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Baby Gate

I Can’t Hear Myself Think

I used to laugh at my mother.

It would begin with her getting on the phone with a customer service representative. (Keep in mind that this was back in Ye Good Olde Days before Al Gore singlehandedly invented the Internet, when instead of yelling at ambiguous, unhelpful websites or cussing at incompetent live-chat reps in all caps, the only game in town was to actually haggle with a real person about bills, warranties, and Hooked on Phonics.)

While my mother attempted to insult the intelligence of whatever dolt she was dealing with on the other line, some semblance of the following events would transpire.

My two younger sisters, who were a year apart and constant playmates, would be “Doing a Story,” their name for playing out an improvisational narrative with a star-studded cast of Barbies, My Little Ponies, and whichever Legos their brother failed to hide well enough. In choosing which playthings each of them would voice, the oldest of the two would always weasel her way into First Draft Pick.

“I’ll be Malibu Botox Barbie.”

“No! You got to be Malibu Botox Barbie last time we Did a Story!”

“But this is the sequel. I have to be Malibu Botox Barbie again or else we’ll tank at the box office. The fan base expects me, not some young, up-and-coming no-name. Here, you can be Especially Flamboyant Ken.”

Especially Flamboyant Ken“You killed him off last time!”

“Girls!” my Mom would hiss. “I’m on the phone!”

Fully engrossed in their heated casting session, their battle would rage on without even acknowledging my mother.

“Then be Less-Exciting Sister With the Arm Missing Stacie!”

“Why can’t I be one of those 20 other Barbies?”

“Because I’m Barbie.”

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Sasquatch

A Sasquatch Sings the Twinfamy Theme Song

SasquatchIn the far reaches of the Great White North, some say there lives a creature–a gigantic, apelike humanoid whose chance blurred appearances in photography have both intrigued and terrified people across the globe for decades. Alleged to have first been sighted in Saskatchewan, the cryptid has been uncreatively dubbed Sasquatch.

As an admittedly ill-conceived publicity stunt for this fine publication, I recently set out to scare this supposedly abominable beast out of hiding, capture him, teach him to play guitar, and record him singing a Twinfamy Theme Song of his own composition. Obviously, the video would go viral and assuredly secure me a movie franchise deal for The Twinfamy Trilogy.

Hopes high, I sent a robotic bird probe that communicates 140 characters at a time up to the region for further investigation, but sadly, Sasquatch seemed to be Sasquatting somewhere out of robotic-bird-earshot.

However, in the process, I wound up getting to know someone else originally from Saskatchewan who has become one of my favorite 21st century dads, James Hudyma. James is a dedicated teacher, a talented musician, a caring father to his son and daughter, and writes an excellent blog about all of the above. If this sounds strikingly familiar to you, O Loyal Reader, you can already imagine that James and I instantly hit it off.

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Schwinn Turismo Double Jogging Stroller

The Zen of Being Annoyed

If you can picture an almost-thirtysomething, unkempt, elongated-stubble-sporting man…

• one-handedly maneuvering a double-jogging stroller (carrying boy-and-girl twins wearing boy-and-girl versions of the same hoodie) around garbage cans and parked cars;

• keeping a leash (attached to an ecstatic, wayward canine for whom the current situation is like a trip to Disneyland) wrapped around the wrist of that same stroller-driving first hand;

• attempting to navigate email, Facebook, and Twitter on a cell phone with the second hand;

• bending over every few steps to to sip coffee through a straw because the stroller cup-holder’s well-meaning death-grip prohibits one-handed removal; and

• periodically wiping said coffee leaking from a “spill-proof” travel mug off the stroller handle;

…you have a pretty accurate picture of what my morning walk is like.

Sounds annoying, right? Well, guess what? I love it.

Schwinn Turismo Double Jogging Stroller

That’s just how I stroll.

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