Mrs.B

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Define 'Normal'

Things are slowly turning back to normal. Mrs.B is still hopping around with extra support beams (her crutches), but at least she's able to support some of her weight on her left foot. That makes it much easier to move about the house, get dressed, climb stairs and generally do things. On the other hand, every day it becomes clearer that the baby's delivery is neigh, because she's more and more restricted in her movements by her ballooning belly.

Today she returned to work for the first day, with the car because last Friday we tested if she could operate the clutch with her bad foot, and she could. So if all goes more or less well, I'll see my wife and car again this evening. Ooooh, the excitement!

So this morning I found myself back waiting for the bus - riding the bus - waiting for the train - riding the train - walking to work again. These last three weeks I took the car because I had to drop Wolf off at the childcare / playground. Then, it was a mad dash to get to work in time - but invariably arrive late - and in the evening I had to sneak out early to pick him up before 6pm. I guess commuters taking the motorway between Brussels and Antwerp will feel much safer now. Today and tomorrow, Wolf will be staying at my parents', but later this week his mother will bring him to the playground.

Frankly, it's a bit of a relief that I don't have to do everything on my own any more, even though Mrs.B is still limited to doing things seated or hopping on one leg. Yesterday I really felt drained of all energy, I was barely able to stay up. And between a toddler that demands attention and a wife that demands the remote control and a glass of water and the light to be turned off/on and her pills and fresh clothing and this and that, there's not much chance of taking a nap.

The Fallen

Just a quick word, to confirm that yes, we're back from France. I'd like to say we got back in one piece, but that would be incorrect.

We had a lovely time, two weeks of nothing but sunshine. We spent our time in the pool and on the beach, with the occasional excursion to nearby towns. But unfortunately some of these excursions were for medical reasons. We went to the local baby doctor twice to have a check-up after Mrs.B felt there might be something wrong. Luckily, both times it turned out everything was A-Ok.

Our third medical excursion was for an entirely different reason, but it did involve Mrs.B. It was on the morning of our departure, when she and Wolf went out to get some 'croissants' from the camping store. They had barely left when I heard screams and shouting from both my wife and my son.

I raced out and found both lying on the ground, Wolf crying and panicking while my wife was crying out in pain. It turned out she had stumbled and did something terribly wrong with her ancle. Wolf was Ok, but very frightened by the whole experience.

The local ambulance refused to come for a broken foot, so I had to haul Mrs.B in the car and drive her to the nearest hospital - which was 45 minutes away. Luckily-luckily-luckily I'd bought a GPS before we went to France, I don't know what I would have done without that thing.

A couple of hours later - the French medical care system is about as fast as any African country's - we got the verdict: the ankle was not broken but severely strained. Mrs.B got a plastic clamp around her lower leg and we could drive back home.

Easier said than done: with my wife in one chair and her foot in another, it was up to me to clean the bungalow, get everything into the car (luckily we'd packed the previous evening), return the key, get out the garbage, chase Wolf and his dirty paws out of the bungalow, etc. etc. But in the afternoon we could finally leave.

But it was not  the end of our troubles, because you try to drag a pregnant woman without crutches to the second floor of your hotel when there's no lift. Going to the restaurant alone was an endurance test in hopping.

So the first thing we did when we returned was go get some crutches. To be on the safe side, we made an appointment with our own physician. But he didn't need much time to conclude that something more serious was wrong with that ankle. A couple of X-rays later it was confirmed that a tendon (or part of it, I forgot) got loose and took a bit of bone with it. So recovery will take six to eight weeks, instead of three.

So ever since that fall, I've been running around like crazy. Not only do I have to take care of Mrs.B, but I also have to keep the house clean, do the laundry, do the dishes, get Wolf in and out of bed, get him dressed, bring him to the daycare centre, get him back in the evening, cook...

Six more weeks of this and I'll definitely need another vacation. Too bad that we'll have another newborn baby right about that time.

 

Going Back To My Mother's

Mrs. B and I had a fight the other night. One of those typical 'you're throwing our money out of the doors and windows' fights every couple will eventually have when they're transforming the house. I want things to move on  - especially with a new baby coming soon - so I'll pop out to buy 'a couple of things' in the DIY shop. And then Mrs.B will go ballistic when she goes over the accounts and sees that I surpassed my 'monthly budget' (her idea).

So we had a lovely scene in the garden right in front of the neighbours and then some more - calm - discussions in the middle of the night. But still she feels I buy too much on credit and still I feel she treats me like a little baby with no sense of responsibility.

 

This morning Mrs.B took Wolf with her to buy some bread. Ten minutes later, I heard to doorbell. It was a taxi driver who'd lost his way and asked me if I knew a certain street. The streets behind our house are a typical 1980's maze of dead ends connected with footpaths and bicycle roads. I'd never heard of that particular road, so the chap asked me to come see on his GPS. 'Sure', I said.

So Mrs.B turns around the corner and sees me climb into a waiting taxi.

An icy feeling of panic grips her.

Meanwhile, I notice her and Wolf calling my name, as I apologize to the taxi man because I still don't know where that street is. So I get out of the taxi again and not realising at first what this must have looked like I say: 'you're back already? Did you find any bread?'

 

Poltergeist

All that hacking into walls and floors has awakened a malevolent spirit from his eternal slumber in the dark dungeons of the Bartlog estate. At night he silently floats up, passing floors and walls as if they're not there. Then he closes his cold, ash-white bony fingers around Mrs.B's alarm clock and changes the waking-up time. First it was just a couple of minutes, but this morning he made us get up at six o'clock.

Worst of all, it took us - or rather my sweet balloon-belly - a full ten minutes to realise we still had an extra half hour of sleep before us. So with much mental swearing we returned to bed.

Mrs.B accused me of having reset the alarm clock. Seriously, does she think a full-time semi-professional morning hater like myself would turn back the alarm just for the heck of it? She's the only one that ever touches that alarm. So there's only one conclusion:

We have a poltergeist in the house.

Mrs.B with a panorama of Paris

Mrs.B with a panorama of Paris

Mrs.B slurping a milk-shake in mid-winter

Mrs.B slurping a milk-shake in mid-winter

Abolish Mornings Now!

6.27 AM/6.30 AM: Mrs.B's alarm goes off, with its high pitched voice. 'Time to get up', she shouts in the optimistic voice of a true morning person.

I ignore her. I will not listen to her, nor wake up, because it's not 6.30 yet. Her alarm clock is wrong and mine is right. My alarm clock/radio says it is 6.27, so hers is wrong. I don't care if she says that hers is right because it has the same time as the television's clock downstairs (which gets its time from the cable company). I don't need to verify my alarm clock's time because I know I am right and she is wrong.

Moreover, it is entirely besides the point whether it is 6.30 or not. I do not get up before 6.35. My schedule would fall apart in shambles if I got out five - nay seven! - minutes before my waking up time.

Mrs.B will not listen to reason, especially not when it's proclaimed as a series of mumbling noises and grunts from under the duvet. She throws the blankets away. My body is suddenly confronted with the winter cold and goes in shock.

Before I can recover and smash my wife to death, she's already stomping around and opening closets and making noise and throwing items on clothing on the bed. I feebly reach for the duvet but she's on to me and uses physical violence to get me up.

I'm very tickly.

So she storms out and I follow her down the stairs, trying not to trip over and mentally preparing myself for another glorious day.

---

6.57 AM/7.00 AM: Mrs.B barges into Wolf's room and yells in a high pitched voice: 'Time to get up'.

Wolf ignores her. He will not listen to her, nor wake up. Mum is wrong and his biological clock is right. It's still too early to play, so mum is wrong. He don't cares if she says that its 'waky-waky time' because he doens't have to pee. If he doesn't have to pee it is clear the he is right and she is wrong.

Mrs.B will not listen to reason, especially not when it's proclaimed as a series of mumbling noises and grunts from under the duvet. She throws the blankets away. His little body is suddenly confronted with the winter cold and goes in shock.

Before he can recover and smack his mother on the head, she's already stomping around and opening closets and making noise and throwing items on clothing on the bed. Wolf feebly reaches for the duvet but she's on to him and puts him on his potty.

Ok, he DOES have to pee.

So she pushes him out of the room and he climbs down the stairs, trying not to trip over and mentally preparing himself for another glorious sandwich with chocolate paste.

 

Lumpy Mayonnaise

The other day, we didn't feel like cooking because we had just conquered a mountain of dirty dishes and it was getting pretty late. So I went to Patrick's fry shack, our favourite address for Belgian delicacies.

As usual, I didn't order mayonnaise on the fries because we are such incredible cheap-skates. When I returned, Mrs.B took the mayo out of the fridge and catapulted a large dab on her fries.

'This mayo tastes funny', she complained. 'And it's all lumpy. I think it's off.'

I looked on the pot to check the preservation date.

'It smells funny too', she continued.

'No wonder', I said, 'this is no mayonnaise. It's garlic sauce.'

Wolf and Mrs.B

Wolf and Mrs.B

Probie

Mrs.B is a great fan of crime/detective/lawyer/police/judge/prison series. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t switch from one channel to the other watching her favourite shows. Much to the dismay of yours truly, who is more interested in human interest shows based on profound psychological insights in the human psyche, such as films with Arnold Schwarzenegger, animation series like the Simpsons or South Park or any Sci-Fi show. Oh, and high-tech geek stuff on Discovery channel!

One of mistress Bee’s favourites is NCIS, or Naval Criminal Investigative Service. I must admit I too find it appealing, as long as we don’t have to watch it every damn evening. But unfortunately, the series has a bad influence on my wife, making her even more violent than she was before.

As you may know, the leader of the Navy team has the habit of slapping people on the back of the head when they make a stupid remark. Since the series got airtime in this drizzly kingdom by the North Sea, slapping on the back of the head has made a dramatic entry into this household. It takes no crime investigation team to figure out how this has happened. And I think you can figure out the name of the victim here. But we’re not only talking about domestic violence here, oh no…

Last week, Mrs.B had to take job interviews, together with her boss. She designed the questions for the oral examination of the candidates. At one point, she poses a question to a candidate, upon which her boss inadvertently and absentmindedly gives the answer. And in a reflex…

She slapped her boss on the head! I should also add that Mrs.B is still in her probation period (which is a ridiculously long twelve months). So slapping your boss on the head may have abrupt and drastic consequences.

Good thing her boss has a well developed sense of humor then.

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