Friday 30 November 2007

Careful Where You Sit

I'm going to take a leaf out of CraigD's book and tell a tale relating to a job interview.

I live in a part of the Netherlands referred to as the randstad, a heavily populated, heavily industrialised region encompassing Amsterdam, Den Haag (the Hague), Rotterdam, Leiden, and Utrecht.
Public transport between these cities is excellent by any standards, and so it is very common to live in one city and work in another.

In February 2006, I accepted an invitation to speak with my current employer on the outskirts of Utrecht.

So I hopped on my bike and off I went, to the central train station in my city and caught the half hour train ride to Utrecht, where I then caught a bus from the train station to the office.
All went reasonably well, and soon enough the time came for me to make the return journey home.

By now it was late in the afternoon, and the bus stop for the trip back to Utrecht station was crowded with students from the local school and workers from the dozens of businesses in the surrounding area.

I climbed aboard, and made my way to the one remaining free seat almost at the back of the bus.
Weary from an intensive interview in a foreign language, I flopped into the seat with the full force of all my weight.

I had not paid attention to the (airplane like, retractable) arm rests in the seat....


With a sinking heart I instantly realised, but yet could not believe, what I had just done.
I had caught the armrest of the seat in the pocket of my trousers as I dropped into the seat, tearing my trousers clean open along the seam of my right leg, from my waist right down to my knee.
It instantly occured to me how mocking laughter and sniggering knows no language boundaries....

I then had to endure the following: a 25 minute bus ride, 30 minute train ride (in first class with the hugo boss brigade, no less), followed by a 15 minute cycle home, with my underwear and (rapidly beginning to bruise) right leg on full display hanging out of my tattered pants.

To this day can not visualise what I must have looked like to the other commuters and passers by, a chubby little Irishman, up on a bike, fully suited and booted in his interview finery, except for the right trouser leg which was flapping in the breeze as he peddaled furiously home with a face blood red from a cocktail of anger and embarrassment.

ET's (my wife) face when I walked through the door, vomiting expletives in every direction, was a sight to behold.

So, careful where you sit, eh?

P.S. Writing this has just flooded my memory with more (,literally dozens of) incidents where I've made a total pillock of myself in front of others. I may just scribble more down sometime.

Thursday 29 November 2007

Dad's Straw Poll

I want some info from you guys, and gals on behalf of your respective guys, if you are interested, I'd be as happy as a pig in... er ... a vegetarian colony.
  • When did YOU decide you were ready to be a Dad, not necessarily when you both decided to go ahead and have kids, but when did you say 'Ok, I'm ready for this' ?
  • Did you decide that you would just stop using (whatever form of) birth control and see how it goes, or did you actively try to conceive?
  • How long did it take? (bear in mind your answer may result in my face exploding)
  • How would you sum up your mindset (mental state for want of a better word) during your period of trying to conceive/throwing caution to the wind ?
I'm really curious, one, to get an idea of the norm for guys, and two, to try and gauge how how far off the obsession richter scale I've leaped.

...and to make it worth your while, the first person to suss out the connection with this entry and the picture here, wins... er... a... free potshot question at me. (hey I'm really cheap ok, get over it)


Well now that my little hissy fit is over, I can pack my aching gonads away for a few days and get on with dull Dutch living.

You may be (or actually probably not) interested and surprised to know that this week, in my thirties, I have taken possession of my first iPod. I had always avoided apple products because that's a rule of life, you must love them or hate them regardless of reasoning.
But anyway, with my iCherry well and truely popped, I'm now busy getting everything up and running smoothly with my 12222 track strong music collection and 4100ish photo collection. So far, to quote Borat, "I like", but iTunes kind of makes my tits itch for some reason I can't put my finger on.

This morning I had my 4th (seriously folks, what's the point) discussion with another consultancy who I believe will make me an offer, but I have my doubts as to whether it will attractive enough to move. We shall see. For the first time ever, I couldn't care less either way, I'm more interested in my iPod.

Most of you who turn up here will already be readers of this I guess but if not, get along to Raising Eli where Dad Bernard gives it to you, snot and all. His self control in not suggesting his wife use toilet paper in lieu of expensive feminine hygiene products is worth anyones respect.

Hhhmmm what else, Oh the weirdest thing... I have a gigantic craving for a cigarette. Oh and I love Canada. Oh and I couldn't find (not that I looked very bloody hard) any pictures to help illustrate this entry, Mp3 players with condoms or some such. So the dodgy teddies being wired up will just have to do you.

Wednesday 28 November 2007


Am I losing the run of myself with this whole 'child' thing?

This afternoon we discovered that this month, yet again, it's not to be.

I'm not a religious person by any means, but over the past months I've found myself clinging to the notion that "someone somewhere" is deciding when the right time would be.

I play this off against my rational side, saying that we have to prepare physically before we'll succeed. Which we have done.

Now, I find myself face to face with the fact that neither channel for my thinking has brought about our desired result, and now, I just don't know which way to turn. I'm lost.

People say that any fool can become a parent, and that it's being a good one that's difficult. I'm under no illusions as to how hard and taxing it would be.
I am literally, ready, willing and able, yet falling at the first hurdle, again, and again, and again.

I just want the chance, thats all.

Monday 26 November 2007

Just How Long...

...was I out of it for?

I arrived home this evening to find our first Christmas card in our postbox....

November 26th.For the first time in over 30 years, I'm speechless.

Sunday 25 November 2007

What do you do if you see a spaceman?

Dudes and Dudettes, I'm totally out of it.
'Why so dear chap?' I hear you and dozens of little forest creatures cry in unison. Well, sit right down and I'll tell you why...

One drawback to all the lovely free bed testing you get to enjoy when trying to get your little lady knocked up, is having to persevere with the intimacy even while she is coughing her lungs up, and spluttering the contents of her brain out due to the hideous headcold that is doing the rounds in these parts, which, incidentally, I'm certain is a strain of birdflu.

As a result the very worst has happened, I've gotten the headcold.

Now as all you ladies will know, a male headcold is infinitely more life threatening than a female headcold, due to our inability to suffer in silence. So in an attempt to fight off the possibilty that I may never be able to walk again, I've been pumped full with dodgy over the counter Dutch cold medicine.
Considering that you can buy cannabis as easily, cheaply, and legally as you can buy say, a snickers bar in this country, you may understand my distrust of something you may need to get a prescription for.

So as I type, I'm hallucinating profusely, having drunk forty-two liters of the dreadfully named 'Hot Coldrex', which I believe was served to me by John Lennon, who, for some inexplicable reason had Bob Hope in his pocket peeling a tangerine.

Reflecting on this situation as a whole, I can't help but wonder (a) Am I the grossest man on the planet married to the grossest woman on the planet because we encourage copulation when one of us is oozing? (b) will her, and now me, having this pigsucking headcold mean that our chances of conceiving are lessened this month now, even after I shelled out silly money to the worst airline on the planet for flights to Ireland for 'quality relaxing time' last weekend? and (c) am I the shallowest man alive for unnecessarily bringing the price of the airfare into the discussion when I'm sure I had your sympathy anyway?

Miraculously, as I peel my face off the keyboard and try to stick the G key back in, I notice that we are almost at the end of the month again, my month that is, the little cycles we've been living in for 7 months now. Within a few days I'll either be writing tales of woe and desperation (I may just copy/paste 1 of the last half dozen I've already posted) or the world I live in could start spinning in the opposite direction forever.

As it happens I am very positive and very confident this time. Man this stuff is goooood....

I'm off to play mixed doubles badminton with Ronald Regan, Yvonne Goolagong, and Eva Peron.

P.S. the answer...'Park the car man !'

Thursday 22 November 2007

Thanksgiving (aka "The 4.5kg Hairball" in Europe)

It has obviously come to my attention that today is Thanksgiving.

You may scoff, snort and/or snigger, but it would normally be a real possibility that it would escape my attention.

So as a way of making up for all the previous and future times that I have and will forget the occasion, here's my take on the 3 things that I'm really thankful for...

1 - That I'm a man.

No offence to all you chicketees in the house but in the last 7 months or more I've learned a hell of a lot about what happens to you lot in the name of procreation. We get to play porno king
games and in the worst case scenario all we have to do is knock one out into a piece of tupperware.

On the other hand, those 45 seconds of ecstacy are just the beginning for you ladies. 9 months of physical distortion and hormonal pinball leading to a climax of having your innards vacuumed out of you, all just in time for the depression, sleep depravation and big ears to kick in. I made up the big ears bit, scared some of you didn't I....

So yes, I'm thankful that I'm a man, armed with external reproductive organs and an outstanding ability to do nothing.

2 - That there are women.

On the flip side, I'm not just thankful that I'm a man, but I'm more thankful that there are people out there willing to be women.
Brave, strong, compassionate, and loving in ways, and to lengths I can never fathom. My own mother for example, having had 7 kids ripped out of her, and well into her forties she still managed to look at me in the same way she did with her first child, even when I was at my worst.
Incidentally, 5 of those 8 kids were born at home, and not in the 'ooh I fancy a birthing pool, a decaf late, and a video up on youtube within the hour' way, more in the 'oh shit, the child is coming and I haven't finished milking the cows or even started on that thatched roof way'. Respect.

Then there's my wife, who is braver than she realises, prettier than she realises, more compassionate than I ever imagined and last but by no means least, she lets me do it.

3- That I'm not this person.

Or, to be precise, the person whom this was removed from.

A 4.5kg HAIRBALL. An 18 year old had been eating their own hair for 5 years. It was removed, they were sent to a shrink, and 1 year on no longer eat their own hair but weighs 9kg more.

I think thats reason enough for us all to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all folk over there.

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Home Sweet Home

If you've come sniffing around for wit, humour or even some of that blubbing I've been doing of late, you're all out of luck. This is (I'd guess) a blogger's version of something akin to a party political broadcast, or a public service announcement.
So feel free to move on and come back when I've self inflicted damage on a gonad or ripped my trousers hip to knee in public (I must tell you that one sometime, believe it or not it goes into the 'job interview' category).

In our battle to be-babyfy ourselves we decided on a change of scenery, back to the motherland, good old Ireland.

Truth be told we went for the wedding of two of our good friends, but hey, potato/potato (guess that phrase doesn't work in the written form).

Anyway, it was great to see so many of our friends in the one place at the same time, all there to celebrate. We went with some people who had never before been to Ireland and it was delightful to see them enjoy it, and be welcomed in a way that I thought had long died out.

So much did we enjoy our few days back home, we've both started to think about how good it would be to be back there, full time. Friendly, & familiar people around us, family even at a stretch.

So after a return journey in silence, we sat down and almost simultaneously blurted out that we both felt ready to go home.

We have commitments here that will keep us here for a couple of years to come, and depending on how the next few weeks and months pan out, it could be even longer, but its reassuring to know that there is something to look forward to.

So watch out Ireland circa 2010, here we come.

P.S. on that wee baby adventure, we're hoping that the good clean fresh Irish air will have had a good influence on our mis-adventuring bodies...again, only time will tell.

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Mr. Soft

I’ve gone a bit wobbly.

That is to say, since we started this madness of trying to start a family, I’ve been somewhat more emotional than normal. THAT is to say I’ve apparently developed some.

A lot in fact.

I’ve found myself googling my symptoms only to discover I’m suffering from things called ‘happiness’, ‘excitement’, ‘expectation’, ‘disappointment’ and other such forms of mental instability, but does it stop there? Oh No.

All this unsettling of my natural state away from a condition of purely sustaining my intake levels of alcohol & spicy food, sporting enjoyment, sexual gratification, and generally lazing about the place has seriously unbalanced me.

I find myself asking about the welfare of others, using the word ‘cute’ while not in the presence of a string bikini, or it’s owner, needing sharp intakes of breath when I see our neighbour’s children stub their toes on the footpath and stumble towards the hedge head first (ok, I still chuckle at that one) and roger me senseless, I’ve even leaked, right out of my eye sockets. Like a big old…er…yeah…woman. I originally put it down to some insane allergic reaction to oxygen or something but, no, apparently not.

What is this madness?
Now I’m not completely adverse to a bit of softening of my edges, but there have been points when I’ve had to stop & compose myself before I said or did something ever increasingly sappy that would, I presume, eventually lead to the unavoidable outcome where my genitals drop off.

Is it normal?

Is it age?

Is it a side effect of this quest to reproduce or, bloody hell, worse still, is it vice versa?

Am I spiraling increasingly rapidly into an abyss of nothing other than tissues and hormones and trembling lips and queasy stomachs and pink shit?

I've said before that I think all that goes on during this trying to conceive period, the ups and down, disappointments and mini highs, are perhaps nature's way of preparing us for the future with children, in other words a lesson in not always being in control of everything, going with the flow a little, giving up some pride, and generally being ready to handle anything life chucks at you.

If this is so, nature is one crafty prick.

Monday 12 November 2007

Rehab For Testicles

What a great idea that would be...

Well howdy doody boys are aching from this bloody carry on, up and down like a fiddler's elbow. (again, not me in the pic...) So I've placed them in a plastic bag with some ice and should they not fall off due to frostbite beforehand, I imagine they will be ready to go again in an hour or so...

All jesting aside, this never ending humpy marathon is going to be the death of me, how people can do this AND work, AND walk upright is beyond me.

Actually, you wanna know what WILL be the death of me... these feckin' tags and memes. I'm now on the receiving end of two that I will someday, somewhere, somehow get around to doing. I'm sure the day will come when I have bored even myself enough to go for it and complete them. So Tiff, and foreigner by default, I'm eternally grateful for the tags and I will eventually complete them.

So aside from my seed being drained from my carcas on what seems like an hourly basis what is going in this demented little existence of mine?

-I've realised that my job, or my 'career' to be more exact, bores me. Bores me silly. Now, I'm reasonably good at it, in some demand even, but it is so dull it makes me want to chew my own short and curlies. Almost.

-Said 'career' is under some scrutiny, as I've had a talk with another consultancy who seemed eager to take things further, so I hope my disinterest oozing from each and every orifice didn't put them off. We shall see in good time I guess.

-Two friends of mine are getting hitched, in a big hooplah (I like the h at the end, gives it more jazz) this weekend. So for the first time in my 6 1/2 years in Holland, all our friends will be descending on Ireland at the same time for the mother of all parties. Now THIS I am looking forward to. I don't expect us all to survive the weekend.

So, with that useless information, aside from having let you all know that we are still rabbiting to the best of our failing abilities, I'm going to leave you with this phrase which I saw wonderfully displayed in an Irish Bar in Amsterdam....

....Have a think about it....

Saturday 10 November 2007

How Good Am I?

Its Saturday.

It's just after 7:30 am.

The weather is outrageous due to North Sea surges between the UK and the Netherlands. (incidentally, the UK, drama queens anyone?)

I am up, awake, and waiting for my (crappy poorly run, rarely open when you need it, Dutch) gym to open.

I may just be the smuggest person on the planet today.

Monday 5 November 2007

Heidi and the 'Ho

I haven't got a bull's notion what that title means.

Anyway, the doom and gloom has lifted and we're back on planet Disney for the next three weeks. Although these cycles of 'Woo Hoo' and then 'Boo Hoo' are becoming as monotonous and as ugly as glimpses of Britney's snatch, we are filled with the joys again.

So whats new? Well, my little jetsetter wife is 'doing a Heidi'. That's not as much of a fantasy scenario as you may imagine but rather she's heading to Switzerland for two days to teach them... er... stuff. I'm presuming it's neither skiiing nor yodeling, but it could be how to form opinions. So I'll have a couple of days on my tod to prime myself in manly ways for her return, before unleashing my beast like prowess upon her.

I'm beating my chest as you read.

In other news, I've won the internet's equivalent to, ooooh, I dunno, say, 'best dog at show' or something similar over at DorkyDad, who now has the best tagline north of Copenhagen. A six multi pack of lubricant and 3 new flannels are winging their way to my mailbox, closely followed by a pair of federal agents I suspect.

Oh and before I forget, Mrs Xbox = Heidi and Britney = The 'Ho, see? Easy.