Long ago, Ellen decided that "we will be having a family".
"We?" I asked.
"WE! will be having a family."
"Umm... do I get a vote in this decision?"
"WE. WILL. BE. HAVING. A. FAMILY. We have purchased a home, which you agreed to. Therefore, we shall be having a family."
"Hey, waitaminute, nobody said anything to me about voting for a family at the same time as voting for more space to put sh*t in."
"LIAR! You agreed to a baby as soon as we got a house!"
"It wasn't me! I swear! I DID NOT HAVE SEX WITH THAT WOMAN!!!"
"Psha! You did so, I was there!"
That was the mandate. Me, I know my family history. Depending on who you ask, it took my parents at least three years, maybe more, to have me. It only took them eleven months more to have my brother. Likewise, it took Ellen's family awhile before they had their first child (Richie, Ellen's brother), but only took nine months for Richie's sister, my dearly beloved, to be conceived.
Yup, I had it all figgerd out. I would get to spend the next year, maybe even three, being the princess in the tower. I, being the magic holder of the semen, would be the one to be pursued by the "blingedy-bling-bling" noise of the biological clock. Free sex! For years. WOOHOO! Not a problem.
So what if she went all opera on my ass, throwing the pill case into the trash whilst singing an aria in C minor (if you're married to an Italian, this makes total sense). I was the smart one. BLOW JOBS FOR ALL! (Well, blow jobs for me you weirdo). It was only after we had the first kid that I would need to start being careful, start paying attention to calendars, and "having a headache" at the first of the months. But our first try? Our first try would just be gravy.
Then Ellen started getting sick at work.
Not dramatic "gee I didn't know I was wearing grey shoes today" while leaning over the toilet sick. Rather, just sudden "whoop-dee-do's" with the blood sugar levels. Sure, it was a little weird, being called up at eleven thirty in the morning by a panicked wife asking me to "BRING ME LUNCH. NOW!" (I'm sure her head spun around, but that was on the phone, and anyway, I'm used to that), but really, I didn't think much of it.
And then she says to me, with an impish grin and a tone of triumph, "I'm four days late!"
No way. Not this homey. I got lazy sperms (just like me, sez my wife). They sit in their lounge chairs on the beach drinking margaritas and whooping at the eggs in the string bikinis, but not actually doing anything about it. This is Ellen just being weird about kids. Again.
So I sez, being very cavalier, "why don't you just get it over with, and do the pregnancy test thing?"
Swear to god, it was like punching in numbers into the largest computer in the universe. You know, the one that spits out "42" when you ask "What, Deep Thought, is The Meaning of Life?" She went all quiet on me. A very, very bad sign.
See, I shoulda been suspicious when she said "lets get a pizza tonight!" Stupid me, I forgot the pizza place is right next door to the drug store. So I'm sitting there in the parking lot, in growing terror, as she pops out in front of the frikken drugstore.
"Why are you getting out here?" I ask.
"Why do you think, you f*cking moron?!?" (again, men married to Italian women will completely understand)
"Oh." This "oh" was said in the tone of one who has just been told to stand up and face the jury. Only, unlike OJ, I didn't have a gazillion dollars worth of lawyers to get me off. As she walked into the drugstore, I imagined a French foreign legionnaire walking up to me, handing me a cigarette, and asking "do you have any last requests?"
This part of the story is best told by The Empress:
"After we got home, all I did was open the box (we got the triple pack, because, you know, this just never happens) and read the instructions. Three times. Which consisted of, essentially:
Two windows, preggers, one, not. It was two immediately. While I was waiting (not too goddamn long mind you) it reminded me of running a heartworm or feline leukemia test at work. When you become obsessive looking for a result. Because with those kinds of tests, it usually takes a few minutes to come up negative. Just like a bad ringworm infection, this bad boy went positive immediately.
sssSSCCOOOTTTTTT!!!! I NEED YOU TO COME LOOK AT SOMETHING FOR ME. NOW."
Only at the last minute, beyond all hope of rescue, do my caveman instincts kick in. "NO! Not gonna!" See, if I don't look at it, it's not real.
"GODDAMIT," she says in that 'your empress is offended and it Will Not Go Easily For You If You Continue To Ignore Us' tone, "GET UP HERE!"
So I trudge up the stairs, feeling strangely sympathetic to Louis the XVI and Ms. Antoinette. I could almost see the scaffold above me.
"Look at this!" she says. "Is this positive?!?"
See, I've read about these things. Goddamned things are frikken infallible. If it says positive, it's positive. No ifs, ands or buts.