BlogHer, Book Signings, Pooping, and Puking - My Weekend

Well, I am back from BlogHer and I am so freaking tired! But I feel good! There is nothing like being with like-minded people to recharge your battery. I feel energized and ready to get to work - right after I take a nap. 

This year the conference was held in Chicago and I had a ton of fun.

I arrived a day early so I could finally spend some time with Nikki at Moms Who Drink and Swear and my BlogHer roomie Robin O'Bryant from Robin's Chicks. I got to ride in the official MWDAS minivan when Nikki picked me up at the airport. Only a few people stared at us while we screamed and hugged for a little too long. Then we picked up Robin and Nikki proceeded to wine and dine us. Well, actually just wined and dined me while Robin watched. See Robin is on a super duper high impact diet (she looks fan-freaking-tastic by the way) and she's half way to her goal. She's in ketosis. (Which I'm not sure what that means except that it can give you really bad breath, so we had a code word that if she had bad breath I would say, "Robin, do you have a piece of gum?" and I'd wag my eyebrows really subtly so no one would know what I was talking about. I'm happy to report she's a good brusher and I never had to do that once.) Anyways, this ketosis thing is serious and if she cheats even ONCE her body will revolt and she will be back to square one. Of course she has absolutely no desire to do that, so instead she huffed everyone's food all week. 

Have you ever lived with someone who can't eat or drink anything except protein shakes and chicken broth? It is the guiltiest feeling in the world to shove food down your gullet while your friend sits there with her ice water and swears “I'm fi-aaahhhh-nnnnn, ya'll!” (that's my written impression of Robin's Mississippi accent). That girl was a rock. She has a steel will like none I've ever seen. I, on the other hand, felt I needed to eat for two since Robin wasn't consuming.

Besides rooming together, Robin and I also put together a session on self publishing. We were joined by Lela Davidson. We had a great turnout and I think people learned something. We only had 45 minutes, but with the three of us talking, we could have gone on all day!

It was so cool to meet so many of the bloggers who I read. I got to laugh like a hyena the whole time. I would like to apologize to anyone who I spit drinks, food, and just general spittle upon. I think every meal I ate was a choking hazard, because every single time I found myself laughing so hard I almost died - literally from that chunk stuck in my throat. I also got to reconnect with old friends I made last year. I think one of my favorites is Leslie AKA The Bearded Iris. She is funny online, but in person she is hysterical. Anyone who greets people, "Get over here and hug me, you hooker clown" is good people. Meanwhile, "hooker clown" is totally going into my repertoire now.

The highlight of the weekend was the book signing for I Just Want to Pee Alone. A couple of months ago, we realized there would be 14 contributors at BlogHer and so the ridiculously organized powerhouse that is Kim Bongiorno flew into action. With her help and her constant - oops, I mean timely - reminders we were able to get it done. (Seriously, it probably would not have happened without Kim keeping me on task. Thank you, Kim.) Lucky for us, Kim's in-laws own a restaurant within walking distance of the hotel where we were staying. Guess what the restaurant was called? Yup. Bongiorno's. (Chicago people, if you need some delicious food and you want to meet the most adorable family ever, please go see them and bring your stretchy pants.) We took over their outdoor patio space along the waterfront and had a book signing and reading under the stars! It was bananas. We had a ton of people show up (thank goodness or else we would have looked really stupid sitting there) and it was so cool to meet everyone. If you came Friday night: Thank you, thank you, thank you! It meant so much to all of us.
Nicole Shaw Leigh entertaining the crowd. (Photo source: Insane in the Mom-Brain)
We had a few people who read their pieces to the crowd. I wasn't going to read, but then I had a funny little story that happened to me and I could tell that. Wanna hear it? 

OK, twist my arm. Here we go:

On Thursday morning the conference hadn't started yet and we had some time to kill, so Robin and I headed over to Nordstrom Rack to see if we could find some deals. When we got to the store we split up and started shopping. We'd occasionally text one another to say where we were. Robin would text: "I'm in shoes. Flip flops are a steal. Come over here!" and I'd text back, "Are there any Crocs?" (there were, by the way, but I resisted buying another pair). After a while, I realized I needed to use the facilities, so I texted Robin, "Heading to the bathroom." 

She has told me since that when that text came in, she had a feeling of dread creep up on her and she almost texted me a warning, but then changed her mind. 

I headed into the Ladies' Room and I saw three stalls. The first one was clearly occupied as I could see a skirt in a pile on the floor and bare feet. I hesitated for a moment wondering if someone was stealing clothes, but at that point, I didn't have time to worry. I've had two kids and as I get older I don't have much time between "Gee, I need to pee" and "Oh crap, I'm going to pee my pants." I was doing the dance, because I was at the pants peeing stage and I really couldn't stop and worry about shoplifters. 

I quickly jumped into the second stall with only a second or two to spare and relieved myself. As I sat there contemplating what I could do to achieve world peace, I heard a thunk in the stall next to me and I saw a pair of panties hit the floor. I realized then I wasn't dealing with a shoplifter. 

It was immediately clear that the woman beside me had pooped her pants. 

Now, I had a dilemma at this point. I was still mid-stream, so there wasn't much I could do immediately, except think about her delicate situation. Just moments before I myself had a near miss and could easily understand how this could happen. I felt bad for her. 

Should I acknowledge her problem and offer to help? I could run out and buy her a clean pair of panties. But would she want a stranger to help her? Or would that be more embarrassing? Should I just ignore and pretend I didn't see her soiled undies casually tossed inches from my feet? I was confused.

I was just finishing my business when I decided I would offer to get her some clean underwear. I was getting myself put back together when suddenly the bathroom door banged open and someone ran into the third stall (the one on the other side of me) and began to hurl her guts into the bowl.

Are you kidding me?? One chick shitting her pants and the other barfing her lungs out? 

I was done. I was out. I couldn't get involved. A pooper and a puker?? I am not a nice person. I can barely help my kids when they have accidents. I can go and buy a pair of clean panties for someone and toss them over the door, but I can't hold a strangers hair and help hit the mark. I can't offer to help one and leave the other.

No. No. No. I just want to pee alone!

I quickly buttoned my pants and ran out of the bathroom (nope, I didn't even stick around to wash my hands - that's how serious I was about getting away). I practically collided into a Nordstrom Rack employee. "Is everything OK?" she asked.

"No," I replied. "I think someone could use some help in the bathroom."

Sorry, Nordstrom girl, but I've done my part. 


The Shitastrophy said...

Loved the book signing - highlight of the conference. Was glad I am not the only one with Shitastrophy's.

Sue said...

Jen, your bathroom experience sounds awful, but it could have been a lot worse. You could have gotten there AFTER the puker got there.

slg said...

I am thrilled beyond words that I cannot in fact top this story. Thrilled!

Jana said...


Erodgreg said...

Never, ever, ever read this blog at work. I trying to make it look like I'm not goofing off and instead I look like a quivering idiot because I'm trying to suppress a belly-laugh. I thought this kind of crap (pun intended) only happened to me.

Periwinkle Paisley said...

Don't feel bad, Jen. An office where I used to work shared a bathroom with a podiatrist's office and every patient the guy had was 80 years old or older. One morning I went in to use the facilities and I was just about knocked flat by the overwhelming stench of shit. Not the oh-dang-the-person-before-me-must've-forgot-to-flush kind of stench. It was a holy-shit(literally)what-the-hell-has-died-in-here, eye watering, gag inducing wall of stench. One of the podiatrists elderly patients had blown out her Depends and was attempting to wipe up (unsuccessfully smearing it everywhere) using every last paper towel in the room. While I did feel bad for her self preservation kicked in and I just backed away. You win though, a puker plus a pooper beats an exploding old lady.
Oh, and when I went back in to my office I told my coworkers NOT to go in there and why. My least favorite coworker admonished me for being "un Christian" and not helping the lady. Such a fine upstanding Christian girl would have then gone and assisted this poor woman herself to show selfish cold hearted bitches like myself how to act, right? Wrong. I didn't see her phony ass running anywhere to help anyone. Yeah. Some things are just best done alone and cleaning up your own shit is one of them. You did the right thing :D

RachRiot said...

Is it awful that I hope these unfortunate souls were fellow bloggers in town for BlogHer? Soon we can read their stories about the bitch in the third stall that wouldn't assist them in their time of need! FULL CIRCLE MOMENT.

Julie said...

Dying. I almost wish I could say, "That was me, you asshole, why didn't you buy me some Stanger Danger Underoos?" But alas, I can't. I'm so glad I mistook you for my roomie at the People's Party! Next year, I'm going in for the spooning.

Jaguwar said...

LOL That's a great made-up word, love it!

Bibby said...

Shit, that's funny as fuck!

Heather said...

I almost peed myself at the reading while you were sharing this with us. But, I wanted to pee alone so I crossed my legs and held it ;) I laughed again reading it! I would have done the same thing; not sticking around for that. Sorry, not sorry! lol

Leigh Ann said...

Oh, man. That poor woman.

I've gotten Blogher envy before, but this was the first year I felt I really needed to be there and wasn't. Next year!

Jamie Miles said...

The puker probably saved the pooper from embarrassment. If you had offered to get her new underwear. Maybe there was some mean bug making the rounds at Nordstrom's. You escaped just in time. Great story and recap.

Kim Bongiorno at Let Me Start By Saying said...

I had so much fun this weekend, and the signing was so energizing, I can't come down from that high. Even that time you made me choke and almost die? Still fantastic.
You make me shmoopy, near-death experiences, shit stories and all. xo

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that laugh.
Maybe someday I'll run into you at Blogher (when I get enough guts to go) and I'll make a fool of myself for your entertainment.

Jessica, Science of Parenthood said...

I was thinking the same thing! I mean, 5,000 women and a Nordstrom's Rack? What are the odds it's WASN'T one of us?

Cheryl B. said...

It was probably Robin who developed an eating disorder trying to stay in ketosis. Sorry I couldn't resist.

I work in an assisted living facility with the elderly, and while I am an admnistrator I have had to help out caregivers and have helped clean people up. Something I swore in my younger days I could never do. Now it doesn't faze me.

In fact my 84-year-old mother was over for dinner the other night and came out of the bathroom asking for a plastic bag. She whispered she had "an accident" and was not wearing any underwear. I went and got her a pair of my granny pants and she confessed she had "too many prunes". Oh dear it might be time to buy my mother some Depends.

Carrie - said...

A pooper and a puker??

My life is now complete. Oh, dear Lord....IT IS COMPLETE!

I would have died. On the spot. Actually on the can, but you get what I'm saying.

But what hysterical memories!!!

Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms said...

The book signing was really a lovely, energizing event. Every time I saw you was like a moment of sunshine and joy, and now I'm cracking up because you attracted a pooper and a puker. I have never even experienced that in college. They need to screen at the door at Nordstrom Rack or something. Let's call it a Bouncer for Bowel Irregularities.

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh, that's crazy awful! That's like one in a million chance of that happening, unless you're in a college bar at 1am. Crazy. I'm still kicking myself for missing your self-publishing session, but am so grateful that you stopped to share your wisdom with us in the hallway. Thanks again!!!

Unknown said...

The bathroom story killed me! NOOOOOO! That one will haunt my nightmares for years to come.
I loved meeting you and fought the urge to squeeze you! Big love, Punchy.

Sandra Sallin said...

OMG, You are hysterical. I found you through Kate. I'm eating breakfast and cannot stop laughing.
So sorry we didn't meet. Next year.

Sandra Sallin

Anonymous said...

Oh sweet Jesus! How did I miss this earlier!!! I am DYING OVER HERE. First, your description of Robin is priceless. I love the Mississippi speak and the breath-code! Wish I had gotten to spend more time with both of you. Next, I think I would have actually passed out in the stall if I heard a THUNK and realized it was someone's full panties on the floor next to me. You are a better woman than I for even thinking about helping that woman. What up Chicago with the pooping and the puking?! Thanks for the shout-out too! I have to give credit where credit is due, it was actually Keesha @MomsNewStage who introduced me to the delightful phrase "Hooker Clown." That woman is a hoot! Love you, Jen. I hope you get to pee alone one of these days!

Unknown said...

You're hilarious! "One chick shitting her pants and the other barfing her lungs out?" Too funny!

Unknown said...

Women don't poop- they have Bowel Movements- Jeeez.

One Shameless Mama said...

Laughing so hard I'm crying!!! Haven't laughed this hard in a LONG time, thank you SO much for sharing!!!!! :) :) :)

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