Ho, Not the Fresh Fade, Ah?

Well, that didn’t take long. Exactly one week ago, I wrote about the transitional period my hair was in. I wondered whether I’d be able to weather the storm of the ugly stage. No. No, I am not.

1I’m back to the shorter sidecomb. I finally  realized admitted that the undercut I was working on didn’t have an endgame. What was I going to do? Just let it keep growing, have it creep over my right ear?

Yesterday’s humidity  made the product in my hair inconsequential. The waves in my hair broke out of the hold and poofed up and out. “My hair is an apocalypse today,” I texted Lynnette. She immediately replied with “It was an apocalypse yesterday.” She wasn’t wrong. But still.

It was such joy to shampoo my shorter and thinner hair last night. My head feels lighter. I no longer have to run my fingers through my hair once a period to make sure it’s not turning into a bird’s nest of hideousness. The next time I considering growing my hair out, remind me not to – or link this blog entry to my Facebook page. Thanks. Ugh.

The Twins on Campus!

With Mama still healing with her brand new knee, Lynnette took off and brought the twins to campus this morning. Every once in a while I like to bring Cole and Avery to work so my co-workers, friends, and some of my students can see them.

12We tried to limit our visits to the office spaces because I didn’t want to disrupt any classes. We were lucky enough to run into some of my co-workers and students in the hallways during an off period I had today.

I remember those first few times I brought Madison to campus. She was a little older and wanted to draw all over my white boards. Even then it felt strange for her to be there. She is not strange, Damien is not strange, but somehow the combination of them together is – like seeing your favorite movie character appear in a different franchise of movies. It’s still the same kind of feeling with the twins. But not Lynnette, though, she’s my constant.

I didn’t think it was possible, but Cole and Avery move through the hallways at a slower rate than the senior returning to class during a trip to the restroom. They were fascinated by the locks, the surface of the walkway, and by any other human being that popped out of a doorway or came around a corner. They drank bottles and had Cheerios in my classroom. I reclined Avery on my tummy like Totoro did to Mei and she drank her bottle while I rotated the chair slowly from left to right and back again.

I had more Heart of Darknessing to do, but when you have to attend to things of that sort, to the mere incidents of the surface, the reality—the reality, I tell you—fades. The inner truth is hidden—luckily, luckily.

Measure Twice, Buy Baby Gate Once

The baby gate broke today. Given that it was at least 8 years old, I suppose it lived a long, fruitful life and did its job admirably considering none of my children tumbled down the stairs – unless you count Madison, who has tripped, stumbled, and fallen about a billion times since we took the gate down the first time.

2I accidentally broke the baby gate as I was cleaning the stairs and the landing below it. I tried to close the gate and the plastic piece  which should have caught it snapped off. Yes, you’re right, it’s a minor miracle that the episode had nothing to do with my fat ass.

Anyway, we had to do some adjusting. Lynnette drove down to Babies R’ Us to buy a new gate. I propped the Blue and Orange October up in front of the gate and installed Madison as the gate keeper. She did a fantastic job screening the twins from the gate. “When’s mom coming home?” she asked. “I don’t know. When she gets the gate, I guess. Why?” I said. “Because when you sit down here for too long, your but begins to hurt,” she said. She’s not wrong.

3Lynnette returned home and took a well-deserved nap. She woke up a short time ago to install the gate and discovered that the new gate is not wide enough for the space at the top of our staircase. Welp.

We pivoted again. I changed the formation and alignment of the play area fence and snaked it in front of the twins’ room. Madison is now the guardian of this weak spot in the perimeter. She’s a solider.

I’ve already purchased a new (and wider) gate from Amazon. We’re going to have to return the one Lynnette just bought. But, though certainly intended, the play area in the living room has shrunk. I scuttled the Blue and Orange October. It didn’t react well to box cutters.

Editor’s Note: Phil is secretly thrilled about today’s developments. He HATES the baby gate on account of his aforementioned fat ass. He has already made two trips downstairs without the baby gate and has quoted two different movies while making them: “Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom!” (Braveheart) and “See? See what I have created?” (Castaway). He will be sad when Amazon delivers the gate.

This is quite an impressive list. Today, we’re saying goodbye to the old baby gate, the new baby gate, and the Blue and Orange October. I don’t know how the twins feel about their favorite submarine sailing off forever, but I know how I feel. Ahem.

Stay-at-Home Dad Mode

Mama had knee surgery today. I am told it went well and our the last update we received informed us that she was playing her favorite casino slots game on her phone, so she must be pretty good. Get well soon, Mama!

This circumstance forced me into my favorite role of stay-at-home dad. I missed out on the annual ACCE conference for Catholic school educators. I promise you I will try my very best not to beat myself up too much for missing that whopper of a good time.

2Cole and Avery ate well during breakfast and about an hour later gifted me with simultaneous morning naps. In terms of rarity, it’s right up there with encountering a shiny Pokemon in the wild and us passing through Aiea without stopping to get a drink from Rainbow Tea House. I took advantage of the fairly lengthy nap to tackle a project I’ve had my eye on for quite a while: cleaning up my bedroom. I popped Heat into the Blu Ray player and went to work. Every once in a while, I walked out into the living room to take a look at the twins. Avery was in a different position every time I peeked, either on her back or rolled over on her side. For reasons I will probably never know, Cole actually prefers to fall asleep with his knees tucked in like this. Sure.

63Lynnette’s going to sell a bunch of stuff at the swap meet during Presidents’ Day weekend. We’ve been slowly packing these items into boxes and bags in preparation for this great purge that is hopefully accompanied by a modest windfall. We have to pay for our bubble drinks somehow, after all. Well, I got rid of some board shorts that don’t fit quite right – they must have shrunk or something – and a few t-shirts. Pictured here is the draw I’ve established exclusively for my dry-fit type shirts. I know some of you were curious, so yes, my Old Navy’s sponsorship of my wardrobe will continue in 2017. We’re both excited to further our relationship.

Not being sold at the swap meet are any of Lynnette’s LuLaRoe leggings. I discovered today that Lynnette has dedicated a plastic storage bin just for cherished leggings. She told me she had taken one of the bins earlier in the week, but either she didn’t tell me what it was for, or she did and I didn’t hear her (I bet the former happened, but she will claim the latter, but don’t tell her I said that). I feel like these two pictures perfectly explain our relationship; we’re alike enough that we’d more or less come to the same conclusion and/or solution to like situations, but our respective actualizations of that conclusion and/or solution is incredibly disparate. Or, in layman’s terms: I’m a slob and she’s not.

54It was idealistic of me to think that I would complete my cleaning project before the twins got up. I was about halfway through when I heard mouse noises coming from the living room.Avery was walking around the play area and looking for human existence. Cole woke up not long after. I Andre the Giant slow-legged over the top of the gate and plopped down with the kids. I tried playing games with them, but it’s nearly impossible to get them engaged in the same thing at the same time unless there’s food involved or Lynnette’s just arrived home.

But, sometimes, Avery climbs onto the couch and flattens out on her back in the corner closest to the wall. Then she kind of just rolls side-t0-side and giggles to herself. Just this week, I caught her doing this and I shouted “Baby!” Then then made my hand into a claw and tickled her chest and stomach. She laughed. It has gotten to the point where all I have to do is shout “Baby!” when she’s in the middle of rolling and she reacts by laughing hysterically. Well, today Cole saw us playing this game, and decided he wanted in on it. He climbed up onto the couch and inserted himself into the game. I raised both arms high over my head and screamed “BABY!!” and brought my hands crashing down to tickle their torsos. We were all screaming a few minutes later. That was the highlight of my day, but only because the I’m not certain the other thing that would have been actually happened.

When Mad got home from school I asked her to watch the twins so I could finish cleaning my room. At some point I heard a small thud and came out to investigate. I found Avery lying on the floor on the wrong side of the play gate. One of the plastic bins behind the couch was strewn about carelessly. “How did Avery get here?” I asked Madison. She looked at her younger sister from the other side of the gate. “I don’t know,” she said. “Geez!” I said. Avery wasn’t crying, she didn’t appear hurt. I put back in the play area and she was upset. I think she actually flipped over the edge of the couch, broke her fall on the plastic bins, then tumbled to the floor. And I also believe the reason she didn’t cry was that she had accomplished her mission. I mean, obviously, I wish it hadn’t happened. But since it probably did I’m kicking myself for having missed it.

Firmly Entrenched in the Ugly Stage

I am again at a crossroads.

1About a month ago I became bored with my sidecomb. I wanted to do something different, but I knew I didn’t want to chop it all off (again). So I told my barber to leave the length at the top and shave down the sides. “An undercut?” she asked. I was whisked away to 1996. “Yes,” I said.

The problem is that my hair gets wavy and poofy at 3 inches or longer. This is where we are now. The hair I push to the right is starting to flip outward instead of fall downward. My hair is straight-up ridiculous without any kind of product in it, so I’ve been wearing my AJ Styles cap during the weekends because I’ve been too lazy to put anything in it on Saturday and Sunday, but the trade-off is that I look absurd in a way that must be seen to be believed. I learned these lessons nearly a decade ago. Jealous of my brothers who could grow their hair long and not look like fat Japanese boys with ferrets on their heads, I tried to go long myself. The consequences were dire. I had hoped that this time would be different, but it doesn’t look like things are going to go my way.

2Sometimes when I go to the bathroom in the middle of the day, I see what looks like talons of hair at the back of my head sticking out at all angles. I wet my hands and feverishly try to pat down this insurrection, and I suppose it works – but only because I can’t actually see it. This is what it looks like. Why didn’t anyone tell me? Frick. It looks like in movies when people dig a huge pit in the jungle then do a terrible job covering it with twigs, leaves, and branches. I don’t even know what to do with it. I keep telling myself that I’ve come too far, that I can’t chop it down now, that if I let it get long enough, I can slick it all back and cover that mess up. But what’s the upside? I feel like the best I can hope for is Shinsuke Nakamura, but I don’t think my employer would feel too great about me walking about campus in that and a shirt in tie next fall.

I always knew that my hair would enter the ugly stage sooner rather than later, and I knew that I would be tempted to quit before pushing past it. Maybe it’s because I already know the truth: I’m a guy who has the kind of hair that can only do two things, but I keep on trying for that third.

Man-to-Man or Zone?

The plan was simple: drive out to Waialae-Iki Park, grab lunch at Kahala Mall, then head home. I don’t know why I ever plan anything.

12I knew that Waialae-Iki Park had swings, but I mistakenly thought that there was a toddler-friendly play area. There wasn’t. Lynnette and I tried out best to get Avery and Cole interested in the stuff they could get on, but the twins had other ideas about fun which included trying to eat leaves and gnawing on fallen tree branches. At least the playing surface was padded. Cole spent a whole 4 minutes amusing himself by walking up and down the short, shallow incline from foam down to concrete. He was so proud of himself.

Madison took the opportunity to put as much distance between herself and us as she could. She climbed into a couple of trees, sat on the slide, and did a generally bad job of pretending she couldn’t hear me call her name for help. Her body stiffens when she hears me call her name, but then she goes back to do whatever she was doing. I am a secret scoundrel, Madison. You can’t fool me because I spend all my time in a state of low-level paranoia trying to imagine how people are trying to fool me. It’s exhausting but I can’t help it; it’s like breathing at this point.

Speaking of breathing, there’s something about Lynnette when the sun’s at her back and its rays filter through strands of her hair. She’s outlined by golden edges and it makes her soft. Warm. It was enough to take my breath away. True, chasing Cole and Avery around to make sure they didn’t eat debris also robbed my lungs of air, but Lynnette definitely played a significant role.

34“The next time we go to a restaurant, let’s play man-to-man defense,” Lynnette said. “What?” I said. “You take one and I’ll take one, and we’ll feed them at the same time so we can eat at the same time and one of us doesn’t have to eat fast so the other one can eat. No more zone defense,” she said. “But why the sports metaphor?” I asked. “I’m just trying to speak your language,” she said. She said the last three words oozed sarcasm and she emphasized this sarcasm by making awkward hand motions that I didn’t recognize from any sport. But it seemed like a good idea. Generally, I play safety – not responsible for specific coverage, but assigned to swoop in to help – since I am too slow to play cornerback. Is everyone following along with this metaphor? Great. Great job, guys.

Anyway, this defensive strategy looked sound on paper but then we tried it out today at CPK and we might have to go back to the drawing board. Because, you know, in order for this plan to work out, Cole and Avery have to cooperate. Avery, of course, ate well. She devoured her pasta, Cheerios, and mum-mums – and also the ends of three complimentary crayons. But don’t worry, her saliva only got into the package, the crayon bits didn’t seep out. Cole on the other hand was upset about being in a high chair and didn’t want to eat anything. Lynnette took him for a walk to calm him down, but it didn’t work. I took him for a walk and let him amble around the Verizon kiosk for 5 minutes. When I brought him back he finally started eating things. My food was cold by then, but that’s what happens sometimes when you have twin toddlers. On the bright side, at least I got to pick up three handfuls of Cheerios and other delights from under the table.

Bad Sleeping Habits

I’ve made a huge mistake.

12Some time last week I made what I thought was a sound decision. I pulled into the parking lot bleary-eyed and tired. I didn’t sleep well the night before and I didn’t need two hours to prep for the school day. I reclined my seat, tucked Madison’s pillow behind my head, set my phone alarm for 6:30, pulled a small blanket across my chest, and closed my eyes. I managed almost an extra hour of sleep! I felt like I got away with something! I walked to my classroom, prepped for the day, and had a dopey smirk on my face because, you know, I MANAGED ALMOST AN EXTRA HOUR OF SLEEP!

Perhaps predictably, this would be the apex of my decision because my body began to crave this extra nap time almost immediately. It’s pretty bad. As I drive toward Kalihi, my eyelids get heavy right around Moanalua Gardens. “You know you want to sleep,” my body says. “Hurry up and get around this guy so we can get into the parking lot and sleep,” it says.

On the plus side, I haven’t bought a Starbucks drink in over a week. On the downside, the twins’ new car seats prevent the seat from reclining as much as it should and my neck and shoulders are pretty sore as a result. Also, I never quite feel like I’ve actually woken up at any point in the day. In fact – though I have no way of proving it – I suspect I actually feel more tired than I did before I began this seductive habit.

34I told Lynnette about my stolen hour earlier in the week and she scoffed (probably out of sheer jealousy). I told her that I think it was doing more harm than good and mentioned that I think I should probably move around a bit more. After all, softball – that last vestige of physical activity in my life – has more or less disappeared from my life since the twins were born. Lynnette suggested I start this evening by taking Cole and Avery for a walk. I agreed. Madison tagged along on her scooter. The air was crisp and cool. The twins seemed pleased to be out of the house as they only protested if the stroller stopped for an extended period of time, such as to take this picture here.

Lynnette’s taking the van tomorrow, so I don’t think I’ll napping in the morning. The Corolla simply isn’t comfortable enough. Then again, I haven’t given it a serious try. Ahh. I suppose I’ll pull into Starbucks tomorrow morning, head up to my classroom, and get to work. Despite my physical appearance, I don’t enjoy feeling so sluggish. I hope that we can work in something nice like a trip to the beach or playground or something else outside. The weather hasn’t been super-cooperative, but since I’m going to be horizontal all of Sunday afternoon while watching the Royal Rumble, I really hope Saturday is gorgeous.