When it Comes to Brothers, I Sure Lucked Out

Did you know today is National Siblings Day? A mere week after my little brother’s 32nd birthday (it’s currently the very brief two months in which we’re the same age). I may have weird sister drama, but whatever; it doesn’t even matter because I have the best brother on the planet. Seriously. There are SO many reasons I adore my brother. We even have matching tattoos, you guys.

Irish Twin Tattoos

The Irish Claddagh symbolizes friendship, loyalty, and love. Cupla is a Gaelic word used for twins.

My brother, whose name is also Brian (we’ll call him Woj to minimize confusion with my future husband), builds palaces for his pets – his “fur” babies. I use “” because one of them is a hedgehog. Honestly, I don’t know if Biscuit actually qualifies as a fur baby.

Woj and I have shared thousands of tiny and huge moments from wreaking havok on our home turf to tearing it up in New Orleans. He’s been my partner in crime for more than three decades – we even had to sneak INTO our house together in high school. My favorite karaoke buddy, my twin, my friend. And hell if he doesn’t know me better than I know myself, sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times he’s said to me, “Chris, you should watch/try/play/eat/drink/make this.” Ten years ago, I’d have looked at him as if he was insane. In fact, I did. On several occasions. I took the long way around, but as it turns out, he was right the whole time. (Don’t tell him I told you that.)

Things my brother told me to try that eventually made me a better nerd

  • Harry Potter (I can’t even believe I’m admitting this)
  • Firefly (I waited years to actually try it. And really it was on the insistence of my boyfriend that I watch it. And oh man was I hooked)
  • Gamer games (and now I’m WAY more obsessed than he is)
  • GenCon (yeah, he was going to them long before I became an addict)
  • Netflix (yes, you guys. My beloved one and only Netflix, without which I might not be obsessed with Gilmore Girls, New Girl, or The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
  • X-Men (I remember a time in my life I thought my brother was crazy for loving Wolverine so hard. And then Marvel introduced me to Hugh Jackman)

Recently, Brian asked me, “What else did your brother tell you you’d love and you didn’t listen to him about?”

Me: World of War Craft

Brian: Don’t do that. You’ll get addicted.

Me: YuGiOh

Brian: …

Me: Magic the Gathering. But I know I’d like that.

Brian: Yeah, but those are both collectible card games, you have a problem with collecting things. So, uh…try to stay away from those.

We’ll see, Brian. We’ll see.

What awesome things in your life can you thank a sibling (or a bestie, if you have no sibling — or if you have sibling drama) for? 

This post is brought to you by my favorite media streaming company, Netflix (Thanks for the intro, Woj!). As a member of the Stream Team, I received a complimentary year of streaming and a device on which to binge watch shows like Firefly and Kimmy Schmidt (who returns this week!). As always, these opinions are my own, and I would totally still have Netflix even if they weren’t so darn good to me. 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

My Brother’s Menagerie: In Which my Little Brother Flexes his Creative Muscles (and Something About Pets that aren’t Dogs or Cats)

My brother is a crafty, creative genius. Long before Etsy was a thing, my brother was hand-making jewelry, whipping up delicious creations in the kitchen and helping me build the most elaborate indoor forts known to man.

Most recently, he’s been found hand-making hamster cages.

Hamstervision: Homemade Hamster Cages and Other Pet Palaces

My hamster spent his entire life trying to create his own condo in my dresser. My brother turned an old television into a hamster apartment so his didn’t have to. He called it “Hamstervision.”

We grew up with hamsters. We started with a gerbil named Axel Rose, followed by a hamster named Jon Bon Jovi. The string of hamsters in our lives ended with my little furry lover, Romeo, who ironically ended his own life by trying to escape his cage, Houdini-style.

My brother’s menagerie was always a little more exotic than mine, though.

  • The chameleon that I may have terrified into losing it’s tail… (Seriously, this was the most horrifying thing on the planet. My brother told me to hold the damn thing by its tail…so I did…and the next thing I knew, I was holding a tail…but no chameleon).
  • The sickly turtle that couldn’t get used to living in a terrarium, even under a heat lamp. It was part rescue mission/part lost cause.
  • The hamster that we mated with our cousin Rachel’s hamster…who proceeded to eat all of the babies (Rachel’s hamster, not my brother’s hamster…or Rachel.)
  • The cannibalistic snail that ate my snail…and my replacement snail – jerk.
  • The pair of hermit crabs that lived in various seashells in the short time we had them.
  • The spunky dalmatian that was born in a thunderstorm and captured all of our hearts (including the old-man dog and old-man cat that dominated our household zoo).
  • The frogs that I apparently have zero recollection of whatsoever (but my brother assures me that they existed).

You can see, he’s always been quite the animal lover. Me?

Okay, fine. I loved animals too.

I haven’t had my own pet since Sammy Fish (my finned college bestie, who hated car-travel but had to suck it up at least four times a year). And according to Brian, I won’t have one for quite some time. Sad face Although we have discussed our very own exotic menagerie…and maybe a bunny named Bunnicula.

My brother, on the other hand, has had a string of delightful pets, including several hamsters and my newest little furry nephew, Biscuit the Hedgehog.

Biscuit the Hedgehog

Biscuit the Hedgehog – My spiky nephew currently lives in a cage built out of storage cubes

Whenever my brother gets a new pet, he feels the need to really create a home for it. But those store-bought cages just don’t do it for him. So he BUILDS HIS OWN PET PALACES. He builds cool toys for them to play with. He basically does some crazy juju magic to create these genius inspired homes for his fur babies. I absolutely adore him.

homemade hamster cages

Roxxi the Hamster lives in this china-cabinet-turned-hamster-palace. Note the details…like the cork cabin and the cork bridge.

So there you have it, my friends.

My brother is a creative genius and has the coolest pets around. With the coolest pet palaces around.

Would you build unique homes for your pets? Do you have any cool pets? Do you have any ridiculously crazy pet stories? Am I the only person in the world who de-tailed a chameleon?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Wonder Twin Powers Activate!

My brother and I are Irish twins. This means that our parents were super busy getting busy. And 10 months and 2 days after the birth of their first daughter, their only son joined the world. Bow chicka bow wow.

Reasons My Brother is Cooler Than Your Brother

My brother is awesome

No Mom, we aren’t ACTUALLY smoking cigars… (Yes, we are)

  • Even though I jumped on his head when he was a baby, he’s still really fucking smart. He reads voraciously, and plays strategy games, and is pretty much awesome.
  • He’s one of my favorite drinking buddies. Right up there with my dad. I’ll never forget, when I turned 21, he would always be at home waiting for us to bring the after party. 10 months later, he started bringing the after party, himself.
I have an awesome brother and sister

He’s a secret softie, you know…

  • Even though he wants me to use a crazy fucking amount of profanity when I talk about him, deep down, he’s totally got a sweet heart. (Go read that. It’s really cute.)
  • In high school, my brother was a participant in most of our shenanigans (including packing a huge crowd into Melba Toast and sneaking back into the house coming home from ‘da club).
  • We have matching tattoos. We got crazy drunk one St. Patrick’s Day and decided that we were going to do it. And several months later, sober, we still thought it was a great idea. And we did it. Whenever we show off our tats, one of us will say, “wonder twin powers, activate!”
Irish Twin Tattoos

The Irish Claddagh symbolizes friendship, loyalty, and love. Cupla is Gaelic for twins.

  • He’s a total fashion whore. Whenever I need a new outfit, I take him shopping. Because he’s honest. And tells me when I look awesome and when I look stupid. And sometimes I don’t really care either way.
My brother is a fashion whore.

He put together that entire birthday outfit. At the mall. He pulled the shirt, the jacket, and the belt from different racks and said, “Go put this on. Don’t fucking argue. Just do it.”

Gratuitous Irish Twin Photos

November 2007 032

Awesome Brother

Hangover

The twins that party together get hungover together

NOLA

For my birthday, I told him, “I don’t want a gift. I want you to come to NOLA with me.” And he did.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Brotherly Love

My brother is an undercover softie. He has been that way as long as I can remember. Well, maybe he didn’t used to be quite so “undercover.” Life made him tough.  From Cryin’ Brian, to Wojo, to Woj, my brother morphed from a little boy into the coolest bad ass I know. Regardless, it’s almost always been evident that as much as we drive each other crazy, he truly loves me. Of course, I love him just as much.

My Brother and I in 2006. Living the dream.

My Brother and I in 2006. Living the dream.

I’ll never forget staying home sick one summer day. I couldn’t have been more than 9. Mom and Dad were both at work, and I felt awful. I’m not sure what I was sick with, whether it was just a summer cold or some other bug, but my baby brother (a whole 10 months and 2 days younger than me) took it upon himself to take care of me.  This in itself was incredibly unusual for us, as we had always been quite the bickering set of Irish twins, particularly when our parents weren’t home.

Typically, with the parents not being home, I would try to dominate the house, as any good older sibling should. We would fight over who got to watch which TV, who got to control the remote, who had to let the dog out, and who had to let the dog in. Sometimes, I kind of thought I was the parent in the house when there was no parent around. It drove my mother crazy…It probably still does.

Obviously, my brother didn’t adhere well to that school of thought. His thought process: No parents home? No one is in charge. Except that he had a sister who was 10 months and 2 days older than him who had always been a little (a lot) bossy. So we would fight, bicker, and call our parents up at Flaherty’s begging for what either of us wanted.

Mom would answer the phone. We would whine. She would turn on her angry voice (quietly, so the bar patrons didn’t hear her), and say, “I. Am. At. Work. Stop. Fighting. Now. I. Shouldn’t. Have. To. Deal. With. This.” 10 minutes later, Dad would call and beg us to just kiss and make up and to stop bothering Mom while she was tending bar. It didn’t really help things at all.

Looking back, the 4 whole hours she was gone for the afternoon bartending shift shouldn’t have really been a big deal. But to us, it seemed like forever.

But this time, it wasn’t the same. We didn’t fight at all. I was pretty sick, so no bossing. I suppose that means I’m the reason for most of the fights. I’ll take the rap for that.

So, that morning, I was snuggled up in our parents’ king size bed watching soaps (most likely All My Children), and I had asked my brother to bring me “toast or something” because I thought I could use something to eat.  A half hour later, I was shocked to discover a platter of goodies to consume. Toast, soup, crackers, fruit, cheese, and a few other little extras to make me smile.

It was the best meal in bed that I’ve ever had. Throughout the rest of my childhood, I often tried to recreate my brother’s little snacky lunch set up, but it was never quite the same.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!