“Hey… Wait a minute… Are they… twins?”
I cringed internally while sporting a winning fake smile.
No matter where we go or what we do, people continue to be intrigued by the novelty that is having twins.
I know I shouldn’t blame them. The realist in me reminds me that twins just aren’t something people see every day, so I do my best to cut them a little slack.
However, for some reason, my having twins automatically issues an invitation for a surprising majority of complete strangers to walk up to us, interrupt whatever we’re doing, and expect me to answer questions about my kids, as if I’m rolling a mobile freak show booth through the grocery store. “Ask me anything!” boasts a Jumbotron visible to everyone but me. “It’s not like I’m trying to figure out which aisle the bastard store manager moved the diapers to while my son throws Cheerios at my face or anything. No, seriously, I want nothing more than to make small talk right now with someone I will never see again while my daughter sits in the wet diaper I need to change as soon as I check out.”
Some of the most popular inquiries I receive during these impromptu press conferences include:
“Do they play together?” (No, although they live in the same house, have the same parents, and do everything together, they do not ever play together. In fact, I don’t even think they’ve met each other.)
“Do they have their own language?” (Yes. We call it English.)
“How far apart were they born?” (Just a few feet. It was in the same room.)
And, of course, my personal favorite:
“Are they identical?” (Please don’t make me explain to you why penises are not identical to vaginas.)
If MacGyver were a ninja, he’d be unstoppable. His unmatched improvisational found-item remedies have gotten him out of many a jam, and if melded with the stealth, agile, disciplined strength of a ninja, he would be vulnerable only to Chuck Norris and God himself.
Now let’s say someone besides Ninja MacGyver were to exhibit these qualities. It would inspire an amalgam of awe, respect, and just a dash of fear in this amazing individual’s fellow man, right?
You’re darn tootin’.
Well, I am here to tell you that I have found such a person, and that I am he.
Allow me to explain.
We moved this past weekend, and while moving is never the greatest thing since Al Gore single-handedly invented the Internet, we’re thrilled with our new place. Sure, many of its major appliances were either nonexistent (washer and dryer) or broken (dishwasher and refrigerator) when we arrived, but we’ll get there. The important part–the reason we moved–is that we’re back in Phoenix. For financial reasons, we moved 30 minutes away from our family, friends, and civilization in general a year ago. The hour-long round trip essentially forced us to be more antisocial than we’d prefer, cramming multiple events, errands and visits into marathon weekends with the Twinfants and their feeding/changing/playing accessories in tow. While the constant commute wore on us, the Twins made it all worth it.
But now we’re back, and the country roads that took us home to a place we didn’t belong are fading from memory, as if all a bad dream.
However, the week before we achieved manifest destiny, I entrusted the Twinfants to the care of their Grandma and made trips to the new house to drop off fragile items (you know, ice sculptures, taxidermic animals, cinderblocks…) and make preparations to facilitate the influx of boxes we are still tripping over. One of these tasks was to acquire and program new garage door remotes since we were not left any by the previous occupants.
I’d done this before and selected my go-to universal remote, as it is one of few automated products with instructions that actually mean it when they say setup only takes five minutes. Behold the Chamberlain Clicker:
However, the five minutes it usually takes to sync this remote was thwarted by the bane of many consumers, the dreaded plastic packaging:
Upon seeing this, I thought, No problem. I’ll just go get the scissors… Oh. Sh!t.
It was at that moment I realized I had no scissors.
I had no knife.
All I had was the aforementioned fragile odds and ends we were too lazy to box.
I wasn’t about to drive 30 minutes back to our other house and 30 minutes back, and after spending three hours store-hopping for new house supplies, I really didn’t want to buy new ones, especially since we already own five.
My gut reaction was to channel my inner Larry David.
But after a deep, calming breath, I decided to survey the house and see what I had to work with. None of my keys were sharp enough, and too-thin picture-hanging nails left in the walls were also a bust. Even Christopher’s (our mounted sabre tooth tiger) fangs were too dull. I paced from room to room, about to give up.
Then, a heavenly beacon of light shone upon these:
I’ve stated previously that my wife and I are ninjas, but I’ve suspected your skepticism, O Loyal Reader. Maybe now you’ll believe me.
A smile slashed clear through my peeved demeanor. YES.
This life-changing moment immediately reminded me of a certain Bruce Willis scene in Pulp Fiction.
Figuring it would give me the most leverage (and since I have nothing to prove phallically) I selected the shortest blade.
I strategically positioned it.
Then, remembering my internship with Pai Mei, I harnessed my chi and lashed forward in one powerful, lighnting-quick motion.
The impenetrable seal had been vanquished. The heavens sang.
Out of respect for my adversary, I switched to more civilized hand-to-hand combat to finish it off.
Having watched his brother fall to a gruesome demise, the package for the second remote was already waving a white flag as I scissor-kicked towards it. No contest.
The battle won, I flaunted my bounty in an elaborate procession to the garage, where I found the garage door opener sealed shut with Phillips head screws.
And I had no screwdriver.
I eyed the sword for a moment. Maybe if I… No. Bad idea.
Sighing in defeat, I backflipped into the house and started looking for a Phillips head.
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If not, you probably shouldn’t say it out loud. I may hear you.
Since Friday of last week, I haven’t been able to spend much time constructing genius word sculptures for you, O Loyal Reader. However, throughout the course of my fustercluck of a Monday, I was able to slowly–and in about twenty sittings on my BlackBerry (Yes, I’m still rocking the BlackBerry. Someday I’ll have enough money to join you iPhone hipsters.)–generate the following manifesto explaining why I’ve been so busy. In the interest of time, I resorted to the “list” format overused on magazine covers, such as “859 New Looks for Fall” which is an actual “article” I saw advertised on one of my teen sister-in-law’s recent issues. While I’m admittedly using a lazy writing device, I’m also admitting it, so now you have no choice but to enjoy The Top Six Reasons This is a List:
(Pause for medieval fanfare.)
1. We just moved.
This past weekend we packed the belongings of the entire Pseudonymous entourage into a U-Haul, and now that We-Hauled them to the new Pseudonymous World Headquarters, we’re still busy reassembling furniture without the proper tools that are in a box that I swear I just saw over there and OW! This f*cking box just ripped off my toenail!
Yeah. It’s taking a while.
2. I started school last week.
Even though when last school year ended I retired from teaching middle school, the last few months have still felt pretty typical for me–as if it were just another summer vacation. Well, except for the whole becoming a parent and taking care of twin babies thing. But I did know I’d be returning to my Ph. D. program when Fall hit, so it was like a summer vacation. So as I’m still shifting gears from Summer Mist to Fall Frenzy, once my workflow is, um, flowing, my writing for this fine publication will surely follow. I just need to get myself back into “school mode.” (OMG! I had homework on the FIRST DAY! Can you believe it? My teachers are SOOO mean! I swear, the pale one is a vampire.)
3. Laundry outsourcing.
Our World Headquarters doesn’t have a washer or a dryer yet (Yeah, I know, it’s not a very good World Headquarters) so until we do, I’ve been packing up the kids and our diaper pack mule/tauntaun and heading to Grandma’s house with basketfuls of spit-up-caked clothes from all members of our family, both spitters and spittees.
4. Special guest time-suckers.
I have hosted a revolving door of essential service calls this week, including TV satellite, Internet, plumbing, and Room of Requirement installation. A few of them were creepy, and I’m not even talking about the wizard. I expected him to be eccentric. I just don’t feel the need to answer questions about my kids’ favorite baby foods or chat about how effective the new cable modem your company made me buy is, especially when I am clearly holding a crying little girl and attempting to get said little girl down for a nap. And yes, I AM bringing my son in the room with me instead of leaving him out there with you. With all due respect, your mustache is unsettling.
5. HBO Sunday Nights
Holy crap! Is anyone else watching True Blood and Curb Your Enthusiasm? Is it just me, or are they even more phenomenal than usual this season? Whether you agree or not (in which case you’d be wrong), after the weekend we had, there’s no way I was going to miss My Stories.
6. We have twins.
It’s a miracle I’m able to write at all. Gimme a friggin’ break.
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If not, might I suggest HBO Sunday Nights?
I stumbled through the door, clumsily and one-handedly maneuvering 30 pounds of son/carrier across the threshold while catching the diaper bag with my other hand, just before it leapt off my shoulder and spilled its contents all over the filthy floor.
While I understand the establishment of Well Child and Sick Child Entrances at our pediatrician’s office, I despise the times I’m asked to use the Sick side. Not only does my poor little boy already have a weakened immune system—you are asking me to bring him into an environment sure to be teeming with What’s Hot in the Child Sickness Community. I tried to touch as little as possible as I made my way to reception.
Having checked in, I was about to take a seat, but was struck by a lightning bolt sent by Zeus, god of the brainstorm.
“Excuse me, I was just wondering, do you have some sort of card I can get punched or stamped or something?”
“You know, like a frequent flyer type deal, like they do at sandwich and frozen yogurt joints? Just asking because this is my fourth time here in the last month, so I thought maybe my fifth visit might be free.”
“Um, no, sir. We don’t really do that here.”
“Oh, okay. Just thought I’d ask. You know, maybe you should bring that up with your supervisor. You can say it’s your idea.”
I turned to take a seat, but was once again graced by Zeus’s Wisdom.
“Sorry, I just had another question.”
“I’m not sure if you have this down there in your files, but my son’s a twin.”
“Well, I was wondering if you have any promotions. Like, for multiples. Possibly a buy-one-co-pay, get-one-free? I mean, I know I only have him today—his sister’s with my mom—but this is just for future reference.”
“Um, no, sir. We don’t really do that here, either.”
“That’s cool. No big deal. Just wanted to ask. ‘Cause I’ve been burned before. I’ll get home and present the bounty of supplies I’ve procured to my wife and she’ll look at the receipt and ask if I got the ‘twin discount’ and, of course, I didn’t, because I didn’t ask. Then, I gotta go back to the store and get the discount at customer service. Because we’re on a budget. See, I’m a stay at home dad, so we only have one income.”
“No. We don’t have a multiples discount.”
“All right, no problem. Thanks so much.”
“Okay, sorry, I know you’re busy, and yes, I do see the line forming behind me.”
“What if I decided I wanted to pay more now for certain benefits later?”
“I don’t know.”
“Like a FastPass, like at Disneyland? Let’s say I give you—I don’t know—a hundred dollars, and whenever I come in, I get jumped to the top of the list because I have a FastPass.”
“Sir, we have an appointment system, so we can’t move people’s appointments around.”
“Sure you can. You do it all the time. The last few times I was here, I waited with my sick kids undressed and freezing in the cranked-up AC for an hour, after waiting out here in the waiting room for a half hour, which means I saw the doctor an hour and a half after my appointment time. Plus, you guys can do whatever you want. Have you ever seen that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry complains about—”
A voice from the patient room door called, “Pseudonymous?” It was the moment every parent waits for—a set of cartoon-themed scrubs actually calling their child’s name to see the doctor.
“Well,” I smiled. “That’s me. Thanks for your help. Good talking to you.”
I nodded cockily at the other waiting parents. My turn, suckers.
When I got in the beach-themed patient room, I was asked to strip down my son except for his diaper. I pulled out a blanket from the diaper bag, wrapped him up, and waited for 45 minutes.
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If not, don’t wait for 45 minutes in the freezing AC. Just check out some other ones. Consider this your FastPass.