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Out of the mouth of babes, part 1

While I was at our favorite national big box store picking up some new granny panties killing some time on the way to pick up Future Cult Leader from school, I found a mini spiral notebook in one of their dollar bins.  As one of Cult Leader’s favorite past times is writing the Great American Novel, I bought one so I can live off her royalties encourage her love of the written word.  After I presented it to her, this happened:

“Guess what I have for you?”

“What?  CANDY?!”

“Nope.  I have this notebook for you.”

“Is this for me?”

“Yup.  All yours!”

“So now I have my very own diarrhea?”

Yeah, baby.  Your very own diarrhea.

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It’s like it causes him physical pain to speak in coherent sentences

Monsieur Stoic has this terrible habit of forgetting that I am not his brother. See, they’re identical twins. This means I have nearly embarrassed myself a couple of times by almost grabbing my brother in law’s ass because the two of them often dress alike, completely coincidentally, so unless you’re paying super close attention to the tiniest of details it’s easy to confuse them from behind. Or while being bounced between them on a trampoline. But that’s another story.

As it usually is with twins, they have their own form of communication. They may not have the full extent of the twin ESP you hear about, but they can get by using only a couple words at a time and understand each other perfectly. I guess that kind of shorthand comes naturally when you’ve been womb mates. The problems is this: I didn’t share a placenta with my husband. I need more than 2 words to know what it is he wants. We’ve been a couple for 5 years, but that isn’t long enough for me to decipher his cryptic ass messages.

The other day, in order to make the house presentable for the photographer to come get some photos of the house so we can con someone into buying it, we needed to remove an extension ladder that leaned on the balcony off our bedroom. It was a 2 person job to take it out to the shop, so like a good little wife I agreed to give him a hand. “Walk it backward,” he told me. “It’s heavy.” As that was all he said to me, I assumed he wanted me to walk backward with the ladder, facing him, like one would help carry a table or a couch.

Nope.

Stoic grabbed the ladder, straightened it, and started moving it. The feet started to come off the ground, so I grabbed the ladder at that end and tried to move backward with it. “No, don’t grab it. Walk it backward!”

“I’m trying!”

“No you’re not!”

“DUDE. YES, I AM.”

“No, walk it backward.”

“Like put it upright and make the ladder walk backward?”

“No. Like this.” He proceeded to demonstrate by holding the ladder at a diagonal angle and walking backward while keeping the ladder stationary, moving his hands as though he was on monkey bars. The ladder’s feet never lifted off, and the ladder wound up safely on the ground. Oddly enough, he did this just fine without my help.

“Wait. So you wanted me to guide the ladder down to the ground so we could put it on its side to carry it?”

“Yes.”

“So why didn’t you just say that? I’m not your womb mate. I need more than 2 words to know what to do.”

That same day, Future Cult Leader was Losing Her Shit last night in pretty epic form. A few days ago I swore that the next time she threw a fit I would take video to show her later and, okay, to get some validation by showing the video to people and going AND YOU THOUGHT I WAS EXAGGERATING. Since I needed to step back from her, I thrust her writhing body into Stoic’s arms so he could take her to tantrum in her bed where she wouldn’t get hurt or hurt someone else. Five minutes into their time upstairs, I get a text.

“Video?”

I stared at the words, trying to figure out what he meant. So I tapped out “what?” and hit send.

“The tantrum.”

Perhaps it was because I was so rattled by the force of Cult Leader’s fury over a dinner she refused to eat, even though she didn’t actually know what it was, but I couldn’t figure out what he was trying to say. Was she Losing Her Shit because I had mentioned we could rent a video soon and didn’t run straight to the nearest Red Box to pick one up? Of course, this would be more than adequate to send to Womb Mate, who probably wouldn’t have even needed the second text.

I responded. “Stop speaking in sentence fragments, please.”

He came back with “want to video the tantrum?”

SERIOUSLY. WHAT WAS SO HARD ABOUT THAT.

Disregarding the line between fantasy and reality

Let me tell you the story about how I was a teenage hussy.

No, wait, that’s not right. What was I? Oh, a teenaged girl who had unrealistic expectations of life thanks to all the fiction books she read. If someone had told me that the shit I read in books was only loosely based on real life then I wouldn’t have this story to tell, and frankly, this story is embarrassing as all hell.

My father and stepmother took us kids to Disney World when I was 14. Because the most traveling I had ever done was a few road trips to Montana, I was excited to fly on a plane and visit a time zone THREE! WHOLE! HOURS! ahead of ours. So I consulted my well traveled friend, Wild Waves, on how to pack my clothes with minimal wrinkles (roll ’em up!) and borrowed her Broadway Dress from her for the night we visited Pleasure Island.

Pleasure Island, if you’re not familiar with it, was a part of Disney World where the grown ups can play. Night clubs, shopping, dining, and a New Year’s Eve celebration every night, all named after that place in Pinnochio where all the little boys party all the time then turn into jackasses. For some reason, my dad thought it was a great idea to take a 10 and 14 year old there, but I didn’t give a thought to how the visit might be inappropriate. I was jacked, because I might find my first boyfriend!

Now, let me explain something about 14 year old me. I read. A lot. And my favorite books? The Babysitters Club books. (Nerd alert: I have every single book from the series. DON’T JUDGE ME.) Do you know what happens every time the Babysitters go on vacation? They find luv. Since this was a group of girls just a year or so younger than I was, do you know what I thought would happen? I’d find some guy my age or just a little older, fall in love, we’d stay in touch until we went to the same college and he waited for me and we got married and had little babies and told our cute story of how we met. Because, you know, stuff like that happens.

The night we went to Pleasure Island, I put on Wild Wave’s dress, carefully applied the makeup I either had with me or borrowed from my stepsister, and then wrote my name and the phone number for our hotel room on 2 pieces of paper and tucked them away in my purse to hand out to my lucky future mate. I didn’t meet anyone, obviously, but in the course of the night I lost one of those pieces of paper. As a result, this happened:

The phone rings at 2 AM, my older stepsister answers the phone groggily. “Hello?” She listens for a moment and hands the phone to my younger sister. “Hand this to your sister.”

My 10 year old sister grabs the phone sleepily. “Hello?” She almost immediately hands the phone over to me. “It’s for you.”

My heart pounds. Who is calling me?

“Is this Ava?”

“Yeah.”

“Hey, this is Mark.” GASP! He sounded like an older boy!

“Hi. How did you get this number?”

“I found it on the ground at Pleasure Island.” OH MY GOD HE DID NOT. IT’S FATE. IT’S DESTINY.

“Oh.” So smooth. How do I not have a string of suitors lined up to take me out on my first date?

“So you wanna meet up?” Wow, already?

“I can’t, I’m sleeping.”

“Night time isn’t for sleeping, it’s for playing. Let’s go somewhere.” Wait. He might be more than an older boy…

“Uh, I don’t think my dad will let me…”

“So your dad won’t let you outside of the mo?”

“The what?”

“The mo? The motel?”

“Uhhh. No. I’m not really old enough to go out by myself.”

“Bring him with you. We can ditch him later. Or bring one of the ladies I talked to before you.” It’s entirely possible this guy had no idea he was talking to a 14 year old. And it’s also entirely possible I was beginning to freak out.

“I really can’t, I’ll get in a lot of trouble.” Because, you know, I wasn’t already going to be in trouble.

“Oh, come on. Live a little.”

Now, I did what any rational human being would do. I set up a fake meeting with him. I told him to meet me at Typhoon Lagoon tomorrow at 3 PM by the big wave pool. I told him to look for a girl with blonde hair, which was kind of true, and a black bikini with white daisies on it, which was not true. I had a black 1 piece with a giant daisy on the front. You know, something you would expect a 11-14 year old to be wearing. But he didn’t know that, so he enthusiastically agreed.

Needless to say, we did not meet up the next day. My family and I were at Typhoon Lagoon the next day and indeed, I was at the wave pool around 3. But this guy wasn’t looking for me. He was looking for a blonde hottie in a skimpy bathing suit with the confidence to throw her phone number around, not a shrimpy, flat chested girl with braces who relied on books about girls who were stuck in the 8th grade for 12 years for romantic advice. Oddly enough, as I was walking to get something to drink around 3:45 a group of what appeared to be college age guys walked past me, jostling a guy in the middle. “Man, you can’t be waiting around all day for some girl you ain’t never met!”

Late that night, I got another phone call. My sisters passed the phone on to me as they had the night before and I gotta say, Mark was NOT happy. He was stood up! He had every right to be! I don’t remember much of this last phone conversation, but it boiled down to me being a tease and a bitch for standing him up in front of his brother and friends…and that’s when my dad came in, summoned by my older stepsister, and took the phone.

“Do you know who you’re calling?”

A pause.

“She’s FOURTEEN. How did you get this number?”

Another pause, and a glare. “I suggest you lose it.” He slammed the phone down. That was it. No tongue lashing, no grounding, nothing. He simply told us to go back to sleep, stalked back into his room, and closed the door. Hard.

The lesson I took from this: don’t take your phone number to Pleasure Island and if you do, make sure it doesn’t fall out of your purse. The lesson I should have learned?

Don’t model your life on girls who are frozen in time in the eighth grade.

Moving on up

If you don’t live around these parts, then the Astoria Column is this:

Why are most towers built to resemble penises?

and it’s 125 feet of terror. Or, it is if you’re afraid of heights. And ohhhhhhh, I am. I can’t even climb a 6 foot ladder without feeling like I’m going to soil myself. One hundred twenty five feet, so multiply that by about 20. Or 21. Or, if you’re literal like my husband, 20.8.

I have no idea what possessed me to climb the column. Call it a lapse in judgment, a moment of stupidity, or thinking my balls were bigger than they are. Either way, it was not my brightest choice.

Inside the column is a metal spiral staircase with 164 steps that lead to the top.

ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR

About halfway up…

Me: “WHAT WAS THAT?!” I drop down to a whisper. “Is that an earthquake?”

Him: “No.”

Me, in a desperate whisper: “I THINK IT IS. IT’S AN EARTHQUAKE.”

Him, patiently: “No, it’s someone else coming up the stairs.”

Me, a little louder: “ARE YOU SURE?”

Before he can respond, we hear voices. “Oh. I guess you are.”

Later….

Me, in another panicked whisper: “WHY ARE THEY LAUGHING. DO THEY NOT REALIZE THAT WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE UP HERE?”

And later still…

“I CAN FEEL THIS SWAYING. ARE WE SWAYING? I THINK WE’RE SWAYING. WE’RE GOING DOWN.”

Needless to say, I was relieved to get down, even if I nearly had to scoot down the stairs on my ass.

It was a hell of a view, though.

“She thinks my riding lawmower is sexy” doesn’t have the same ring

The Basement Dweller likes to earn his keep by doing yard work, because he is one of those crazy mother fuckers who relaxes by doing manual labor. Weirdo.

I’m outside hanging laundry because I’m a dirty crunchy little hippie, while Basement Dweller is riding around cutting the grass. No wait, I wasn’t hanging laundry. I was in the driveway with the basket of clothes, waiting for Basement Dweller to finish mowing the edges of the lower field. So I’m across the property from the mower and Basement Dweller hits a pile of rocks, probably left there by a bunch of (our) kids. The mower blades hit the pile and the rocks go FLYING everywhere.

That incident resulted in the following conversation. Monsieur Stoic is on the couch, I am in the kitchen washing my hands for lunch, and Basement Dweller has just come in from the yard.

Basement Dweller: “Ran over a pile of rocks while I was mowing.”

Stoic: “Ah ha. Where was that?”

Dweller: “On the other side of the driveway outside the lower field. Nailed the neighbor’s cars and everything.”

Me: “Yeah, got me in a leg a couple times, too. I have the bruises to prove it.”

Dweller: “Wait, it got you? All the way over there?”

Me: “Yeah. Shit was flying!”

Stoic: “What he’s not telling you, honey, is that I took out a contract on you. He’s supposed to carry it out.”

Me: “Welp, I guess he failed. Don’t pay him.”

Stoic: “Just because he missed doesn’t mean he’s supposed to stop trying.”

Dweller: “Yeah, I’ll have many other opportunities, believe me. I need the money.”

Me: “Well, you’d better dock his pay at the very least.”

Stoic: “Don’t worry, his salary will take a hit.”

Je suis un arachnophobe

Let me tell you about the time a spider brought me down.

Monsieur Stoic was on one of his baseball trips with his not-that-identical-anymore twin, which left me alone with the Terror Tag Team. Future Cult Leader was at school (yay, kindergarten!) so it was just Evil Genius and me. She was playing on the floor while I fed my addiction and attempted to read something with a higher reading level than Highlights Magazine. I saw something roll slowly across the (light colored) carpet out of the corner of my eye and looked up, expecting to see Evil Genius’s toy. Nope. It was a big fucking spider.

A BIG FUCKING SPIDER.


A REALLY BIG FUCKING SPIDER.

I had no time to think. This bastard was big enough to kill my 15 month old AND me and STILL go on a murderous spree. I grabbed a stool (which has a hollow bottom, by the way) and threw it over the spider. Then I grabbed Evil Genius and stood on the stool, because I wouldn’t put it past him to lift up that chair and come after us both. I sat there for a moment, wondering what my next move was. I wasn’t killing this spider, Basement Dweller (who was Upstairs Guest Room Dweller at the time) wouldn’t be home until MUCH later, and I was fairly sure that Cult Leader would take one look at the arachnid, look at me solemnly, tell me I had to be joking, and could she get her snack now?

My gaze fell on my phone.

My mother is a bad ass mofo when it comes to spiders. Does it have 8 legs? She’ll kill it then go smoke a cigarette. It ain’t no thing to her. So I did what any other rational human being would do.

I called my mommy to come save me.

She laughed when I told her of the pickle I was in, but agreed to come over right away. Ahhhh, but the door was locked. The door was ALWAYS locked, because at the time we lived in Suburban Hell where all the houses looked the same and all the women drove SUVs whether they needed to or not, and Stoic was paranoid that someone, out of ALL THE HOUSES ON THE BLOCK, would choose ours to break into. You know, because a dead bolt is going to stop them.

Solution? Grab one of Evil Genius’s heavier toys, stick it on top of the stool, run to unlock the door, then get back on the stool and wait.

Ten minutes later, my mother came sauntering in. She laughed at me, guys. SHE LAUGHED AT ME. This spider was big enough for the Smithsonian, how could she be laughing?

But she humored me. She took over stool duty while I grabbed the baby and ran upstairs to hide. She dutifully caught the spider and threw it outside so there were no yucky spider guts to clean up. She returned inside, and then this happened:

“I thought you said it was a big spider.”

“It was. Big fucker. Why?”

“Uh, because it was barely the size of a dime, you knucklehead.”

“Not a chance in hell. At least the size of a quarter.”

“I just caught it, I know how big it was.”

“IT WAS GINORMOUS AND IT WAS GOING TO KILL US BOTH.”

She managed to suppress a laugh, but smiled and nodded. Then she grabbed a cup of coffee and went outside to smoke.

All in a day’s work.

A conversation

This morning, I opened the front door to a package of clothes I had ordered via internet a week and a half ago. I’ve given up shopping in the store. Something about the atmosphere causes me to Lose My Shit over the clothes I try on, because I have an oddly shaped body and a low self esteem. They don’t make clothes for girls with big boobs, wide hips, and a flat ass. It makes for a lot of self loathing and vaguely suicidal thoughts when trying on clothes. I also won’t pay a lot, which explains my bad fashion sense.

“What’s that? Your camera?” I had ordered a 1907 Kodak Brownie 2A, and was anticipating its arrival without any dignity whatsoever.

“No, these are the clothes I ordered that UPS never bothered to update the tracking on.”

“Ah.”

“Their tracking sucks. They told me when it left, and they tell me when it arrives. Who the hell knows where it goes in between.”

“Their billing sucks too, which is why I switched carriers.”

“Interesting. Well, I suppose I should go try these on.”

“Should I call 911 and get them over here so you don’t kill yourself?”

My husband, he knows me so well. “No, but you might want to keep them on standby, just in case.”