If just before bed you get one of those odd, fleeting thoughts along the lines of “The fire alarm is going to ring,” pay attention.

Yep: At around 6:30 a.m. I was awakened by a shrieking siren. I’m glad I’ve learned to listen to those weird little flashes I get from time to time. When the shrieking started, I was ready to roll.

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Somebody pulling out of a parking lot hit my daughter and son-in-law’s car. The driver was too busy looking off to the side to notice that she was aimed straight at the Chevy Cavalier in the left-turn lane.

Even though she wasn’t going fast, the T-boning she gave the car damaged both doors on the passenger side. Neither one will open now and there’s probably unseen damage because it felt wonky during the drive home.

As Abby notes in this post, it looks as though the other driver’s insurance company will declare it totaled, as in “It costs more to fix than it’s worth.”

Here’s the thing: Their car was old. But it was still reliable transportation. With luck it would have lasted them several more years, years during which they would have been saving for a replacement vehicle.

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Potty animals.

“FEMALE TOILET SHOWERS” is painted on the door of the bathroom near my room at the hostel. If you had the same reaction to “toilet shower” that I did, please write and let me know that I am not alone.

Two toilets are available, each in its own little room. The showers are off to the left. Important safety note if you plan to stay at a hostel: When a sign notes that there may be hot water shortages between 8 and 10 a.m., believe that sign.

This morning when I walked in, the first thing I saw was someone standing in front of a toilet. Facing the wrong way. And offloading.

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Dry winter air doing a number on your skin? Here’s help.

This week’s giveaway is the “Tropical Shower Sensations” set of shower gels and creams, plus a tube of Almond Oil Daily Hand and Nail Cream. Both are from The Body Shop — another giveaway sponsored by my bargain-seeking blogger of a daughter, Abigail Perry.

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Made you look, didn’t I?

Seriously: One of the six people in my “pod bed shared room” brought some machetes back from the Congo. The situation is too convoluted to explain because I’m on free wifi at McDonalds and I’m getting glared at for sitting here so long.

Short form: He spent several hours in a jail cell when his souvenirs were discovered.

“They took my pocketknife, too,” he said, sounding dispirited. “They told me any blade that locks is illegal, and any blade longer than three inches is illegal.”

“Most machete blades are longer than three inches,” I agreed.

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