Several things have changed here at Casa De Skippy in the past week or so. The first thing that changed is that my %#@*$& art history class finally ended. For those keeping score at home, I’m taking online classes in Graphic Design, and for some reason that included spending a little over a month pretending anyone in the history of the earth has actually given a damn about art history. Basically I got to spend many many hours just filling page after page of utter bullshit. And so I had been less inclined to spend what little free time I had left the same way. And so the site suffered.
The other big change is that my wife got herself one of those big fancy “regular paycheck in an office” sort of jobs. We’re still running the web design business. But we weren’t quite pulling in enough money to make it our sole means of income. And so we both started looking for work. And it turns that “I have 11 years of experience in web design” will get you more money than “I worked on a few video games you never heard of, and several that never actually got published”. And so my wife now has a regular 9-5 gig. We’re still running the business, I’m just handling a bigger portion of it. I’m also the parent that stays home with the kids.
On the first day of this new arrangement, my day started out early. Evidently, using some sort of baby telepathy, the twins determined that Mommy was leaving the house, and thus they woke up sooner than normal, to best register their displeasure with this change.
They cheered up after breakfast which consisted of bacon. It turns out babies love bacon. We don’t normally have bacon because my wife is trying to eat healthier. She doesn’t want the temptation around. So I figured the best thing to do would be to cook and eat our entire supply while she was gone.
I then noticed that my computer was making a loud and repetitive funny noise. Curious, I walked over to see what the problem was. It turns out I was about to take my first call on the newly installed Skype business line. All I needed to do was find my headset. Which was evidently just the right size and shape to be the prefect baby toy, as my daughter hauled it across the house, cackling in that special way that is only not creepy when a toddler does it. I just barely managed to get everything hooked up and answered before voicemail picked up.
It was a representative for a radio program. They did a talk show about business matters in Texas, and they wanted to interview my wife about her web design business. One hour after she walked out the door to start her new job. Much scrambling ensued. No they didn’t want to do a phone interview right now. They wanted to have her come into the studio at some point in the future. And, upon further investigation, it was discovered that they actually wanted her to pay to come into the studio to be interviewed. You know, like an advertisement, except pretending to be news. Now I’m not sure that a lot of people use the radio to find web-designers, but I am pretty sure that if you are so desperate for advertisers that you are cold-calling folks and lying about your intentions to drum some up, then you are probably not offering a particularly good venue for endorsement.
After that I needed to run to the post office. Now normally if errands need to be run, one parent would go out, and the other would stay home with the kids. Since that was no longer an option I got to take the kids with me. First lesson, it’s harder to corral and dress two toddlers with only one parent participating. I’d get some clothes on one of them, while the other would run shrieking down the hall, stripping out of the outfit they just had put on. If I was lucky. Sometimes I would be chasing one, and the other would leap out from behind the furniture to try and grapple my legs. Imagine that I am an AT-AT in the battle of Hoth. And then imagine that instead of snow-speeders, I’m up against flying and contrary squid. Which are valiantly resisting my attempts to force them into silly little outfits. I suppose in this analogy my wife is Darth Vader, which works because she believes in the same school of management when it comes to child care issues. (Note: Janice wanted me to point out that she is not anything like Darth Vader and if I don’t tell all of you that she will force-choke me.)
Eventually I managed to trap the kids into a corner and forced them into their clothes, like a Bizaaro Michael Jackson.
Finally having gotten them dressed I went out. We have this giant tandem stroller which is great for when the kids go out, since they are big enough to be mobile and run amok, but not quite developed enough to be controlled with threats. So it can be handy to have them strapped into something. I managed to get to the post office just at the beginning of the lunch hour rush. Behind me in line was a small gaggle of middle-aged Hispanic ladies. They didn’t seem to speak any English, but they were positively enamored with the twins. At least I assume that the were enamored, as I don’t speak Spanish. For all I know they were engaging in some serious smack talking, but the kids liked it. They behaved themselves admirably during my postal business, (the kids, not the middle-aged hispanic ladies, although to be fair they were well behaved too). Or as a more experienced parent might describe it, they lulled me into a false sense of security.
On the way home I noticed that our local Blockbuster was going out of business. Which means cheap movies for sale. I like movies. I have little money. And the kids were so well behaved earlier, so it seemed like a good idea.
At first it was going fairly well. I found a a few cheap titles that I had been looking for, including one called Lesbian Vampire Hunters. Not a porno. It’s either a movie about people who hunt lesbian vampires, or a movie about lesbians who hunt vampires. Either way, there is nothing that is not awesome about the title.
The kids began to get a little fussy, and so I went to check out. As I approached the register I had to navigate a sort of complex channel made up of display shelves loaded down with candy. There was just enough room that if I was very careful I could navigate directly down the center, with the goodies just a few inches out of reach to either side. Now despite the fact that my children rarely eat candy, and have never even seen most of the contents of these shelves, they immediately recognized two things.
1) They want to eat that stuff.
2) They want to eat it NOW.
Since they are still too small to talk, but old enough to understand words, my wife and I have taught them a little sign language. And so I got to have a conversation about candy.
First there was pointing, and sort of questioning grunt, that indicates that they want something.
“Sorry kids, no, we can’t have that.”
Gesture that means “I would like to eat.” More pointing at the candy.
“No candy. We’ll go home and you can have lunch soon.”
Gesture for please.
“No you can’t have any candy. How do you even know what that is?”
Gesture for please, more emphatic.
Gesture for please, now continuous, little hands moving like tiny pink hummingbirds.
They pondered this. Their tiny faces scrunched up in deep concentration. And then they began to scream like a Tea Party candidate in a Civics class.
About this time I noticed that they were both barefoot. Which was odd, seeing as how they both had shoes and socks when we entered the store. They had decided to help daddy out by leaving a trail of discarded footwear, so that I might backtrack my way through the store. And so I spent the next ten minutes or so parading up and down the store with a stroller full of screaming kids, looking for tiny socks and shoes.
I’m sure there’s a lesson in here somewhere but damned if I know what it is.