We Are Considering Sideline Careers As Nature Guides

It has been well-established that I am not an outdoorsy girl.

Oh, I can dress the part, what with my fleece pullovers and functional-yet-appropriately-sassy khaki pants. Not to mention my Fundanas.TM

But even if I have on the right clothes, odds are that once I get in the actual outdoors, something will go horribly awry.

Like that time in 11th grade when my youth group went on a hayride and everyone was swinging out over a pond on a rope, and I wanted to be a good sport so I swung out over the pond, too, only my hands slipped and I fell into said pond and jammed all the fingers on my right hand.



Over the years I’ve learned to accept that I’m just more of an indoorsy girl. My idea of going on a nature hike is to look at pictures of a nature hike on my computer while I sit in an air conditioned Panera with a big mug of coffee (two Equals, heavy on the half & half) and a large piece of plate glass separating me from all the nature. Just as the Good Lord intended.


I mentioned last week that we spent the last couple of days of our Uganda trip at a lodge near Murchison Falls. The lodge was straight out of a Hemingway novel – perfectly lovely in every way – but I would be lying to you if I told you that I didn’t panic just a smidge when Shannon and I walked in our room and saw that it was “open air.”

Now here’s a lesson you can take with you for the rest of your earthly days, and you don’t even have to pay me for it: “open air” is some fancy travel agent talk for WE AIN’T GOT NO AIR CONDITIONERS, Y’ALL.

However, given what we’d recently seen in Kampala, I was able to quickly put the no air conditioner thing in perspective. Not to mention that I was on a once-in-a-lifetime trip with some of the best people I’ve ever met in my whole life. And so if the Lord wanted to use my time in Africa to rid me of any freon-related strongholds, then I was not going to get in His way.

As it turned out, the lodge’s electricity came from a generator, and they turned off the generator three times a day. For those of you who are keeping score at home, that means there were three times a day when the ceiling fans didn’t work because, funny thing, CEILING FANS REQUIRE POWER.

Honestly, I didn’t even notice the power outages during the daytime. We weren’t in our rooms a lot, and between the hiking and the ferry riding and the river exploring and the animal watching, there just wasn’t a lot of time to sit in the room and think about how you couldn’t turn on the TV if you wanted to, only OH WAIT, THERE WERE NO TV’S THERE, CLEARLY I WAS TRICKED INTO CAMPING.

The first night at the lodge we had an absolutely delightful dinner, and once Shannon and I got back to our room it dawned on us that the generator was going to turn off around 1 in the morning. Which meant that the ceiling fan would not be operating. Which meant that between the mosquito nets surrounding our beds and the lack of air circulation, there was no way we could possibly continue to breathe normally after 1AM.

After a considerable amount of deliberation, we decided to sleep with the sliding glass door open. In retrospect this was probably AN INCREDIBLY FOOLISH DECISION, but at the time we believed that leaving the door open was a stroke of brilliance because fresh air trumps no air at all. Every single time.

About fifteen minutes after we opened the door, Shannon sat up on her bed and said, “WHAT ABOUT THE MONKEYS?”

And I was all, “HUH?”


She made an excellent point.

Now in our defense, Shannon and I were both English majors at our respective colleges. And while I recall taking courses in transformational English grammar and Shakespearean poetry and whathaveyou, I was never required to take a course in How To Stop A Monkey Attack. I doubt that Shannon was, either. So we were both dealing with a pretty limited skill set in terms of How To Combat The Nature.

So we talked about some different solutions, and as we discussed those solutions – none of which, interestingly enough, involved sleeping with the door closed – I wandered into the bathroom so I could wash my face and brush my teeth. I kept thinking about what it would be like to wake up and see a real-live monkey on the other side of my mosquito net, and I decided that it would probably be a little alarming.

And I decided it would probably make me scream.


Now I can’t speak for Shannon, and I don’t know this for sure, but I’m fairly certain that she was having the same thoughts. Because when I walked out of the bathroom and looked at our open doorway, this is what I saw.


Internets, I give you Shannon’s Monkey Alarm (patent pending).

For the record, I nearly wet my pants when I saw it.

Because monkeys? They can jump. From one tree to another tree, even. And so the notion that our two foot tall chair WITH A BACKPACK AND WATER BOTTLE ON THE SEAT would serve as some sort of Monkey Deterrent made me laugh until I cried.

Shannon’s rationale was that if a monkey ran into the chair, the water bottle would fall and wake us up. And that made perfect sense to me because then we would have plenty of time to, I don’t know, SCREAM AT THE MONKEY?

Or to run and jump in the closet while we SCREAMED AT THE MONKEY?

Or – and this, I feel, is the most likely scenario – to try to hoist ourselves up to the ceiling using only our mosquito nets, all the while SCREAMING AT THE MONKEY?

But never let it be said that English majors don’t know how to improvise. Because I’ll have you know that before the night was over, Shannon had TOTALLY revised her original Monkey Alarm (patent pending) design.

She recognized that we needed something on top of the backpack that was a bit more hefty and stable than the bottle of water.

So she replaced the water with a bottle of sunscreen.

We found great comfort in that modification. And we slept the sleep of angels. Because NO WAY a monkey gets past a bottle of sunscreen, y’all.

I feel certain that any respectable English major would agree.

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  1. Oh, and I linked to this post from my blog. Have to give my reader something new to read beyond the diaper report!

  2. “The nature” and “would probably make me scream. FOREVER.” had me cracking up.

    Great story. Simply wonderful. I’m glad the monkey issue was resolved with minimal terror.

  3. Oh my word! Thankfully I had gone to the bathroom before reading this, but it did bring tears to my eyes because of all of the laughing I was doing. Thanks for the laughs!!

  4. I’ve got tears — I love it. English majors unite!

  5. so funny!


    I have had to become a bit more outdoorsy (see my blog). I believe that people have a misconception of us Mississippi girls, camping is just not in my DNA. But, I am learning to adjust and “bloom where I am planted”.

    Wet, muddy, tent camping Park Wife that would much rather be at a Bed & Breakfast!

  7. As my grandfather so wisely put it once, “My idea of rouging it is at the Holiday Inn.” Amen!

    I was so relieved to know that other people find comfort in things that make no sense. I cannot go to sleep unless my bedroom door is locked because if they break into the house, they won’t get into my bedroom. This is the same door that Luke can use the skinny part of any toy he has to lock or unlock. But robbers aren’t as smart as 3 year olds right?

  8. I would be much more concerned about bugs the size of a small dog, especially of the 8 leg variety. And I am thinking they would not be stopped by sunscreen or water.

  9. Oh, if only to have a been a fly…or mosquito…on your wall.

    You make me smile, Miss Sophie.

  10. lovedandamazed says:

    That is an amazing story! It felt good to laugh so hard this morning. :-D

  11. oh, I was crying, I was lughing so hard. And yes, I too almost wet my pants when I saw the monkey protection!!!!
    Oh my, what I wouldn’t give to have been a fly on the wall!!
    You just crack me up!

  12. Oh my word! Thank you, thank you for that big belly laugh I had this morning reading this! You made my day!

  13. Oh good heavens…this, I believe, is my favorite blog post by any blogger ever in the history of the world. I’m so laughing out loud!!!!!

  14. i… think… i… need… an… adult… diaper. I can not stop laughing and think that that was very well the funniest thing I have ever read in my ENTIRE life!!

  15. Laughed till I cried! Which I don’t typically do. Read it to my husband, and after he chucked a bit, he simply said, “Girls!” and walked away.

    While I laughed and cried a little bit more.

  16. Uh, sorry – that should be “he chuckLed a bit”…

  17. Jennifer says:

    THANK YOU!!! What a hoot that was and I so needed it today!!!


    I thought I had ruptured myself the other day on reading your blog about your hair- but this one takes the cake!

    I’ll never be the same again- I can assure you.

  19. I should really stop reading your blog at work seeing as I busted out laughing entirely too hard and I think I actually said “monkey” out loud. And I don’t work with monkeys so I got some random looks.

    HU-larious story!! Thanks for the laugh!!!

  20. I know I’ve probably said this before, but, it is worth saying again….

    You need a talk show. I have nothing to watch on TV and an hour of you a day would be like medicine for the soul!

  21. Forget about the monkeys. WHAT ABOUT THE LIONS?!?!? Don’t lions roam the African plains looking for people to eat? Wasn’t there a movie with Michael Douglas about a rogue lion that had a taste for human flesh? Yes, I’m sure of it. You should’ve been worried about the lions.

  22. I need that laugh today! You and Shannon are so funny!

  23. Being a former English teacher myself, I believe you are on to something. Kudos for stepping up to the plate! I guess I might have been a wee bit more concerned over bigger animals, say, lions?

  24. Girl, you’ve got me in stitches! Sitting at home on the couch, criss cross applesauce, in my nightgown (yes, I know its 12:35p), reading your post OUTLOUD to myself and laughing so hard my vision is blurry. It’s a good day!

  25. Merritt says:

    Almost as effective as tacks under a window to stop a band of thieves.

  26. Merritt – a band of monkey thieves. :)

  27. I can not stop laughing! I haven’t laughed this hard in a very long time. My kids are looking at me like I am crazy!

  28. Ok. That was just plain mean. I have the flu for crying out loud. And then I started laughing SO HARD that I wet MY pants and couldn’t stop coughing for 20 minutes. There should be a law against posts this hilarious.

    Not to mention that you two didn’t even think about the SNAKES or SPIDERS or LIZARDS.



  29. Christine says:

    Oh sweet heaven!! Absolutely hysterical!! I really shouldn’t sit at my desk in silent, chair shaking, tear inducing hysterics but there was no hope while reading that post!! Absolutely the most amusing post I have read in a very long while! Have fun at your wedding this weekend here in sunny SoCal! It’s a big wedding weekend for my family too (baby brother) so I’ll be thinking of you!

  30. TOO FUNNY!!! Almost woke up my 7 month old from her nap with my laughing!!

  31. I am laughing so hard I’m crying. Everyone in my office is looking at me as if to ask “Are you ok?” and I can’t stop laughing long enough to tell them what is so funny. They probably wouldn’t get it anyway. Thanks for the laugh!


  32. OMG! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a VERY VERY long time!

  33. Hilarious. I keep checking the comments to if Shaw-awn has read this.
    I think someone needs to tell Rick & Bubba about you so you can become a regular guest on their show. “Deep Thoughts with Sophie” has a nice ring to it, I think.

  34. I would turn around and run if I were that monkey.

  35. Hello,
    How crazy, I would have done the same thing. Your words paint a very funny pictures of a monkey trying to get past. I am so glad you had a great time and learned, saw, and experienced so much to remember and relate to us in grand fashion.

    Love and Hugs,
    Joyce from Creation in Progress

  36. You are hilarious!

    “And I was all, “HUH?””

    So, I had to read that line twice but oh, it was just perfect one I got it!!!


  37. Oh my goodness! That is one of the most funny things I have ever read on the internet. I laughed out loud until I cried. You two are quite a pair!

  38. Boo Mama, Not only are you funny but you have some very funny commenters. I wouldn’t normally read 136 comments. Actually, I will have to take a rain check on some of these. I do have (ahem) work to do. That’s if I can addictively stop reading them.

  39. I rarely laugh outloud while reading things, but I just did- over and over. Too funny!

  40. LOL! That was so funny! You poor things, I wished someone had asked, because there is only one species of monkey that is truly nocturnal and they are in South America…so the monkeys were asleep!

  41. I think I peed my pants a little! :0
    I can hear me now…
    “Did you hear the one about the chair, the backback, the sunscreen and the monkey?

  42. I am glad to finally “come over” to your blogworld and meet the “famous BooMama” I’ve heard and read about from the Living Proof Ministries blog…(bad run on sentence, sorry!!)

    You are as funny and delightful as you can be! GOD bless you for your uplifting encouragment and making people smile and/or laugh in this case!

    Absolutely priceless funny!!

    Blessings and Prayers,

  43. OMGoodness. I just about lost it on this one. You are sooooooo funny!!
    I leave for my mission trip to Honduras this Saturday, but I’m pretty sure I won’t have any Monkeys to deal with!

  44. You got a snort and a “no sound, no breathing” laugh. Which was followed by an eye roll from my 13 year old daughter.

  45. Yep…fool-proofed.

  46. Oh. Mah. Gah. Y’all crack me up! Seriously. Crying.

  47. Hmm. Good thing you didn’t think about rats.

  48. Okay, what’s so bad about this is when I first saw the picture without reading the rest of the post I thought, “did they think the monkey was thirsty and it would take the water and run?”

    But the alarm was a much better idea. :)

  49. That was ingenious!! Good thinking, girls! You guys are hillarious.

  50. Laughing hysterically while wiping tears from my cheeks. Oh Boo, you are HI-larious. And the patent pending monkey alarm is just about the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.

  51. AndiK (sadly blogless) says:

    Shannon’s Monkey Alarm (patent pending) makes perfect sense to me! But of course, this is from an English major whose idea of an effective Intruder Deterrent (of the human kind) involved an elaborate choreography of shoe-throwing and air-freshener-spraying…

  52. Lisa D. says:

    Ok, I am seriously wiping away tears and trying to laugh quietly to not wake up my children! I would have been right there with you, sister.

  53. Well, I’m just a respectable English MINOR, but I can say unequivocally that that is one of the funniest posts and pictures I’ve ever seen!

  54. You ladies are HILARIOUS. I cannot stop laughing.

    English majors ROCK!

  55. I’m not an out-doorsy girl either. One time camping I just knew the tree frogs would find their way in. Good thing I had benedryl. Didn’t matter, the darn tree frogs decided to “sing” us to sleep. Sleep, bah!

  56. AndiK’s comment…Ha-larious

  57. Laughed out loud the whole way through and sent a link to my hubby. Hilarious!

  58. Oh my word … I Lauhed so hard I almost wet myself. My man and the kids were thinkin’ I had gone off the deep end. I HAD to read it to the man and HE actually snorted when I showed him the pics. SNORTED!!! Surest sign of funny I know!
    Good times!

  59. You made me laugh… a lot.

  60. O. my. word! That is just too funny, how could you even sleep for laughing? Oh my…thank you for sharing.

  61. oh..oh..oh..This is SO Great! I made my husband read it. We are crying together! It’s even funnier the second time.

  62. If only i’d majored in English…..

  63. I haven’t even finished my coffee and I”m dying. TOO funny!
    You are a seriously gifted writer! Now I”m going to be thinking of the monkey prevention contraption all day!

  64. Catherine says:

    I’m having what is arguably the worst day at work in the last 30 years. But this made me laugh until I cried. (I may be wound a little tight, but even so …) A Boomama classic – thank you so much!

    (When is the book due out? Book?!? Oh, girl, WRITE A BOOK, already.)

  65. YOU.CRACK.ME.UP!!!! Tell Shnnon NOT to quite her day job before that patent is approved.

  66. Sorry, that should be Shannon.

  67. Good gracias alive. Too funny! Sat my five little people down, read it out loud, and we all just laughed literally out loud. Thanks for sharing!

  68. that is some literary brilliance right there, oh yes it is. I wonder what we Sociology majors would have done?

  69. You really didn’t have to worry at all, because I’ve heard monkeys are allergic to mosquito netting…

    Either way, the picture is truly worth 1000 words!

  70. I am never disappointed when I read this blog!

  71. Melissa S. says:

    This is so funny. And, I think I peed a little. :-)

  72. I’m laughing so hard I’m crying and my baby keeps asking me if I’m ok and looking at me like I am completely of my rocker! Then I was reading some of the comments and had to stop because some of them just add to it all and ooooohhhhh! Thank you!!!!

  73. My sides hurt from laughing. Thank you!

  74. I laughed until I cried! Then…I forwarded this to everyone I know. Tears are still streaming down my face, and I’m still chuckling!

  75. I love it! So much so that I had to link to it to read again when I need another good laugh:

  76. Okay first of all, I think you might just be the most famous person in the blogospere…I see your name EVERYWHERE and finally decided to see what all the fuss was about….and can I just say THANK YOU!!

    I loved this story. Funniest story ever hands down! Given the wee hour, I sat here with one hand over my mouth TRYING to muffle the hysterical laughter! At first mention of MONKEYS I literally shouted out “OH NO NOT MONKEYS!”

    You’d think I was watching a very intense movie. Reminds me of my FAVORITE scene from the movie “The Rundown.” Yes, they were “attacked” by monkeys and it was hysterical!

    Glad I finally decided to “visit” this famous blog! ;-)

  77. Now dear Boo… I am just gonna say it… I laughd myself silly reading this post. Though I could say that I would have been exactly the same. You needed one of those little battery powered fans from BROOKESTONE! And a whole box (as in shipping crate) of duracell batteries to avoid this trap again… or maybe you could just – uh – pray the monkeys away! But anyway, I once had to buy one of those battery powered fans because San Antonio in December is not cold at all but muggy and quite sweltering at its 70 or so degrees. I got one I could wear around my neck and A/C myself anytime I needed it – I swear I was going through the change early that weekend.


  78. It’s too bad that you didn’t get to test it on any real monkeys. Or maybe you did… and you just didn’t realize it.

    Yes, I am also an English major.

  79. Okay. Two things.
    I love some “heavy on the half and half” in my coffee too. I knew I liked you.


    I was an English major. I say ‘was’ because ‘am’ would be, well, a lie. I haven’t finished. I took a break to get married almost 6 years ago and well, long story short – we now have 3 under 5 and I’d much rather be home with them as long as I can.


    I gotta tell ya, as a woulda-been-English major I have great respect for y’all’s ability to improvise. Obviously that strong English background made all of the difference in your defense against all The Nature. And you know, since y’all weren’t attacked, I’d have to say that it worked. :)

  80. This is so freaking funny!!! I laughed so hard.

  81. No English Major here….but I just love it to pieces! I read you quite a bit…don’t comment much though…not because I don’t like to..but girl..you have way too much to keep up with! BTW…love the hair do from the hair wizard…and the ever wise Alex! What wisdom and insight for such a young tike! Look out BooMamagirl—you are in for some fun! Did he have fun (FUN) while you were Africa bound? I think so. (I say that only because I am now the grandmother of 6 tikes–5 of whom are boys….need I elaborate?)
    But, I do love your blog. So I have hit 3 blogs with this one comment! Yipee!
    AND—I look forward to meetin’ up with you at the SheSpeaks! My sister and I have registered and are settin’ on go!
    Be blessed!

  82. i read this at work & laughed out loud when i saw the picture. too funny. you know, i would think a bottle of water might be inviting to a monkey!

  83. Bless your heart, really. The sweating, the Fundanas TM, the mosquitos, the threat of monkeys attacking you while you sleep…all for Jesus. You are a better woman than I.

  84. Christina says:

    I’ve been reading for a little while now because I found your site through another friend of mine. I’m currently teaching in China but you remind me of home in Chattanooga.

    I am in the hospital for a few days because I had my appendix removed… and I think you just helped me bust my stitches out from laughing so hard!

  85. Okay, so I was re-reading your Monkey Alarm (patent pending) post because my husband, Jim, who posted a comment somewhere around 178 wanted me to see his comment. Here I am, nearly peeing myself, laughing my head off picturing y’all clambering up your mosquito nets while a monkey chases you. Of course, you’re screaming at the monkey. And now, I must go to bed. And likely dream of monkeys and sunscreen. :)

  86. Oh man…I am trying to control my laughing so my husband doesn’t think I’ve lost it!!! TOOOOO funny!!!

  87. This is truly one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. I laughed for days. Whenever I need a giggle I just think (and sometimes say out loud, truth be known) “SCREAM AT THE MONKEY!” and all is good.

  88. There should certainly be a disclaimer at the beginning of this post warning people not to have a mouth full of iced tea while reading! My computer screen would appreciate that from now on. ~wink~

    I am literally hoarse from laughter! Especially after calling up two friends and attempting to read it to them while laughing and spitting tea all over myself when they finally gave up, logged on and read it for themselves and then spit tea all over themselves, and well the lunacy and laughter continues.

  89. I am not an English major, nor have I ever been to Africa. However, that was the funniest story I have ever read! I’m surprised I didn’t get fired for laughing so hard. Yes, I know I shouldn’t read blogs while at work. But it is almost my lunch break.

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