Monday, October 18, 2010

I Have The Answer

We’ll get to the question.

Things have been really hectic around our house.  Before the twins arrival we had our routine down to a fine art.  It was home by 5:45, dinner around 6:30, Cinderella’s shower around 7:00, read a book at 7:15 and in bed by 7:30.  Jayna and I would have several hours in the evening to unwind and enjoy the silence.  Well, things have changed.  We still try to have all the kids in bed around 7:30 but we have had to divide and conquer.  One of us will work on getting the babies in bed while the other takes care of Cinderella.  Even then, we have found that we rarely have those precious hours to unwind.  Usually it is the babies that aren’t cooperating and by the time we get them in bed it is time for us to go to bed as well.

The other evening I was trying to get Cinderella ready for bed.  For some time now we have let her take showers with us when we are too worn out to wrestle her through a shower in her tub.  This evening was one of those evenings.  Cinderella and I went through our shower routine.  When we were done I dried her off and she stepped out of the shower to wait for me to get out to put lotion on her and get her pajamas on.  As I was drying off I see her looking at me, and then it happened.

“Daddy.  What’s that tail doing on your vagina?”

So, dads.  If you’ve ever asked yourself when your daughter is too old to take showers with you.  I give you the answer.

Things I should have said

Friday, October 15th marked the 2 year anniversary of my brothers death.  Walter Joseph Mayer III was killed in a one vehicle accident on a county road near his home outside of Ada, OK.  The circumstances of the accident were all very strange as the vehicle appeared to veer off the road with no attempt to correct or break whatsoever.  It appeared that he was incapacitated at the time he left the road but in the end, the vehicle rolled over causing a large amount of trauma that ultimately killed my brother.  The incident happened in front of the home of a man who had know my brother for some time from his interactions with him while he was managing Ada True Value, which my family had owned for over 25 years.  While there was nothing he could do to save my brother, he called 911 and held him until he passed away.  We are thankful Walter was not alone in his final moments and had a kind acquaintance with him.

I will never forget that day.  I was at work and not accomplishing much.  It was only a few weeks earlier when the proverbial wheels had fallen off the company I was working for.  I had been employed at SemGroup, L.P. for a little over a year and a half.  I had come to SemGroup following a reduction in force at Level 3 Communications.  I had been employed with Level 3 since May of 2000 when it was Williams Communications.  I had survived a bankruptcy, emergence from bankruptcy, monthly layoffs and an acquisition by Level 3.  I had just returned to work after taking a month off for the arrival of our first child.  She was seven weeks old, my wife was on unpaid leave and I was unexpectedly out of a job.  Thankfully I was well known in the Tulsa development community and it did not take me long to find a new position.  I actually had two offers within a week of being laid off and I accepted the position with SemGroup.  I loved my new job.  I had been through so many terrible times with my previous job, which happened to be my first out of college, I kept pinching myself because it didn’t seem possible to me that one could enjoy their job.  I couldn’t fathom the possibility of not dreading getting up and going to work in the morning.  It was quite literally my dream job.  Then someone got greedy.  That what it seems anyway, that may not be entirely fair to whoever was responsible but the problem is no one ever really explained who was responsible, the responsible parties never came forward and apologized or offered any explanation, nothing.  All I knew is we were thrust in to bankruptcy and told we were going to liquidate all assets and close the doors.  My dream job had fallen out from under me.  I was now reluctantly interviewing.

My phone rang and it was my best friend who lives in Ada.  I am always happy to hear from him so I answered the phone with my usual exuberance.  Right away I could tell something wasn’t right. 

“Michael, I don’t know how to say this so I’m just going to do it.  You’re brother was killed in a car accident this morning.  I’m so sorry to be the one to tell you.”

What do you say to that?  How are you supposed to act?  This is my best friend, he wouldn’t just pull something like this out of his ass.  But I didn’t believe him.  And I didn’t say anything for what seemed like minutes.  I usually am a person that has a pretty good idea how to attack a problem and deal with it, but this is one I couldn’t deal with.  I couldn’t fix this one. 

It’s hard for me to put in to words what I was feeling.  It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that my relationship with my brother was, tumultuous.  My brother had lived life hard in some ways.  He certainly burned the candle at both ends.  When I was 15 years old our toxic relationship came to a fiery head on Easter Sunday when we got in to an argument about whether or not we were going to put the fish heads under the shop building for the raccoons that lived there.  Yeah, I will wait a minute while you read that sentence again.  It’s stupid.  It is ridiculous on so many levels that I truly feel foolish writing it down.    My brother, for lack of a better phrase, beat the hell out of me.  Walter Joe was 9 years older than me and as I said above, lived life hard.  As a result he was tougher and more experienced than me in the ways of all out brawls.  He slid me across the gravel driveway on my back and then commenced to pounding my face.  I have a wide spot in my nose to this day from the broken nose that I had to straighten out afterword.

I did not see, speak to or know the whereabouts of my brother for the next 12 years.  Until one day when my mother was contacted by a woman he had been living with for quite some time in the Nashville, TN area.  One thing led to another and we began speaking again and started getting together from time to time.  But it was hard.  Awkward really.  Here’s the thing, Mayer men really are not known for their ability to talk about feelings.  My brother and I were no different, and we never really did talk about that day or any of the days that led up to it.  We just tried to go on like it never happened.  As you can imagine, this was not the most direct or productive path we could have taken to healing our relationship.

In April of 2004 my father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain.  We began aggressive treatment but it was clear that he would not be going back to work.  My brother returned to Ada from Nashville to run the family business while dad was receiving treatment for his cancer.  I don’t think any of us ever believed that cancer would actually take my fathers life.  It was clear in my mind that my dad would beat this and everything would return to normal.  Again, feelings, we suck at them.  Eight months later my father succumbed to cancer.  My brother moved back to Ada with his family and began running the hardware store full time.  I did some of the bookwork and kept the computers running but he was hands on, day to day.  I honestly don’t believe that my brother was ever happy running the hardware store.  I believe it stressed him out and caused him a great deal of anxiety.  As a result we decided to liquidate the store.  Walter had worked construction for years in Tennessee and that is what he seemed to be happiest doing.  After the store was closed he went to work for my aunt doing just that.  He was building again and seemed to be happier than ever.

Our relationship was also improving.  While we had never really sat down and said our peace about anything, we seemed to be moving past it all and bonding as brothers should.  I would visit whenever I could and it was always the strangest thing to me to see my brother with my daughter.  He would absolutely melt every time she was around.  He was a different person.  Or at least a person I had never known.  It was clear he thought the world of her and it was also clear that she had him wrapped around her little finger from day one.

But now he was gone.  This was not like when my father passed away.  We could see that coming, not that that made it any easier, but at least we had time to say goodbye.  This was instantaneous.

While I was in Ada for his funeral, I received a call from a recruiter that I had been working with.  He had a job offer.  Really?  I explained my situation and told him I would get back with him in a few days.  Of course he understood and ultimately I accepted the offer.  A few weeks later I was off to my new job. 

These were dark days for me.  I never really felt that I fit in at my new position.  That probably isn’t entirely fair to the company I worked for.  The people that I worked with were wonderful and the work was fast paced and always new, but there was a dark cloud hanging over me that I couldn’t work my way out of.  The events of my life were constantly on my mind, but only the bad ones.  I was angry at the sudden death of my brother.  I was angry at the loss of my “dream job”.  I was angry at the loss of my father.  I felt guilt for a while slew of things that I really had no control over.  I felt almost guilty for living.  However, true to Mayer form, I didn’t talk about it.  I just got busy.  I had a new job, we had just bought a new house, I started getting in to photography.  Just as I had done when my father died, I did anything I could to avoid confronting my feelings.  Just push ‘em down and they will go away.

Thankfully I have a wonderful wife who could sense my despair and found me someone I could talk to.  This was long before I blogged anything because you people are certainly cheaper than any therapist.  Over the course of several weeks many things became more clear to me.  Death isn’t fair you know.  Death robs us of future relationships.  Not dealing with your feelings after a traumatic loss will haunt you in the future.  I had experienced several pretty dramatic losses over the course of about 5 years and all of them together, because I had been ignoring my feelings, were culminating in a very bad situation.  I had lost my father, bought a house, had a daughter, been laid off, lost my “dream job” and then on top of it all, lost my brother before we could say the things we needed to say to each other.

It’s too late now for me to tell my brother I loved him.  I tell myself he knew it, and I know deep down he loved me.  I know my brother was a kind hearted person who would give anyone the shirt off his back.  I also know that he lived his life on his terms and he was in the end, happy.  He once told me after moving back to Ada that he felt at home.  Nowhere he had been for the last however many years felt like home to him.  I am sad that Cinderella will never really know her uncle Walter and that my twin boys won’t get to experience his presence.  It’s one of those relationships that have been robbed from them.  I am sorry that we did not have the relationship that brothers should have. 

I am in a much better place now.  As it turns out, SemGroup did not liquidate and emerged from bankruptcy in late 2009.  They posted my old position and I, being extremely qualified for my position, returned to SemGroup Corp. in April 2010.  I had twin boys in Sept and I feel like I am at peace with my brothers death.  I just don’t want him to be forgotten and I don’t think he will be because if you knew him I think you would agree with me that he was a lot of things, but forgettable is not one of them.

So, hug your kids.  Love your family.  Talk about your feelings.  Say you’re sorry.

I love and miss you Walter Joe.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grab Life….Invert!!

Well, the day finally arrived.  That’s right, Shrek and Donkey have officially arrived! 

In the wee hours of the morning on 9/2/2010, Jayna and I checked in to the hospital for a scheduled induction.  She was officially at 36 weeks and 4 days.  The babies were measuring large, we could see breathing movements, Jayna was very miserable; it was time.  The early morning shift got us into our labor and delivery room and went through all the normal procedures.  They hooked up the fetal monitors, inserted the IV, got me a cup of coffee and made mom comfortable.  This whole process was very familiar to us as it was basically the same procedure when Cinderella arrived, except that one wasn’t planned.  I settled down in one of the uber comfortable chairs they give the dads and started to wait.  If this was anything like last time, we were going to be there a while.  It took over 14 hours for our first born to be jolted from her comfortable home.  Given the stubbornness of these two little urchins, I had no doubt it would be that long or longer.

Around 8:00 a.m. the doctor arrived to see how we were progressing.  The pitocin had started producing some contractions and we were progressing nicely.  He broke the water of Baby A and was on his merry way.  The nurses continued to monitor Jayna and everything seemed to be progressing very well.  Every time they would check her it seemed she was dilated a little more.  Her contractions were growing stronger and it became very evident we should move forward with the epidural.  Jayna is not a fan of pain.  She wanted to hold out but I pointed out that if her pain was at a 5 now, by the time the anesthesiologist arrived, she would be much worse.  Turns out that was a good call.  By the time he arrived Jayna was becoming quite unpleasant and had completely lost her sense of humor.  Naturally I was testing it just to make sure.

Epidural in, everything was immediately much better.  We were thankful that this time the epidural worked.  We had all kinds of issues when we had our daughter.  Around noon the doctor comes back and check for progress.  He says he’s going to lunch then he’ll be back.  We took that to mean we would deliver after lunch but we weren’t sure. 

Sure enough, around 12:30 the nurse checks and announces she is ready and they start gathering everything to take us to the operating room.  Because this was a multiple pregnancy, it was immediately classified as high risk.  As a result, the doctor wanted to deliver in the OR just in case something happened and we had to do a c-section.  By 1:00 we were headed to the OR.  I had my little booties, scrubs, mask and sexy hat.  We walked into the OR and OMG IT WAS COLD.  Jayna and I were both shivering.  One would expect this maybe because of nerves or fear.  Not us, we were too cold to be scared.  There are 2 or three nurses and the doctor in the room and everyone is generally calm and collected.  So far so good.

Once everyone is prepared, the doctor tells Jayna that on the next contraction we are going to push.  A minute or so later that occurs and Jayna gives a big girl scout push. 

“Ok, the head is almost out.  Please don’t push that hard the next time or I will be catching a bank shot off the wall behind me.”

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but her doctor is a real comedian.

With the next push, we are the proud parents of a 6lb 4oz baby boy.  We catch a glimpse of him as they shuttle him off to the next room, presumably to warm up.  Did I mention it was cold in there?  Things are still calm in the room and everyone is going about their job.  The doctor breaks the baby’s water and then we hear the the doctor say: “Don’t do that!  Why do they always do that?”

Baby B had slid down in the womb and was transverse or laying 90 degrees to where he should have been.  This isn’t really what we wanted to hear, but it wasn’t the end of the world.  Maybe he can turn him.  There are about 10 minutes of the doctor doing his thing trying to get the baby positioned correctly to be delivered.  He keeps mumbling about how the baby keeps grabbing his hand or that he can feel a foot.  At one point something is said about his middle finger and the nurse tells us we can tell this one that he was given the bird in utero.  The doctor told us that while we were having some difficulty he wasn’t “worried”.  I believe his exact words were: “It will take me longer to get your feet out of the stirrups that it will to get this baby out if it comes to that.”  However, just to be safe the anesthesiologists were called and on stand by.  This all carries on for a while and then the tone changed.  Apparently the babies umbilical cord had prolapsed, meaning it was trying to come out first.  This is apparently very dangerous as it can cut off the babies blood supply and oxygen. 

The doctor announced we were going ahead with the c-section and all hell broke loose.  The number of personnel in the room went from about 3 or 4 to what seemed like 100.  It was chaotic but organized all at the same time.  Another syringe of no feel um juice was pushed into Jayna’s epidural, the tent went up and everything was under way. 

Now I’m going to take a break now to talk about me.  For those of you that know me, you know that I’m not fond of hospitals, blood, surgery or any other general ooginess.  This particular situation was basically a nightmare scenario for me.  I don’t even have to see the aforementioned stuff, just thinking about it will cause me to either hurl all over everything or pass smooth out.  I was of course determined not to be THAT GUY.  But they didn’t make it easy.  As the surgery progressed, naturally there was blood.  It happened to splatter all over the floor and pedestal of the bed right below me.  Wow, it’s not hot in the room.  Like boiling hot.  I’m getting that funny feeling and I’m trying to concentrate on comforting Jayna.  It’s kind of hard to breathe.  I’m panting like a lizard and behind that surgical mask, every breath was hot and nauseating.  I had to pull it away from my face just to maintain.  As they are working to get the baby out they are tugging and pulling on Jayna causing her whole body to shake.  Again, I don’t have to see what’s going on, it’s freaking me out. 

After what seems like an eternity I hear the doctor say, he’s out.  The nurses shuffle him off into the next room and we never hear him cry.  All it takes is a look between Jayna and I to know that we are both on the same page.   No one is saying anything about how he is doing and after hearing that the cord has prolapsed, we are worried.  We focus on each other and wait for the news.  Again, another eternity passes and the nurse sticks her head in the OR and announces he is 7lbs 8oz and doing fine.  We breathe a sigh of relief and I continue to hide behind the tent and ignore the blood on the floor.  A few minutes later, they bring him in and hand him to me.  I swivel around in my chair and let Jayna see him and say hello.  The nurse says we need to go to the nursery and that I can carry him down there if I would like.  As I get up to leave the room I realize she is leading me through the OR on the OTHER side of the tent.  I felt like Dory in Finding Nemo.  Just keep walking, just keep walking, just keep walking.  Oh yeah, and don’t drop your son.  I somehow found my way out of the OR and to the nursery.  Everything is much better now.

I wait in the nursery while the put Jayna back together and have a few moments of sheer terror as I realize that not one but two of those babies are mine.  They are getting their bath, measurements, blood work etc.  There is a crowd gathering outside the window and I can see them mouthing, “Is that the twins?”  Apparently we were the only couple having twins on the floor and everyone knew about it.  About 30 minutes later the doctor comes in and tells me Jayna is doing fine.  They are going to x-ray her to make sure they didn’t leave any tools in her because they didn’t have the opportunity to count everything given the emergency nature of the c-section.  As soon as they finished that they would be taking her back to the room.  He is also in awe of the size of the babies.  He points out that he and his wife just had a baby, his wife carried their baby longer than Jayna and she still only weighed 5lbs 9oz.  Both of our twins outweighed his singleton.  The opportunities for a good ribbing were abundant at that moment but I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to produce any bazingas.

The next few days were of course a blur in the hospital.  Someone was in the room every 30 minutes to an hour for one reason or another.  It’s like one nurse pointed out, there are three patients in this room.  If we aren’t in here for Jayna, someone is in here for the babies.  We took advantage of the nursery all we could and would send the babies away in the evening so we could try to get some sleep.  Cinderella got to visit her new brothers a couple of times and I picked her up from our friends house on Saturday and we brought donuts to mom.  Jayna was ready to be home.  At that point the care they were giving her consisted mainly of taking her blood pressure and heart rate every hour and bringing her pain medication on schedule.  She asked the doctor if we could go home that morning and he gave us the blessing on the spot.  A few hours later we were headed home.  By the time they finished discharging us, Jayna’s pain medication was starting to wear off.  If you haven’t driven in Tulsa lately, let me tell you the roads are TERRIBLE.  You don’t realize it so much until every time you hit a bump your wife winces.  I gingerly make my way to the pharmacy and then home to try to get her comfortable. 

So, the time at home so far has been about what we expected.  A lot of sleepless nights and finding our routine.  We have been attempting to get the twins on some sort of a schedule and it appears to be working for the most part.  If one wakes up and is ready to eat, we wake both of them up and feed them.  This results in the diaper changes being about the same as well.  Even though there are two of them we have talked about it, and we really feel we don’t think it is as difficult as it was when we brought Cinderella home.  All of the processes are familiar, there is just a lot more to do.  The first couple of days were particularly rough because Jayna’s milk hadn’t come in yet and the babies were up every 30 minutes it seemed.  That situation has improved dramatically plus we supplemented several times to get us through it.  I remember when we had Cinderella, we agonized with supplementing Jayna’s milk, we agonized with whether or not to use a pacifier, basically we agonized with every decision we made.  Turns out, she survived.  It has been a bit questionable lately whether or not she will survive this sassy 3 year old stage but that’s another blog post.  This time it has not been nearly as difficult to make decisions about what to do and what not to do.  I guess it’s true what they say about the second child(ren). 

As of now, the babies are sleeping for 2 to 3 hours at a time and feeding well.  We went to the pediatrician on Tuesday and they had lost a bit more weight than he liked but we weren’t in any particular danger.   We are going back to the doctor tomorrow to make sure they are gaining weight but we are reasonably comfortable they are.  They are eating well and certainly expelling well.  I have changed diapers until I am sick of seeing diapers and it has only been a week.  It also doesn’t help that we have to take special care of the circumcisions every time we change a diaper.  it’s not unusual for us to get one changed and while we are changing the other, the first one pee’s his pants.  Oh yeah, and our boys don’t just pee their pants.  Oh no.  They are Houdini’s of urination.  Both of them pee up their back on a regular basis.  Jayna and I are scratching our heads trying to figure out how that happens and how to prevent it.  So far it doesn’t matter where you point it or how you fasten the diaper.  Jayna looks at me like I should know what is going on but I have to gently remind her, I don’t pee up my back, nor do I have any clue how I would go about that.

We certainly want to thank all of our friends who have sent us well wishes, brought us dinner or offered their assistance.  It is wonderful to know we have such good friends and such a strong support group.  We will keep you posted and I will get some pictures up as soon as I can. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ready or not….

Holy freakin’ out here. 

We had our FINAL doctors appointment today.  Shrek and Donkey are very cramped and Jayna is very miserable.  We are scheduled to be induced on Thursday 9/2 at 5:00 in the morning.  Arrangements are made for Cinderella and the dogs and the bags are packed.   

We will officially be at 36 weeks and 4 days on Thursday.  Three weeks ago the babies were 6 lbs each.  I’m kind of scared to see how big they are now.  The way Jayna is devouring Ben and Jerry’s now I wouldn’t be surprised if they were 8 lbs each.  Last night she ate an entire pint.  We were laughing before the doctors appointment because we were certain she was going to have gained 5 lbs this week.  She lost two ounces.  The ultrasound was hard to discern much of anything except large blobs of baby and copious lung movement.  Apparently that’s super awesome. 

On a side note, If you’ve never purchased 5 pints of ice cream at 8:30 in the evening, I would highly suggest it.  The looks you get are worth every penny. It’s even funnier when you don’t bother to explain and they just kind of stare at you as you walk out the door.

As for me, well I starting to get that edgy, nervous twitch that all the men in my family are so famous for.  If I wasn’t sleeping before, it sure as hell hasn’t gotten any better.  I don’t have any delusions that it will any time soon.  Last time we delivered, I think Jayna can probably attest that I didn’t sit down the entire day.  I was pretty much a pacing fool for 14 hours while we waited for our little bundle of joy to arrive.  We are both hoping it doesn’t take 14 hours this time. 

This afternoon while we were at the doctors office, the doctor looked at me and said:

“Dude, you should probably go to the strip club tonight or something because those days are about to be O.V.E.R.”

Wow, that helped.  Hey Jayna, you know these last 9 months while you have been trying to soothe my nerves and assure me that everything will be ok.  Your comedian doctor was able to erase all that effort in one little sentence.  Now I’m freaking out and there’s no stopping it.

We’ll keep you all posted but the party begins Thursday morning.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

T-Minus 2 Weeks

We are at 33 weeks and 3 days to be exact. 

We had another doctors appointment today.  Donkey, who for the longest time was breech, has now flipped and is vertex.  This is a good thing.  While it is possible to deliver the second baby in a breech position as long as baby A comes out vertex, it is by no means ideal.  The fact they are both vertex has reduced a great deal of stress from our lives.  As Jayna says, “She was a bit concerned about the ‘logistics’ of a breech delivery.”  Let’s just hope the epidural works this time.  Now we are just hoping that he stays head down for the remainder of the pregnancy. 

The doctor did a quick ultrasound today and everything looked good.  We are going to the hospital for a formal ultrasound between now and our next visit.  We are now seeing the doctor weekly and literally counting the days until these little peace disruptors arrive.  Every time we go in for a visit he tells Jayna what a rock star she is.  I told him today that I think she’s probably tired of being a rock star.  Her back is hurting, her feet are swelling and she is just generally uncomfortable.

In other news, Jayna has decided not to return to work after having the babies.  This was a very difficult decision for Jayna, but we both agree that it is the right move for our family at this time.  Lord knows we are going to have enough stress on our hands without her having to worry about keeping up with her job as well.  Apparently everyone around her felt she was somewhat of a lunatic for planning to return in the first place. 

I think that Cinderella is starting to sense that things are about to change.  We are having some behavioral “issues.”  I am not sure if these issues are the fact that her life is about to change or if she is just testing the waters to see how far she can push us as a normal course of her growing up.  Most of the time a stern warning will somewhat get things under control but other times, not so much.  Sunday night was one of those nights.  We have pretty well defined routines around our house.  We have dinner, play for a while, pick up our toys, take a shower, read a book and go to bed.  It’s usually around the pick up our toys phase that things go down hill.  Sunday night was no different.  We fought with hour for several minutes to pick up her toys downstairs and for the most part she finally struggled through it.  Of course I had to threaten to throw them all away if I picked them up.  When we went upstairs to tidy up she basically refused.  As a result I started picking up her stuff.  She was not happy about this as she was concerned that I was going to throw her toys away.  I was holding a baby crib with some stuff in it and she jerked it out of my hands, dumped it on the floor and spurted some sassy reprimand in my direction.  Have you ever seen that Bill Cosby bit where his wife says, “I…have had…ENOUGH!!!!”.  That’s kind of where I was at that moment.  A swat on the bottom rendered my overly dramatic daughter harmless in a screaming ball of goo on the floor.  I picked up all of the toys laying around, angrily I might add, and put them in the baby crib.  When I didn’t think her temper tantrum could get any more dramatic, it did.  I started down the stairs with the crib you would have thought I chopped off her leg.  I “explained” to her that I wasn’t going to throw her toys away but she sure as heck wasn’t going to get them back until she could prove she was a big girl.  The rest of the evening was a blubbering sniffling mess but we eventually made it to bed and that was that.

Now, let me say this.  I HATE disciplining my daughter.  She wears her feelings on her sleeve and it takes little more than a cross look for the lip to come out and the water works to begin.  I know everyone always jokes about how little girls have their daddy’s wrapped around their finger, but people joke about it because it’s true.  I’m always afraid one day she will just be done with me.  It might be an irrational fear, but it is what it is.  The logical me knows that I’m not here to be her friend, but I want to be.  It’s a constant struggle.  I frequently wonder if it will be the same way with boys.  Guess I will know very soon.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I don’t really have a lot to talk about tonight. Just thought everyone might like to see some pictures.













Friday, July 30, 2010

4 weeks and counting….and counting….and….

That’s right, just about a month left until we are at the magical 36 week mark. 
I think Jayna is counting on the twins arriving at that time.  She is simply ignoring the fact that it is at least a possibility that she could carry them longer than that.  I try not to point that out because I get dirty looks just mentioning it.  Speaking of dirty looks, this evening I went to the grocery store to pick up some things we needed.  While I was there I received a frantic, somewhat irrational text message indicating that there was a dire emergency at the house.  Apparently the large pregnant woman was having a craving in a major way for some Ben and Jerry’s.  Cherry Garcia to be specific.  After a long detailed text message about the exact flavor, where it was located in the store and how it only came in pints and I was expected to return home with some, I found my way to the frozen foods section.  As explained to me there were pints of Cherry Garcia in the freezer and I dutifully placed one in the shopping cart.  Then it caught my eye.  They also have 3.6oz containers, complete with a mini me sized spoon for your Ben and Jerry’s on the go cravings.  My diabolical mind began whirring and I added the bite sized container to the cart.   Upon arrival at home, I raced into the living room and announced that I pulled the ice cream out when I was checking out so she wouldn’t have to wait another second to sooth her craving.  She was like a toddler on Christmas morning.  Her eyes lit up and you could see the giddiness radiating from her.   I produced the snack size container with my best “didn’t I do good” look.  Have you ever seen when someone was trying to be appreciative but just couldn’t pull it off?  That’s what this was like.  Her balloon was burst, her hopes dashed.  It’s like she asked for a pony for her birthday and received a bag of sticks.  But she pulled it together, thanked me and began destroying what little ice cream she had.  I apologized and informed her that Target was out of all the Cherry Garcia except THAT container, then went on with carrying the groceries in.  As I was unpacking the sacks of stuff, I sat the pint of ice cream on the bar without saying a word.  She was sitting in the chair, focused intently on that little container and savoring every morsel.  She looked right at the pint several times but it never registered with her.  She was nearly finished with her snack when she noticed it sitting there.  She called me several not so nice words, then attacked that little pint of ice cream like a momma bear.  Needless to say, I made a wide swath around her for a good hour.
It is a strange phenomenon, it seems the closer we get to the arrival, the more hectic our lives become.  I have to say I am a bit terrified to see what it is going to be like around here in just a few short weeks.  It is also strange to see our little girl change.  I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that the due date is racing up on us or if she is just growing up, but the sass level has dramatically increased and the all out kicking screaming fits seem to have subsided somewhat. 
Last night we all went to a baseball game at Drillers Stadium.  Jayna had been wanting to take miss thing for some time now.  Why she choose mid summer, 100 degrees and 8 months pregnant to be the appropriate time I will never know, but I have certainly learned to pick my battles these days.  We waddle in to the stadium, get the pregnant woman 8 hot dogs and find our seats.  Cinderella seems to be enjoying the game as well as watching all the people.  This appears to be one of her favorite past times, we have to continually tell her to stop starring at people.  All was well and good until she saw Hornsby, the Drillers mascot.  For some reason she has never liked mascot costumes.  The Chick-fil-A cow freaks her out to the point we almost can’t go there.  Hornsby was no different.  He’s a big blue cow and she wasn’t impressed.  She pretty much climbed me like a jungle gym and employed her famous death grip arm and leg hug.  The rest of the evening was spent intently keeping tabs on Hornsby.  There could have been fairies dancing in the infield and she would have had no clue.  Any time he would come our way she would climb in my lap and hang on for dear life.  When we finally got home that night, took our shower and got in to bed I was hugging her good night and she whispered in my ear.
“Daddy, I don’t like Horney”…
“I know sweetheart.  We made him stay at the game”
“Ok daddy, I had a really big day, I’m going to sleep now.  Can you make sure there are no monsters in my room?”
“Monster sweep, check.  Night Night.”
I don’t know where this whole monster thing came from but for the last few evenings she has asked us to make sure there are no monsters in her room.  Her mother had to suffice this evening because I was buying groceries.  Apparently, I’m better at it than mommy.  It is in some handbook somewhere.  Wouldn’t it be nice if kids came with a manual?
While I was out this evening Cinderella marches over to the end table by my chair in the living room.  She picks up the lapboard that I use with my laptop and says:
“This is my iPad, I’m going to go do some stuff.”
Now, most of you that know me know that this is probably one of the proudest moments of daddy-hood for me.  Maybe she’s going to be a big gadget nerd like her daddy.  It certainly pays better than social work.  As many of you who are friends with us on facebook probably are aware, this event sparked a debate between Jayna and I as to whether or not the darling child should indeed get an iPad.  Needless to say, the verdict is still out.  This may be one of those times when I make an executive decision and beg for forgiveness later.  We’ll just have to see.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

T-Minus 6 Weeks….ish….

And all hell is breaking loose. 

My wife's body is doing things that I thought were only possible in comic books.  I really hope for her sake these last few weeks progress quickly.  The heat index in Oklahoma has been well over 100 degrees for the past two weeks.  This doesn’t bode well when you are carrying an extra 20 lbs or so.  Jayna can get winded just thinking about getting up.

Shrek and Donkey are more like David and Goliath at this point.  Shrek is measuring 3lbs 6oz and Donkey is tipping the scales at 4lbs 8oz.  The doctor was a little taken aback by the large discrepancy in their size so he is sending us to the hospital for a “formal ultrasound.”  He indicated that if they were small babies he would be concerned but apparently she is growing Viking children.  He just wants to have another set of eyes take a look at the situation to make sure we don’t miss anything.   

Heh, I just called my wife’s belly a situation.  No, we’re not Italian.

Speaking of a situation.  I was getting ready to get in the shower this evening and Jayna comes in to the bathroom to brush her teeth.  As she approaches the vanity I see her reach under her belly with both hands and hoist it up to rest on the countertop like a sack of potatoes.  I am in disbelief.  She sees me looking at her and realizes what she has just done.  I can see the terror in her eyes.

“That’s going on the blog isn’t it?”

“Oh, that may as well already be on the blog it is so going on the blog!!!!”

We have many situations going on these days.  One of the other major situations around here is the sleeping situation.  On the lack there of.  For me, sleeping in the same bed with a 7 month pregnant woman is something similar to sleeping through a hurricane in a pup tent.  As a result, I have been somewhat cranky.  I’m sure many of you can testify to this, and I am sorry.  I suspect that is going to get worse in a few short weeks.  I will try to curb my crabbiness.

Cinderella is getting more excited by the day.  She talks about her little brothers every day and gives them a kiss goodbye in the morning before going to school.  We get daily reports from her teachers about what she did that day and the other day was particularly memorable, or terrifying, guess it depends on your perspective.  Apparently she was playing with a group of her friends, and they were playing house.  She announces to the entire class that she is the mommy and one particular little boy was the kid, and I quote, “that popped out of my belly.”  Really?  She’s 3.  All I have to say is, that’s on her mother.   These conversations are not ones that geeks handle well.

As I was just typing, Jayna just jerked and snorted a little.  I hear her laughing because she woke herself up.  Like I said, hurricane.

I’m signing off for now, I will post an update when we know more.  Our appointment at the hospital is tomorrow so we should have some more information then.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ramblings of an Insomniac

It’s 4:15 in the morning.  I’ve been awake for over an hour and I'm not sure why.  I suspect it might have something to do with my pregnant wife’s tossing and turning as well as the dogs snoring in the floor, but who knows.

I’ve been thinking about a blog post for a couple of weeks now.  Ever since fathers day.  It is somewhat of a surreal experience for me, fathers day.  I have my own day.  Not like a birthday, it’s completely different than that.  What is it like.  Well, I struggle to explain that.  I’m sure it is different for every dad out there, and I am supremely confident that my perspective varies drastically from the norm.

I was the youngest member of my immediate family and not far from the youngest of my extended family.  Needless to say, my experience with children was very limited.  I was never comfortable around kids, some would argue that is still the case.  I always imagined getting married and having children, but I didn’t have any frame of reference as to what that would be like.  As a result, the last three years of my life have been a mix of emotions and new experiences.

Even today when I sit and think about the fact that I am a father, it is a difficult concept for me to grasp.  Yes, I have this little creature running around the house calling me daddy but honestly, I don’t feel that much different.  I guess I had some preconceived notion that everything about your life would change when you had children.  Please don’t get me wrong, THINGS CHANGE.  The days of packing a bag and getting away for a weekend are no longer as simple.  Heading off to the lake for a day on the boat is infinitely more work than it used to be.  Let’s not even talk about jumping on a plane and leaving the country, it’s just not feasible any more.  At least it’s not feasible for a raging perfectionist like myself.  However, my identity and internal view of myself has largely remained unchanged. 

My father, from my point of view, was rather strict.  Not overbearing, but he expected things of my brother and I that, at the time, seemed unreasonable and harsh.  I never resented my father for this, but I can say I wished he would lighten up from time to time.  That seemed to happen as I went off to college and definitely was noticeable after I was out on my own making my way.  I didn’t understand why at the time, but it is becoming very clear to me at this point.  I will say this about parenthood, it certainly changes your perspective about your parents, as I’m sure my brother and I did with my father.  When I think about it from my fathers perspective, I’m sure he thought he was being easy on us.  He was raised in a generation where children were only to speak if spoken to.  So while our perspective about our parents change, it is clear that doesn’t necessarily mean we are going to do everything exactly like they did.  Does that mean each generation is somehow better than the previous at guiding our children through life.  Definitely not.  Lord knows I have made countless mistakes with my daughter, and I’m sure there will be many more to come.  It is certain to me however, that the way we raise our children is heavily influenced by our upbringing and I am extremely thankful for mine.  There are far too many people out there who do not have a strong base to draw on for guidance in their parenting skills.  Just read the paper or watch the news to see the atrocities that are committed against children.  And the heartbreaking thing is, it is a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.

I love my daughter.  I know for a fact there are now words to explain how much.  It is gut wrenching love.  I can not imagine my life without her.  I can not even begin to fathom how people feel who loose a child.  When I think about what my mother felt the day my brother was killed in a car wreck, it is almost unbearable for me.  I never knew that I could love one person so much.  That, if nothing else, is the one thing about parenthood hat did not surprise me.  You always hear this from parents, but it is impossible to fully understand until you have them yourself.  I know that is a raging cliché but I don’t know how else to say it.

That being said, sometimes you need a break.  You know, from time to time, you kind of miss those days without children.  I used to think this made me a terrible father and there must be something wrong with me.  I have been able to tell myself recently that this is not the case.  I certainly hope I’m not just justifying my feelings somehow.  No one wants to be a bad parent. 

We were in the car the other day and Cinderella was whining incessantly about needing to go potty.  We were on the turnpike and we couldn’t stop so we explained to her that she would just have to hold it for a few minutes until we could get to a bathroom.  Let me say briefly, logic and reason do not work with a 3 year old.  After about 15 minutes on non stop whining, her mother snapped.  There was a stern reprimand and threat of not very nice things if the WHINING DID NOT STOP.  Things were very quite for just a few seconds and from the back seat came these words…

“You guys aren’t being very nice!”

This is one of those moments when you want to laugh but that’s just not possible.  You have to be resolute and know that what you are telling her is best.  You don’t want her to stop whining just for your benefit, well maybe a little, but for her benefit later in life.  It’s not like you can whine to your boss and get what you want at work.  I wish.

So a couple of weeks ago on fathers day, I started thinking about what I thought it was going to be like to be a father versus the reality of the situation.  In reality, it is better than I ever thought it would be.  My identity as a person is the same.  I still feel like me, like I always have.  I don’t know exactly why I thought that would change but I’m thankful it hasn’t.  Now I have this little miracle running around my house who I love more than anything.  Does she frustrate me from time to time?  That is quite possibly the understatement of the century.  But in the grand scheme of things, it is all worth it.

I picked up Cinderella from day care on the Friday before fathers day.  She greets me as I walk through the door, more excited than usual.  She takes me by the hand and leads me over to her cubby, excitedly rambling something about a card.  She had made me a card for fathers day and was so excited to give it to me she could barely talk.  I opened the card and it was about what you would expect from a three year old.  Some stickers and other scribbles on a folded sheet of paper.   The look on her face was pure elation.  She couldn’t have been more proud of the card that she had made for her daddy and I couldn’t have been more proud of her. 

We came home and went through our normal routine then it was off to bed.  The next morning at 6:15, she is in our bedroom, ready for the day.  She is always much more excited about 6:15 than we are.  In an effort to squeeze a few more minutes of bed time in, we allow her to climb in bed with us.  Sometimes she is still for a few minutes, other times not so much.  Today, not so much. 

She enthusiastically tells me “HAPPY FATHERS DAY!” 

“That’s not until tomorrow sweetie.”

Then she does something completely unexpected.  She wraps her arms around my neck and gives me a big “squeezy hug” and says…

“But I love you SO much daddy.”


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lions and Tigers and…..I hate the circus!

I should warn everyone right now that this blog post is difficult for me to write on so many levels.  Just thinking about the topic makes me nervous, jittery and generally uneasy.  I think the title should set it up quite nicely.  Let me be clear this post is told from my perspective.  I can’t quite understand why but for some unknown reason, not everyone in my household maintains the same opinion as the one I am about to express.

It all started several months ago when it was announced the Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey circus would be coming to town.  My wife had never been and was sure that the 3 year old would LOVE to see the spectacle.  She knew at that time my distaste for all things circus but bought me a ticket anyway.  Gee thanks.  Fast forward to last weekend.

The day was here and we were off to the event.  We could barely get Cinderella to take a nap she was so excited.  She knew there would be Elephants, Lions and popcorn.  She was in!  Earlier in the week she had announced to her mother and I that she was going to the circus to see the FLAMINGOS!?!?  I didn’t really have the heart to tell her so we just agreed and went on.

I had been dreading the day for months.  Now it was here.  It was in the afternoon so I had all day to fester.  That’s always a good thing.  We stop at the ATM and get some cash and grab a bite to eat before we head to the venue.  Given my queasiness that was probably not a great idea.  Oh well.

We arrive in downtown Tulsa and park the car.  Walking in to the BOK Center I am already getting nervous.  As soon as we get out of the parking garage you can hear some carney on a bull horn.  Not real sure what he is saying but he seems to be very passionate about it.  Whatever it is I’m sure it was about $20.  More on that later.

We manage to avoid the first wave of empty your wallet attacks but as soon as we’re in the door the lemonade stand proves to be too much for both my wife and daughter. 

“I’ll take two lemonades please.”

“That will be $18 sir.”

It’s a damn good thing they didn’t have a tip jar out.  I might have lost it.  Shell shocked and a bit shaken, we proceed to our seats.  That was no small feat in and of itself.  There are these little booths EVERYWHERE.  They have spinny lighty things, cotton candy, stuffed animals, roasted nuts, snow cones, popcorn…the list goes on and on.  To a three year old it’s like they’ve died and gone to heaven.  They want one of everything.  We managed to shuffle her quickly past all the little traps and arrived at our seats.  Whew, we made it, all that is behind us. 


Here come the people up and down the isles with the same wears as were in the lobby.  Yelling at your child to let them know what they have to offer.  Case in point, the snow cone dude shows up.  Cinderella immediately focuses on him like a hawk stalking a mouse. 

“I want one daddy.” 

“Fine, One snow cone please.”

“That will be $9”

“Those are made of ice and some flavoring right?”

“Yes sir, but you get the elephant mug you can take home with you.”

I’m still trying to decide if that was supposed to be good news but I shell out the ridiculous money and hand the treat to my daughter.  She takes the spoon and tries to take a bite and it is frozen almost solid.  I spend the next 20 minutes trying to chip away at the block of ice in the collectors edition mug so my precious angel can enjoy a snow cone.

Would you listen to me?  I’m becoming my father.  Oh dear.  Was he like this at my age or am I on some accelerated path  to un-cool daddyhood?  Maybe that just means I’ll mellow sooner. 

It’s time for the show to start.  Oh boy.

As expected about 400 clowns pour into the arena and begin their usual slapstick comedy routines that are supposed to amaze and entertain.  Time for a side discussion.

I don’t like clowns.  Haven’t liked them ever since I can remember.  I think it probably had something to do with a big brother perpetuating the fear.  Not only did I not like them but my brother kept this velvety looking clown painting hanging above his bed for YEARS.  I think he did it to keep me out of his room but it gave me the heeby jeebs.  It just seems like they are always up to no good.  Like they’re about to rob you or something.  The release of the move IT at the ripe age of 14 didn’t help to calm my irrational fear of clowns.  Thank you Stephen King.

Back to the circus.  In addition to not liking clowns I also don’t particularly care for the type of physical comedy routines that most clowns employ.  You know, pulling chairs out from each other, etc.  There is a lot of that going on.  Cinderella looks at me and says.

“Daddy, I don’t like clowns.”

“Atta girl.  It’s never too early to have an irrational fear.”

Then the head clown comes out.  The MC of the show and begins his spiel professing this as the “Greatest Show On Earth.”  Well, that’s a bit lofty don’t you think?  Maybe in 1860.  Whatever, I’m going to try and enjoy this.

We get all the clown antics out of the way and the show begins, there are horses that prance around in unison, dog tricks, elephants parading, canons firing; you know, all the usual circus stuff.  Even the things that make me cringe.  Trapeze acts and the high wire.   Especially the high wire.  Why anyone in their right minds would choose this lunacy as their career is beyond me.  Just watching the event makes me squirm in my seat.  Heck, I’m finding it difficult to type right now just thinking about it.

That brings me to another point.  Who are these people?  Who joins the proverbial circus.  How many people have you heard say “I want to be in the circus” when asked what they want to be when they grow up.  I bet you can count them on one hand if you can count any.  I bet there were 200 people in the performance alone.   I found myself trying to figure out what drew each of them to the circus.

Intermission arrives and I’m relieved we are going to have a break from the craziness.  But here come the vendors again.  This time the three year old locks on to the popcorn guy.  I can go for that.  I eat popcorn almost every night, or so it seems.  Small box, $7.  Look on my face, probably priceless.  I swear to you I have been to strip clubs that cost me less.

The second half of the show spins up and I realize that I am missing about half of everything that is going on.   There is no telling what I missed in the first half.  It’s the proverbial 3 ring circus in there.  And there is something different going on in each ring.  That’s just too much.  I can’t multi task like that.  It’s sensory overload.  Not knowing what I missed is now bugging the hell out of me to the point I can’t even focus on what’s going on.  I just eat some popcorn and watch the 3 year old.  That’s probably more entertaining than the actual show.  She has these wide eyes and she’s eating the popcorn like a zombie without removing her gaze from the show.  Music comes on and she dances.  That’s always entertaining.  The popcorn box proves to be too much for her to deal with so she hands it to me to hold.  But I can’t just hold it, I have to hold it with the opening facing her so she has easy access to the contents.  And she makes it very clear she isn’t sharing.

The show ends and I am relieved.  That is behind me.  Then it dawns on me that we have to run the gauntlet again.  All those booths outside are still whirring and spinning.  It’s not like going to the movies or something.  Oh no.  They get you coming and going.  One of the acts in the show were the lions, so naturally Cinderella HAD to have a stuffed lion.  $20 and we are headed for the door before she looses interest and decides she needs something else.  We battle our way out the door and make it to the car without incident.  Just listen to the silence. 

Wow…That’s nice.

Um. That was unexpected.

Today has been one of those days.  Yesterday evening around bedtime we discovered Cinderella had a fever.  Great.  I stay home with her today because we, unlike many parents at daycare, actually keep our child home when she’s sick.  Ok, enough of my soap box. 

This evening, Jayna had an appointment to get her hair fixed.  She leaves at 6:30 and I’m left to handle dinner, bath, books and bedtime.  Not a problem.  We go through the first half of the night night routine and sit down to read our books.  For some reason the dogs are barking in the back yard.  Now, this isn’t overly unusual, our dogs are obnoxious.  Tonight was different.  They weren’t stopping.  And the primary barker was Beau.  Beau is the fat, lazy and normally docile one that rarely barks.  Most of the time he just stands there and stares at stuff.  Not tonight, he was barking like he was defending his food bowl or something.  I couldn’t hear Bailey barking at all.  That’s even stranger, she will typically bark at a stiff breeze. 

Ok, books are read, daughter is tucked in and the freakin dogs are still barking.  I storm down the stairs and look out the back door to see nothing but Beau’s butt sticking up from under the fence.  Bailey is sitting behind him observing the ridiculousness of it all.  I walk out the back door and divert the attention of Beau briefly.  He has apparently been attempting to escape Attica or something because there is a mud hole next to the fence and Beau is covered from head to toe in mud.  Nice.

I go over to the fence to get a closer look at the carnage and I can see the edge of a turtle shell.  Of course.  Beau was attempting to eat a turtle.  And I might add, in doing so, has wrecked my well groomed back yard. 

The turtle in question appears to be wedged under the fence.  The house next to us is brand new and just had sod installed.  He was wedged between the sod and the fence and had slid slightly under the fence.  I reached down to push the turtle up out of the hole he was in, hoping he would just continue on his merry way and we could be done with all this commotion.  When I started to push on the shell the turtle jerked and kind of hissed.  Wait a minute.  I know that sound.  I have certainly never heard a terrapin make that noise.  I take a closer look and sure enough, there is that long rat like tail that tapers down to a point.  That’s about all I could see but that was all I needed to see.  What the hell is a snapping turtle doing in my back yard in suburban Tulsa?

For those of you that know me well, you know I grew up in and/or around the country.  I spent many an hour at farm ponds.  I’ve seen snapping turtles.  I’ve harassed snapping turtles just to see them get angry.  However, I have lived in Tulsa for over 10 years now I can’t say I’ve seen a snapping turtle during that entire time outside of the zoo. 

If you’ve never had an experience with a snapping turtle, they’re not like you average turtle.  They’re FAST, their neck is LONG and their bites HURT.  I decided that poking this turtle from the other side of the fence where I couldn’t see anything was probably a bad idea.  I go to the garage and fetch a rake and head to the neighbors yard.  I peel back the sod because the turtle is completely covered by the sod.  As soon as I peel back the grass the turtle starts hissing at me.  Wow, this is a particularly angry fella.  I decide it’s a good thing I brought the rake, maybe I should use it.  I hook the back of the shell with the rake and he immediately latches on to the rake and doesn’t let go.  I lift him out of the hole between our yards and swing him over to the middle of the yard.  It takes me a second to get him to let the rake go and he continues to hiss at me.  I walk around the corner of the house and keep an eye on him for a minute.  He finally calms down and wanders off.

I spend the next half an hour washing the dogs and trying to cover the gaping hole in the back yard with something until I can get some dirt to fill in.

I swear this stuff only happens to me.  Really?  A snapping turtle?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Congratulations Ma’am, you’re giving birth to whale pirates.

We recently had an appointment with the “high risk pregnancy” doctor.  If you’ve never tried it before, you may be interested to know that if you are pregnant with twins you are instantaneously categorized as a high risk pregnancy.  Doesn’t matter if your regular OB sees any problems or not, you’re in that category.  Apparently they have super special high risk doctors for this very conundrum.  You see them in addition to your regular doctor at least a couple of times during your journey.  This was our first visit. 

Our regular doctor called us with the appointment and informed us that our ARRIVAL time was 1:15.  This was stressed numerous times, so we presumed it was very important we be there by 1:15.  Me being the perfectionist I am, I insisted we arrive by 1:10.  As expected we arrive and there is a mountain of paperwork to fill out.  Why is it that you give them a copy of your insurance card and then you have to provide your insurance information on the paperwork?  Note to doctors, you have our insurance card back there.  We don’t memorize this stuff people!  Ok, I’m done with that rant.  Jayna fills out the book of information they are asking for and returns it promptly to the window.  It’s 1:25, they should shuffle us back there at any minute.   Wrong.

I should pause briefly to explain the situation.  We arrive where we thought we should be to a very nice office with pleasant lighting, plants and comfortable seating.  Wow, this place is really nice Jayna and I say to each other.  Jayna approaches the desk and we are told we are in the wrong location.  The office we should be at is one floor down.  Ok, no problem, we head down the elevator.  Have you ever seen an asylum?  You know, drab grayish brown walls, solid wood doors with nothing but a number on a black and white tag.  That’s where we found ourselves.  We entered some double doors and looked around helplessly while two women at a gray steel desk looked at us like someone from the movie deliverance.  After observing my VERY pregnant wife for a moment one said, “I think you’re looking for the office two doors down on the right.”  I might have fainted if they said she had a pretty mouth.  Anyway, we thank them kindly and head down the hall.  We open the nondescript door to the doctors office and I swear I’m about knocked over by the smell of cigarette smoke.  I catch a quick glance from my wife and I immediately realize it’s not just me.  There are two adults, apparently a mother and daughter and two children in the waiting room.  I’m not sure who the children belong to but I’m not sure I care.  I can barely breathe.  Apparently one of the adults is a full fledged chain smoker, and I hope it’s not the pregnant one.  Back to the story, we fill out the appropriate paperwork and take our seats to wait out turn. 

Jayna and I begin fiddling with our cell phones.  There are no magazines or television.  That means the only entertainment we have is watching the two “adults” attempt to coral the very bored children.  I hear a faint moaning or something from the room next door.  Not sure what that is but it goes on for the remainder of the time in our waiting room.  I’m a little uncomfortable but what’s new?  It’s now 1:50, still in the waiting room.  Jayna and I are texting each other at this point.  Yes we’re sitting right next to each other, we’re being judgmental, what can I say?  It’s approximately 2:15 and we are finally called back to the exam room.  FINALLY, a reprieve from the smoke smell.  Wait, do you smell that?  DAMN, it’s in my clothes.  That’s jacked up, she wasn’t even smoking in there, she was just in the same room AFTER smoking.  They take the usual weight/blood pressure measurements and move us to an ultrasound room.  Again we wait.

A few minutes later the tech enters the room and explains what is about to happen.  “This is going to take a while to complete so if you are ever uncomfortable just let me know and we will move you to a move comfortable position”, she tells my wife.  “TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE SIR!”  She’s not nearly as friendly with me.  Geez lady, it’s off.

The exam begins.  Now, our doctor does an ultrasound every time we are at the office, so we are used to that but this ultrasound was and ultrasound to top all others.  I saw parts of my children I didn’t even know existed yet. 

“You see that spot sir, that’s your baby’s bladder.  That dark spot there, that’s the stomach.  And there, you see those dark gray spots, those are the kidneys.”

Um, ok.  I have to say, I can’t really tell the difference between that gray spot and that one, but if you say so.  They measured EVERYTHING. 
“This is the spinal fluid forming at the base of your baby’s brain.  Here is the actual brain.”

It goes on and on for what seems like hours.   They measure the length of leg and arm bones.  They take a complete picture of the spine.  We see pictures of their face with their mouth open and their tongue hanging out.

“Yes ma’am, they’re poking their tongue out at you for making me turn my cell phone off.”  I say on the inside.

She continues, “You see there, that’s a leg bone and that’s the other leg bone, and there.  Oh my.  He’s definitely a boy.”

“He get’s that from his daddy” I quip.

“Actually, that’s true sir, the male provides the gene that determines the sex of the baby.”

“That’s not exactly what I …… never mind".”

Ok, we finish with Baby A and move on to Baby B.   All the same measurements all the same processes.  It has now been a solid hour of measurements and I can tell my lovely wife is getting tired of laying there.  The tech informs us she is going to send all of these pictures to the doctor and she will review them before coming to see us.  It takes about 10 minutes to transmit all the photos. 

“Are you people still using dial up around here?”, again, on the inside.

We wait for approximately 20 minutes and the doctor finally comes to see us.  She does yet some more looking around with the ultrasound and then tells Jayna she can get up. 

“Well, they’re big babies.  If they keep growing like that they’re going to be huge for twins.”

I can see a glimpse of terror in Jayna’s eyes.  Cinderella was fairly large and I think one of the concessions of having twins was, “well, at least they will be smaller.”  Oh no.  That’s not how we roll.

We’re not only giving birth to two little pirates, apparently they are going to be the size of whales.  That’s right.  We’re having two little whale pirates.

And the saga continues.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Catchin’ Up

Ok, it’s been a minute since I posted last.  Sorry about that.  Things have been a little hectic around here.  I’m sure that is about to get worse, but for now my nesting wife is keeping me plenty busy.  I am attempting to help her with her efforts because she won’t sit still for more than about four nanoseconds.

So here’s the run down on our life since we last met.


As many of you know I had LASIK surgery.  To say the least this was probably one of the best and most nauseating decisions I had ever made.  People poking on my eye balls gives me the heeby jeebs.  I arrived the day of the surgery and they gave me the little pill.  Let me reiterate, LITTLE, pill.  I was only mildly stoned when my name was called for my turn under the laser.  This was somewhat disappointing as I was hoping for a full blown memory erasing, drooling experience.   But no, I was muddled at best.

The doctor calls my name and I saunter into the operating room.  They sit you down and look through the little eye doctor thing and put little marks on your eye balls.  Not real sure what for, but they do it.  Then they lay you down on the operating table/couch/chaise lounge thing.  This particular reclining device is on a pole sit they can swing you back and forth between the two lasers.  They swing you under the first laser, lower a little ring down over your eye and instruct the nurse to apply suction.  I should probably add that they have numbed your eyes prior to this procedure but it still isn’t exactly what I would call pleasant.  And the drugs certainly didn’t eliminate all the anxiety.  As soon as the suction is applied, your vision goes gray.  You can’t see anything but the light.  The doctor tells you to remain very still and holds both sides of your head.  Really?  You holding my head with your hands is going to do the trick?  I’m a little scared.  The doctor, in a very calming and relaxing voice, repeatedly says “hold, hold, hold” while the nurse is counting down for what seemed like 45 minutes.  The doctor then tells me, and I quote:

“That’s a beautiful flap.”

I felt a little dirty.  It reminded me of some one liner I would have used on some unsuspecting girl at the bar in my younger days.  I think it’s probably easy to see why it took me so long to find a bride.

The doctor cut the flap on my other eye ball and swung me under the other laser.  At this point the suction device had been removed from my eye balls and the flap was flipped back waiting to be “lasered”.  A little orange light is blinking above.  The doctor instructs me to focus on the light.  The light goes from what appears to be in focus to nothing more than a blurry blob.  The laser whirs and spins up and starts snapping.  It does this about 15 times and with each pulse, the light becomes more focused.  It’s really kind of cool.  The doctor then lays the flap down and smoothes it out with a little spatula looking tool and repeats the process with the other eye.  A grand total of roughly 10 minutes from the time I entered the operating room, I leave with 20/20 vision.  They give me a sleeping pill and send me on my way.  I am SOOOOOO glad that’s over.

New Job (kind of)

As many of you know, I have started a new job.  Well, I have started a different job.  Well, I went back to SemGroup.  While I really miss everyone I worked with at CNE, I feel like I am in the right place for myself and my family.  This was quite possibly the strangest first week of any job I had ever started.  I am sitting in the same cube, with the same computer, the same phone number, the same email address, basically the same job.  It was like I never left, thanks to Tina viciously guarding my computer like she knew I would someday return.

Growing a baseball team

We recently had a doctors appointment.  As you might remember from a previous post, we are having twin boys.  Now, twins scare the bejeezus out of me as it is, but twin boys?  Oh dear.  I was kind of holding out hope that maybe the doctor was wrong.  I’m not sure what I was hoping for but let me say this, we are DEFINATELY having twin boys.  And they’re not afraid to prove it.  I suppose it’s time to reconcile that fact and prepare for the tornado that is about to descend on our home.  I joke that having a girl is like having a little pirate running around the house all day, but I suspect I’m about to experience the true definition of pirate.  And there will be two of them.

The little buggers are some active little suckers too.  Every time we have an ultrasound they look like they are riding bicycles or something.  Mom is starting to feel them as little muscle spasms.  She is convinced that in a couple of months she will be cursing them on a regular basis.  At this point Shrek likes to sit on her hip bone and Donkey is fond of head butting her in the ribs.

Another Year Older

My birthday is quickly approaching.  Cinco de Miko, as coined by my CNE brethren, is just around the corner.  I came in from work this afternoon and there was a large box with a bow tied around it sitting on the coffee table.  Jayna tells me happy birthday and points to the box on the table.  She informs me that it’s from Cinderella and that she picked everything out herself.  At this point my beautiful daughter is opening the box saying,

“Look what I got you daddy.”

“Well thank you sweetheart, what is it.”

“I don’t know daddy, let’s find out.”

Jayna looks confused and betrayed at this point.  I help the little one finish opening my gift and unpack what is inside.

4 High Ball Glasses, 4 Double Old Fashioned Glasses and a Wine Decanter.

I think she has a fairly accurate insight into what is about to happen to our family.

Have a good evening all and I will try to do better with the frequency of my posts.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

No….You can’t paint my nails.

Why is it that three year olds want to do everything adults do. And why is it adults encourage this. Let’s look at it from a motor skill perspective. They just aren’t there yet. You can tell by looking at the legs of our lovely princess. It looks like she stuck them in a meat grinder and ripped them out forcefully. I swear, if Jayna didn’t work with a bunch of social workers we would probably be under investigation about ninety percent of the time. The child cannot walk across carpet without falling over. But neither can her mother so I’m not sure why I’m so shocked at this revelation.

Even if we overlook the gracefulness of my offspring, lets face it, the rest of the hand eye coordination just isn’t there yet. If you look at the coloring, or her “art” from school, wow. But I guess we all start somewhere.

In the mean time my daughter is about the girliest girl you will ever meet. She is prissy, sassy, bossy and attempts to be in charge of every situation she finds herself in. The dogs don’t stand a chance. She also loves to have her toe nails and finger nails painted. Thanks to Aunt Betsy, she gets her wish on a regular basis. Every time she shows up at the house, she is sure to not escape performing mani/pedi on the three year old. The Saturday before Easter was no exception.

This is where the story takes a turn. After she was adequately decorated, the three year old (we’re just going to call her Cinderella from now on) decided that Aunt Betsy needed her nails done.

If any of you know me, you are well aware that I am somewhat of a neat freak. I don’t like messes. Watching the spectacle that is my child eating is almost unbearable for me most of the time. I think I have gotten better but I have to admit, I have a long way to go. That being said, you can imagine the horror that welled up in me at the prospect of Cinderella painting anything. But Aunt Betsy wasn’t phased, she propped her feet up on the ottoman and away we went. There was of course a towel down, I can only take so much stress people. Betsy opened the nail polish and handed her the bottle. I had to grab another beer and divert my attention.

The concentration exhibited by Cinderella was nothing short of spectacular. She really takes her jobs quite seriously. From a distance one would think the job she was performing would rival that of any nail salon in the most upscale shopping center in town.

Just look at the concentration:


With that level of concentration, one would expect to be prepared for a night out on the town. But I say nay nay.

Here are the results of Cinderella’s hard work.

IMG_0086 IMG_0099 IMG_0101

Half the bottle of nail polish was gone. I believe there was more polish on the skin and surrounding area’s than actually landed on the nails. I am convulsing from un-comfortableness at this point but Betsy wears her new do with pride. Until Cinderella goes to bed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Just when you have one figured out.

I swear, this just keeps getting better.  We had another doctors visit today.  This was the day we were to find out what sex the babies are.  And we did.  Jayna and I had discussed what the babies would be.  We were certain we would have one boy and one girl.  It was just that simple.  We picked out names, started planning the nursery and just waited for the confirmation.  Even the three year old is convinced at this point that we are having one of each.  She even named them.

Today was the day, we have finally accepted we are having twins.  Some of our swagger has returned, well, except for the mini van.  We stroll into the doctors office and they shuffle us in to the examining room rather quickly.  They are really on the ball today.  The nurse asks us if we’ve picked out names.  Well as a matter of fact, we have.  We made the mistake of telling the comedians at the doctors office the names that big sister came up with.  It’s now in the charts and forever immortalized.  Apparently those are some of the best kid names they have ever heard.

The doctor comes in and starts the ultrasound.  Goo on the belly and away we go. 

“Look, they’re still there.  They look like 14 week babies to me, let’s check out the business end.  Baby A is a boy.”

I don’t know how they tell anything on those screens.  He pointed at the business but it just looked like a smudge to me.  Anyway, that’s ok, we’re on track for the expected outcome. 

“Baby B is…..A boy.”

“Yes doctor, we know baby A is a boy.  What about Baby B?”

“Look, right there.  See that?”

“Um, no doctor, what am I looking at?”

“You’re looking at a boy.”

“That wasn’t in the plan doctor.  As a matter of fact, a lot of things you tell me aren’t in the plan.”

“Maybe you should stop making plans.”

So there it is, we’re having twin boys.  I am a little shaken.  I just figured out how girls work. 

“I’m very disappointed in you” just doesn’t work with boys. 

The three year old isn’t very pleased with this news.  We explained to her that both of the babies were boys.  She immediately asked where the doctor was.  We told her we would let him know she wants to have a word with him.  Jayna informed her that Cinderella wasn’t a very good name for a boy.  She said, “That’s ok.  One can be Shrek and the other Donkey.”

Here we go, off on yet another adventure.  Hey, at least there is one distinct perk to having twin boys.  I’m no longer out numbered.  Bwaaahahahahhaahaha…

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NEVER Say Never!

This has been the mantra for my life recently.  I’m starting to think my mojo has run out and something is conspiring against me. 

We did it today.  We bought a mini van.  Jayna and I had been discussing this for about 3 months now.  You know, after the double your pleasure, double your fun announcement.  Jayna has always been reluctant to buy a mini van.  That’s probably not putting it exactly right.  I believe NEVER was the exact phrase she used on more than one occasion.  I have to say, I was pretty much the same way.  I had never understood what would posses anyone to want a min van.  I mean come on, they make SUV’s, why would you need a toaster on wheels?  I’ll tell you why.  Have you ever tried to load two baby carriers and a 3 year old into a SUV?  Yeah, they have 3rd rows, but you have to be a very talented clown to get into them and when you do you have about two and a half inches of leg room.  And storage, forget about it.  Have you ever looked behind the third row of a mini van? It’s cavernous.  Perfect for that freaking twins stroller we have.  That thing looks like a road train.  You could smuggle a whole family out of Haiti in that thing.   That doesn’t bode well for me when Jayna goes to the mall.  That’s another blog. 

We went to the car show last weekend to look at these swagger wagons.   We decided if it were going to have to happen, we liked the Honda Odyssey.  I did my due diligence and requested quotes from several dealers online.  I was pleasantly surprised by the online quotes I received, so we were off to the dealership after work.  We drug the 3 year old in to the dealership, thank goodness, they have toys.  You would think they have experienced people like us before.  As some of you may have seen on my Facebook post, we stood there for about 30 minutes before anyone said boo to us.  I take that back, I finally spotted some dude crossing the showroom floor picking his toofs with one of the floss/toothpick things.  “Hey, do you want to sell a car or not?”  That got their attention.

I asked the salesman a few questions I had and then announced we wanted a test drive.  He went outside to pull the particular one we were interested in around to the front.  A few minutes later he arrived.  There it was in all its swaggering goodness.  I told him I was just going to let Jayna go with him because she would be driving it most of the time. 

“OH, did you want me to go with you?” the salesman asked.

“Um, of course not, I’ll just go get the car seat.”

Now, I have had dealers just toss me the keys to a vehicle before, but never in Tulsa.  I thought that was a privilege reserved for small town dealers that probably knew you and every member of your family for 4 generations back.  Apparently I was wrong.  You can also enter the dealership looking at a mini van with a 3 year old in tow.  I am no longer viewed as a risk.  Little bit of mojo just died.

“Ok, well be back soon.”

I pull out of the parking lot and begin the test drive, Jayna is in the passenger seat and the 3 year old is in the back jabbering like a broken record.

“You know Jayna, this thing rides pretty nice.”

“Yes, I was just thinking that, DAMN!!!”

“Also, it has all the bells and whistles you want, more than your current car even”

“Shut up Michael”

We finish the test drive in silence.  We switch and let her drive back to the dealership.  She parks that thing the first time with no paint swapping incidents.  She certainly can’t do that with my truck, much less a SUV. 

“OK, go buy it.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

I’m sure you have all experienced what came next, the haggling, trade in stuff, blah blah blah.  A little while later, all parties involved were pleased with the deal, now we wait.  Sign the papers and we’re out the door. 

At this point it’s about 9:00 pm and the 3 year old is melting down.  First order of business, brush her teeth, put on pajamas and hit the sack.  That’s taken care of, now we get all of the crap from her old car transferred over, figure out how to get it in the garage and come inside.  I change into some pajama pants and realize I’m really hungry.  My 14 week pregnant wife hasn’t eaten anything since lunch and she’s looking like she might not make it.  A quick scan of the fridge reveals nothing of interest. 

“I’ll go get us something” as I grab my wallet. 

“You’re going to go get food in your pajama pants?”

“Jayna, we just bought a mini van.”

“Good point, I’ll take a sonic burger with cheese”

I walk out in to the garage climb in to the mini van and drive off in to the night.  Oh yeah.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes

This is a short one tonight.  Miss Thing did had a couple of episodes today that are worth noting. 

This morning, the child was a BEAR!!!!  She’s had a general attitude lately.  I guess it’s just the 3 year old phase but it’s really hard to maintain my cool on a regular basis.  This morning she threw her pajamas at me and threw a proper hissy fit.  Her mother stepped in and got her straightened out.  We typically make her apologize to whoever she has been a turd to, this morning was no different.  Her mother told her to apologize to me and she came over and gave me a hug and said she was sorry. I asked her if she meant that.  She calmly replied, “no” and walked away.

I had to leave the room.  I didn’t figure it would be good for her to see me laughing.

Fast forward through the day.

We came home this evening and we were getting ready for bed.  She was enjoying her bath as she normally does.  She seemed to be in a better mood and we were happy for that.  While I was letting her play in the tub for “just a minute” as she puts it, I glanced in the mirror.  I don’t know if there is just some good light in that bathroom or if I have just never paid attention, but I saw gray hairs.  Not just one or two…Oh no.  They were everywhere.  I confirmed with Jayna that my eyes weren’t deceiving me.  She chuckled.  I returned to the bathroom and continued inspecting my hair.  I told the daughter that she was giving me grey hairs.

She said “yeah, I’m giving you silly hair.” 

Jayna had to assure me that she thought salt and pepper was hot.  I’m not sure if she really means that or she was just stroking my bruised ego.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


We had a quiet moment this evening.  I don’t mean a peaceful moment to ourselves, or a pleasant evening out on the town.  It was one of those uncomfortable silences.  If you are a parent you know the type.  It hits you all the sudden.  A moment of panic and fear of the unknown.  It’s that silence that only can be produced by a nefarious little child.  There was a quick glance between Jayna and I and a simultaneous “what is she doing?”
I’m going to step back a few minutes.  This evening was a pleasant enough evening.  We finally got to spend some much needed time outside.  Fired up the Hasty Bake and cooked some steaks.  The windows to the house were open and all was right with the world.  We ate dinner and started getting ready for bed.  This is about a thirty minute to an hour long process at our house.  It never ceases to amaze me how a 3 year old can tear up a house like a F5 tornado.  It also amazes me that the destruction can occur at warp speed, but cleaning it up is like pulling teeth. 
So we send the 3 year old up stairs to begin the disaster recovery effort that is every evening for us.  For the most part, she can handle this on her own.  She is usually very proud of herself for doing such a good job and wants to show us her room and how clean it is.
This evening was a little different.  The rain pipe for the upstairs bathroom runs right down the wall in the living room.  I’m not sure exactly who thought this would be a good idea when they designed the house, but that’s the way it is.  A few minutes after heading upstairs, we hear a swoosh of water travel down the drain pipe.  This is no big deal.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, the 3 year old is pretty self sufficient in the bathroom arena.  About 30 seconds later we hear the all too familiar swoosh again.  This is where the terror began.  I should probably go check that out.
I went up the stairs and the daughter was innocently cleaning her toys up in her room.  She looked at me like, “what?”  I stroll in to the bathroom and I am immediately uncomfortable.  Have you ever been in one of those turnpike gas station bathrooms?  You know the ones that are dripping wet from floor to ceiling.  They have puddles in the floor, wet tissue stuck to the walls and your primary focus is to not touch anything.  Hell with washing your hands, you’ll get some sanitizer when you get out of there.  That’s kind of what our upstairs bathroom was like. 
There was water all over the toilet and puddles in the floor directly below it.
“Um, sweetie pie.”
“Yes daddy.”
“What did you do in the bathroom?”
“I cleaned the toilet daddy.”
“Um, sweetheart, what did you clean the toilet with?”
“A big paper towel daddy.”
I returned to the bathroom to investigate.  There was about half a roll of wet toilet paper in the trash can next to the toilet.  Back to the room.
“Um, where exactly did you get the water to clean the toilet?”
I probably shouldn’t have asked this question.  I knew the answer but didn’t want to hear it.  I could have lived my whole life without knowing for sure.
“From the toilet daddy.”
I think I just threw up a little.
“Come wash your hands right now.  And use soap.”
She looks at me like, “what is your problem, I just cleaned up the toilet.”
I cleaned up the puddles of water and started a bath.  There’s now way she is escaping a cleaning this evening.  We had a long talk about not putting our hands in the potty.  Only mommies and daddies clean the toilet.  I have always said I can’t wait until she is old enough to help with chores around the house.  Just fair warning, you should be careful what you wish for.