My Other Blog

What's a Wreck?

A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate - you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it's simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I'm not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.

Now, don't you have a photo you want to send me? ;)

- Jen

The Day the Tour Stood Still

Hindsight being 20/20 and all, I suppose John's blood-curdling yell at 8AM should have tipped me off that our day in Dallas was going to be a wee bit difficult.

As it was, when I skidded into the hotel bathroom, still half-asleep, and saw the golf ball-sized lump on John's forehead, I was hoping it was merely a flesh wound. (Heh.) The irony, of course, is that it was merely a flesh wound, and would soon be the least of our worries.

Since John was laid out on the bathroom floor, my first order of business was making sure he was conscious (and would stay so), ordering a car to get us to the hospital, and getting us both decently clothed - in that order. In addition to the head wound, John was beyond miserable with what we thought was the flu, so the walk-in clinic we first went to turned us away (none too nicely, I might add), since they couldn't tell if his symptoms were from the flu or the head bonk. So, we called another cab, and waited. The clinic doctor came out and threatened to call an ambulance if we didn't leave quickly, or if John closed his eyes for too long, so it was a long, tense wait. (John was alert enough that we didn't think an ambulance was necessary, but we both had only had a few hours of sleep that night, so he kept trying to put his head down.)

Skipping past a few hours of tedious misery: John was laid out in the ER and on an IV. His head seemed Ok, and the flu test came back negative, so they planned to get just one more bag of fluids in him and then release him. It was getting late, though, so I had to head back to the hotel to get ready for the show. I figured I'd do it solo, and then meet up with John afterward at the hotel.

I should mention that at this point I thought the show at Legacy Books started at 3. It did not; it started at 2. Yeeeah. (Thanks, Amy, for that phone call. And sorry 'bout the screeching.)

I arrived at 1:50 to a lovely crowd of cake-hungry Wreckies:

However, thanks to a host of technical difficulties, all the store's horses and all the store's men could not get my slide show together again. (Not for lack of trying, mind you. Kyle & Jeremy, you guys are awesome.) I really would be doing the show solo: no slides, no John, and not even a mic, at first. Heh.

But here's the crazy thing: it was a great event. Seriously. The crowd was so enthusiastic, and so happy to be there, that I think we all had a fabulous time. It didn't hurt that we had a gorgeous cake on hand, courtesy of Bronwen Weber's Frosted Art Bakery:

Mmmm. Chocolate.

(The three lovely ladies you see here are students at a local pastry school. Since Bronwen was at a cake show, they generously volunteered to help serve.)

Plano really turned on the Southern charm for me. Check out these girls' shirts:

Some even brought gifts, like this gorgeous apron Brooke W. made for me:

Isn't it cute?
(This is Brooke's photo, not mine. I only wish I had a Lucille Ball dress like that.)

And we can't forget our cupcake Wreckplica winners!

From left to right: Kayla, Nicole, & Christy

Here are their entries:

It's Snappy! Haven't seen him in forever.

She even added the rose petals. Awesome.

Fondant censor bars FTW!

When I was about three quarters of the way through the signing line, I found out that John was not only still in the hospital, but that he also had pneumonia. I'm glad I didn't know the whole truth yet (no one did): that in addition to his lungs being filled with fluid, he was also in shock and had a bacterial infection raging through his blood stream.

John was in critical condition for the next two days, and we are still finding out all the many and colorful ways he could have lost limbs or even his life had the infection taken a nasty turn - or if he hadn't been admitted when he was. Yep, all told, we are very happy he bonked the bejeepers out of his noggin.

So that's the story, my dear Wreckies. Well, not completely: I could go on about my fractured emotional state, the tears, the worry, the hotel that locked me out of my room that first night when I was trying so desperately to get to John, the kind nurses who still let me in when I got there late, the fact that John was calling hotels from his bed in ICU to get me into a better & closer hotel, the cab driver who spread the word about us, so that I had other drivers telling me they were praying for John, the ICU food staff who brought extra meals when I hadn't eaten all day, my amazing contacts at Andrews McMeel (Kathy & Amy) who repeatedly told me not to worry about the tour, but to take care of John...yeah, I could go on about all of that.

Or, better yet, I could go on about all of you. The e-mails, the stories, the jokes, the offers of help: you Wreckies made us laugh and cry by turns, but most of all you made us feel like we had one big, snarky family pulling for us. If you'll forgive the gushiness for a moment - I promise we'll get back to poo jokes soon - please know that John and I will always be indebted to you for your kindness these past few days. You've shown us that you are not just our readers, you are our friends. I only hope we can thank each of you personally someday.

Today John is out of the hospital (wahoo!!) and recuperating in our hotel here in Dallas. We're still figuring out what's going to happen from here, and when we'll get to go home, but I believe a rescheduling of the missed events is in the works. So stay tuned. In the meantime, I'll do my best to keep the Wreckage coming. ;)

Thanks to Brooke W., Katie T., and David H. for letting me use/steal some of their photos.

« I'll Have Whatever They're Having | Main | "World" Tour Wrap-Up: Chicago »

Reader Comments (347)

I'm so glad that all is well, now! Now you can take a deep breath, and then take some time to put your lives back in order...

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlori

WHAT AN ORDEAL! Happy to hear you are both recovering and well. Best Luck on the book sales and any further tours! Please, grab your poison pen and inform the Medical Board and anyone else you can think of about the treatment by the clinic staff. That is uncalled for! I am going to buy your book to help with the hospital bills, okay?

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBelle

Amazing show of support from strangers- i love how the taxi drivers rallied for you!
Best wishes for a speedy recovery-d;)

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdenise:)

YAY!!!!! So glad to hear you're both feeling better! John, you'd better listen to Jen and the doctors and rest up so you can get all the way better. :) Love the blog - I read it every day, and look back through the wrecks when I need a little stress relief and some laughs!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

I'm so glad John's recuperating. And I'm so sorry you saw some of the worst of Dallas. :(

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

the cab driver who spread the word about us, so that I had other drivers telling me they were praying for John,

Awww, that is just about one of the sweetest things I've heard in a while! People don't suck sometimes!

Glad to hear he is doing better!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrandy

I am so glad John is getting better. I am sending good vibes and strength to the both of you.

(May I add, I am beyond impresssed that you are still posting! I would be curled in a ball under the bed by now!!)

Take it easy, and come back snarking!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessieD

So glad he doing better, and you guys just take it easy and get John well! Austin is waiting, and we'll wait as long as necessary. :)

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbowlwoman


Your sweet message made me cry. I am SUPER happy you both are on the up and up! Please visit Boston sometime.


October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Are there any cupcake wrecks?

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I am so happy you are better guys!!! I just found out about the whole thing and I wish John fast and complete recovery!
Keeping fingers crossed for the world tour!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

YEAH! No more hospital! What a blessing to be bonked on the head. Take care of yourselves, first...we don't want to hear John had a relapse! Isn't it amazing how a crisis can make you realize just how good people can be! Will keep you in my prayers!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKCSB

YEAH! No more hospital! What a blessing to be bonked on the head. Take care of yourselves, first...we don't want to hear John had a relapse! Isn't it amazing how a crisis can make you realize just how good people can be! Will keep you in my prayers!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKCSB

Whenever I hear about Americans getting ill it makes me worry as you don't have the advantage of the brilliant (almost free) healthcare system we have here in the UK, and I worry about insurance companies trying to weasel out of paying for healthcare.

Best wishes and hope for a speedy, cost-free recovery.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Wow...glad to hear you guys are on the road to recovery. Who'd have ever thought a whack on the head would wind up being lucky? Here's hoping any further wreckiness will be strictly confined to the cakes!

That chocolate one you posted a pic of is awesome, BTW...almost too pretty to eat, except for the fact that I can't resist chocolate!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthecatsmeow

That apron is to die for.

I'm glad John is out of the hospital. I hope his recovery involves cake.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfeathergirl

I've been reading your blog for about a year now, bought the tshirt and book and have told everyone I know about your site and what you do to brighten my days (even to suggest your site as a topic for an English essay on online communities), but this is the first time I've felt compelled to comment.

I was so upset to hear that John's health was so endangered, and that Jen was dealing with her own battles (with sickness and everything else). I've been praying nonstop for the both of you and that you are able to reschedule your tour.

You don't know how much your blog means to me, and hearing that you are not 100% well worries me as badly as if one of my best friends had fallen ill.

Take care, God bless, and get rest and recuperate!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Glad John's been sprung! Sorry the weather isn't cooperating - this is VERY unlike October in Dallas, really truly. And once again - FEEL BETTER!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrigette

So good to hear that things are looking up. Lots of love and prayers to you and your family!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Jen, my husband has a nasty cough (what we all called "the croup" growing up...expect it's related to la grippe and maybe the vapors). In addition, we went through a series of tragic losses in his family very recently, and I'm here to put forth the notion that there are few things worse than seeing the man you love in severe physical or emotional pain. I'm glad John's getting better, and that you're able to spend time hanging out with him and just enjoying being around him. I read in your book liner that you guys have 2 cats...we're big time cat people, and I know our kitties are sending out well-wishes to you guys, too. Well, Angus is just sitting on the couch asleep and drooling, but I'm sure he sends his love.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhalf-bakedcake

glad john is out of the hospital! i'm so sorry you both had to go through all that scariness! i hope you get back home soon!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermegan

I'm a relatively new reader and LOVE your site. Being in a Baking program adds a certain something to it as well. Anyways, I'm so glad to hear that things are going better for both of you.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndra O

My goodness! The whole story really drives the point home! You two went through quite an ordeal, and I am so glad you weathered the storm! Proof of how tough you are, I say! Rest and heal, the both of you! You've earned it!

The Kirbys dance for your continued recovery!

<(^.^<) (>^.^)> <(^.^<) (>^.^)>

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBunny

I'm so glad that John is doing so much better. *hugs* to both of you.
I love your blog, it always brings a smile to my face, so thank you for all the effort you put in.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Happy to hear that John is on the mend! :D

Thank you for making my day a little bit brighter with your wit and awesomeness.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMollieJoy

I understand the desire to thank us all personally, I do, but it's really not necessary. John's good health is thanks enough (cheesy but true.)

And anyway, no matter what kind of day we're having, we know all we have to do to feel a little better is click on over to Cake Wrecks. You've helped all of us through hard times, whether it's the death of a relative or not having the money to pay the electric.

So you're welcome, I suppose, if that's what you want to hear... But most of us, and I think I'm speaking accurately here, feel indebted to YOU guys still.

I guess that's what friendship is, though. Saying thank you when the other person feels they're the one that should be grateful.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSparky

Glad John is doing better!!!!! Hope you're okay too! Good luck!!!! :)

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

I am so glad that John is on the mend! I read cakewrecks every day, but I began obsessivly checking the site once you said that he had a staph infection and was getting worse. I had an extremely rare and vicious staph infection when I was 5 and thanks to the amazing doctors, nurses, family, friends, and God, I survived and only lost my left leg. Those infections can be terrible and tear though the body before you know it. So although I have never met you or John (even though I feel like I have), I found myself seriously concerned about him. I can now breathe a sigh of relief as I'm sure y'all are!

p.s. I hope to see y'all on your next tour! I'm in between your extended Dallas stop and Austin in Houston (4th largest city!). I'll be the one waving as you pass by

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel J

So glad to hear he is feeling better! I think after all of this you both deserve a vacation. I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say that we would endure a short Cake Wrecks hiatus if it meant that the two of you could rest and recuperate safely! You've both brought smiles to our faces and laughter on a hard day many times over, such great people should be praised!

-Humi, a loyal reader in Virginia

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHumi

That does sound like a blessing in disguise--glad everything is getting better now! (just be sure to finish the antibacterial regimen) that's some serious stuff :)

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermariethea

Oh my goodness! What a slew of crazy events! So glad things are settling down now & John is on the mend.

how is it that a post about so much serious stuff still has humor to it? You really are talented Jen.
take care!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAly

One of my all-time favorite jokes:

A bear walks into a bar in Billings, Montana and sits down. He bangs on the bar with his paw and demands a beer
The bartender approaches and says, "We don't serve beer to bears in bars in Billings.
The bear, becoming angry, demands again that he be served a beer.
The bartender tells him again, more forcefully, "we don't serve beer to belligerent bears in bars in Billings."
The bear, Very angry now says, 'If you don't serve me a beer right now, I'm going to eat that lady sitting at the end of the bar.'
The bartender says, 'Sorry we don't serve beer to belligerent, bully bears in bars in Billings.'
The bear goes to the end of the bar and, as promised, eats the woman. He comes back to his seat and again demands a beer.
The bartender states, 'Sorry, but we especially don't serve beer to belligerent, bully bears in bars in Billings who are on drugs."
The bear looks at him Quizzically and says,
'I'm not on drugs
The bartender says
You are now.
That was a barbitchyouate"!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

It does not sound quite right to say that I am so happy that John hit his head...but I surely am!

Thank you for the update. We've never met but my heart was aching for both of you as sure as if we were neighbors. I am so relieved to hear the good news.


October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh, my, word! What a story! I'm all misty-eyed. Thanks for filling us all in. I'm glad things are all right now.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCookieMonster

God bless you, Jen & John.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMandy

Wow. What a wild ride. I'm so happy to hear that things are looking up. You and John keep taking good care of each other :-)


October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Glad things are taking a turn for the better! Sending loads and loads of hugs and warm fuzzies your way! :)
-side note- when you start planning your next tour... which of course will have to happen because you're just too cool! ... I really would be okay if Utah were on the list... :)
Again... virtual hugs for you!!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

John, your guardian angel must read your blog to have picked up on that same sense of humor. Heh. "Whistling 'How Great Thou Art'" after bonking your head like that.

SO glad to hear you're doing so well. And wow on the cabdrivers, Jen. Many, many prayers were and are still being said for you both, including mine.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlisonH

Thanks for updating us in today's post. My entire family has been thinking of you and wishing you well. I am so happy to hear that John is out of the hospital. But take it easy - give yourself time to really recover.
Hey, when you reschedule your book tour please consider adding Philadelphia to the list.
- Shannon

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

So I'm sitting in my Editing class tonight, browsing CW (I'm a long-time lurker, and it's a slow class). And I look up as my prof says "and here is why you need to know proper grammar" -

It a Gril.

Ten slides of Cake Wrecks followed. He got all the really glorious ones - Falker Satherhood, Under Neat That, the computer-printed nightmare, the Weeding cake. Your influence is further-reaching than I'd ever imagined...

Keep up the good work, and I'm glad you guys are both feeling better!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPip

So thankful to hear that John's out of the hospital and recovering nicely. God is good.
Thanks for all the laughter, sometimes to the brink of falling out of my chair, and joy that you bring into my days. I love your blog, and sure do wish you could have made it to the Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio area on your tour.
Your book is great! I read it cover to cover in about an hour yesterday.

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I'm so glad John is doing better! You guys take care!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVLM

I am so glad to hear John is feeling better! Reading your blog is one of the bright spots in my day! My kids beg me to "go to Cake Wrecks" on a daily basis for them. Hope you both take it easy.

If you do another book tour, please consider coming to Grand Rapids, MI, home to some wonderful independent bookstores and a longtime American Culinary Federation-accredited culinary arts school. Would love to have you stop here. --Kristen

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Yeah!!!! I am so glad that all of our prayers were answered. You are like friends. John, may your recovery be speedy and leave you better than before.
I am sure that all of your friends and family of wreckies would agree, the tour can wait. The best things in life are in fact worth waiting for.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

So glad that John is doing better (and presumably you are too)!

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

Super glad you got sprung from the hospital John!!!

WV: somorron: Glad somorron sent you to the hospital so you could get the right care at the right time!

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Gee whiz, you two. Talk about a lucky knock on the head for sure!

Glad to hear John is recuperating-hope his recovery is quick and painless and you're both home (or back on tour) quickly!

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commenternorby

I love a happy ending! We're all blessed to be on this earth together.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

I am so glad to hear that John is feeling better. My thoughts have been with you both.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJuliet

Woohooo!! So glad John is out of hospital! I hope the rest of his recovery is speedy :)

Exmouth, Western Australia, is ready for you to give your personal thanks anytime ;)

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

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