. He saw the desperation on my face and told me to leave the twins and run - they would meet me at the church.
And so I did.
I couldn't run though, the bouncing pressure was making things worse. I had to maintain level pressure on my bowels so I speed walked with the grace of a drunk giraffe, keeping my hips steady but my legs flailing about in front of me like loose noodles trying to get myself there as quickly as possible whilst not working my tensed stomach muscles. A bout of debilitating pain stabbed me in the stomach and I doubled over, gripping a street sign for support. I had to keep going - I had to get to that bathroom.
I'd by then broken out into a cold sweat, tears of pain and desperation pouring down my face as I lurched with extreme vigor around the corner and down the street. I could see the church. I was only minutes away. Another stab of pain and I nearly doubled over, forcing myself to keep walking. Oh God, it was happening now. There would be no stopping this freight train of horror bubbling within my lower intestine. Oh God no - I wasn't going to make it. I considered making a break for our car so I could squat down behind it in the bushes and die.
No. No. I could make it. It was just a little bit farther. I clenched harder, growing an inch in height as I speed-waddled like a penguin with my legs pressed together with blind desperation to get to the church bathroom. There was some kind of Caribbean congregation function going on inside - the lone crying white woman bursting in through the doors and shouting 'where's the bathroom!?' turned a lot of heads. They pointed me upstairs, my having brought their singing to a sudden halt. I couldn't do stairs in this state so i turned and ran back out the doors - determined to make it next door to the church hall where ballet was held instead.
Oh God, I wasn't going to make it. I considered the large rubbish bin in the corner of the courtyard as something to climb into and let loose. The community hall glass doors were in sight - I could see the disabled bathroom door from where I stood panicking. It was happening. I couldn't stop it. I made a final waddled rush of desperation, bursting through the doors and pushing a man out of the way to get to the washroom. I was so close... sweet, sweet relief was nearly upon me. My knees were pressed together and I was hyperventilating from the effort and stress. I slammed the door closed, turned the lock and the entire handle exploded in my hand - I was stood holding the remnants of the door handle in utter shock, I just couldn't deal with this.
I threw the door handle bits on the floor with my backpack and made for the toilet, frantically pawing at the toilet dispenser and not quite believing that it could possibly be empty in a situation such as this, but it was. There was nothing to wipe down the seat of this disgusting public toilet - I had no choice. This was happening and it was happening now. In a final act of desperation I sat down, trying not to think of the hepatitis surely coating the toilet seat as I did.
And so I sat there - sweating profusely from the mere effort of getting here, wondering what I was going to do about the lack of toilet paper and how I was going to get out of the bathroom now that I had essentially locked myself in - but resigning myself to just deal with it later.
Until I heard the twins and Paul knocking on the door. They all needed to pee quite badly, could I please hurry?
Um... Mummy's going to need a minute.
Compared to what we ate at breakfast I have no idea how this happened to me instead of Paul. I just cannot comprehend my luck. English breakfast?
Never. Ever. Again.
Never. Ever. Again.