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Missing In Action

in

Cry!

I've lost my cap! My favourite one, with the logo of our beautiful city:

AntwerpenAntwerpen

I left it on the bus this morning. I noticed as soon as I got off, but the bus driver closed the doors and refused to re-open them. So I saw the bus driving off in the dark, rainy morning, with my cap still on it.

[sob]

Raspberry Fields Forever

It's mid november now, and our raspberry plants still produce raspberries! Which is excellent, because I'm very fond of raspberries. Sadly, so is my son, so we have to share. But when he's not looking, I can eat them without having to share. And I don't tell my wife either. 

They're all mine. MINE!

Strawberry Fields Forever

Wolf went to the grocery's with his mum. While Mrs.B was choosing the veggies and the fruit for the week, Wolf was doing some shopping of his own. He found a tray with strawberries, picked one up, took a bite and put the rest back.

The shopkeeper was not amused. Especially because strawberries are very expensive now - that's what you get when people want to eat summer fruit during winter. So my wife had to buy the lot.

It's not Wolf's fault; he is used to go shopping in a big shopping mall where there's always something to taste. It's difficult for him to know what is there for tasting and what is not. So you always have to keep an eye on him.

That's something his mothers isn't going to forget soon...

Favourite Comics On The Internet (Part I)

I'm a comics fan, and a big one at that. There was a time when a subtantial part of my monthly income went to comics. But then I got married and bought a house and got some children, so now I barely get to see any monthly income. So what do you do when you want things for free? You turn the internet upside down, of course.

There are some jewels out there, and I'll show you my favourites. Today we start with a comic so good, so bright, so refreshing and so funny, it must be the best American comic I've seen since Calvin and Hobbes retired. Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour to present:

Frank Cho's Liberty Meadows

The castThe cast

Liberty Meadows is an animal sanctuary for animals with various social, medical, psychological and otherwise weird problems. The main plot line is the smouldering romance between Frank, the resident vet, and the beautiful but unreachable Brandy. If you're reaching for a brown paper bag under your seat, hold on! Because former circus bear Ralph, hypochondriac bullfrog Leslie, male alcoholic chauvinist pig Dean, cute little duckling Oscar and pesky little glutton Wiener dog Truman are there to save the day!

 First comic (2006)First comic (2006)

Liberty Meadows is so good, I like to save it up until Monday, so I can read a whole week worth of comics.

Frank and BrandyFrank and Brandy

Frank loves Brandy, but is afraid to tell. Brandy knows Frank loves her, and secretly loves him right back, but she is also afraid to tell. So much time is spent longing for each other and trying to find the courage to show their true emotions. Which is something I can really relate to, because frankly I'm as hopeless in my choice of unreachable women and in my attempts to win them over as Frank is. (I can say this now, because I'm married and don't need to go through all this misery any more.)

Dean the pig and Ralph the (ex) circus bearDean the pig and Ralph the (ex) circus bear

Leslie and RalphLeslie and Ralph

Dean, Ralph and Leslie are my favourite characters. Dean is hooked on alcohol and cigarettes, and is supposedly on detox. Ralph invents things which almost kill himself and the others.

Jen, Brandy's friend and 'femme fatale'Jen, Brandy's friend and 'femme fatale'

Jen is Brandy's friend and a bit of a flirt, to put it mildly. Frank Cho knows how to draw women, check out his other art work. Of course, this is not the most important reason why I cling to my screen every Monday.

Truman and OscarTruman and Oscar

Truman is a little duck that is so honeydew sweet you'd almost consider not throwing him into an oven. Oscar on the other hand is a symbol of little dogs that look so sweet but really are devils with floppy ears.

'Monkey boy' Cho'Monkey boy' Cho

Frank Cho regularly appears in his own comic, in the form of a chimpanzee. He warns for explicit scenes - which means you have to pay attention - but also protests against censoring.

Cho regularly breaks all and every convention there is about comics. He talks with his readers, has guest appearances from other comics, does all kind of crazy stuff. Lovely.

I could post every LM comic here, but why don't you go over there and have an afternoon of fun. Oh, and this comic is not safe for work. Not because of the nice ladies, but because everyone will hear you snigger.

It's Yellow Outside

Weekends, when people can rest after a long week at the office and stay in bed all through the morning.

People without kids that is. Wolf let me know quite early that he was awake. Winter time? What winter time? Play time, that's what it is. Oh, and by the way, he'd peed more or less into his potty, but not to worry, he'd mopped it up himself with a couple of paper hankies.

And so we got down the stairs, with him all cheerful and me grumbling because of the early hour and the smell of pee in the morning. Wolf looked out the small window in the hall.

'It's yellow', he said.

A bit puzzled, I looked out. It was still dark outside, and it was quite foggy. The light of the street lanterns coloured the fog yellow.

So it was yellow outside.

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

Both Wolf and Tyl are ill, Wolf has an ear infection and a lot of fever that just won't break. Tyl on the other hand has a bug in his tummy and does these giant explosions of vomit and puke. Mrs.B has to change clothes six times a day and I'll have to repaint the ceilings when this thing is over.

At night, we have these short naps that are painfully interrupted when one of the two starts to cry. My wife generally takes care of the baby, because her boobs have more milk than mine, while I run up and down between Wolf's room and the kitchen fridge where we have to keep his pain medication. His left ear is eating into his brain or something, it is very painful. On top of that he has this itch all over, although he doesn't have the mumps or anything.

At day, my wife and I stumble along, each day with less energy. The children get on our nerves, we get on each other's nerves and we're all heading for a nervous break down.

Yup, winter is approaching.

More Breaking And Entering

My recent experiences with breaking into our house a couple of weeks ago have inspired others, I'm afraid. When Mrs.B opened the living room door this Monday morning, she found her purse upside down and the contents scattered over the floor. At first she thought the cats had played with it, but then she noticed that all her cash was missing. In the dining room, she found my wallet with the contents spread out next to it on the dinner table. Again, the cash was missing.

Moments later, I dynamically stumbled down the stairs, alerted by her calls. It quickly downed on us that we had had some nightly visitors. They had forced the garden door's lock to gain access. Our cowardly guard cats had done nothing to chase them, kill them or even warn us. When they saw the thieves left their dinner bowls alone, they'd escaped from the house.

But all in all, we've been very lucky. The thieves made their escape with about 25 Euro in cash, leaving Mrs.B's laptop, my photo camera, our brand new film camera (with manual and cables still in their packing) and the car's GPS, all conveniently arranged on the cupboard next to Mrs.B's purse, alone. They'd taken a small box with a silver cup out of the cupboard, but left it on the window sill for some reason. They did steal Mrs.B's car keys but left without the car. So the biggest nuisance is that we have to change the car's locks, and I had to replace the back door lock of course. But we've could have lost a lot more valuable things.

When browsing for a new lock in our local DIY shop, I met an elderly gentleman who was looking for the same item with his son. He told me that the thieves had broken into a large number of houses in our part of town. Every time the thieves had gone for the cash and the car keys, leaving other valuable items alone. One man had lost thirty thousand Euro in cash with which he was going to pay for his new pool the next day. So all in all, I guess we've nothing to complain about.

Black Smoke Of Death

With a loud bang and a mighty flash, my computer's power supply became toast. At the moment, it's unclear if this affected any other parts in the computer, such as for instance to name just one: my hard drive. If I remember well I recently made a back-up one year ago (-ish). So nothing to worry about.

I'd like to run to the store to buy a new power supply, but alas I am tied to the couch because of a nice case of bronchitis. Luckily, I have Wolf to keep me company, because he has the same symptoms. In fact, he started it all, he brought it home from school. So whether I'm going to get the rest the doctor prescribed me, is entirely open.

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.

Oops!

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.

Moth

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...

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