Ask Jamie How Missionaries Do IT: Toilet floods and pissy neighbors! Calgon take me away…

Oh my gosh…I know, I know already! You’ve been just dying for the second installment of Ask Jamie How Missionaries Do IT. So has the girl with the latest question. Actually, I feel kinda bad, because I got this email, like, a month ago, and it’s one of those “I’m having the worst day of my life and I don’t know what to do!” kinds of questions, and I was totally gonna reply that day, but…I dunno,…I got busy and stuff, and then I just…like…forgot
So anyway, here’s the Very Worst Missionaries response to your disastrous emergency/highly distressed email. Hope it helps:

Dear J the VWM,
Okay – So what DOES one do when the downstairs toilet floods, the next door property owner comes and yells because my tree branch is hanging over his totally ugly, unoccupied property, 5 people yell at me during a totally free health clinic, my clothes on the line get SOAKED because the TORRENTIAL downpour of one of the worst storms this season, lose 3 hours of sleep because of said storm, husband is out of country, house invaded by a scorpion and multiple millipedes ALL IN ONE DAY?! anxiously awaiting your “sound advice” 🙂

Well Erin,
I’m glad you asked.

So, I hate to answer your question with a question (especially this late in the game!) but when you say “toilet floods”…um…what exactly are we talking about? I only ask because if it means that, like, clear tap water was overflowing from the the square tank-dealy in the back? Then, you know, no worries, throw down a couple of towels, grab a glass of wine, and call the land lord. You’re a missionary, you don’t have time to for this kind of crap.
If we’re talking about some other kind of “toilet flood”, I mean, if there are, like, turds motor boating around your coffee table? Then, you need to take action. Now! And there’s only one thing to do; Okay. Do you know how to make a Molotov Cocktail? Cause you’re going to need one. Yes. I am serious. There are some occasions – very few occasions – when it is simply better to just burn the whole house down and start over. I’m afraid this is one of them. Trust me…

The thing with the neighbor is a no brainer: “I no espeaky espanish.”
Who cares if you’ve talked to him in Spanish twice a week for a year. Believe me, when you start looking at him with wide eyes, saying “I no understando.” He’ll give up pretty quick.
This tactic should also work in your Med Clinic, but sometimes sick people can be all like…pushy. Ya know? So, if they continue to harass you after you’ve said loudly “You no needo medicino!” a bunch of times, give them each a handfull of laxatives and tell them they are “happy pills”. *Important note* Only do this IF the ingrates live down-sewer from the poo-geyser filling up your downstairs bathroom!

As for the rest of it, you need to RE-lax, girl! Calm down! You’re talking funny. Storms happen, husbands go places, and creepy sh*t is constantly squirming it’s way under our door frames, scrambling in through our windows, hiding in virtually every dark corner of our houses. We’re missionaries for God’s sake!…oh, ahem….I meeeant…We are missionaries, for the sake of God…
And, just between you and me, I totally feel your pain. I’ve had a few of those days myself, in fact. But the cool thing is, I have this friend, she’s a nurse who runs a free health clinic in Honduras, and she’s AMAZING! This girl knows how to handle her business. Once, while her husband was traveling, and in the middle of one mother of a storm, she managed to take care of like a million crazy things in one day, still cared for her patients at the clinic, still acted kindly toward her wanker of a neighbor, and also, I heard somewhere, that in all that chaos, she carved out some time for her beautiful daughter because it was just the two of them at home that week, and she wasn’t going to let a little thing like a lack of sleep or a fecal matter flood keep her from her mission. Pretty cool, huh.
So, while I hope this never happens again (especially the part about poop everywhere), you and I both know, it probably will. Yeah. That’s just the nature of the beast. I mean, I currently have some sort of scaly growth on the back of my head and I’m pretty sure it’s trying to burrow it’s way into my delicious brain, so, you know…this kind of stuff just….happens. But, I hope you’ll think of my friends example, and take heart, because she’s pretty inspirational, isn’t she? She’s basically a kick-ass missionary, and I want to be more like her. It’s funny, her name is Erin, too.

It’s incredible, isn’t it? How good I am at this? Like I’ve finally found my calling…

Happy Scorpion Smashing!

(um, for a while now, I’ve been thinking that VWM sounded like some kind of sexually transmitted disease, and I just now realized that that’s because IT IS!! VW. Jeez, how embarrassing! Here I thought I was being all freakin cutesy and instead I’ve managed to identify myself as the “Venereal Warts Missionary”. Awesome.)



  1. kathy on December 8, 2009 at 2:22 am

    Love your writing! Totally made my day! And the um…. at the end. Well, yeah, I was laughing with tears in my eyes.
    Love you and miss you so much!
    Your words soothe my soul.

  2. Missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras on December 8, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Ah yeah – you know – from the outside looking in – it DOES just look like a "normal day in the life of a missionary". As for the toilet – no turds floating, just the entire downstairs flooded – back of the tank kind of water – but on the weekend so "no landlord available" kind of day – so I became the plumber and had to replace the whole tank…sigh…and one of the scorpions found it's way under my shoe with a delightful crunch, and the trees got chopped to oblivion. And as I love your perspective on things – I think, okay, in this situation, what would VWW do?! (an no – not the venereal disease kind of VW) 🙂 – advice heard and loved 🙂 Thanks for the reply! And I'm not sure about kick a_ _, but I do give it a try 🙂 Love ya – miss ya – you going back for Christmas? I hear there is snow 🙂

  3. Anonymous on December 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Can't wait to see you at Christmas! Please bring a doctor's note, certifying that your crusty head-scum and venereal warts, and any other poverty-spawned diseases you may be hosting, are not contagious…I wouldn't want the dogs at risk…LOL

    Kudos for your excellent "advice" to your Honduran counterpart. Dad

  4. Jenna on December 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    personally i like the "sound advice" in quotes. that's great. 😀

    funny stuff, Jamie. keep it comin'. keep the masses entertained. and inspired. and runnin' for the bathroom cuz you made them pee their pants.

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