Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Trip to Shell Island

During a recent trip to the pan handle of Florida, we visited St. Andrews State Park.  St. Andrews is a wonderful place to visit with hiking trails to explore, beautiful beaches to enjoy and a pier to fish off of and observe sea life.  If you limit your visit to those three things, which can fill a whole day, you will have a very enjoyable time.  On the other hand, if you have three tired and crabby children, an extra hundred dollars and would like to be miserable for the next couple of hours, take the shuttle to Shell Island.  

The tickets for the shuttle that takes you to the island are for sale in the gift shop of all places.  So while you're being bent over the price of tickets, your kids are fleecing you for the usual beach souvenirs and if you've forgotten your mask and snorkel, they will gladly rent you a well used set for ten dollars.  All that is easy to swallow with the promise of beautiful shells and the fantastic snorkeling opportunities to be had just a short bus and boat ride away.  

The bus arrived around 10:30 and off we went.  It was an old school bus which was surprisingly air conditioned. The driver was pleasant enough and the ride was only about 5 minutes long.  Excitement was in the air as this was to be the first boat the children had ever been on.  The shuttle itself amounted to a large pontoon boat with several bench seats enough to seat 40 people.  The crew of 2 men were the pilot, who wore a Vietnam veteran hat and his companion, who I have no proof but was almost certainly nicknamed "Chicken Wing".  You know how you can look at someone and judge them?  That's right I judge people based on how they look.  Save your high and mighty groans, we all do it, so climb down off your high horses and let me get on with the story.  Anyway Chicken Wing had that look about him.  The look of a man who came to Florida for a visit and never left.  You know, a beach bum, a man who's feet have only seen flip flops, sand and surf boards for ten years.  We soon boarded the shuttle, found our seats and Chicken Wing shoved us off.  Oliver who is a very curious 3 year old wanted to know how the boat drove, how it steered, who gave him this boat and when he would be allowed to steer.  The boat ride made him very happy and he showed no signs of the pure lunacy he would soon unleash upon us.  It was less than a ten minute ride and despite some waves was popular with the kids.

As we arrived to the island, the pilot explained how to get to the best shells, where to snorkel, where the snack boat was, how often the shuttle ran and last of all....have fun!  We started walking towards the "best shell hunting beach".  Oliver who had been pleasant up to this point, wondered if I might like to carry him as his feet were tired of walking.  I informed him I was already carrying 3 sets of floaties, 5 towels, 3 changes of clothes and Jack's flip flops that he walked out of and just left in the sand.  Oliver didn't take this well and proceeded to whine and cry the 500 yards to the beach.  We got everyone's floaties on and got in the water carefully avoiding all the broken shells littering the beach.  I put on the mask and snorkel I had rented and quickly realized a. it was so old Robinson Crusoe probably wore it when it was new and b. there was so much sand churning in the water, I couldn't even see my feet.  It didn't matter much, because about that time Jack tapped me on the back and said "I need you to go get me a snack from the snack boat."  Now the snack boat was 500 yards back the way we came, so I told him that I'd rather fill my swimming trunks with jelly fish and watch The Old Man and the Sea on repeat.  He didn't get the joke and proclaimed that he needed Cheese its and couldn't wait any longer.  Henry also had a problem.  He said "I need to go to beeeeeed".  I broke the news to him that we were basically on a desert island that didn't even have bathrooms and that he would have to wait to get his beauty sleep which sent him spiralling into a tantrum.  Oliver was just straight sleeping on the beach which Henry noticed and soon followed suit.  People around us were having fun, but we were in bad shape.  Abby was just trying to keep spirits up, sitting with the sleeping twins and Jack was just standing the there crying about the cookies and sandwiches he didn't have.  I made an executive decision and decided we had to get off this shitty, broken shell havin' island.  So with three crying kids, we walked the 500 yards back to the shuttle after only being there for 45 minutes.  I felt like I was just in shock on the boat ride back.  I spent 100 dollars getting us to that island and it just pissed everyone off.  We got off the boat and got to the bus.  The driver asked if we had fun.  I felt like pulling his shirt over his head, kicking him in the balls and driving that bus straight to hell!.  The neatest part of the whole experience was, as we were eating our picnic lunch all the kids agreed that they had a lot of fun on Shell Island.  WTF!  I guess at least they will have good memories of the island on which Daddy burnt 100 dollars on and nearly went insane.   Follow us on Facebook at BadTwinDad and on Istagram Twitter @BadTwinDad.  You might have noticed the Amazon banner at the top of the page.  To support this blog simply click through the banner, log in to amazon and do your shopping as normal and we will get a commission on whatever you purchase.  It doesn't cost you anything and would help us greatly. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stay At Home Dad For A Week

My  wife is a hotshot big deal big time stone cold the children's museum world and occasionally she gets invited to attend a conference that all the other assassins of the experiential learning community we be at.  When that happens, I schedule that week off work, mark it on the calendar and as it draws near, I start shaking in my boots.  I mean sure I can make meals, do the laundry and wipe the occasional butt when I have to but an entire week alone with them day and night is daunting.  A couple weeks out, I started to think of things to do with them.  The Airplane park, named for the Vietnam era fighter/bomber that is retired there, is one of their favorites.  The Magic House, an hour drive but well worth it, is fantastic and since we are members I put it on the list as well.  I also put a trip to Nana's house on the list as a maybe.  
The week before my wife left, I trained up the man who would be taking my place at work for the week.  Good Ole Leonard.  A good dude but BadTwinDad he was not.  I gave him my number and told him to call me if he needed advice.  The weekend before, we took the boys to the zoo for a nice family fun day.  We fed stingrays, saw the lions, I goofed on the pandas(worst animal ever), and we generally had a great time.  
My bride, my teammate, my best friend, my everything left in the middle of the night to fly to Pasadena.  The next morning at breakfast, all the questions started about where she was, what was she doing, why didn't we get to go and what were the presents she was going to bring home.  Henry was beside himself that he didn't get to go to "Calinflorida" as he called it.  Can you imagine if that was a real state?  Disney World and Disney Land in the same state?  Madness.  I convinced everyone that Mommy would be home soon and that we would get along just fine until she returned.  One thing I needed to get done was getting the shed cleaned out.  A big job especially with the boys "helping".  So we went to get some heavy duty trash bags and the deal was if they were good in the store, the airplane park would be their reward.  To avoid a fight I jammed all there asses in the race car cart and swiftly found our trash bags and got the hell out of there.  As we arrived at the park, the airplane greeted us.
The playground is huge and pretty cool.  I brought water for everyone and some pretzels and wipes which I packed in my Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack, Black (Man purse) which usually contains camera equipment, but for this week would carry kid essentials. We played for at least an hour and a half, but around the hour mark, an army of ten year olds descended upon the playground making it super crazy and difficult to spot all 3 boys in the crowd.  I forgot to mention that Leonard had been calling and texting all day which made me regret giving him my number.  I decided I'd had enough and got the boys in the car.  I also decided the idea of making lunch when we got home could go to hell and got everyone McDonalds which was half consumed, half spread all over the car.  When we got home, yes I turned the TV on and parked there butts in front of it.  I cleaned up the house and talked to Leonard a few more times and made spaghetti for dinner.
The next day the rain started and pretty much stuck around for a day in a half after that.  Floods were happening all around the area and I received a text from work that said due to the floods we would be required to work on the weekend.  This really bothered me as I was supposed to be on vacation. In fact, it bothered me so much I started applying for jobs and wasn't sleeping well.  Mind you, this job had been bothering me for sometime, this was just the icing on the bullshit they had been feeding me for months. My men and I had managed to get the shed cleaned out and sorted and were having a pretty good time.  I just couldn't shake my misgivings of my job.  You would think with all of the Daniel Tiger on TV and potty accidents in the bathroom I wouldn't have time to think of anything else but work was really in my head.  Thursday of that week, around lunchtime, I got a phone call that changed everything.  A job offer.  I couldn't believe it.  Immediately I called Abby to talk about it and even though I would be taking a pay cut, we both agreed that it would be best for everyone if I accepted the job.  No more unexpected Saturdays.  No more working nonstop for the five weeks before Christmas!  As I reflect on that week I have a couple questions and answers.  Did the kids watch to much TV?  They certainly did.  Did they more chicken nuggets than normal?  Hell yes!  Are they better off with a dad who isn't stressed about work constantly and loosing sleep over it?  Yes because I'm not only not stressing about work I'm sleeping like a baby and I built them a tree house.
A happy Dad is a good Dad, don't ever forget that.  Take stock of your life and cut out the bits that make you unhappy if you can.  You owe it to your children to be happy. Follow us on Facebook at BadTwinDad and on Twitter @BadTwinDad.  You might have noticed the Amazon banner at the top of the page.  To support this blog simply click through the banner, log in to amazon and do your shopping as normal and we will get a commission on whatever you purchase.  It doesn't cost you anything and would help us greatly. Thank you!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Indy Road Trip


My son Jack has a map on his wall in which he puts a pin every time we visit a new state.  Recently, after a contemplative study of his map and a count of his pins, he informed us that he would need to get going on these states if he was ever going to pin all of them.  My wife and I researched cities within driving distance, attractions, and interesting sites.  What we came up with was Indianapolis.  Less than four hours away, it sports plenty of things to see and do and old diners to eat at and cool parks to play in.  
So one Saturday morning we loaded up the car which I nicknamed "The Silver Bullet" and the boys re nicknamed "Silvermist" which is a damn fairy from the Tinkerbell cartoons, and headed east.  I wont boar you with the "are we there yets", the "I have to pottys" and the "I'll turn this car arounds".  After a three hour and forty five minute drive we pulled into Indy and our first stop was downtown for a visit at the Percussion Museum.  What little boy wouldn't love to beat the tar out of just about any kind of drum you can imagine.  Huge drum kits, cymbals, triangles, they even had a bass drum as big as a Volkswagen.  With our eardrums pounding we continued on through downtown to have a look at the canal that runs through the center of town.  The boys thought it was something!  
After we found whatever we could get our hands on to throw in the water, as boys will do, we went for lunch.  Now it was my responsibility to find a place to have lunch ahead of time and I chose a place called Mug N Buns.  They make their own root beer and have a long history of serving race goers and locals for over 50 years.  Five stars on Trip Advisor in case you were wondering.  What. A. Dump.  I took to calling it Suds N Butts.  Suds because of the root beer obviously and Butts because that's what it smelled like, looked like, and that's what the food tasted like.  It was a train wreck and the worst part is, the kids loved it.  They were enjoying their butt hot dogs and all I could think of was what disease they were going to catch.  It was as if hepatitis and Aids were having a knife fight to see who got first dibs on the two small ones.  My wife was horrified by the experience.  The last time she had that look on her face was when Oliver proclaimed that his butt was church. 
After we left this outhouse posing as a diner we went to visit a park that had large sculptures and an even larger playground which was nice just to let the kids play for a while.  While the boys played, Abby and I regrouped and made plans to get ice cream before heading home.  An ice cream shop in an old railroad station was the perfect band aid for our lunch experience and really put everyone in a good mood for the ride home.
Although long car rides can be difficult with small children, new places can help foster their curiosity which is never a bad thing so get out there and go pin some states!.  Follow us on Facebook at BadTwinDad and on Twitter @BadTwinDad.  You might have noticed the Amazon banner at the top of the page.  To support this blog simply click through the banner, log in to amazon and do your shopping as normal and we will get a commission on whatever you purchase.  It doesn't cost you anything and would help us greatly. Thank you!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Florida Beach Vacation


Nothing is as magical as seeing the beach for the first time.  The endless water, the sand, the waves breaking, shells, all of these things combine to form an experience that you will never forget.  I myself went to the beach for the first time at 28 years old and should have been there 27 years sooner.  My wife and I couldn't wait to see the look on the boys' faces when they laid eyes upon it, but we would have to because it took 14 grueling hours to drive there.  We set out around ten at night.  The time of night when we are usually settling into bed we started a 775 mile journey with 3 little kids and a thermos full of coffee.  Every one's excitement was evident as we hit the highway.  Henry and Oliver were telling jokes to each other by simply yelling "Joke!" at each other and laughing like hyenas and Jack was focused intently on the headlight lit road ahead searching for a glimpse of the ocean that was still 700 miles away.  Eventually they gave in fell asleep one by one.  For at least an hour all was quiet until Henry woke up, didn't know where he was, got upset......and threw up at 1:30 in the morning with about 10 hours left to go.  Luckily a weigh station wasn't far away.  We stopped to clean him up and calm him down, by this time everyone else was awake.  I don't know how you react when your twin is upset, but Oliver took one look at Henry and in solidarity started crying and immediately threw up as well.  They are like deer in the wild, if one raises the alarm, all follow suit no matter if the danger is seen or not.  Luckily Abby caught Oliver's half digested dinner in the blanket he had over him.  After half a pack of wipes, some calming words and a pull off the coffee thermos, we were back on the road.  Our next stop was for gas in rural Tennessee  around 2am.  The caliber of folks at this establishment was top notch.  Tattoos, ripped clothing, meth induced twitching, bloodshot eyes.....fantastic.  If I were to describe the inhabitants of the gas station in one word it would be dirt.  One young lady whose look I would describe as jaw droppingly awful was showing more side boob than Kim Kardashian at the Grammys.  I don't think she knew or cared that she was even wearing a shirt.  My wife was past the point of hiding her disgust as we drove off into the night.  The small hours of the morning had to be the hardest for me as my body was attempting to shut down while driving.  At one point a blink of my eyes had me into the rumble strip along the side of the road but at that moment I looked to the east and knew I would make it as a slight glow had started at the horizon.  We stopped for breakfast around 7 in Alabama and continued on south for the beaches of Florida.  The rest of the drive was uneventful and we reached our destination around 12:30.  Now we couldn't get into our accommodations until 4 but after that long in the car there was only one place we wanted to go....the beach!  We found a public beach and changed our clothes and headed for the water barely stopping for sunscreen.  The giggles and shrieks of happiness made the long arduous drive well worth it.  We played on that beach for hours despite our exhaustion and I have to admit my own happiness was exhibited by the 100 dollar smile on my face the entire time.
In total we spent 6 days at the beach staying with my wife's extended family.  We went to several attractions, had delicious meals and got some much needed relaxation.  Of course sleeping with this crew is always a disaster.  Our last night there Henry had a considerable amount of trouble sleeping which meant the rest of us did too as the five of us were in the same room.  Abby said she thought his tummy hurt because she heard him farting several times throughout the night.  Seemed reasonable.  One of the most exciting parts of the trip was when my mother in law came rushing up the steps to exclaim that she had found poop on the bathroom floor.  Abby and I sprang into action sniffing butts and looking down pants but to our surprise Henry and Oliver were not the culprits.  I wondered down to our room to find Jack trying to lock himself in and clean himself up.  I saw right away he was embarrassed.  Kid just didn't make it to the toilet in time that's all.  He asked me if this had happened to me before and I said "Sure man this sort of thing has happened to everyone.  Just last night I was farting in my sleep all night and woke up Henry several times in the process.  You want to know what the worst part is?  I let him take the fall for it.  Now lets clean this shit up literally and go home."  That's right I'm an asshole.  Who knows, Henry might have been farting in his sleep too for all the pizza we had the night before.  We cleaned up Jack's accident, packed the car and hit the road.  Everyone agreed that we should meet up at the same beach next summer and after the rejuvenation of the soul that the beach provides, I would have to agree.  Like and share on Facebook at BadTwinDad and follow us on Twitter @BadTwinDad

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day/Anniversary Weekend

We had cleaned the house the day before as well as packed our bags.  The car was ready.  Plans made.  Diapers changed.  Yes everything was in order.  Everything except one piece of clothing was still drying in the dryer which we needed to toss in the suitcase before leaving.  Not a big deal really, but while waiting for what seemed like an eternity, the children were starting to get out their toys, toss pillows on the ground, race around the house farting and giggling all over the place and generally making the house look like a homeless shelter.  You see this weekend has been a beacon of light on our calendar for about a month and a half.  For our anniversary, a night in a fancy hotel without the children, who are also excited to spend the night with their grandparents, and then dinner at a highly touted burger joint with the in-laws and the kids on Fathers Day to put a bow on the whole weekend.  DING DING.  Dryer was finished.  We quickly cleaned up the mess and piled in the car.  It's about an hour and a half drive to my parents house.  It goes by pretty quick with all the "are we there yets", missing pacifiers and endless questions about Star Wars from a four year old who has never even seen one Star Wars movie.  We finally arrived with three excited little boys who couldn't wait to play in the creek and go for endless rides on a John Deere Gator.  So just as soon as my mother noticed Henry's dirty diaper we were off "We out Nana, that's your problem!"  I won't bore you with the fun my lovely wife and I had without our crew of little gangsters for twenty four hours.  Long story short we had a nice lunch, hung out in a neighborhood we hope to make our own one day, laid around in a luxury hotel, had a fantastic breakfast and spent the rest of the morning at Ikea browsing and listening to couples argue about what color their duvet covers should be.  Have a meatball and relax you assholes, am I right?  It was AMAZING!  After going back to pick the kids up, they quickly fell asleep in the car which was ideal because after having all that fun they were crabby and looking for someone to pay for it.  We had about an hour drive to the restaurant and they napped the whole way.  They were little angels at the table....for the first five minutes.  Oliver discovered he would rather sit on the floor under the table than in his chair and Henry wouldn't release his mother from his tiny hands.  I managed to get Oliver in my lap but this only caused Henry to want the same spot as Oliver.  So with both of them in my lap my wife moved to take Henry for a little walk while we waited for the food which Oliver also tagged along for.  It was going OK until Oliver tried to climb up in a strangers lap that he thought was mine.  His tears were only matched by his kicking and screaming.  We had to go outside to see the fountain to calm down.  Now this burger joint is incredible, but the neighborhood it's in is not.  Don't get me wrong the neighborhood is on the come up, but is starting its rise from the bottom.   Luckily the fountain kept them out of the street.  We decided I would go eat my burger, it being fathers day, while she watched them and then we would switch.  I didn't want her food to get cold so I really gave that burger hell, just went after it like a wolverine. like a Kobayashi at the Nathan's Coney Island Hot Dog eating contest.  Google it ya fucks.  So I ran out there and switched with my wife who handed me the pacifiers which I gave to the twins.  They were having an awesome time dipping shit in the fountain, splashing, laughing and running around in circles.  Meanwhile a local of the neighborhood brought her dog to have his evening dump in the grass right next to our fountain....and did not pick it up.  Yeah thanks bitch, can't you see the deuces wild playing right next to the steaming pile of dog shit your mongrel just squatted over?  Needless to say we stayed away from that side for the remainder.  By the time everyone was finished, the twins were soaked with chlorine infused water from head to toe and were as crabby as a couple of prisoners on sloppy joe day.  I have to hand it to Jack he really behaved himself like a gentleman but "the brothers" as he calls them had some room for improvement.  Maybe it was our fault for thinking they could handle it after such a busy weekend.  Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there doing your best for your family and Happy Anniversary to my beautiful wife Abby.  Like us on Facebook at BadTwinDad and follow us on Twitter @BadTwinDad

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tips on Raising Twins

From time to time, my wife will be introduced to someone who is expecting twins and will try to give them an idea of the day to day of having twins.  I recently overheard one of these conversations.  My wife was giving the usual when all I could think of to say to the woman on phone would have been "Get ready bitch, twins are like a juggling bear on a unicycle...real cute but once that bear falls off and is hungry and pissed off its all on you to figure out how to get his big ass back up on that silly one wheeled bike!" 
I suppose there are some practical tidbits that are useful to a new parent of twins.  One would be how to handle diapers.  If you're super ambitious I would imagine you could use cotton diapers but in my opinion this would be a mistake.  The amount of laundry twins produce on top of the amount of diapers that you would have to wash every day would mean that your own clothes would go unwashed and you yourself would wind up looking like a hobo with a bindle of shitty diapers that need to be run through the washing machine twice just to make them descent.  It's hard enough getting all the laundry done do yourself a favor and use disposable diapers.  Changing them both at the same time is a good idea because usually they will be wet at the same time.  If you are unsure if one has a dirty diaper don't waste your time taking the clothes and diaper off.  Simply pick up the child in question, put your nose in the small of his back, and take a whiff like Charlie Sheen snorting a line of blow off a stripper's ass and you will know for sure if said child needs a fresh diaper.  I'd go with the cheapest diapers that will do the job because Pampers may be well marketed but diapers from Aldi will perform about the same and cost half as much.  Parents of twins should get their Aldi on as much as possible. 
It's very important to get them to take a nap at the same time.  Not only as a practical matter but you'll find you need some time to clean up and have some general quiet time for yourself.  Do whatever is necessary to make this happen.  Give them there bottles, pacifiers, stuffed animals, anything!  There's nothing worse than opening their door at nap time to wide-eyed twins who haven't slept and the room smells like farts and broken dreams.  Let them cry it out if you must just get those little clowns to sleep. 
It's a good idea to have a vehicle that's big enough that none of your kids can touch each other.  The last thing you need is them stealing each others binky or wiping boogers on each others forehead while you're driving down the freeway.  Have some music they enjoy and toys to keep them busy.
The most important thing to remember is you're going to get frustrated and no matter what don't take it out on your spouse.  I've heard of more than one couple getting divorced after having twins.  Though it may feel good to set your significant other on fire after a day of getting vomited on and straightening up the house seven times, it solves nothing.  They are stressed out too and you need to be a team to keep those lookalikes alive.  Make sure to communicate, laugh together and let the other person cry on your shoulder when they need to.   Like us on Facebook at Badtwindad and on twitter @Badtwindad.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Grocery Store Kung Fu

A trip to the grocery store is always a stressful experience when you have two or more children in tow and can result in a little sweat on the brow on a good day or a carton of eggs on the floor on the worst of days.  In China, Kung Fu refers to any skill learned through practice and if you've ever pushed a cart through the isles with doppelgangers riding shotgun you know it's not a skill that comes easy.  For starters if the children in question are not well rested and fed, they are going to get irritated after the first 5 minutes and start poking and prodding each other and before you know it you have a battle royal on your hands.  You don't want one punching the others hat off his head before you've even gotten out of the produce section.  Another thing to consider is the cart selection at the store you've chosen.  Do they have enough race car carts?  You don't want some singleton parent putting little Johnny in the only cart capable of holding 2 kids.  If you're reading this and you have one kid who rides said cart, you have some soul searching to do. Two steering wheels is a must or they will be throwing grapes before you know it!  Your list has to be on point.  Sorted in categories for each section of the store in the order.  Speed is key.  This is bigger than you might think but if you can get out of the store 5 minutes faster you might be able to avoid two kids that look the same throwing grocery items that look nothing alike.  Quickness is also a factor when thinking about diaper changes.  You don't want to have to change a crouching tiger shitting dragon at the grocery store.  The other twin might decide to work on his flying knees off the top of the grocery cart.  Another area where your Kung Fu must be strong is when some ass hole comes up to you to let you know how they know about twins from their cousin's former roommate's sister who saw twins at the airport bathroom once getting their diapers changed or some bullshit.  First off, if this is you go fuck yourself.  Simple as.  Second of all, can't you see that one twin has toothpaste all over his face that I haven't paid for yet and the other is trying to pry open a tube of biscuits he's mistaken for tennis balls?  While you're going on about you're experience of seeing twins at a baseball game played by the Minnesota twins, my three year old who doesn't fit in the cart has run off a few isles down has lit up and started smoking.  Get over yourself and realize you're just making things harder for us.  The check out line has it's own dangers to look out for.  All the impulse items become targets for their curious fingers to grab and hurl at the customers behind you who will also be trying to tell you about how they know what you're going through because they saw a shitty movie about having two cats once and it can't be that much different than having twins.  After you've paid just run for your life and get the hell out of there!  Retreat to the safety of the dojo, which means get in your minivan where they will be strapped down and immobile.  Remember to practice your praying mantis style every chance you get!  Like us on facebook at BadTwinDad and follow us on Twitter @BadTwinDad.