Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters



Ghostly Awakenings, Weekly Shaves, and Asparagus Pee: Simple Truths

We’ve named our ghost Argus. Actually, my AP kids did. Sort of. As I was telling them about his latest antics this week…

“Our ghost woke me up again at 2 this morning,” I began.


“Our ghost.”

“Argus? Who’s Argus?”

And from that point forward, his name has been Argus. And Argus has been at it again.

This week he toppled Tate’s plastic tea set to the floor. At 2 AM. On a Thursday. It’s his main M.O. (Well, the days of the week change, but honestly, if it clangs and clatters and it’s between 2 and 3 at night, it’s Argus.)

So lately, when I’m jolted awake by a loud crash, I don’t even wake Mike anymore. Instead, I lie still for maybe ten minutes, making certain we’re not being robbed blind or murdered in our sleep, and then I go back to sleep.

Or try. Because after Argus does his ghost-version of Ding Dong Ditch, it takes a bit for the fight-or-flight instinct to decelerate. So I lie there and think about stuff. All sorts of stuff. My mind runs the gamut of unhinged musings. For instance…

… how the deodorant in my vanity drawer should’ve run out weeks ago. but instead, keeps regenerating there in the darkness like the liver of Prometheus or a Hanukah menorah. It’s a miracle. Maybe not a miracle of Titan or Festival of Lights proportions, but a miracle nonetheless. And I know I really should go to CVS and get another before the miracles cease and my lavender scented underarms give way to stench, but I kinda want to see how long it’ll keep it up.

… or how thinking about smells gets me thinking of asparagus pee and how you would never want to eat it before going to the gynecologist, where you must wee in a cup. Unless of course, you bear a grudge against a lab tech there and are into passive aggressive behavior. Then it’s genius. (Not that I would do such a thing. And not because I’m not passive-aggressive, but because I don’t know any lab techs there.)

And speaking of genius – and gynecologists – I once heard of someone tidying up her nether regions prior to a visit to the lady doctor and accidentally slicing some tender bits. So if you’re keeping a running list of what NOT TO DO prior to going to the gynecologist: that’s a NO to asparagus and a NO to trimming the hedges.

But DO shave your legs before going. That’s just common decency.

These days I shave my legs once a week — which is hardly common decency for Mike, but I really did used to shave them every day, until… well, Twins. (And Mike would claim “Well, marriage” — but I call shenanigans on that excuse…) So now, when I finally do break out the Venus Comfort Glide, it’s like hewing down the Hundred Acre Wood with a hacksaw. But this past Thursday at 2 AM, my legs were recently cleared of their tree line and as close to smooth and supple as a fancy, refillable razor can get them when you forget to refill for nigh-on a year. (Again, Twins.)

Each week after I shave I mark it off my TO-DO List. It qualifies as a major chore (you gotta look for silver linings), and I feel majorly accomplished.

And yes, I’m a List Girl. Eliminating items helps me feel less claustrophobic. Less buried alive under the rubble of twin tornados roaring through their toddler years. They spin wildly on their own – on the verge of category 4 storms — or join together in one massive category 5.

Our living room most times is scattered, smothered, and covered in wooden blocks and puzzle pieces and stacks of laundry that regenerate faster than my deodorant stick and the Hundred Acre Wood on my legs. (And then Argus keeps adding to the clutter with tea sets and DVD stacks and any other readily tippable targets at 2 AM.)

And let’s not even discuss my van, which looks like disaster coverage in a trailer park — flotsam scattered stem to stern.

So in the midst of this insanity, freshly-shaved legs are a huge check off on my To Do List. Please don’t begrudge me my minor victories.

Another big check off on my list is my weekly blog — which also qualifies as a major accomplishment, and also (I have to admit) a big reason I don’t shave more than once a week and why my house looks like a natural disaster sight. It steals time — robs me blind, actually, because I am not a fast writer.

But my blog gives me so much more than semi-smooth calves in return. I feel like I’ve reconnected with some inner light and voice — one that was growing ever dimmer and quieter. But now, it’s perked back up. Kind of like Argus.

For obvious reasons, Argus’ voice was buried. For less obvious ones, mine was. But he’s chosen to reappear and make a racket and be heard — and so have I. He’s stumbling around in the dark, looking to reveal his own sort of truths.  And so am I. And sometimes those truths are profoundly important and philosophical — like female empowerment —  and sometimes they’re small and still important — like asparagus pee-cup prevention.

Regardless, I still feel the need to share. Just like Argus.

So all these (and more!) thoughts tumbled around in my brain last Thursday night. And  as I finally found myself ready to drift back to sleep – nearly an hour later — I heard another noise, accompanied by the rankest breath this side of the underworld. And no, it wasn’t Argus this time. (I’ve never smelled him, thank the Heavens. That might just be my limit to ghost tolerance.) Nope, it was my dachshund, hacking and wheezing like a Sleestak –those weird, prehistoric, wet-suit wearing monsters of my Saturday morning childhood. I love Neci dearly, but her breath is vile.

So I rolled over to avoid her exhaust and immediately felt the bed tilt and swirl, an abrupt reminder of yet another escaped otolith rambling around inside my inner ear and wreaking havoc. It’s been a month of vertigo, off and on and it’s getting old.

But then I realized…

My mind was reeling while my mind was reeling.

I’d become a literal metaphor.

With freshly-shaved legs.

I feel so accomplished.


Pretty Sure We Have Ourselves a Ghost: Night Noises and Red Shirts

It would appear we have a ghost — a real live (well, I guess not live), but real used-to-be-live blustering, busy-body, house-haunting ghost.

It all began three weeks ago. Although looking back, I think we’ve had some other curious situations over the last couple of years of living in our house. Things lost and then found in odd locations. Or things never found at all, but heard — like nursery toys not seen for a year or more suddenly heard playing their eerie, tinkling tunes. No clue from where. Still. we chalked all that up to pudgy toddler hands and their haphazard hiding prowess. But then, the events of the last three weeks have convinced me otherwise. The events of the last three weeks have led me to suspect the supernatural…

It all began deep in the belly of night — the deepest crease of the deepest fold of the big, broad belly of night – when our sleep was sucker-punched by a bruising, clanging sound.

I jolted awake. Mike blinked in the darkness. He thought he’d dreamed it until I asked, “Did you hear that?!?” and then he shot instantly up. Armed with a golf driver made of carbon fiber for flexibility and force and kept at our bedside for just such an occasion. I watched the shadow of his imposing figure creep out of the bedroom and into the echoing darkness.

The wind was howling outside, and my soul was howling inside. Someone was in our house.

A long and frightening aeon later, he reappears. “The flue flew open,” he explains. “Pretty sure it popped due to the pressure of that storm.”

“Really? Are you positive?”

“Yep, it’s held closed by tension. Storm got it.”

Ok. I guess I’m buying. But not sleeping. Nope. My adrenaline raged – as hard as the wind at my window.

Then last weekend…

Doors that we were certain we had locked were found unlatched or unbolted: the back screen, the side garage, the front entry. Forgetfulness, we rationalized – even though my childhood full of attempted break-ins has left me locking and double-locking every door in the house all the time. Still — if not forgetfulness, then toddlers. Two of them. Always eager to let out the dog or check out the state of the weather.

So cut to the middle of last week…

Asleep. Again. This time, not quite buried as deep in the fleshy middle of night, but late — just after midnight – and I find myself floating slowly up to the surface of my slumber, where I hear a woman’s voice. It’s a metallic, tinny voice. I listen intently. Am I dreaming this? Is this reality? Then I hear her again.

I’m certain its coming from the boys’ rooms — projected through the monitor on our nightstand. My heart lurches, then trips, spilling sweat across my chest and arms.

“Mike?” I grab his wrist.

“I hear it,” he answers.

This time, it’s not the golf club he grabs, but the gun from the closet. He clicks the slide, loads the chamber, and heads out the door.

After another terrifying aeon, he returns.

This time, it isn’t the flue. This time, it’s the television.

“It’s turned itself on — just the sound bar. Just the audio. Probably a power surge,” he rationalizes.

I’m not buying. Not this time. “No clocks are flashing. No lights have flickered. I don’t think so,” I reply.

“All’s clear, though,” he states.

Eventually I fall back asleep. It takes me a long, long time.

Then, yesterday…

We’re all in the basement so the boys can run wild. Their playroom is down here. So is the game room. I’m facetiming my daughter. We’re commiserating about the racist leader of our great nation when she stops cold. “Hey, let me see the room you’re in.”

So I pan the phone around the game room: pool table, big comfy couches, newly-purchased karaoke tv.

“Who was that man I saw a minute ago? Is Sam there?” she asks.

Mike and I freeze. “What man?”

“The man in the red shirt I saw over your shoulder.”

Over my shoulder, there is nothing but the blank wall of the hallway. Not even a picture, a photograph, to break up the blankness.

“Sam’s not here. Nobody else is here.”

“I saw a man.”


Mike’s ready to call a realtor. Me? I’m not too worried. I can’t say I like being jolted awake in the middle of the night, but I’m not afraid of this trickster ghost, this old man in his red shirt.  I don’t think he means us any harm, he just wants us to know he’s here. Pretty sure he doesn’t want us gone. He just wants our attention.

And I’m intrigued to know why…

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