One time I made a big mistake.
I'm a lucky man because my wife has always been great about birthdays and special occasions. She never really expects any glamorous MTV Sweet 16 style parties with the cast of Dance Moms and all that glamour from me, but last year was different.
I was oblivious to her subtle hints leading up to the big day. She'd say things like "You really need to plan something this year" and I'd nod in agreement, looking for the remote control, blissfully ignorant at the importance of her requests.
And like a damn idiot I came home on her birthday last year and took her to our little Mexican food restaurant with all the kids and no other real plan in place except to buy her some tres leches cake maybe if we had time.
Needless to say, I misread the situation.
She doesn't anger easily, but when we got home that night she was mad. It reminded me of that old saying:
"Hell hath no fury like trying to substitute chalupas for diamonds or at least renting out the community club house for some karaoke"
She said some things that really hurt my feelings but I sucked it up and I didn't cry very much and I felt like I had finally smoothed things over by midnight. As a condition of the negotiation I agreed to go with her to garage sales early Saturday morning to make amends and she seemed happy with that.
We got up early Saturday morning and after I watched TV for a while and went to Starbucks and caught a cat nap on the couch we headed out.
We went to a little country neighborhood west of Boerne where we always find good stuff and she immediately found a unique coffin that she insisted on getting to "finish out the living room."
Yeah, I said coffin. She bought a coffin.
Ok, maybe it's not really a coffin but it's very big and solid wood and has a door on the top and I'd easily fit inside if necessary, voluntarily or not.
Five dudes had to help me carry it inside and it's been a great conversation piece and she's decorated it nicely with a cover and some nice coffin pillows that don't scare me at all, really. The coffin is fun to hide in and scare the crap outta the kids when they come around and we can store hundreds of thousands of tiny little toys underneath when they aren't covering the living room floor.
To me though it serves as a constant reminder to not act like a jack ass.
It works, mostly.
As her birthday was approaching this year I looked at the coffin for a while and knew there was something I should probably do. I should do a good birthday. So I booked a little B&B/trailer park in Menard for the weekend thinking we could tour Menard and the Circle K there in the middle of town, who knows.
The dream birthday weekend began to derail when we couldn't find a sitter for the kids. Our regular baby sitter was sick and no one else would answer the phone and all the grandparents were out of town so we were basically screwed.
It was a long shot but my only hope was to ask Bear Grylls to watch our kids for the weekend.
Famous for his outdoor adventures and eating live snakes and scorpions, I knew he was up to the task. Of course he said yes when I sent him a tweet and explained our situation. Of course Bear Grylls would watch my kids. This is the internet! Crazy stuff happens every day on the internet!
Fortunately, Bear kept detailed notes of his experience, and I'm posting them here for all of you. Thank you Bear Grylls! I'm glad you are the godfather of my kids and you have a permanent spot in my top 10 BFF list.
Friday 5:32 PM
Bear, signing in. I arrive at the house and familiarize myself with the surroundings.
3 kids. Decent space. King size bed. No wolves or cobras. Coffin could serve as fire wood in an emergency or I could climb in and scare the crap outta the kids later.
There is one 11 year old girl that plays the fiddle. One middle little kid that seems to be the Alpha Male. And a little bitty baby kid that is deceptively fast and sneaky. This should be easy! No cobras!
The Alpha Male has already asked me for choklit milk four times and I've been here for twenty minutes. I'm pretty sure he's pouring it out on the dog as quickly as I can mix it, but I can't prove it.
Meanwhile the little bitty baby kid has climbed up the stairs six times and fallen twice. He also has a tendency to walk into the wall and likes to pour his milk out on the fireplace. He seems to have an insatiable appetite so I sit him down to eat some pasta but he rubs most of it on his head and face like he's getting ready to hunt buffalo.
The girl is walking around playing her fiddle and asking me if she can make some crepes and I don't even know what crepes are?
I finally get the little fast baby rounded up and put him in the bath. He keeps trying to stand up and do wind sprints across the tub but it never works. Why are these little kids so slippery? We make it through and I find some cool SpiderMan pajamas for him to wear.
Alpha Male appears from the shadows and says "Baby Cash gonna fo up cuz you put in the Spidaman jammies and he always fo up on spidaman."
I had no idea what he was trying to communicate so the fiddle girl came and tried to interpret but before she could say a word the little fast baby threw up all over his cool SpiderMan pajamas.
I peeled off the clothes and put him back in the tub but Alpha Male is demanding some more chocklit milk. I tried to ignore him which only made the situation worse. Now his list of demands included chocklit milk and a Pop Tart. I begged the fiddle girl to help and she did.
Friday 8:18 PM
Alpha Male keeps making me pull up the AT&T Free Shows On Demand in mommy & daddy's room. It runs a little slow, but I finally get to Nick Jr. and I'm freaking out.
It's just like that scene in Hurt Locker with the hero trying to disable the bomb with all the pressure of the people around. The little fast baby walks in and runs smack into the dresser like he's trying to start a jihad. Then he goes in the bathroom, locks the door and starts eating towels. HOW DOES A LITTLE BABY KNOW HOW TO LOCK A DOOR AND WHY DOES HE WANT TO EAT A TOWEL AND I FINALLY HAVE YO GABBA GABBA UP SO WHICH EPISODE DO YOU WANT TO WATCH ALPHA MALE?
"What do we have?" Alpha Male says.
"What do you mean what do we have?" I say.
"What do we have?" he says calmly as he lays back on the bed with his arms on his head.
The fiddle girl comes in and whispers in my ear. "He wants you to list all the episodes available".
"Really?" I say, incredulously. "Yes" she says. So I swallow my pride and read the list.
"Huh?" he grunts.
Gritting my teeth I repeat the episode list again.
"Band, Dance, Fun, Treasure Hunt?" he says, toying with me. I turn on Dance and he's fine, but demands more choklit milk only a few minutes in.
While I'm in the kitchen I see the little fast baby go to the fridge and grab a red onion. He looks at me, then looks at the set of knives on the counter.
Baby looks at me, looks at the knives.
Looks at me. Looks at knives. Looks at the onion.
Looks at me. Looks at knives. Looks at the onion.
The baby coyly looks at me then looks at his sippy cup. Then looks at knives.
"Do?" he says showing me the onion. "Ma?" he asks, pointing at the knives.
Man this kid is good.
But I listen to the better angels of my nature and grab the onion (under significant protest) from the little fast baby rather than allowing the experiment to continue. If a little baby could dice an onion it would be so awesome on YouTube but I didn't want to take the chance.
I finally get the little fast baby calmed down and to sleep by feeding him some mashed potatoes and more milk (geez these people need some cows) and lay him gently in his crib. He immediately pops to his feet and slaps me across the face with a yell but quickly settles back down and curls up in the corner of the crib.
Friday 11:21 PM
The fiddle girl has finished all her homework and cleaned the house and washed the dishes and gotten lunches ready for the next month and finally goes to bed. Before she turns in though she tells me the Alpha Male sleeps in mommy & daddy's bed so be careful.
"How bad can it be?" I ask myself, plus it's a king sized bed and I have to have my comfort, so why not?
Saturday 3:03 AM
I'm on no sleep.
I've been in the wild and I know 3 am is the absolute worst time. 3 am is the time of day that even the most seasoned survivalists are vulnerable, and I've never lived through anything like this. I'm trying to power through but Alpha Male grinds his teeth on a loop. It sounds like somebody is mixing concrete in this bed and it never stops. Then he randomly tells a joke about going to Disney Land or something and I think I might be losing my mind. Is he toying with me? Why is he spinning right now? I dozed off once but he woke me up to tell me it's night time. I think I might cry.
Saturday 3:49 AM
I'm curled up on the very edge of the bed with no covers but I can't get away from Alpha Male. It seems that he prefers to sharpen his toe claws on my back, continuously. I move his legs but it's no use. He's back in seconds, sharpening his toe claws and will even throw in a vindictive kick to the neck on occasion if I question his motives. I fell asleep for a few minutes but was startled awake by him sitting on my head and singing "I'm gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollas in mah pocket."
And as if that humiliation isn't enough, I have to get him more choklit milk. Twice.
Saturday 4:04 AM
I've been forced to build a fort in the corner of the room and start a small fire. My clothes are soaked because Alpha Male didn't make it to the bathroom in time and peed all over me and the bed. He's sound asleep but I'm freezing. The fire is a life saver.
Saturday 5:57 AM
Alpha Male seems to be content with the entire bed to himself. As I begin to doze off in my fort I hear the little fast baby.
He's not crying, he's just belting a consistent "DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA" and shaking his cage. I stumble to his room, change his diaper, and carry him back to the Alpha Male den. On the way, I'm so damn tempted to let him try the onion trick but instead I just get him more milk. He promptly pours it all over me and the fire place. He tricked me.
Saturday 5:58 AM
ALL THE KIDS ARE UP NOW AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THEY DIDN'T EVEN SLEEP AND THE GIRL IS PLAYING THE FIDDLE ALREADY WITHOUT ANY PREP TIME AND SHE WANTS ME TO SIGN SOME COURSE CARDS AND WANTS TO KNOW IF SHE CAN MAKE A DENVER OMELETTE IF WE HAVE THE INGREDIENTS BUT IF WE DON'T CAN I GO GET THEM AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT'S IN A DENVER OMELETTE?
ALPHA MALE WANTS MORE CHOKLIT MILK OF COURSE BUT BY NOW I'M LIKE REALLY? HOW MUCH CHOCKLIT MILK CAN YOU DRINK AND NOW HE WANTS TO WATCH HIS SHOWS SO I HAVE TO DO THAT WHOLE SONG AND DANCE AGAIN WITH THE ON DEMAND AND TEAM UMIZUMI AND THE LITTLE FAST ONE IS OPENING THE GARAGE DOOR AND TRYING TO SWEEP WITH A BIG BROOM AND I MEAN HOW MANY LITTLE BABIES WANT TO GO OUT IN THE GARAGE ALL THE TIME ESPECIALLY WHEN IT'S NOT EVEN 6 AM TO SWEEP?
ALPHA MALE IS SHOUTING "IT'S WAKE UP TIME!" AND I'M JUST SMH SMH SMH SMH AND START CRYING. I'M REALLY CRYING NOW. I'M REALLY CRYING.
I HAVEN'T CRIED FOR 20 YEARS BUT THESE KIDS BROKE ME. I'VE BEEN ALL OVER THE WORLD EATING SNAKES AND SCORPIONS AND JUMPING OFF MOUNTAINS BUT THESE KIDS BROKE ME.
I called the dude that tweeted me and told him he had to come home. I'm sorry you're wife bought a coffin and then decorated it real nicely to try and subtly keep you in line, but you've gotta deal with it.
I've got wild survivor shows to film and I'm ready to eat some live alligators and get some damn sleep in the jungle.