Category Archives: Did I ever tell you about


Why we can never go back to Menards

Yep, I know what’s happening in Missouri and Ohio. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter then you’ve probably seen my posts.

But, I need a break from thinking about those issues! So, I thought we’d take a walk down memory lane. I am hoping to start a little series entitled “Did I ever tell you about. . .” because our twin stories are legendary with those who know us. While I like to keep this blog mainly about transgender issues, I’m also trying to show you that we’re just a family like everyone else. I’m not sure that this is the story that shows that off the best, but here goes. . .

I had just gotten off a grueling day shift at the hospital and picked the kids up from the babysitter’s house. Fighting traffic during rush hour, we made our way to a home improvement store. They were young; probably around three.

It was blustery that day, as is typical if you live in Minnesota. It seemed like nine out of twelve months could be described as cold. As we trudged through the gray slush, I distinctly remember asking the kids if they had to go to the bathroom.

If you’re the parent of a young child, you know that it’s best to ask frequently if your kids need to use the bathroom. Before you leave the house, before bed, before the movie starts, during commercials, as soon as you get to the restaurant, before you leave the restaurant. Mini humans are like water sieves at that point in their lives. Water goes in, water comes out. Almost immediately.

So, as was normally the practice, I asked my two bundles of snow pants and winter coats if they had to pee. When they bobbed their little heads in the negative, we proceeded into the store.

After browsing through paint swatches, gardening supplies, and new appliances (because why not?), we rode the free amusement ride (otherwise known as the moving ramp) up to the second floor. One tiny hand was firmly grasped in each of mine as we rode that glorious-ramp-of-joy to my favorite part of the store.

We were living in a beautiful turn-of-the-century craftsman style home that was equal parts charming and inconvenient. The home improvement store was a frequent stop in our never-ending battle to add function to our home. While I don’t remember what drew me to the store on that particular day, it was always a habit to walk through the bathroom models and dream about the possibilities.

The kids were right behind me. I mean, right there. As I stood there gazing, mouth agape, at the most beautiful tile flooring ever, I heard snickering behind me. It didn’t register at first because, seriously, the tile flooring. But, I glanced up, annoyed that someone would break my reverie of bathroom remodeling bliss.

I saw an adult, no make that three adults, clearly all patrons of the store, staring with amusement in one direction.  As I turned my head to follow their gaze, I realized that my innocent little angels were no longer right beside me. It was then that I saw them.

Two little butts.

Two little naked butts with coordinating frontal anatomy were both poised and ready to launch a urinary assault on a pristine alabaster display toilet. I shrieked and bolted for those little butts, but I knew I wasn’t going to make it in time.

I had looked at too many items in the store. The wallpaper that I was never going to buy, the carpet swatches I wasn’t even interested in. Their bladders were only able to hold a shot glass worth of liquids before imminent evacuation was necessary. That point was probably reached well before I’d even ascended to the bathroom nirvana that was about to be destroyed by twin golden arches.

Imagine, if you will, a slow motion scene of me, hair trailing behind my frantic and horrified face, arms outstretched in desperation, shouting, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO,” in a futile attempt to staunch what nature had told my children was right and natural.

In their minds, a toilet was for two things: number one and number two. They had to pee, their mother was clearly helping them by bringing them to the fanciest toilet they’d ever observed in the whole of their three years of life, and so, pee they would.

It was, in that moment of harpy-like shrieking, that their startled faces glanced up to observe the face of their mother coming at them like a freight train.

People, it was enough. It was ENOUGH!

I got there in the nick of time; no golden bullets having yet been released. I pulled their pants up, and we RAN, I mean RAN to the bathroom. One kid was tucked under each arm like I was an NFL running back about to score the winning touchdown. People were dodging to get out of my way, a shriveled old bird tsk’d at me with a look of disapproval on her pursed coral lips, I think there was a tuck and roll at one point, and possibly an end cap made the casualty list. I burst through the doors of the bathroom hoping that I wasn’t about to take out an innocent bystander on the other side. It was in my way and nothing was stopping me.

I got to the bathroom and threw them into a stall. Pants were pulled down and bladders released. I was a hot mess of sweat and running eyeliner but at least I was able to leave that store with the knowledge that my children’s urine was safely deposited in the appropriate receptacle.

That evening we had a serious discussion about why the display toilets at Menards are only for show. And, Mike and I had a really long laugh over beers (okay, it was probably whiskey).

That story happened easily six or seven years ago and remains a family favorite. The kids, who’ve heard this story dozens of times, continue to laugh hysterically each time they hear it. They ask for the story every few weeks, and it seemed high time to share it with you, our dear readers.