Friday, 30 May 2008

The best laid plans (and all that)

You know what? After all my excitement of last night - the ****ing game's release date was put back at the last ****ing minute!

And do you know when it's now due out? Two days after the baby's due when, clearly, I'll have loads of time on my hands (as if). Absolutely gutted!

On the plus side, this morning I managed to book two tickets to see Coldplay play the Sheffield Arena in December. Very happy about that. I love Coldplay (thankfully Vanessa "quite likes them" - more than enough reason to justify paying for the tickets from the joint account).

And speaking of the soon-to-be-mummy, she went off on maternity leave about two hours ago. (Gulp).

We've just spent the last half an hour surfing t'Internet in search of a suitable kiddie wallpaper border for the nursery (which is currently a spare room). This time next week I'll be seeking excuses to avoid getting on with putting it up. I'm hopeless at that sort of thing.

In fact, if you can think of any creative suggestions which might allow me to delay doing this particular little job for a bit longer, please let me know. Please?!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

In need of speed

Just back from a wee run.

I'm not the greatest distance athlete in the world but it keeps me as fit as I need to be - and it's cheaper than the gym (which I hate).

I think it'll also be good practice to get out for a half hour trot some mornings in the first few days and weeks after the birth to clear my head. And to escape the smell.

But tomorrow there will be no running as TT Superbikes Real Road Racing Championship comes out on the PlayStation 2! Yes, I can tell you're excited too.

I don't turn on my PS2 very often any more but it's not every day I get to ride around the streets of Coleraine, Portrush and Portstewart - the same streets I spent six summers of my school and student life sweeping - on a pretend motorbike.


In case you know nothing of it, I'm talking about the North West 200 circuit which is brilliantly re-produced for the purposes of this game. And if you don't believe me, click here:

I was back home for the real races just a couple of weeks ago and had a wonderful day, a large part of it in the company of my super little nephew Sebastian. Unfortunately I was much more excited about the whole thing than he was, which might explain why he went home early and I stayed on. (Look, I bought him a horn and a hat so he was very happy to do so, alright?!)

Were Sebastian with me tomorrow, I'm pretty sure he'd be equally less thrilled than me to be whizzing down past Cromore Halt towards the Ballysally Roundabout and then back up towards the Metropole on a pretend motorbike. Honestly - he prefers killing pretend monsters.

Now then, I'm sure I've got a pretend police motorbike helmet somewhere. (You think I'm joking?!)

All good fatherly preparation in my book.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The first of the Last Suppers

Vanessa and I have, very kindly, been invited out tonight for a bite to eat with her fine dad Geoff and his equally entertaining wife Susie. Always fun.

All things being equal, this is likely to be the last time we'll dine with the two of them before the two of us become the three of us (if you follow me).

A small number of similar get togethers are either in the diary or being sorted out for the next three weeks or so.

And it's such arrangements that, for me, bring the reality of what's before us into sharp perspective.

The "cold sweat syndrome" (just made that up - hope you like it) is also brought on by sudden thoughts such as last night's when it occurred to me that it would be many years before we could once again plan a Bank Holiday weekend without taking a child's needs/wishes into consideration.

Hold on...sorry, just mopping my brow again there - could someone open a window please?!

The next "Last Supper" comes as soon as tomorrow night when Vanessa and I are going out to celebrate our third anniversary - again, likely to be the final time we'll go alone to a restaurant without clearing it first with a willing babysitter.

The times they are a-changing!

Monday, 26 May 2008

To you...

Well, the long weekend is all but over and, from my ailing body's point of view, perhaps it's just as well.

As ever when John is in town, the drink flowed as freely as the personal insults and, as I crawled up to bed shortly before 4.30 this morning, I made myself a promise not to touch another drop of least until the pub lunch eight hours later.

I managed it too - an act of considerable self-restraint, I'm sure you'll agree.

To be fair, we weren't wasters for the entire three days.

In amongst the revelry and with the help of Vanessa and John's new woman Kate, yesterday we did manage to successfully collect and transport home a new cot, wardrode, chest of drawers and bedsite table for baby-to-be; the photo shows John and I being both manly and efficient in hauling the wardrobe down the baby shop fire escape. Without dropping it. Completely.

Needless to say the air was turned as blue as my tee shirt more than once, but that is only to be expected.

Anyway, it's done. And I'm done in. Now then, I wonder if there's room for me in that cot...

Friday, 23 May 2008

That's what friends are for

It's the beginning of a Bank Holiday weekend (you may've noticed).

Now I, like most people, look forward to such occasions. You can drink a bit more than normal. You can go to see a bit of sport. You can go away. You can do absolutely nothing if you want. And when it's over, you only have a four-day week to tackle before lying down again for another couple of days.

That's how I like to see things at least.

However, this weekend was set to be very different.

With the baby now due in just 33 days, I had a list of chores as long as a long man's long arm. Fair enough - I am very excited and equally determined to ensure I've played my full part in preparing for its arrival. Obviously. Doing, you know, the "man stuff."

But what are you supposed to do when your best mate (who you hardly ever see) gets in touch to say he's coming all the way from Cardiff for the weekend? And he's even bringing his brand new girlfriend with him for you to meet.

I know - you drop everything and you prepare to entertain!

John (pictured) and his new lady Kate will be here around lunchtime, at which point I will fire up the barbeque and off we go! (Don't worry, Vanessa will be there - I've given her the weekend off too. Only fair).

The one concession to babyhood - other than assuring Vanessa that it's all baby and no she hasn't gained weight, no really - will be a quick visit to the baby furniture shop on Sunday to pick up some prior purchases. More of that another time.

Whatever happens over the next three days - and I have a sneeking suspicion that we might be forced to have fun - things will definitely quicken up a pace in the fatherhood stakes next week.

OK, our guests don't leave 'til Monday. And we're out on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. But on Thursday, I'm a-hammering and a-painting and a-wallpapering. Oh yes.

Almost certainly.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

This might be fun

In exactly five weeks' time, I am due to become a father for the first time. This, my friends, appears to be a scary prospect for some individuals.

True, many people I know and respect have said I'll make a good daddy. Such comments are most welcome.

Others, meanwhile, have refrained from comment at all. Yes, they've smiled. But whilst their mouths have shown teeth, their eyes have shown fear.

The one thing almost everyone has said is, "and how's Vanessa?" This is an extremely kind and thoughtful sentiment.

Vanessa, for those who don't know us, is my wife. My almost eight months pregnant wife. And, yes, she'll undoubtedly have a part to play on the big day too. Likewise in the years ahead.

However, Vanessa's much wiser than me and will undoubtedly cope with whatever's thrown at her. That's certainly been the case thus far.

I'm more concerned about what she, and nature, will throw at me - literally - if and when I get things wrong.

Having a baby is obviously a very serious business. But surely it must also be fun. I intend to put that thought to the test.

Whatever does happen over the next few months, you can read about it here. And hopefully, one day, our baby will take the time to read it too.

Do please come along for the ride - hints and tips will always be very well received. Probably.