The Taste of Travel


My stepson likes countries. He can tell you the name of the leader of just about any country and the type of government they run. He has lots of very strong opinions about these leaders and governments.

Lately, he’s taken to naming a country and then asking if I’d like to go there. I think he would base his decision on whether or not he approves of their government. That’s probably a good way to make that decision, but as with most things, I found myself making that decision with my stomach.

“How about Thailand?” he’d ask.

“Yeah, I’d go there. I really like their curry.”


“Of course, I’ll go any place with curry.”

“How about Iran?”

“No, I don’t think so.” I’d watched part of a show on the BBC the previous day called Taste of Iran. I’d only watched the first 20 minutes, but the food just didn’t seem appealing. It was so unappealing that I had to just turn the show off.

Most people travel to see the sites. They want to have their pictures taken next to famous landmarks. I want to travel the world with my taste buds. I’d rather eat something I’ve never eaten before than see something in real life that I’ve seen in pictures a million times before.

Something in the Bathtub

It was about 2:30 in the morning and I had to use the bathroom. I slid out of the warm bed into the cold and wandered to the bathroom not expecting anything out of the ordinary. I’d used the toilet in the middle of the night many times before so why should this time be any different. These middle of the night ventures to the bathroom are never done with the lights on. I don’t want to wake myself up.

As I sat on the toilet, I noticed something unusual in the bathtub. It was a dark, terrifying object that shouldn’t have been there. “Oh no. There’s a rat in the bathtub,” I said aloud. My heart pounded in my chest and I tried to move as far over on the toilet seat as I could without peeing on the floor. I wanted to hurry up and get out of the bathroom, but I just kept peeing. I swear that was the longest pee ever. When I was done, I jumped up off the toilet and fled the bathroom without even washing my hands. I made sure the door was securely shut. Then I did what anyone who’d just found a rat in their bathtub would do, I went back to bed. My husband was working and I thought I’d let him deal with it when he got home. Rats are his department.

I lay in bed just thinking about the rat, wondering how it got in there, wondering what I can do from keeping more rats from getting in the house, wondering how my husband would catch the rat. I was only in bed for ten minutes when my husband came home. My stepson, who should’ve have been sleeping, came out of his room immediately to start talking. I could hear them in the hall. I didn’t know if I should warn them about the rat or just let them find it on their own. I decided the scare of finding a rat might be too much to handle, so I got up and opened the bedroom door. My husband was facing me and my stepson’s back was turned. “Hello,” my husband said.

“There’s a rat in the bathtub,” I silently mouthed the words and pointed to the bathroom door. I didn’t want to upset my stepson.

My husband looked at me with a confused expression as I started to point at the bathroom door more intensely.

“You’re up,” my stepson said as he turned to face me.

I stopped pointing.

As we moved into the living room, my stepson announced that he had to use the bathroom and headed back down the hall.

“There’s a rat in the bathtub,” I whispered to my husband, grabbing his arm. “I think it’s dead or tired.”

We heard the creak of the bathroom door opening and closing, then the click of the light going on.

“How did it get in the bathtub?”

“I don’t know.” I didn’t know why he was asking me such a question. Maybe it was thirsty. Maybe it was lost. I didn’t ask it. I was sure I’d hear a hysterical scream from the bathroom any minute, but there was none.

“How do you catch a rat?” My husband picked up the colander and considered using it to trap the rodent.

The toilet flushed. The water in the sink ran. The door creaked open. The light clicked off. My stepson appeared holding a wet black sock and laughing. “Look what I dropped in the toilet.”

“Where was that?” my husband asked.

“The tub. I dropped it in the toilet and I didn’t know what to do with.”

“Put it down and wash your hands,” my husband said.

My stepson scurried back to the bathroom.

So it wasn’t a rat, but it really looked like one in the dark. Really it did.


I’ve been ignoring the blog recently. It’s not because I don’t love all of you and want to tell you every detail about incredibly fascinating life. It’s just been because I’ve been busy or preoccupied or cold. Enough excuses. Here are some pictures.

Yes I Can

When I woke up this morning I felt as cynical as ever. I stumbled sleepy-eyed into my stepson’s room to put his lunch in his book bag. “Obama won the election,” he said.

After bathing and putting on his school uniform, he’d gotten back into bed to take a quick nap before going to school. “Are you sure?” I asked. I thought he might’ve been dreaming.

It turns out that he wasn’t dreaming and now I feel like anything is possible.

When I mailed in my absentee ballot last month, my husband said, “Why are you bothering? They’re just going to throw it anyway?” This is proof positive that they counted my vote. Without my vote, he might’ve never gotten elected.

First Day of School

After five years of being home schooled my stepson started school today. He was nervous on the way there but seemed completely unaffected when he got home. He said he’s making a 1970′s style Ugandan military hat in his tech class. I’m not sure what tech class is but it obviously involves making hats. How techie!

Here he is in his uniform. This pictures was taken after school so that’s a look of releif on his face. Tomorrow is a special sex education day. That’s all the classes will be about for the whole day. Sex, sex, sex, that’s all they think about. What kind of school is this?!

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

Last week we noticed that my stepson seemed to be turning green. The front of his arms and his neck were a kind of greenish color. Since he has a habit of eating things he shouldn’t–once he chewed up a paintbrush handle–we were afraid he had some kind of poisoning. After freaking out about what kind of poisoning it might possibly be we sent him to bed. He said that he felt fine so it seemed like the natural thing to do. We thought we would take him to the doctor in the morning.

The next day he was still green. It hadn’t gotten any worse but he was definitely still green. After much consideration my husband told him to take a bath so that he could take him to see a doctor. When he was in the bath my husband said, “I have to find out what’s going on while he’s in the bath because it might be dirt.” Then my husband disappeared into the bathroom too.

I’m happy to report that it was dirt. We don’t have a shower in our place and my stepson seems to be more interested in splashing around in the tub than actually washing himself. I think he’s learned his lesson now, because he was quite worried about his greenness too.