Something Stupendous: Zombie Quarantine that was Actually a Hospital Fire

Trapped in the empty ‘teach mothers how to breast feed’ area of the hospital during a fire is not a situation that I’d particularly recommend to anyone, but it’s still stupendous. My Hedgehog and I were visiting our jaundiced mother in the hospital and the three of us got ourselves locked into an obscure corner of the obstetrics wing. During a fire. A hospital fire. The hospital was on freaking fire and we were literally trapped by ourselves with no nurses or other people.

Just me, a giant teenage boy, a stony gall bladder yellow-coloured mother, an IV with only 30 minutes of battery left, and the world’s loudest alarm right above our heads. Seriously, this thing went off exactly every 2.6 seconds with the ferocity of the ninth doctor yelling at a Dalek.

We’d left the cheerful, people-filled section of the hospital for this secluded wing because my mom had 3 elderly roommates with various bowel conditions and no-one really wants to be around that for an extended period of time. Also, her room had no chairs. It’s not like the young healthy kids could ask the nice old man for the one chair in the room. So we’re peacefully sitting in these extremely uncomfortable chairs that are probably covered in spots of breast milk or something and listening to The Hedgehog tells us all about *gently* hitting one of his students in the head with a dodgeball.

The future educator of your children folks. To be fair, apparently the kid really really really wanted him to, which makes me wonder just how many dodgeballs this kid has taken to the head over his lifetime.

Also the mother is wearing two hospital gowns, one normal and one on backwards, and keeps nearly tripping over her IV tube – just to give you a proper mental image.

Fun fact: when a fire breaks out somewhere in the hospital all of the giant doors swing shut and lock automatically in a nightmare, the-zombies-are-coming scenario. Literally. One second you can go anywhere. The next a giant siren starts going off above your head, someone crackles through the intercom about a code red, and all the doors swing shut like you will never again be allowed to leave because you are all infected with the plague, congratulations and welcome to quarantine.

But still stupendous. First of all, how often do you really get to pretend you’re in a zombie movie? Not often. So that’s a point of favour right there. I was also reassured that it there had been zombies or intruders or a terrible plague of death or purple poka-dots then the hospital could effectively contain that jazz. If the giant hedgehog wasn’t going anywhere neither was anyone else, undead or otherwise.

I should also point out that as far as I can tell, there wasn’t actually a fire. Or at least not a large fire. So that’s great. You’re not allowed to use the elevator even after the alarm stops and door unlock so everybody is forced to be ultra healthy and use the stairs. This is good, hospitals should be promoting health and exercise. That’s like their mandate or whatever.

But finally and most stupendously, the mother, the hedgehog, and I have never been so chatty. I mean there’s not a lot else to do when you’re trapped in an empty tiny wing staring at diagrams of how to properly breastfeed. What are we going to do, read the breast feeding material? The mother’s been there, done that, and survived. Not really an issue for the male Hedgehog. And as for me, dear parsnips, are you trying to make me very very afraid of the future? I’ve got married friends and I’m barely acclimatized to that. Don’t throw tiny womb nuggets into the mix.

So we chatted about anything and everything. Hedgehog’s school. The Mother’s bile duct. My inability to properly paint plates. My strange ability to write 10 pages on the importance of door jambs to society. The Mother’s rotating roommates. Hedgehog’s dinner schedule for the next week. Literally everything.

And isn’t that always something stupendous when families get together and talk?

Stay stupendous.


Something Stupendous: It’s Raining Bits of Ceiling, Hallelujah!

Ceiling keeps raining on my head. Thankfully not big hunks of ceiling a la action movies, although I’m being cautiously optimistic that it’s not about to turn into full-blown tiles falling on my head. This is also more than your standard dust. This is the dust chunks that are being dislodged by the slightly grungy man playing with the pipes in the ceiling.

Guess who’s right under where he’s working. This kid.

I’m covered in a fine layer of dust and bits of that orange insulation stuff that my dad forbade me from ever touching as a child because he said it would be the itchiest thing ever even though it looked like cotton candy. I’m sorry dad. The sweaty man made them fall on me.

He just fixed a pipe using nothing but duct tape. I’m not sure how I feel about sitting under this.

Also my dust allergy is flaring up like I’m being viciously attached by the sandman.

Still, this is stupendous. Why? Well sneezing is always fun. I’m the kind who sneezes with the force of a mighty North Wind so it’s great for clearing the sinuses. Not to mention that I can trace little designs in the sea of dust particles that have coated my desk and can make pictures.

But most importantly. The ceiling dust is a sign of heat. Forthcoming, beautiful, blissful heat. Does the building have heat? Yupp. Does the office have heat? Yupp. Does my room have heat? Yupp. Does my particular corner of the room have heat?


The tiny portable heater and I have gotten well acquainted over the past few weeks. And I love it. We’re on good terms. But I too would like to bask in the glow of the giant central heating. And the ceiling bits landing on my head indicate that it is coming. Grunge man is fixing the problem.

Provided this duct tape thing really works.

So when it comes down it, I’m willing to dive into a non-lethal pool of ceiling bits if that’s what it takes to feel warm.

So ceiling bits, Keep falling. Just stay tiny. I can’t handle another concussion at work. I mean I work in an office. Once was embarrassing enough.

Stay stupendous.

Something Stupendous: Layer Poultry

Layer Poultry. This is the phrase that took me down a peg and made me grin at my own silliness. I went a hundred different places as to what this phrase could possibly be referring to, going as far to google it. Before circling back around and going ‘well duh silly, it’s exactly what it sounds like – layer poultry’.

This is stupendous. The places your mind goes before arriving on the logical conclusion. The genuine confusion that bubbled in my soul. It’s an exacting, specific descriptive term that is exactly what it sounds like but still promotes imagination. STUPENDOUS ON BOTH COUNTS. I love things that explicitly say what they are and I love things that promote imagination.

I didn’t know you could put them together.

Please enjoy the two minute journey that my brain just went on when confronted with the term ‘layer poultry’:

Layer poultry. Right. Is that a food processor? No idea. Well, what is layer poultry? Chickens. Definitely a chicken farmer. Why layers? Layer chickens. No way. This is some fancy kind of layered chicken dish? As in layers of different kinds of chicken meat – like a chicken turducken. Turducken for the middle class. Yes. I like it.

Except they’re farmers. If they weren’t farmers they wouldn’t be on this list. Farmers seem unlikely to be serving fancy layered chicken. Maybe it’s a farming practice, like it’s a way of keeping the chickens. Or growing the chickens – no, raising chickens, come on no-one says growing chickens.

MAYBE THEY STACK THE CHICKENS ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. Like an epic Tower of Chickens, Chicken jenga. Yes, they take all the chickens and stack them in a pile with all their little scary chicken feet standing on the feathered back of other chickens. Very Yertle the Turtle. It’s layers of chickens. Wait no, that’s a really dumb idea. Live chickens don’t seem horribly stackable. And what would be the purpose?

I can’t believe I just proposed a tower of chickens. Embarrassing. Sometimes I wonder about my mental state. Maybe layers of caged chickens. That’s at least stackable and believable in terms of saving space. You know, I could just Google it. Then I’d know.

Oh good. Guidelines on layer poultry. Exactly what I wanted to read today. Skim. Skim. Ah wait. No. It cannot be that simple. Embarrassment increases. Why didn’t I think of that. They’re chickens. OF COURSE that’s what it means. Eggs silly. Layer poultry. As opposed to meat poultry. Not layers of chickens. I can’t believe you spent 30 seconds believing that some farm was creating the leaning tower of poultry and a farmer spent his days stacking his chickens for no discernible purpose.


Personally, even aside from the stupendousness of layer poultry, I think that little brain trip would make layer poultry stupendous all on its own.

And in case you’re like me, layer poultry means raising chickens who will grow up to be layers. As in the chickens who lay eggs. Layer poultry = egg laying chickens.

I wasn’t the only one who missed that. Right? RIGHT?

Something Stupendous: And Suddenly… Beavers

Me: *bursts through the door into the house* MOM!

Mom [in another room probably having a heart attack because I am not a ‘burst through the door and shout’ kind of person but rather a ‘slink in the door and quietly traverse the two feet into my bedroom’ kind of person]: Archie?

~ As you may have noticed my name is not actually Archie. My mother is just fond of nicknames. As in she really never uses my real name even when friends are over which just gets mortifyingly embarrassing when she absently calls you Lulabell McFerdinand or something~

Me: Guess what I discovered at work today?

Mom: Something technical that you had to make sound pretty?

Me: *shouting across the house* BEAVERS!

Mom: *pauses then appears* There were beavers at work?

Me: No, not at work, in work. There were beavers in my work. Unexpectedly stupendous beavers. I got paid to write about dam-building, tail smacking, big toothed beavers. Do you know how often that happens? Someone just hands you beavers in the middle of your more technical mumbo jumbo and farm assessments?

Mom: *starts to mirror my enthusiasm* NOT OFTEN.

Me: NOT OFTEN! I genuinely lol’d. Big ol’ snort in the cubicle. Then I had to explain to my cubicle-mates the whole beaver situation. I can’t tell if they were chuckling at the beavers or my beaver enthusiasm or my weird snort noises.

Mom: *looks like ? *

Me: Laughed out loud, come on Mom. You keep telling me you’re hip. Be hip. Get with the lingo.

Mom: *subtle conversation change* It is almost Canada Day.

Me: Right! It’s a sign from the universe.

Mom: What sign?

Me: I don’t know, but it’s some kind of sign. Maybe the beaver overlords are coming. Maybe Canada will finally raise its beaver army, join its moose brethren and instill a state of politeness and maple syrup over the whole world. Look at that idea – we could achieve world peace with beavers.

Mom: Sometimes I worry about you.

Me: I know. But really the beavers weren’t even the best part – have you heard of beaver deceivers? Because I hadn’t. But they are essentially things that deceiver beavers. It RHYMES. Not only did I get unexpected beavers in the middle of a workday but I got rhyming beavers.

beaver deciever

Beaver deceivers are deceptively unbeaveresque

Mom: What are beaver deceivers?

Me: No clue. Some kind of beaver trap for when they annoy farmers. Apparently Manitoba hasn’t caught onto the beavers = world peace thing yet.

Mom: Sometimes I wonder how you got that job.

Me: Because I believe in my stupendousness! Also because they knew that I was the kind of girl who could a) handle both the tedious technical reports and the excitement of unexpected beavers and b) because I’m the kind of girl who actually gets excited by a spontaneous beaver interruption. That kind of enthusiasm is an immediate moral lift.

Mom: Unexpected beavers are stupendous?

Me: YOU BET! *pause* When’s dinner?

Mom: Guess.

Me: When Hedgehog gets home.

My life in a nutshell… I’m only slightly paraphrasing.