Diary of a Stay At Home Dad: Consignment Sales – The Belly of the Beast

So, for those of you who don’t know, Tracy is laid up in bed for the final 3 months of pregnancy. She’s had some issues which for my own safety I won’t go into here. If you’re that curious e-mail me. Anyway this development has some serious implications……for me. Tracy was never a domestic dynamo and that’s ok and that can’t be a surprise to those that know her. I’m a little particular when it comes to cleaning and cooking anyway so I gladly do both.

But with Tracy laid up there will be no middle of 2nd tri-mester surge of energy or nesting response. If you’re not tracking, that means I have to go out and set these twin girls up with all the accouterments that girls require, plus some of the standard twin stuff that either gender would need. I have no problem doing it, for the most part, but it requires me to engage a trait known as taste. The only thing harder for me to engage than taste is my core. Those that know me know my taste ranks right up there with my rhythm; don’t have it, don’t need it, don’t want it.

Let me take you back to Friday March 9th. After an ultra-sound where we got some up-beat news for a change we get home and prepare for the end of the world as a line of storms/tornadoes would start hitting Knoxville around 4:00pm. The downstairs bathroom is the Ark. We load it down with supplies, emergency stuff, and the ipad to keep Frank busy and we sit and wait for the pigeon to find land, which in this case means getting through all the tornadoes without leaving the ground unnaturally. Twelve tornadoes in all swept through Tennessee that night, none of them hit us. This russian roulette with mother nature lasted until 11:30 – 12:00am. It was in the Ark that Tracy, pregnant with twins, all squished on the floor of the downstairs bathroom, reminds me of the consignment sale for twins the next morning.

Yo man, I have 2 weather radios, my computer weather maps auto updating, 2 national weather alert apps on my phone, and the tv on local weather, I got no time for no consignment sale talk. Then she mentions I have to get there early, 7:00am, and drop 2 bucks so I can shop before the masses who have to wait till 8:30 and get in for free. Masses! There might not be masses by the end of the night. We’ll be lucky if our house isn’t in Jersey by the time the sun comes up.

Well the sun came up, the house was still there, and apparently the masses were rushing to the consignment sale because at 7:30, eyes still bloodshot, I start getting text messages begging me to go to the consignment sale. I was getting text messages from my wife laying in the same bed not 2 feet away. Now I had been up till about 1:00 am because Frank was spooked and we couldn’t get him out of the bathroom. We eventually bribed him by letting him sleep in the big bed with mommy and daddy. That meant another kidney-ectomy for me, courtesy of little Pele`.

The Ark. It's well lit.

So you know what happens next, I’m putting on clothes and going out the door at 8:00 to the consignment sale. I was the picture of health I can tell you that.

The sale itself was run by the KMC, or Knoxville Multiples Club. At least that’s what they told me to write on the check; the one check I brought with me. That came back to bite me. Tracy was really interested in finding a side by side stroller for the twins. You could feel the anger in her texts that I had not been there at 7:00 to get the good strollers. God help me. Well it turns out we got a good stroller. It was a good name brand, in great condition and it was about 175 cheaper than if we bought it new. So I grab it up and realize it’s too bulky to deal with. No problem, I’ll just pay for it, put it in the van, and go back in. That was a great idea until I started back in and realized I used my only check. Now I have to go find some money so I can go buy some clothes for the little divas.

There was an ATM up the street next to a McDonalds, score x2. 60 bones and a #3 with a diet coke and I’m rolling back to the sale. All is right with the world. Knock down the #3 by the time I park, take out my reusable shopping bags to haul my discoveries, and I’m surfing the newborn – 3 month old clothes racks in the girls section. Of course that was after a call to Tracy to say there were no girls clothes here, just blue stuff. “Dude, you’re in the boys sections, we are having girls, they keep those clothes in a separate place.” Or words to that effect. So with that bit of counsel I find the girls section and start shopping.

After a few false starts I find the groove and start bagging some nice outfits. The bag is getting heavy so I heft it over my shoulder like a … wait for it… like a purse. Felt like that the minute I swung it up there. Did I mention I am the only male of the species in the joint. Even the quasi security at each entrance are women. I don’t exactly look like the friendly type either. I’m slightly dark complected, two day growth of beard going, dark hair, dark eyes, hair disheveled and probably had McDonalds #3 crumbs on my sweatshirt, now carrying a red grocery bag as a purse. I would have called the cops on me.  Not a “One Shinning Moment” moment to be sure. (March Madness – look it up).

But women are better than men in a lot of ways, this is one of them. I couldn’t count how many compliments and offers for help I got. More women engaged me in conversation that morning than in my entire life, and I have 5 sisters. After they all asked enough questions to understand that I was there because my wife is on bed-rest for the next 3 months, I was the greatest thing since the wheel. Three different women would have gladly carried my bags to the car if I had let them. If there was homecoming king of the consignment sale, I would have had a chance. It was awesome, I didn’t want to leave. I just feel sorry for all the dudes married to these women. They were getting their onions busted that afternoon and they have no earthly idea why.

Sorry fellas.

Consignment Sale Treasure:

Double-wide or twice as nice

Diary of a Stay at Home Dad: Two of them? Really?

So most or maybe some of you know we are having twins.  If you didn’t know, well, we are having twins.  Read about it here, 2nd Heartbeat.  When we had Frank we waited to find out his gender until he was born.  It was going to be a little surprise.  It was such a surprise in fact that when they finally cut Frank out of the sun roof (c-section) the doctor didn’t say anything.  He was mute in-part because Frank was not breathing and was gray as ash, or whatever a good example of bad gray is.  They got Frank breathing in about 2 minutes and the nurse said to the doc, “Well what is it?”  He replied, “It’s a baby, what do you think it is?”  Love that guy.  He or his cohort will be delivering Frick and Frack.

Well finding out we were having twins was enough of a surprise so we decided to find out the sex of these two as soon as was physically possible.  In this case, since Tracy is still considered a high risk pregnancy we might find out by the 16 week mark.  I think the norm is around the 20 week mark.  Tracy is currently getting an ultra-sound about every 3-4 weeks.

We went in for said ultra-sound at the 13 week mark.  This was just to check the little carbon copies out, take some measurements and what not.  All was well.  That is until the ultra-sound tech said “Oh look at that.”  Look at what?  “Baby A doesn’t appear to have too much bone density around the pelvic area if you know what I mean.”  No I do not know what you mean, is this bad?  No it was not bad unless we were dead set against girls.  The tech was trying to say there was no support structure for male parts, indicating Baby A was a girl.  It never occurred to me to look for what wasn’t there.  I was solely concentrating on looking for the carrot and peas.  That’s why she’s the pro.

She gave the old caveat of it’s only 13 weeks, can’t be sure, don’t quote me, I’ve been wrong before, we’ll know better at the 16 or 20 week check, blah, blah, blah.  A quick pass over Baby B’s nether region first indicated a boy but it was really tough to get a good look, so nothing definitive.  Again this ultra-sound was not for finding the sex of the Bobbsey Twins.  However, I concluded Baby A must be a girl because she was hogging the ultra-sound camera and even gave a little Miss America wave.

Baby A. She's just relaxing and waving to the crowd.

So we went home, waiting for the 16 week ultra-sound to find out if Frank would be out numbered.  I had grown up out numbered so I know it’s not a big deal.  My little sister, Kathy, and I used to watch Sunday Night Wrestling at the Spectrum in Phila. on that old cable channel called Prism, we bare knuckle fought all the time, and had some of the greatest badminton matches in the history of the sport, followed by some of the greatest victory laps around the back yard by me.

It would certainly be easier with two more boys.  We have a bunch of clothes already, the toys are sort of male specific, but probably not too much, and ultimately I was hoping for two more since I was staying home with them.  You know you always get the question, “What are you hoping for?”  Well I have long hated the answer, “I just hope they’re healthy.”  Well who doesn’t hope for that?  I mean has anyone ever said, “I’m really hoping for gills and a dorsal fin cause we’re gonna name him Flipper.”  So the healthy thing is a universal given.  I answer questions put to me, and my answer was 2 boys.

The gleeful taunts to my answer were amazing.  There were several variations but all boiled down to “You’re going to have two girls, ha ha.”  I just wonder what would have been the response had I said, I’m hoping for two girls.  I doubt it would have been the gender biased retorts I’ve been getting.  Now let me say, this excludes my family.  I have 5 sisters and 2 brothers.  Of the 9 grandkids we have produced, all but one have been boys.  The family was getting pretty lopsided.  Even my father is hoping for 2 girls.

Well pop you get your wish.  The week 16 ultra-sound showed a definitive girl for Baby A and almost a definitive girl for Baby B.  So unless her B’ness grows a pencil between now and week 20, we need to come up with another girls name.

As my sister Mary Grace, the lone producer of the female grandchild Meghan said, “Girls do play golf you know.”  Right you are Mare.  Even a good friend who knows about these things told me college scholarships for women’s golf go unused, so if she, or they, are any good and the earth is still spinning on it’s axis in 18 years, they have a good shot of going to college for free.  So I got that going for me.

Meghan, hang tight girl.  Help is on the way.