Category Archives for "Family"

My parents’ TV is going Helen Keller all over me

I’m still down in North Carolina but only for another day or so. The weather is gorgeous, everyone I meet is outrageously nice and I basically want to pack up Nate, the kids and Oliver and run away from home and move down here. I love everything about this place except the traffic lights. I know that life down here runs at a slower pace but yesterday, I think I could have gestated a small human while waiting to make a left turn. Even with my shitty, enlarged uterus.

I meant that my shitty, enlarged uterus could have gestated a small human being period, not that I could have used it to make a left turn. My shitty, enlarged uterus has no sense of direction and wouldn’t know its left from its right. If it were allowed to navigate, I’d be typing this from the South Pole and crying because hello? WHERE THE HELL IS SANTA AND WHY HASN’T BE BROUGHT ME A GPS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE?

Just a few updates:

  • I’m happy to report that my father, who last week suffered a stroke and was *this* close to putting for birdie on that great big manicured green in the sky, is steadily improving. We hope it won’t be long before he’s back home, sitting in his recliner next to Mom and slowly turning deaf by watching TV at 180 decibels. Dancing with the Stars is so much better when the Paso Doblé breaks the sound barrier, isn’t it? I don’t watch that show myself so I couldn’t say. I’d ask my mom but I probably wouldn’t hear her response since my ears were blown off during Glee.
  • Nate informed me last night that they might have to resort to doing their first load of laundry. Operative word being “might.” Did I mention I’ve been away from home for eight days? This conversation fell under the category of STOP TALKING. I DON’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW.
  • I tried to relieve some stress by running the other day. I soon discovered that all the roads in my parents’ neighborhood go up hill. Both ways. After one mile, I had to shimmy home on my stomach because my thighs and knees had exploded forty-two  times.

Once again, thank you so much for all your kind thoughts and positive energy during the last week or so. You guys made a huge difference for my family and I am so grateful.

I should be home later this week. If no one hears from me in a couple of days, please check the laundry room and send help.

And a gas mask.



It’s like Weekend Update! Except it’s not Saturday night and I’m better looking than Seth Meyers. I think.

I’d like to thank all of you for your comments and emails this week. I wish I could thank each of your personally for bringing a smile to my face but there aren’t enough hours in the day and this in and of itself is a huge testament to how supportive the Internet can be. Your thoughts and words of encouragement have been the highlights of what has essentially been a festival of shit this week.

And all of you spammers who sent me Viagra coupons and offers to enlarge my penis and rock my girlfriend’s world? You guys have got to learn how to use spell check. I’m not going to take you seriously if you can’t spell the word “orgasm” correctly. And if I had a girlfriend, I’d bet she’d feel the same way because I only hook up with really smart people. The first thirty years of my life notwithstanding.

My dad is hanging in there. I won’t bother giving a play by play of the roller coaster we’ve ridden this week but suffice it to say that carotid artery surgery, hematomas, strokes, aspirating on vomit, pneumonia and ventilators suck big, fat, staph-infected orangutan balls.

As of last night, he was coming off of sedation. He blinked on command and moved his hand and both his feet which was very encouraging. We hope he can come off the ventilator today so that they can start conducting a neurological exam to determine the extent of the damage from the stroke. I suggested to the doctors that they ask my dad a simple question like Is it true that if F(X) is an antiderivative of f(x) and c is any constant, then F(x)  + c is also an antiderivative of f(x)? They could assess his analytical prowess and help my sixteen year old with her homework at the same time. It would be a win/win! They suggested we start with something like “Is your name Peter?”

Way to set the bar low, guys.

My brother Tino is down here with me. So all you single ladies living in North Carolina, here’s your chance! And no worries of my mother hovering in the background, yelling FOR GOD’S SAKE, JUST MARRY ONE OF THEM ALREADY as she’s got a lot on her mind these days and can’t plan a wedding at the moment.

Some highlights of this past week:

  • Tino and I got lost on our way from the airport to our parents’ house, proving once again that I have no earthly business navigating, be it by map, GPS, someone hollering WHAT DO YOU MEAN, THE EXIT WAS “BACK THERE,” or the northern star.
  • My mother had Nutella waiting for me in her pantry. I almost wept with joy. She said she tried to get me Anderson Cooper but apparently he’s not taking her calls either. At the risk of sounding rude, Anderson … Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot? Pardon my French.
  • We brought the day shift and night shift nurses boxes of candy because they are full of awesome. The nurses, not the boxes of candy, although candy is pretty awesome but nowhere near the level of nurses. I think nurses ought to get their own holiday. And parking spaces.
  • I was forced to venture into a Walmart down here and for the first time in my life, I did not feel the urge to douse myself in Purell from head to toe. The Walmarts down here are actually nice! And clean! And make me want to use exclamation points! And I’m not just talking about the employees! Not sure why the south has such a distinct advantage over the north when it comes to Walmart? Maybe it’s God’s way of compensating them for that whole Civil War thing.
  • Actually, everyone down here is incredibly friendly. It’s like North Carolinians are on a perpetual endorphin rush. I’ll have whatever they’re having.
  • My sixteen year old decided that this would be the perfect time to let her brain fall out of her head and make some pretty stupid choices. Nothing like coming home from the hospital at 9:00 at night only to charge up your cell phone so that you can use a good chunk of your minutes to discipline your teenager from 800 miles away, all while having your twin brother stand behind you, reminding you of that time when you were sixteen and your own brain did a free fall out of your head and crashed to the floor and exploded into a million pieces. SHUT UP TINO, YOU ARE NOT HELPING.

Before I leave, one word of advice. Please, please, please, for the love of white garlic pizza, tell someone where your original wills and powers of attorney are hidden. It may come as a surprise but it is entirely possible for a person to experience the whole spectrum of human emotion 582 times in one morning, leading her to seriously consider having a bank drill through a safety deposit box to the tune of $150 even though she knows nothing is in there but at least it’s doing something other than standing in an office and yelling to no one in particular JESUS CHRIST IN BIRKENSTOCKS, WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY?



Leaving on a jet plane

Remember my mom and dad?

They are 800 miles away from me.

Right now, he’s lying in the ICU, unresponsive from a stroke this morning.

Right now, she’s alone in a waiting room, trying to be strong.

800 miles is such a goddamn long ways away.

I’m catching a flight down there to … well, I don’t know. Something. Anything.

I’m 43 years old and have never lost anyone close to me.

I don’t want to start now.

I’d like to ask that you think good thoughts for my mom and dad and, if you’re so inclined, to please pray.

Pray that my family can get through this, whatever may happen.

That my stupid fear of flying and driving will take a hiatus and allow me to get down there without a panic attack.

That Nate will feed the girls something other than McDonalds and frozen pizza while I’m gone.

That Oliver’s bladder and bowels will behave themselves until I get back. Even afterward, maybe.

That I get a chance to say I Love You to my dad one more time.

Because I can’t remember if I said it the last time I spoke with him.

I think I did but I’m not sure and that uncertainty is haunting me.

No one can rock the Statue of Liberty like my dad.

I’ll be away for a bit.



Maybe the stupids who ask if we’re identical aren’t so stupid after all?

Although Tino and I were born exactly one minute apart, we have never had that special connection that is so common among twins. As children, we weren’t hungry at the same time, we weren’t simultaneously sleepy, we had our own separate and distinct groups of friends, we never had a secret language nor did we have a sixth sense about each other. Except for that one time we engaged in a little twin telepathy from our cribs and decided it would be a good idea to whip off our diapers during nap time and decorate ourselves and our immediate surroundings with our freshly homemade feces although if you hear our mother babble on incessantly about it, she would have you believe that had it not been for *my* instigation and prodding, Tino would have napped soundly and our nursery would not have smelled like a herd of incontinent cows for months and she would not have needed therapy until Christmas.

But whatever.

We also have never looked alike. Well, except for maybe five minutes back when we were embryos.

And maybe for a short while during our formative years when we shared the same inherited physical deformity known as ARE YOU AWARE YOU HAVE A THIRD ELBOW GROWING OUT THE MIDDLE OF YOUR FACE?

But then Tino eventually grew taller and I eventually grew boobs and we each had a plastic surgeon go Michael Jackson all over our faces by cutting, sawing and scraping enough bone from our noses to sculpt a reasonable facsimile of a human skeleton and donate it to the biology department of a local high school. Who knew rhinoplasty could be a tax write off?

Now, as middle-aged adults, I’d just about given up on trying to find some sort of special “twin” connection between the two of us. At this point, we’ll probably never own pets with names that are palindromes of each other because I don’t see Tino overcoming some commitment issues and getting a dog anytime soon and naming it Revilo, even though I happen to think that’s a wicked cool name. And we’ll probably never both marry people with the same name because I’m married to Nate and I don’t see Tino marrying a Nate of his own unless he (1) overcomes some commitment issues; (2) spontaneously turns gay which is not likely because he likes to have sex with women, or (3) marries a woman who should have been named Kate but wasn’t because she had parents and/or a birth registrar with dyslexia and/or a drinking problem and/or really bad eyesight.

I had pretty much given up hope of discovering that special connection between the two of us when I took another gander at this photograph of Tino and then, all of a sudden, it hit me.

*BAM!* <——————— (This is it hitting me. I typed it out loud to get the full effect.)

We have a connection, all right. It’s spanned over forty years and while not immediately apparent, it does more to cement a cosmic twin relationship between us more securely than any DNA ever could.






And to think all this time, it was right under my nose.

Or on it, as the case may be.



If he didn’t actually eat pumpkin, I’d be guilty of slander and libel and writing this post from jail

I may have mentioned once or twenty-five times that I have a twin brother. Tino is one minute older than I and I’m pretty sure this is a result of a little in-utero smackdown that occurred 43 years ago when bragging rights to the title Older Sibling were at stake. And while I have no hard evidence, I’m pretty sure Tino distracted me by sitting on my umbilical cord and cutting off my food supply. While I was busy trying not to starve to death, he budged me and the next thing I knew, Dr. Durfee was shouting CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE A BEAUTIFUL BABY BOY! One minute later, Dr. Durfee pulled me out into the world and shouted CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE A STRESSED OUT, TENSE, UNDERWEIGHT BABY GIRL!



But all of it came out sounding like WAAAH WAAAAAAAAAAAH WAH WAH WAH and no one in the room spoke Pissed Off Infant which is weird because hello? They dealt with newborns all the damn time, they couldn’t tell when one was telling the honest-to-God truth and one was lying through his toothless gums?

In the end, Older Sibling got to go home with Mom and Dad and I had to go into time out in the neonatal unit for several days so that I could calm down, gain weight and think really hard about the choices I made and the consequences of my actions.

Tino flew in from Vegas for our 25th high school reunion this past weekend and I think the last time we had so much fun hanging out together, aside from the afternoon we removed our diapers and spent our nap time smearing feces all over our cribs, walls and each other, was maybe in these pictures? Circa 1970 or thereabouts? The only differences between then and now being that we’re not slamming vodka shots in this photo and I didn’t have a partial carcass of an electrocuted ferret hanging around my neck at the reunion.

Although, I should probably check Facebook just to make sure.

Here we are in second grade. You’ll notice that I have a gaping hole in my mouth and Tino does not. That’s because my tooth was loose and I wanted to put some money away towards retirement so I did the honest, responsible thing which was to tell Dad who then proceeded to tie a string around my tooth and then onto a doorknob and then yank the door open and it was the hardest, bloodiest $0.25 I ever earned. Tino, on the other hand, saw fit to super glue all his baby teeth onto his gums and then let his adult teeth push them out gradually and painlessly and he got the same $0.25 from the Tooth Fairy which he immediately spent by paying Steve Ritter to swallow a live caterpillar.




Who knew this sweet little guy  …

… would one day turn into this sweet big guy?

** We interrupt this blog post for a message from the

Emergency Broadcast System of North Carolina **

Tino is gainfully employed, handsome, polite, funny, outgoing and straight.

He needs to settle down, JESUS CHRRRRIIIIIST.

“Christ” is three syllables and I trill the “R” for no reason other than I can.

All reasonable offers of marriage will be considered, preferably before I die.

Not that he’ll ever be aware of such a deadline, seeing as how

he only calls me once in a blue moon.

Love, his Mom

You would not believe how many people ask me if we are identical twins. At first I’m all HAHAHAHAHAHA and then I realize they’re not drunk or bleeding from blunt force trauma to the head. They’re actually serious. Then I simply flash my boobs and drop trow and ask them to form their own opinion.

You can’t fix stupid, no matter how many times you sneeze estrogen and XX chromosomes all over it.

Tino is not used to kids. I know this because the last time he visited, he decided to make conversation with my then seven year old and thirteen year old by telling them how to throw the best parties for their friends and to make sure they threw them on weekends when their parents weren’t home and most importantly, to return the kegs and get your deposit back and then double check the trees in their yard afterward for any wayward underwear projectiles and I had to choke on a potato chip and do the Heimlich maneuver on myself to distract the future generation of America from a life of juvenile delinquency.

Now whenever Tino visits, the rule is that there are to be no conversations that start with the phrase When I was your age or include the words “kegs,” “underwear,” or “lie your ass off to the cops.”

Tino flew home Sunday and I already miss his cheating pumpkin eating guts.