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Friday, June 29, 2007

Rage On Mint

Why do all medicine have to taste like mint? Or eucalyptus?

Is there some law ordering pill and potion makers to use only these flavours? Would the world suffer from a mint overflow if the pharmaceutical companies don’t mix all their products with mint and eucalyptus?

Why can’t we have cough syrups with chicken-curry flavour? Or aspirins with grilled lobster and garlic taste? Or broccoli with bacon and cheese-sauce stomach tablets?

We should start a lobby campaign to make the pharmaceutical companies see that the public is fed up with mint-flavoured drugs. Leave your suggestions in the comments and I’ll make sure to send a copy to Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Pfizer and the lot.

Posted by Bart at 10:18 AM
Categories: Miscellaneous

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My Tummy, Your Tummy

I got a cactus growing in my intestines. At least that’s how it feels like. It started on Monday afternoon, after eating a meatball sandwich, but I don’t know whether it’s to blame or not. Another possible source of infection is a colleague of mine, who called in sick on Tuesday with similar symptoms.

I had a very rough night and made an appointment with the doctor first thing in the morning. There’s nothing much he could do, because it’s viral and we all know by now that antibiotics don’t work on viruses. So I’m surviving on painkillers and chicken soup at the moment. Please feel appropriately sorry for me.

So enough of the wining and on to the good news: Mrs. Thistlewat has given birth to a beautiful baby girl – the most beautiful baby girl in the world and the second cutest baby in the world. If you got a Blogger or Google account (I don’t, hence this message), pop over and congratulate her. She deserves it, after what has got to be one of the most nail biting, suspense-filled pregnancies ever!

Posted by Bart at 8:12 PM
Categories: Big Belly

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Baby Clothes

Baby clothes are designed by a team of hand-picked sadists in a North-Corean ploy to drive the weak minds of Western fathers crazy. Their main strategy is to devise as many different and unpractical ways to put on (over the head, from the back, from the front, from the bottom, from the left side, from the right side, from the twilight zone,…) and fasten (buttons, rivets, laces, ribbons, time-clocks,…) as possible.

Baby clothes are the prime weapon of the axis of evil, the nuclear thing is just a big hoax that serves as a deception. Baby clothes are why the war on terror is not going well, because young fathers have to use all their mental powers to figure out how to put them on and off without breaking or tearing off their baby’s limbs. Baby clothes are responsible for poverty and global warming.

Baby clothes are evil!

Posted by Bart at 9:48 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Asimov's Cat

This is so true... On Defective Yeti, a blog that you should visit more often.

Posted by Bart at 10:05 PM
Categories: Animal Farm

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Of Mice And Men

Macka, our tiger-striped cat, has discovered a new prey. Up till now, both our cats have had a fascination for all things flying. Despite our prediction that our pampered flat-cats would run away in terror when approached by so much as a sparrow, they’ve developed into real serial killers since we’ve moved to our new house-with-garden-and-park-across-the-street. They’ve been dragging in crows and pigeons and we suspect they’ve got their mark set on the herons in the fortress’ moat.

The other day, Macka brought in the limp body of a new victim: a mouse. Since we’ve put them on a diet to prevent them from barfing all over the carpet (to no avail I might add), he’s been trying to bribe us into feeding him. He’s never been as cuddly as he was the last couple of weeks. Since that obviously didn’t work, he’s trying a new approach.

Being modern and well informed cat owners, of course we didn’t punish him for his gesture. Instead we thanked him and praised him and gave him lots of cuddles. Maybe we overdid it. I don’t know. Because a couple of days later he walked in again with a mouse. Only this time it was well alive.

He let it go in the middle of the living room, and a bit to his amazement his pray veered off and hid into the incredibly tiny space between the carpet and the board at the bottom of the wall. Neither Macka nor myself could reach it there, so I pulled back the carpet. Probably the most stupid thing to do in such a situation, because the mouse shrieked and dove right under the carpet.

So now we had a living mouse in the middle of the carpet. Eventually I could chase it out of its hiding place, but in the blink of an eye it raced across the room, hid briefly behind the loudspeaker and then nested itself under the lamp. He got away because Macka was not really helping. He thought we were playing a great game. In some frustration, I grabbed him by the back of his neck and threw him into the kitchen.

Unfortunately, the base of the lamp was hollow, and I could only see its tail sticking out when I lifted the – bloody heavy – thing. I tried shaking it into the plastic cup I’d gotten out of the kitchen, but the little critter jumped out and hid under the wicker basket between the chimney and the closet.

Just great, if it’d get behind the closet we’d never get it out of the house. But suddenly it careened off again. In a reflex I brought down my cup to catch it. And I succeeded! Partially. The cup’s rim landed squarely on the mouse’s back and broke it. End of mouse.

This time I was anything but diplomatic about Macka’s gift. Bad cat! Bad!

Posted by Bart at 10:03 PM
Categories: Animal Farm

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sleep Deprivation

I have troubles writing this, my brain needs all the available resources for essential bodily functions, such as breathing and blinking my eyes. I’m exhausted from being tired after not sleeping for four nights.

Our little bundle of joy sleeps rather well, during the day that is. But as soon as we take him upstairs to sleep, he becomes as energetic as Speedy Gonzalez after fifty cups of coffee and an oil drum of Red Bull. He’ll toss and turn in his crib and cry for hours on end if one of us doesn’t take him in our arms and walk around with him in the room. So far I’ve made enough laps around the bed to take me to Neptune and back. We suspect he has reflux, he can’t stand sleeping on a flat surface and he will only doze off in his play pen, which has a tilted bottom. This means Mrs. B. had to sleep two nights on the sofa. We also have to keep the lights on.

In desperation, we drove to every furniture store in a thirty kilometre radius to find us a baby bed with a bottom that can tilt. We finally settled on one model that didn’t have this feature, but that I could at least adapt. I felt too tired that evening to set it up, and we paid dearly for that with another cry-night. So first thing on Sunday, after relieving Mrs. B. from her night-time duty, changing his nappy, cuddling him for two-and-a-half hours, changing his nappy again and going to the bakery’s, was setting up the new baby bed.

This night he did sleep in our bedroom again, Mrs. B. wasn’t banished to the sofa this time. But it would be a stretch to say that we had a quiet night. To start with, we were both so stressed out that it took us ages to fall asleep. He still would have the occasional hunkering for comforting. And he wanted to drink so much I think he stretched Mrs. B’s nipples half a meter.

Morning came all too soon, at 6.30 the alarm clock ripped away the blankets, dragged me out of bed and kicked me down the stairs. And so endeth my annual leave…

Posted by Bart at 8:18 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lost Blog

I’m moody, pissed, annoyed, irritated… One of my favourite Flemish blogs has disappeared without a trace and I don’t know why. Maybe there was an announcement, but with the baby and all I haven’t had much time to read and now I just notice it’s gone.

I’m talking about Smiling Cobra, a Flemish blog by a guy from Bruges (or in that vicinity). It was a very popular blog, which makes its disappearance even stranger. It was one of the rare Flemish blogs that are actually interesting. SC only wrote about his everyday life, which wasn’t that spectacular, but it was very well written.

I hate it when good blogs disappear. That is why mine continues (you can find brown paper bags under your seat).

Posted by Bart at 4:56 PM
Categories: Miscellaneous

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Spider/Heart Attack

The baby’s been home for a week now and we’re both absolutely pooped. He’s keeping us well busy by day, although he’s really a quiet baby that sleeps well. But at night too, he has to breastfeed every couple of hours, and we really begin to feel the sleep deprivation.

As if getting up three times a night isn’t enough, Mrs. Bart has these sudden panic attacks. Two nights ago, she started screaming in my ear because she thought that little Wolf was lying in between us and that I had rolled onto him in my sleep. But the little guy wasn’t sleeping in our bed at all, he was quietly sleeping through his mum’s bout of panic in his little cradle at Mrs. Bart’s side of the bed.

This night was even better: Mrs. B. was breastfeeding Wolf when an itsy-bitsy-spider lowered itself from the ceiling above her head. I was still happily lying on my back and snoring a sonata in C minor when suddenly…


She dove to the side, clutching the baby, right onto my face. While I woke in horror she still tried to scramble away, on my, over my, through me, suffocating me in the process. It took me a while to get from underneath her, calm her down and understand what the hell was going on.

Then I took a paper napkin, plucked the small spider out of the air and crushed it in my righteous anger. I can tell you I was beyond being pissed and it took me a while to get back to sleep, while Mrs. B. tried to explain to me how dangerous and frightening these little spiders can be.


Posted by Bart at 2:01 PM
Edited on: Monday, November 12, 2007 9:17 PM
Categories: MarriedMan the Magnificent

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

It’s A Girl

No, Mrs Bart didn’t give birth to a hermaphrodite, nor was there an administrative error on the part of the hospital. Mrs. B. wasn’t the only pregnant lady in our family, remember?

That’s right, Julia – my wife’s horse for those just tuning in – has given birth to a beautiful baby girl foal. Mother and daughter are doing rather well, but not all’s how it should be. The little girl is rather weak and skinny and can’t stand up on her own. That’s bad, because she needs to drink every fifteen minutes or so. Baby horses drink up to thirty litres of milk per day. To make things worse, Julia hasn’t exactly been the perfect mother. She accepts the foal sure enough, but she doesn’t let it drink. She turns around every time the poor little thing finally manages to get to her mother’s teats – with some assistance of G., the horse breeder.

The old man’s been amazing, he helped Julia deliver in the middle of the night. Without him, the foal wouldn’t have stood a chance to survive. And then he helped the little girl up her feet every twenty minutes or so and shoved her under her mother. Even when last mentioned mother blatantly refused to cooperate and even bit him in the arm at one point!

Thanks to his love and care, Julia is now accepting that her foal drinks and doesn’t have to be forced to stand still (although G. still needs to hold her steady). He reckons that tomorrow or the day after at the latest mother and daughter should be doing fine. The first 24 hours are the most critical, and we could see for ourselves that they were improving all the time. Tomorrow we go back, Wolf liked the change of air and all the horsies because he suckled his mother almost dry.

Posted by Bart at 8:40 PM
Edited on: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 8:44 PM
Categories: Animal Farm

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

First Glimpses

Baby Wolf - only minutes old  

Fresh out of the belly. Note the Belgacom sponsoring on the left, you can't start early enough with cramming commercial messages in their little brains!

Proud father  

Proud and somewhat stupidly grinning dad.

Special delivery  

'Package for Mrs and Mr B. Sign here please, thank you. You can return the goods within 3 weeks if you're not satisfied.'

'Le Penseur' by Rodin  

This is one of his favourite poses, we call it 'Le Penseur' by Rodin.

Baby candy  

It's a tradition in Belgium to give sweets in a nicely decorated package with the name and the date of birth on it. We made about a hundred of these little bags, but we always forget to offer them to visitors. So it looks like we're going to be stuck with 95 bags.

Baby Wolf in bed  

Oh, what the heck. One for the road. He's so cute, isn't he?

Posted by Bart at 4:34 PM
Categories: Framed, Next Generation

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Story Of His Life

We had a general electricity failure this Sunday. I’d rented a sanding machine to clean up the wooden floor in the bedroom, but after a day of working the bloody thing created a short circuit and blew up the mains. So more than half of the house was without electricity.

Excellent moment for having a baby!

On Tuesday we returned the machine in the early morning (and got an ample refund). Mrs Bart was feeling fine, although she’d felt the baby moving most of the night. We both went to work, I took the train to Brussels and my personal lawyer went to the court of justice to plead a couple of cases. It was when she returned to the car that her water broke.

Meanwhile, I’d just explained to a colleague that the baby wasn’t normally due before the 16th of June, but that the baby-doctor wanted to get him out earlier because he was already such a big boy. Just fifteen minutes later the phone rang: Mrs. Bart was at home with the midwife and she was in labour (Mrs. Bart, not the midwife). Being the professional that I am, I remained utterly calm. I quickly put my coat on inside-out, yanked the door out of its hinges, ran over three colleagues in the hall and jumped into the elevator shaft without waiting for the damn thing. Rush hour was over, so there was barely any damage in the accidents that I caused while careening over the busy roads and lanes in a straight line to the train station. There I found a train driver willing to change his destination after just a bit of strangulation and skip the stations in between Brussels and Antwerp. The taxi-driver drove really slow, so I helped him by slamming my foot on the pedal.

On arrival, Mrs Bart was doing fine. So much so, that she quickly put out the laundry and filled the washing machine before we had to go to the hospital. There was a small discussion between the midwife and the doctor in the hospital about whether she really was in labour, or that it was just a practice run. Oh, those medical professionals, what fun we had waiting there, grinding our teeth! But then we got the green light from the gynaecologist. Mrs. Bart got an intravenous drip with a labour-inducing medicine because the contractions still were a bit weak. Her optimism about her not feeling any pain in the beginning quickly faded when the contractions started in earnest. For hours we were puffing in unison, while she pinched my arm to pulp. After seven hours of pain, she’d have enough. The contractions were following one after the other, without any time to rest between. The nurses had put her in a warm bath to help ease the pain, but it stimulated rather than subdued the pain. Too much is too much, so she got an epidural anaesthetic that started to sooth away the awful pain in a matter of minutes.

At half past one in the night she was ready to give birth. The nurses moved her to the delivery room. She did a wonderful job and at 2 o’clock precisely, little Wolf was finally born.

Posted by Bart at 10:31 AM
Categories: Big Belly

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