Some people have an evil twin. I have a stupid twin.

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(Even I am frightened by that second picture, but I must be more lazy than proud because I don’t want to delete it and upload another one.  The shame serves me right.)

I didn’t know I had a stupid twin until I became a mother.  Then my brains fell out.  This phenomenon began with my very first pregnancy, like the time I decided to go on a walk around the neighborhood and realized as I sat on the step outside my door lacing up my shoes that I forgot my pants.  And that’s not even the worst of DIPS (Dumbness Induced by Pregnancy Syndrome), but I’ll save those great stories for a day when I don’t have any good blog fodder.  Lucky for you, I’ve been stupid enough lately that I’m in no shortage of current fodder.  Anyway, my brains fell out almost 7 years ago.  After 3 births, the remaining brain residue functions as well as it can but is subject to shriveling, exploding, turning to mush and other unfortunate and value-diminishing episodes— also ongoing symptoms of  motherhood.

So my stupid twin does dumb stuff.  I mean really dumb stuff.  And I just shake my head at her and wonder how we could possibly be related.  This past weekend my family went camping.  We love to camp, but it is so much work (unless your name is not “Mom” because then it’s mostly just about playing and getting fed).  Well, despite my hours of planning and stressing about the upcoming “vacation,” I managed to forget pillows, my children’s pajamas, a can opener, a jacket for myself (even though the trip included a tour of a cave that averages 48 degrees), and –sweet mercy– DVDs for the trip down and back.  By the way, I am not pregnant; just wanted to clear that up.  Simply dumb with no pregnancy to blame.  We managed to muddle through all my oversights and things were fine.  We even had lots of fun.  We collected all our dirty laundry, dirty dishes, and anything else the raccoons didn’t drag off and headed for home.

The “natural man” in me wants to dump off everything in my entry way and then not look at it again for a few weeks, but I was all industrious and put things right away, and started the dishwasher and started the laundry and even made a hot dinner.  I was too tired to even shower, but after three days, does it really even matter any more?  So I slept like a log (yes, a dirty log), then got up this morning and began the real-life routine.  This brought me face-to-face again with my stupid twin.

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The tab/sticker on my license plate says my registration expires in June 2009.  Well, I never got any renewal stuff in the mail, so I emailed the DMV about it, and they kindly explained to me that I never paid my registration last year so would I please tell them what tabs I stuck on my license plate.  After several moments of dumbfounded confusion, things became clear and I realized that after we sold our other car last year, the renewal stuff must have come in the mail and I didn’t pay attention, so I just stuck it on my van.  But it wasn’t for my van.  So I registered a car I no longer owned and failed to register the one I did own.  In their polite email way, they told me I need to go to the DMV and take care of my little problem.

So this morning, I got ready to go to the DMV and loaded all the kids in the car.  Then I realized I’d probably need my drivers license and spent a few minutes looking for it.  By a few, I mean about twenty.  My kids were sweating in the car and begging for snacks and water.  I looked in my camping luggage and in all the other places it might be.  I made my regular daily call to Matt asking if he knows where I left something.  No luck.  I started thinking maybe it was stolen from our car or trailer on the trip because I’m pretty sure I took it.  I got online to check my account and make sure that there were not suspicious purchases.  When I saw that the last purchase was made at Wendy’s on Friday afternoon, a lightbulb went off.  Actually it was more like a loud annoying alarm with a painful mallet.  In about 20 seconds, the following “vision” went through my mind:

  • Stopped at Wendy’s on way to State Park.
  • Trailer too big for drive-thru.  I went inside while Matt waited with kids in van.
  • Carried my wallet.
  • Made large purchase for five people and received my to-go order in a large bag, a small bag and a drink tray.
  • Needed both hands to carry bags; put wallet in large Wendy’s bag.
  • Returned to car.  Bombarded by hungry, needy people and played waitress for 25 minutes.
  • Went on carelessly with my life.
  • Arrived at State Park.  Matt removed trash from car and left it in the dumpster at the Ranger Station.

The vision ended with a blur of my credit cards, insurance cards, season passes, library cards and much much more swirling in a vortex of dumpster filth and an image of raccoons currently on a spending spree at PetSmart or Trader Joes.

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So I spent most of this morning making phone calls and hearing helpful customer service agents say things like “I’ve heard a lot of good stories, but never this one before.”  As if people don’t throw away their wallets in State Park dumpsters in fast food bags all the time.  Yeah, right.  Then I loaded the kids up in the van again, this time without snacks and water, and went to the DMV.  I knew this would be my stupid twin’s moment of glory:  back-paying my missed registration while explaining that I also threw away my drivers license.  I took a number, sat down with my children, and entertained them with pamphlets about fishing and getting a motorcycle license.  Finally my number was called.  I proudly marched up to the counter and started my conversation:

“First of all, I am an idiot….”

I wish I had an evil twin.  I would totally make her beat the living daylights out of my stupid twin.