And A Pestilence of Feminine Hygiene Products Shall Rain Down Upon Their Heads

This weekend we wrangled all six bebes into our minivans and headed downtown for the obligatory Guests-In-Town-Must-See-Water visit to Pike Place Market and the pier in Seattle.

Shortly into the drive I noticed my cell phone was missing. Should we go back? Not by the peanut butter smears on their chinny chin chins! There was no way I was turning the wagon train around for something as unimportant as my main communication device.

A minute later I remembered I had forgotten my medicine. Not a chance I was going back for it.

About 10 minutes into the drive, I remembered that I’d forgotten to bring any female accoutrements to keep my visiting “Aunt Flo” in check. Hmmm… I was sure I could pick something up in a public restroom once we got downtown. We soldiered on.

So, it turns out that there is not a single tampon on the entire waterfront boardwalk in Seattle, not a pad, not a remotely sturdy Kleenex. Nada. From one end of the pier to the other I searched public restrooms. There aren’t many. The main women’s room had two stalls, one with a working toilet, one with a door. You could take your pick but neither had a tampon machine.

I went into restaurants that had signs proclaiming “Restrooms for Customers Only” and found that they were equally unequipped.

I asked my friends, their friends, store clerks from Ye Olde Curiosity Shop to Ivars, random women on the street. Nobody had ANYTHING. Well, I got some strange looks from a few people, people who I’m sure did have a tampon in their pocket but were put off by a panhandler with two children, walking like a penguin down the pier and offering to work for feminine hygiene products.

“I bet she’ll just sell them on the black market to buy Dr. Pepper. I bet those aren’t her real kids. She’s probably not even a woman,” I’m sure they were thinking as they clutched their purses and walked on.

Seriously. How much of an emergency must it have been for me to be approaching random strangers? Anyone female and possibly premenopausal was fair game but no one admitted to having anything. By the time we made it to the Aquarium, I was really desperate.

I walked in and asked a greeter to let me into the restrooms. I offered to pay admission if I needed to. The place was packed but she ushered me past the lines. She didn’t know if there was anything available in the restrooms. The restrooms were new. Today was the grand opening of the new facility. Sadly there was nothing. She took me to her supervisor and whispered something in her ear.

“Hmmm… I’m not sure. Maybe in the restroom of the Life on the Edge exhibit.”

What a fitting title. I was definitely on the edge of something.

“I’ll take anything,” I said. “I’ve been going up to random strangers on the street begging. I have no pride left.”

“Wait a second. I may have something here.” She pulled a small green package from her pocket.

AHHHH!!!! And I loved her and we have formed a lasting bond of friendship.

This year on the Fourth of July I plan on hiring a float. It will have dancers performing a Mia Michaels contemporary routine, kazoo players and on a platform in the center will be me — shooting feminine hygiene products like a hail storm from a rocket propelled launcher of some kind. “Accoutrements” will cover the ground in a way never before seen by the citizens of Seattle and they will weep, some with joy and some with embarrassment.

And I will be avenged.

Or maybe I’ll just start carrying extras in my glove box.

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50 Responses to And A Pestilence of Feminine Hygiene Products Shall Rain Down Upon Their Heads

  1. Jeana says:

    Oh, this is classic! Laughed all the way through. And the writing was good too–it just flowed beautifully.

  2. Jenny says:

    ok, you have me falling out of my chair laughing with this one. seriously.

  3. Heffalump says:

    You know if you drop some product names I bet some of those feminine hygiene people would ask you to be their spokesperson.
    I think you should have a bandolier like they use in those old western movies, only instead of bullets you could have a tampon in each leather loop.
    Or you could go the spy route and be a bit more subtle, a secret pocket sewn into your sleeve, the ankle of your pants or a secret holster in your boots (when you wear them). That way you will always be prepared not only to defend yourself, but defenseless unprepared women everywhere. I see a future superheroine in the making…but what to name you…hmmm…

  4. Theresa says:

    Now I have to clean the chocolate poptart off of my computer screen!! Hillarious!

  5. allysha says:

    hee, hee. You’ve got to love being a woman. These days my issue is with remembering to leave the house with nursing pads…

  6. marian says:

    Very funny and well-written. Look out Seattle!

    May I attest here, in front of God and everybody that, in a pinch, a whole bunch of T.P. rolled into a pad-shaped wad can work quite well and spare one the humiliation of begging on the street for accoutrements. (Too embarassed to approach my mother, who never addressed the subject, about such things, I actually got through high school with this tactic.)

    In the absence of those little sticky strips on the bottom of it, though, you’d better be sure that the undies are pulled snugly upward to hold it in place, lest it become dislodged and drift down one’s pant leg and out at the ankle in all of its glory. T.M.I.?? Well, as a public service, it had to be mentioned.

  7. jean knee says:

    Most will be grateful. The others being men, kids, and clowns.
    So as not to disappoint these others check out for fun projects and decorations. LOL

  8. Paige says:

    AMEN!!! Don’t those women carry spares in their purses? I must have prepared friends or something, because they are always good for a free tampon in an emergency. And I can’t WAIT to see the photos from your parade float!

  9. I bet Tampax sends you a product-endorsement offer. And can I just say that “walking like a penguin down the pier “…that had me snorting!

  10. Qtpies7 says:

    I must say, the waiting and waiting for you to write another post was well worth it! LOL
    I think the glovebox idea is a great idea, keep a whole box in there for spares and force yourself not to take it in the house because you are out, use one spare and then drive to the store for some more.
    (I tend to use my spares and not replace them, lol.)
    I have to be careful because I am allergic to many pads and toilette paper.

  11. Nantie Meg says:

    Carrying them in your glove box is boring. I say go with the float!

  12. Angela says:

    I would fly to Washington at great expense to see you and that float. This post is hilarious and of course, very well written. While I laughed a lot, the part I laughed the most at was “She’s probably not even a woman.”

  13. Awesome Mom says:

    This really hits close to home. I had to make my husband do a run from some products this weekend while we were at a family reunion. Why I spaced and forgot to bring anything who knows? The funny thing is that at the store he ran into one of his family members.

  14. Lisa says:

    I’ll be there, ready for your float with platic bag in hand! Free feminine products!! I am just the opposite-I tend to have ALL kinds in my little purse and I don’t mind giving them to those in need!

  15. Lyndsey Kate says:

    Oh, how many times have I been in your shoes! I am here to testify before God and all womankind that in a pinch a toilet paper tampon has had to suffice a time or two … The “no sticky on the back” issue resulted in a big crisis once, so I no longer trust that method.

    Can’t wait for your parade!

  16. Karen says:

    So stinkin’ funny.

    And I do keep them in my glovebox. And the diaper bag. And one in every purse in my closet. Which means that some of them are really, really old. But tampons don’t expire right?

    I totally would have given you some.

  17. californiazenmom says:

    Awesome post!!! Who would have thought one of Seattle’s main tourist attractions could be so woefully unstocked?!??

    I also testify before God and everybody else that when caught unawares at a party, the map with directions to the party will buy you at least enough time to make enough of a polite-party-appearance and then walk back home because your ride won’t leave the party that early.

    On a related topic, if your water breaks and your husband is concerned about the apholstery in his car en route to the hospital, hand-towels-as-pads work great — you just look a little…bunchy…walking down the halls of the hospital.

  18. Carrie says:

    As a downtown Seattle resident, I appreciate the heads up on the sad situation that we’re dealing with. I will never leave the house unprepared! Looking forward to your parade though. Brilliant idea!

    Seriously, not having to worry about these things is one of the few things I’ve really enjoyed about pregnancy.

  19. Kimberly says:

    You’ve outdone yourself, Kathryn. That was some brilliant writing!

  20. Melessa says:

    This reminds me of last year’s drive home from Girls’ Camp when I found myself in a similar situation. You would think a carload of teenaged girls would have been helpful, but alas…all that was produced from their bags was a cute little “tampax jr.” I took it, mother of four that I am, and prayed I didn’t sneeze on the drive home. I was better equipped this year, and didn’t need any of it. (Of course)

  21. bee says:

    Great story! I have to know, though, were you thinking “blog post” the whole time??

  22. Jill says:

    Thank you for the laugh. I needed it today. i agree with the previous comment that a large wad of toilet paper will do in a pinch. Makes you walk like you have a diaper on, but it will get you by.

  23. Jean says:

    How ironic that you post this. I was at a seminar today at a nice hotel and went to the bathroom and they had “free pads” for the display at the sink. I found it highly unusual they would give us ladies this convienence. free for the taking?! Sorry it wasn’t much help in your situation but I have been in that dire need,but never had the guts to panhandle one off the street. 🙂

  24. Candice says:

    I just have to say that was hilarious! You have a gift for writing for sure! Thanks for sharing such a humours story for kicks and giggles! I just discovered your blog the other day and really enjoy it:) I loved that video of your little girl dancing at Old Navy! My almost 2 year old boy was watching it with me and he started dancing too:) My home town is originally Olympia and I’ve been to Seattle lots so it is neat hearing old familiar places…miss it… I’m out on the Big Island now with my husband and 2 boys…we’re modern-day missionaries you could say. We’re are partnering with some friends from college and planting a church in Puna Hawaii. ANyways, just wanted to say hi and I enjoy your stuff!

    God bless!

  25. The whole accoutrement thing had me rolling! That word is too funny for some reason!

  26. Rachel says:

    know what my favorite part about this post is? that you aren’t afraid to write about something that our society tries to get us to be embarrassed about. GO YOU!

    should we fight against the machine? other societies celebrate menstration. (read about it here

    the parade will be a fabulous kick off to the rebellion.

  27. heather says:

    OMG- you really must have been desperate to be asking strange women on the street. You brave, brave women!!

    Every diaper bag I own is stocked with something. I used to have stuff in the glove box too, but it has been so long I don’t even know what is in there now!

    I smell a tampax endorsement!

  28. Eve says:

    a diaper might have worked in a pinch? What? You haven’t slept in a diaper on those “heavy flow” days?

  29. LOL, I don’t know what would I do in that situation XD Your post is very funny. thank you for sharing 🙂

  30. Lei says:

    Laughing very loudly at 1 a.m. will wake up your children!

  31. Lucy says:

    Girlfriend, please!!! This is definitely one of the best posts I’ve ever read. You just let those tampons fly and when I see you on Entertainment Tonight I’ll proudly exclaim, “I know her!”

  32. Stephanie says:

    That was so funny, I was laughing all the way through. I’ve been in the same boat before. I could never have put it into words the way you did. Thanks for making me laugh!

  33. Stephanie says:

    This post turned out great. Sorry I don’t currently “flow” or I would have given you one…

  34. Summeresque says:

    Perhaps the funniest blog post I have ever read! Thanks for the laugh.

  35. The Wiz says:

    Funniest. Post. Ever. I can’t BELIEVE there wasn’t a drugstore or something in downtown Seattle. Tourists forget stuff all the time. I smell a new business opportunity. The Daring Drugstore! It’ll make millions. Don’t worry about giving me a cut of your millions, just knowing you are always prepared is enough for me.

  36. Melissa says:

    HA! I would come to Seattle just to see your float … and to watch all the men turn pink… I had a friend in college that would come over to watch a couple of TV shows in the evenings. One night there seemed to be an overwhelming amount of feminine hygiene product commercials and he asked the question “Wouldn’t you be more concerened about having BLUE LIQUID come out of your body, rather than the amount the pad can hold?” So true…

  37. Shalee says:

    That’s almost as bad as no one telling you that your fly was down! And remind me to be your walking medicine cabinet when we walk together down the streets of Seattle some day. (You’ll be able to take me to Let’s make a deal, I’ll have so much crud with me.) And yes, I carry something with me at all times for just a time as this, whether it be for me or for some wandering soul like yourself.

    And I’m going to be a lemming and tell you that this was absolutely one of the best posts that I’ve ever read. You’re good, girl. You’re that good.

  38. Millie says:

    What, you forgot your “Where On Earth Are The Tampons” sign?

  39. jk2boys says:

    If I have my diaper bag I almost always have some and I have shared with at least 2-3 strangers in need (sorry this didn’t help you this time around).
    But I usually carry pads in my diaper bag for unexpected need (mine or others); they tend to stay cleaner, longer, in a diaper bag.
    I do, occasionally, also stock tampons, so some strangers are lucky enough to get a choice!
    Poor waddling DYM…
    Thanks for reminding me to stock my car.
    I have also been in need before (forgot to restock the diaper bag) but a friend happened to be there and she kindly shared.
    I feel for you….

  40. No waffle cones for DYM.
    No tampons for DYM.
    What in the world?!? I’d have driven to Seattle to save you.
    I love it how you kept remembering things you had forgotten.
    Classic 😀

  41. Bonnie says:

    Clearly you need to write a book! A almost needed a diaper whilst reading your entry. You will forevermore, or should i say “Always” have a faithful reader in me!! I truley mean it you can “Depend” on me . I hope your memory improves a tad and you can “stayfree” of these kinds of situations in the future. Good Luck and I hope your children are verry “OB” dient so you can get some much needed rest before you make the calls for your parade committee!! I’ll be there!

  42. I stumbled down to the kitchen this morning grouchy and sleepy. This post was a good remedy for that- HILARIOUS! Thanks for helping me start my day out on a better foot. I really enjoy your blog.

  43. Poppa2b says:

    I think my wife had the same problem last year, so I sort of started noticing corner stores, and drug stores around the water front. I’m suprised the ferry doc didn’t have any. But if you ever get stuck near the waterfront in need, walk up to 3rd and union. There is also a corner store on First south of the museum. What’s really needed is to send that float down to the waterfront.

  44. Tracy says:

    delurking to share that this is one of the funniest posts I’ve ever read and I had to share a link on my blog. Thanks for the MUCH needed laugh!

  45. Kristi says:

    Oh my! I love that story–that’s freakin hilarious. Your blog is great.

  46. Mummymac says:

    This has got to be one of the funnies posts I have ever read on a blog.

    Thanks to Shannon for sending us here (Rocks)


  47. Redneck Diva says:

    Once, a very embarrassed teenage worker in a Chuck E. Cheese asked me if I had, ya know….ahem….umm….anything she could um….ya know…..borrow….. I felt so sorry for her and fortunately I had something for her to, ya know, ahem, borrow.

    I always carry something in my purse after the time I planned on grabbing a pad at my mom’s, but after finding nothing and asking her where she’d hid them, she informed me that after her hysterectomy, she had no need for them anymore. I informed her that she still had two daughters of childbearing age and she said, “That’s what purses are for, my dear.” Walking around with a wad of toilet paper in my underoos was enough to keep me from being caught unprepared ever again!

  48. grammyelin says:

    Glove box??? What are you Canadian or something?

  49. Shelley S. says:

    I just happened upon your blog and I must say that I have not laughed this hard in quite some time. You are hilarious and have a serious gift of writing!! Thank you so much for the bright spot in my afternoon!!
    Shelley S.

  50. Margaret says:

    Are you SURE Seattle isn’t a 3rd world country??

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