September 2010

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Breaking And Clambering

After two weeks of parental leave, it was time to return to work on Monday. So armed with my lunch-box and a magazine, I got onto the train to Brussels. But I'd barely installed myself when Mrs.B called me with a bit of panic in her voice: she'd left the house to bring Wolf to school and had closed the door behind her... leaving the keys on the inside.


So while I quickly got off the train and took a bus home, I considered the options. We bought our house from an old couple with a very negative view of the outside world and of their fellow men. As a consequence, our house is built like a fortress. And with both the back and the front door closed with the keys in the locks, there weren't many options. My only chance would be to climb through the open bedroom window on the first floor.

When I say 'open' I mean that the window was wide open, but the blinds were almost completely lowered. We still have good old fashioned wooden blinds, that weigh about 500 tonnes. Another minor inconvenience was that the floors of our house are quite high, higher than my sorry old ladder. The neighbours on the left have a long ladder, but they were already at work. The neighbours on the other side took even more drastic measures, and moved out a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, I had more luck at the next house because they were at home and they had a ladder. A very very long ladder, suitable to replace aircraft warning lights on big antennas installed on skyscrapers.

The ladder was in their garage further down the street, and although it was made out of aluminium, it weighed as much as one made from wood. We were barely able to get it up with two grown men, but at least it got all the way up to the window sill. Then I had to lift the blinds and prop a wooden stake underneath, hoping that it wouldn't slip away. Otherwise those blinds would chop me in two like a blunt guillotine.

As I clambered through the narrow slit that had opened into our bedroom, I reminisced about my lost youth and how much easier these adventures were  fifteen years ago. It wasn't exactly a stealthy ninja that made his way into the house. But once I wriggled my big butt through the window, the rest was a piece of sachertorte. Moments later, I triumphantly opened the door. Sadly, there was no cheering mob (Mrs.B and Tyl) to greet me, as they were invited in by the neighbours.

So without further ado, I marched back to the bus stop to go to work.


Although the baby and Mrs.B have been demanding much of my time lately - not to mention Wolf of course, I somehow managed to tinker on in the new bathroom. It's in the final stages, but then again it has been in the final stages for months now. Things tend to slow down when your wife is very pregnant and very immobile.

On the other hand, being on parental leave these last couple of days gave me the opportunity to do some paintwork on the doors. Painting itself doesn't take that much time, it's just that you have to wait for hours in between two coats of paint. But at this moment, I can't spend the whole day working on the bathroom anyway.

Yesterday, I'd finally finished painting the doors, which must be one of my least favourite jobs. It's just that you have to apply a base coat on one side, then on the other, then a coat of semi-gloss on one side, then on the other and finally a second coat on one side and then on the other side. So you can see why I was happy it was finished.

And may imagine the grinding of teeth that followed when I discovered the next morning that a moth had landed in the wet paint. Not only that, but in its struggle of death it had rolled over a couple of times, leaving black marks from its wings all over the door. Trying to rub it away with a sponge proved to be useless, the black marks were embedded in the paint.

This is why this DIY project will never ever finish...

Maximum Thrust

Wolf and I brought Tijl and mummy home last Friday. Our little guy was welcomed by a room full of balloons, flags and banners. The cats were pretty welcoming too, which is surprising as they normally hide into the nearest tree as soon as they spot/hear/smell a baby. Macka was even very curious and after checking Tijl out, he welcomed him with a gentle nudge with his head.

Wolf really is a proud little big brother. The merest sound of Tijl and he jumps up to find his pacifier. And by Jolly he won't rest before that baby has that thing well and truly in his mouth!

The first nights were tiring, with Tijl waking up to drink every three hours, but taking an hour to empty each tit, so there was only an hour between each buffet. But now we can let him sleep for six hours in a row - not that he actually does that, but we don't have to wake him up any more.

They say that every child is different, and it's true. While Wolf was actively preparing for a career as a fireman, using any means to his disposal to douse the 'fire' (meaning us), Tijl has other ambitions:

I guess he wants to be an astronaut, but I really must explain to him that he can ride a rocket and that he doesn't have to produce the massive thrust needed to escape the earth's gravitational field all on his own. So far he managed to cover one bed, one sofa, one dresser and one mother in yellow, runny, smelly poo. The video gives an impression of what it means to stand in this jet.

The only difference is that no-one counts down, so it does come as a complete but nasty surprise.



Our son Tijl, born on the 6th of September 2010Our son Tijl, born on the 6th of September 2010

Mum and baby are doing fine, dad is stressing to get the birth cards out in time.



I'm not a huge user of 'social bookmarking' sites. Even with all the options to specify your preferences, so you get exactly the ads - sorry - information you want, it's mostly the most spectacular or the dumbest mainstream news that tends to pop up. Nevertheless, these last couple of months I've become something of a regular Digg user, especially during my lunch hour. When I don't feel like going to the company 'restaurant', I spend my time browsing through the feeds on Digg while I munch my sandwiches away.

Of course, everybody will have read/heard about now that the nice people behind Digg introduced a new version. And that his new version doesn't work all that well.

It's been driving me crazy, I must have seen that thing a thousand times. Contrary to what a lot of people have been moaning about, I don't mind the fact that the new version is nothing like the old version - I rather like it. But for Pete's sake, make sure it works before you let it loose on the general population!