The local organization of mothers of twins holds a quarterly flea market where one may score some used paraphernalia for multiples. The typical menu sees pre-owned objects ranging from strollers to toddler swimsuits to slightly gnawed books to brightly colored plastic blinker-and-beeper toys, harboring either loads of germs or loads of fun–it’s really your attitude that determines which.

This past Saturday saw another one of these bargain blowouts, kicking off at 7AM. As the kids have accustomed us to early weekend wake ups, a 630AM roll out of bed and down to road did not greatly contribute to feelings of self-pity. So, the kids went in their car seats, the dog in the downstairs bathroom, and I in new underwear–and off we went.

Prepping the kids and pets caused us to arrive at the church gym a solid 45 minutes following the opening bell. By then the room was already swarming with a crowd of recent mothers accompanied by recent grandmothers. Sidestepping them was a small dose of men, some shamelessly strutting about with infants strapped to their chests (that was me), and some peevishly glancing about for the exit (also me).

The card-carrying mothers enjoy the benefits of membership by being allowed into the room ahead of the unclean masses forming outside, who wait until 8AM before joining the frenzy. Fifteen minutes into our spree, the patient multitudes waiting outside were ushered in. That’s when the morning really took off. The room swelled from a density of one mother per square yard to that of a futures trading floor, and the accompanying din began to rub off some of the morning’s pleasant charm. After ten minutes of this I positioned myself near the exit, out of harm’s way, and suggestively started to rustle the cash in my pocket until my wife took pity and decided that the allure of not being jostled outweighed that of discounted socks.  

We came home with two armfuls of stuff and without 38 bucks. Though mostly books, our bounty did include a tightly-stuffed, oversized pea green frog sporting red overalls (ill-suited for its swampy habitat, one would think). Tad, as it calls itself, announces various colors and shapes when one presses a corresponding button on his amphibial abdomen. So far the twins think little of Tad. I’m with them on this one, and promised to make their next swap meet experience worth their time.