Posts Tagged ‘the triplets’

Chain, chain, chain…chain of fools

Friday, August 13th, 2010

By Tiber

Someone at my brother’s triplets’ school made the mistake of showing them how you can fold paper and then cut it to create a chain of children attached to each other.

The triplets decided to recreate one of these chains in real life and using two sets, they handcuffed themselves to each other.

I don’t know where in the house they actually found the handcuffs and since my parents have been hosting a group of good friends for the week, no, I’m not going to ask.

The kids had festooned themselves like a garland over a mantelpiece but they didn’t get quite the impressed reaction they’d wanted when my mother came in, saw them, gasped in horror and cried out for Dad.

My father came hurrying in, took one look at his handcuffed grandchildren and then rushed over to give my mother a big hug.

“Oh, Gwen! Well done! Cuffing them! What a great idea! They’ll be so much easier to keep track of!”

My gentle and elegant mother then hit him with the piece of stationery she was holding. What was she going for? A paper cut? But it showed just how annoyed with him she was.

Dad finally got it that the kids had done this to themselves and he helped them down. He had to call the fire department, though, to get the handcuffs off. And even they had to use industrial-strength metal cutters because the cuffs were made of hardened steel.

Quite a crowd of family members, guests and staff had gathered by this time to watch. It would have gone a lot faster if somebody had just offered up the keys but when asked if anybody had them, a truly mind-boggling number of eyes suddenly started staring casually up at the ceiling.

Evidently, just one night around here could have supplied Houdini for a lifetime.

Our great-grandshark, on our father’s side

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

By Tiber 

My nephew, Bo, lost a tooth. Here‘s the unsettling part.  It looks just like a shark tooth. He couldn’t have switched it because his mother was right there looking in his mouth when it came out.

This brings up all kinds of disturbing family thoughts, though why I’m still surprised by disturbing family thoughts, I don’t know. Duncan used to torment me with the idea that because our ancestors had made the family fortune in whalebone corsets, that, one day, whales were going to come and get me. Instead, it looks as if a shark may have really gotten, say, a great-grandmother.

Bo’s been to the dentist. How could Dr. Freeman not have noticed a shark tooth? Or did he see it and just decide to “back away slowly?” When we were kids, that literally used to happen to us all the time. Mom would say it was because we all looked like kings and queens and it was traditional to back away from a royal presence.

Once we got to know each other, of course, we realized that other people “backing away slowly” from us had much less to do with deference and a whole lot more to do with protecting their sanity or even their private parts.

In any event, nobody wanted to frighten Bo, (evidently some people still think this is possible) so his parents just carried on as if losing what looked like a great white’s chomper was normal.

They said he should go on to bed because they were sure he’d be getting some tooth fairy money in the morning.

Bo headed off and my sister, Vanessa, took one more look at that distinctive long, pointy tooth and said,

“You’re gonna need a bigger dollar.”

This fire hydrant followed us home. Can we keep it?

Monday, June 7th, 2010

By Tiber 

Ah, yes, my brother’s triplets, Lauren, Shirley and Bo. And yes, again, Duncan does now realize he accidentally named them to sound like The Three Stooges – a group that’s funny on the screen but maybe not the greatest role models for demonic spawn adorable scamps in your own family.

The causes for children’s behavior can be complex but put simply, our triplets are like dogs. You’re thinking I mean in that cuddly, faithful, unconditional love sort of way. No. I mean in the pack-running, scavenger-hunting, baying at the moon sort of way.

Regarding the scavenging part, the triplets, though only 10, are already past masters at this. They have a preternatural ability to sneak out and steal things, which they then bring back and bury in the yard.

My father loves his grandchildren but even he is beginning to realize that like boiling pots, scorpions or Hollywood divas, they really do have to be watched all the time.

And when he saw them burrowing in with something behind the tennis court, he decided he ought to investigate. Other kids might just be playing superheroes. Ours were burying a fire hydrant. I’m no lawyer but I’m pretty sure that being in possession of one will at some point bring up the word “illegal.”

Not wanting to pay replacement costs, my father drove the kids back to find the location of the theft.

The triplets couldn’t “remember” it but Dad kept thinking the column of water exploding from  the ground would pretty much give it away. It turns out, though, that there’s an underground cut-off valve, just in case a hydrant is hit. You didn’t know that, did you? I wouldn’t either if it weren’t for being related to such larcenous aberrations interesting characters.

Finally, Dad had to go to the police station and hand over the hydrant. He fully expected a jail term but here’s where his grandchildren did come in handy. When told that these particular children had “liberated” the hydrant, the officers took one look at them and quivered uncontrollably at the sight of concentrated evil smiled indulgently at the beloved munchkins and backed slowly out of the room sent them on their way.



The Maypole Dance…Triplets running amok

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

By Tiber

We’re finally getting past a hard winter here and the flowers and the topiaries are looking great. Of course, that’s Nestor the gardener’s handiwork because in spite of the money shortage, Dad hasn’t let him go. I think Mrs. Brunty’s idea has worked. As I wrote about in January 2010 in “Is that Plant Staring at Me?,”  she told Nestor to trim one of the topiaries to look like Dad’s face. Dad still hasn’t caught on that he‘s looking at himself. He’s just decided that Nestor is a genius, who has created one of the most beautiful things on the property.

Anyway, I knew spring was definitely here, when I surveyed the view from the third-floor balcony. There was brilliant blue sky. There were green plants in bloom. There was a mummy on a stick. There were birds in the-wait. Go back.


There was a mummy on a stick?!? What the hell was that? We hadn’t had a mummy on a stick in the yard before. And I didn’t think we’d been planning on getting one.

Then I heard a blood-chilling sound. I froze. The sound could only be described as demons, ripping out their fingernails and jamming them into the foreheads. Ah. That meant that the triplets were outside, playing and enjoying themselves. And the triplets in the vicinity meant there was a good chance they had something to do with the mummy.

Suddenly, a living human head tried to thrust itself out of the wrappings on the pole and I realized, that’s no mummy, that’s my sister. I hurried downstairs to help get her out.

I quickly saw what had happened. To herald the arrival of spring, Iris Nell had built a maypole for the kids and taught them how to dance round and round it, pulling on the streamers. Boredom set in quickly, though, and I’m sure it wasn’t hard for the triplets to get my sister to climb up the pole. It’s pretty easy to get her to do anything once you know her.

Example: “Hey, look, Aunt Iris Nell! There’s a bug up there! And I think it‘s in trouble!”

So Iris Nell climbed the pole and the triplets then sped round and round with the streamers until she was helplessly wrapped up like a mummy on a stick.

“How could you let this happen?,” I sighed and she whipped out her defense.

“I called out the second they started! I yelled over and over again, “Mayday, Mayday! Mayday!” but not one person came to my rescue!”

I had to point out to my sister that since it was May Day, this probably had the same effect as needing help on Christmas Day and yelling out “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” Nobody’s going to rescue you. They’re just going to think you’re an idiot who enjoys a holiday a little too much.

It’s the little things that mean a lot

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

By Tiber

As I wrote about in my post “Not in Bruges,” to make a little extra money, Dad rented out a room up here on the third floor of the house to a man from Brussels named Jasper.

He seems like a nice, decent,  kind, quiet and normal sort and I was wondering how long it would be before my family would agree how terrific those qualities were and then shoot them into outer space with a bazooka.

Jasper politely said he wouldn’t be coming down to dinner tonight and when asked why, I thought he panicked because he suddenly blurted out that he’d “…uh…injured my Adam’s Apple…yes, that’s what I did, so I…I really must rest up in my room.”

My first thought was, “who injures their Adam‘s Apple?!? Is that even possible?” But of course, speaking frankly, I’m sure that many people, after spending even an afternoon with us, have tried to strangle themselves and then just made other excuses.

Dad offered to have dinner brought up to Jasper, but he frantically threw up his hands, as if to protect himself and cried out, “Oh, please, dear good and merciful God in Heaven, NO!”

Quickly realizing how that sounded, he tried to courteously cover by adding, “…because, of course,  I wouldn’t want to trouble you.”

I knew then that he was afraid that one of my brother Duncan’s triplets would be dispatched up to his room to deliver the food and he had probably seen them in action during the Easter Egg hunt I wrote about yesterday.

Most children looking for candy, run and toddle and gambol and it’s all pretty cute.

But if Jasper watched the triplets, he saw, first-hand, the ultra-lasers that shot out of their eyes, scorching the earth and anybody else’s nearby hands every time one of them spotted an egg and claimed it as his or her own.

Obviously, I just made that up.

(No, I didn’t please help me).

In any event, Jasper never came down to dinner. Word went around the house that at least he had some food, though. Evidently, he was heard chomping.

You’d think in a place this big, you could at least get a little privacy. But as I’ve said before, it’s also like the home for retired mob informants and the truth is, you can’t even gnaw behind closed doors on a Dorito, without the whole world hearing about it.

Drop the chocolate and back away slowly

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

By Tiber

This year, the Big-Time Bunny Run was held for Duncan and Honor’s 10 year-old triplets. They say they believe in it all but who knows if they’re telling the truth? They’d also swear in a court of law that Great-Grandma Noni is a kangaroo and only wears that apron to cover her pouch.

At least the weather had finally cleared enough to have the hunt outside and my other siblings, Kru, Vanessa, Iris Nell and Erin and I watched it unfold from my third floor balcony.

As stated in my previous post, Dad, since he claims to know the Easter Bunny personally and is one of his top ambassadors, just refers to him as “E.B.” And every year, Dad makes sure to remind any and all kids of “E.B’s Rule #1,” which states that any candy not found by the children on Easter morning automatically goes to the Dad.

Dad, however, never bargained on the triplets. I know that at times we’ve all wanted to bargain something for them but that’s another story.

Anyway, if twins are creepily psychic, triplets are even more so. In our day, we found most of the candy but it was only accomplished with a lot of false starts and crashing into things.

With the triplets, the mental ability is honed and lethal. Today was like watching a grade-school production of “Top Gun.” The three of them could “lock on” to candy stashes in a flash and if they even sensed an adult in the vicinity, potentially slowing them down, they’d bark out, “Bogey on my left! Bogey on my left! Permission to fire! Permission to fire!”

Dad, who’s only allowed to eat candy on holidays, was in a panic. The triplets were finding all of it. The old desperate measures were needed so Dad suddenly yelled out, “What if E.B. threw some candy down the old coal chute?”

The triplets were off to check it out, which, of course, would divert them to the other side of the house.

I had no idea that Mom could move that fast. It was bad enough that Cook had once pushed an assistant down the chute but there was no way Mom was allowing her grandkids near there.

She headed them off and it was just in time for everyone to see Dad grab the last candy stash (that had been hidden in the greenhouse) and take off into the woods with it.

The triplets shrieked and flew off after him. I think we all kind of said our goodbyes to Dad at that point. This had clearly turned into a production of “Lord Of the Flies”…“Lord of the Flies” sponsored by the Hershey Corporation.

And we have lift off

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

By Tiber

With all of the cold weather, my brother’s 10 year-old triplets, Lauren, Shirley and Bo,  have been home far more than usual. And even though my parents’ house has three wings and five floors, it seems as if every time you turn around, here’s a triplet, there’s a triplet, everywhere a triplet, triplet.

It was driving Dad crazy and he told them if they went off and played by themselves, it would give them valuable life skills for the future. Well, that didn’t work so he was forced to sign an I.O.U. for the second he gets more cash.

Later, we all knew somebody was using the little iron-grilled elevator, next to the main stairs, because you could hear that humming sound as the elevator started up. This didn’t really catch anyone’s attention. The sudden metallic grinding and loud clunk that followed, however, did.

The yelling of the triplets was also noticed since they were the ones who had undoubtedly been messing with the elevator and who were now the ones stuck in the elevator.

Their mother wasn’t home at the time but my mother, their grandmother, was frantic to get them out. Dad seemed a little slower to the rescue. The kids were fine for the moment.

And Dad felt strongly that we should wait for an electrician to free them instead of having a family member fool around with the malfunctioning machinery and possibly make things worse.

That was probably true but my mother couldn’t help but catch that dreamy look in Dad’s eyes when he realized that for a short time, at least, he could legally keep the demon threesome locked up in a cage.

The rest of us entertained the triplets while they were stuck in there. Since they were hungry, Kru and I got some bananas from the kitchen and threw them to the kids through the gaps.

Again, my mother was horrified.

“You are so callous!” she railed at us but I knew that wasn’t it. The kids were enjoying the bananas, shrieking and climbing the bars. That’s what was bothering her. She knows better than anyone…our whole family is only one elevator ride away from devolving from our usual and constant nit-picking into literally picking nits.


Bambi’s Booty

Friday, February 5th, 2010


By Tiber

Something amazing was discovered here this week. I thought my brothers and sisters and I had found all of the secret passages in this big, old house. We could never keep one a secret since the urge to leap out of a wall and try to give someone a heart attack was always too great.

But my brother Duncan’s preternaturally focused 10-year-old triplets found another little hidden room. In one of life’s appalling extraordinary coincidences that you can later retell for the rest of your life, my sister-in-law, Honor, asked triplet #3 to “give her a hand” in finding a dropped earring and he literally gave her a hand. Well, part of one, anyway. It was a human finger bone.

Honor, not surprisingly, went berserk. And then, so did everybody else, causing the triplets to forget where they’d found it. Demonstrating the difference with kids today, whereas I might have been calmed down with the promise of cookies, the triplets weren’t themselves again until guaranteed a trip to the surplus store to buy more supplies for the “inevitable upcoming breakdown of civilization.” But at least we found the little hidden room.

And the second Dad marched us in, we saw what was, unmistakably, a small pirate treasure chest. In my old post “Mom’s in the Crow’s Nest,” I wrote about my mother’s completely incongruous love of old pirates. It would be like a Hell’s Angel collecting Strawberry Shortcake dolls. You just don’t expect it.  But Mom, on seeing our own pirate treasure chest, was thrilled – even with the rest of the human hand bones splayed out in front of it, along with a dagger with a skull carved on it. Evidently, someone was a little too attached to the chest so someone else made him a little less attached to his hand.

Actually, we were thankful that the triplets had played with a finger bone and not the dagger. Duncan, of course, claimed that proved an interest in anatomy and that they’ll all end up being doctors. I know the triplets, though, and my guess is, if they really do have an interest in anatomy, they’ll all end up as grave-robbers.

Anyway, thank God it was just a hand, though we’re all wondering privately if the rest of our guy may show up somewhere else.

The big moment arrived and Dad stepped forward, holding his breath, and slowly lifted up the lid to delight his eyes with the solid gold doubloons he knew were within. The chest was filled to the top but with old cloth and sewing articles like needles and thread and buttons and thimbles.

We’ve since found out that these items actually had some value in their day and were worth looting by anyone. But Dad’s furious. He’s convinced that in spite of so many alpha-males like Captain Kidd, Henry Morgan and Blackbeard, his own pirate ancestor was a teenaged girl fashionista.

Hello, Bambi the Buccaneer.