How does it really feel to lead the life of a thirty-something married-with-a-child desk-jockey with a daily commute in Belgium? It's one of life's great mysteries, and hopefully the following pages will give you an insight into this conundrum. Or you could just admit that you've lost your way on the Internet and continue your search for humongously big wobbling boobies.
Before you start your exploration of the depths of boredom associated with the daily life in a small Kingdom in the heart of western Europe, let's have a look at the main characters that you will meet on your voyage...
Bart is the main character of this weblog, hence its name which is a clever contraction of 'Bart' and 'weblog': Bartlog . He has an occasional tendency to express himself in an overly elaborate way, which is a very annoying feature that we'll turn off right now... There, that's better. And what's with that annoying third person? This is an introduction for a weblog, for goodness sake!
Ok, I'm born in the early seventies, so there are plenty of pictures around of me wearing goofy clothes and age-of-aquarius hairstyle as a kid, which won't be shown here. In the eighties I spent my time in a catholic school in the north of the country and running through pine forests causing general mayhem to the local eco-system with my friends during my free time. In the nineties I went to university, to get a master's degree in Political sciences. Despite spending more time absorbing beer than knowledge, I somehow got my degree and subsequently tried to get a job that would get me out of the country from time to time .
So for the last 10+ years I've been working for various non-governmental organisations. This means that I spend about five percent of my time trying to survive war zones with landmines and drunk people carrying guns or else really poor places with poisonous snakes and seriously scary diseases. The other 95 percent of the time I'm doing paperwork, producing all kinds of fascinating reports with budgets and graphs and what not. Oh, and I get to do a lot of meetings! You figure out what part of the job I like best.
Of course, I only do this whole humanitarian thing to get a fascinating past for when I finally become a world famous writer, comedian, photographer, cook, cartoonist, television personality and – eventually – movie star. Which can happen any minute now, as soon as I actually start writing, or drawing, or doing comedy, or being interesting in any way.
When I'm not working, I'm making a mess in the kitchen, I break down the house, I try to take half decent pictures with my digital camera, or do something unproductive on the computer. Hence the blog.
Mrs.B is my wife. We lived in sin for a couple of years, doing unspeakable things in the new double bed I bought when I first met her, like eating crisps in our PJs. Then I decided to ask her to marry me in the worst kind of way, in Portugal. I shall not describe it in any detail here, but it involved a forced march over several mountains, lots of flies and mosquitoes, a drought, various forest fires and a badly copied map.
She is the owner of several ice-cold feet and lives under the delusion that she can guide me in the 'right' direction. She does this by repeatedly informing me about any misbehaviour or observed character flaws. Some would call this nagging, for her it's more like tough love. Mrs.B and I love each other to bits. She does everything to keep me entertained, so that our relationship will show no early signs of fatigue. Amongst other things, she does this by changing her carreer like other people change underwear.
She has a law degree and over the evening meal she likes to tell me all about the cases she's working on. I don't have a degree in law so I nod and pretend to understand what she's talking about. It's the basis for a sound marriage. After diner, we don't do the dishes and she decides what we're going to watch on tele.
Wolf is our first, eldest and (so far) only child. He's born in 2007 so there's not much to tell about him yet. We both love him dearly, of course, and as long as we hold any food he loves us right back. He doesn't wake up early in the weekend, except when he thinks we may be practicing for another sister or brother. Then he needs his bottle right this minute. When he's awake, he spends his time wrecking the stereo, hiding the remote controls, scaring the cats and filling diapers with toxical waste .
Macka and Snijeg are our cats. They have unpronouncable Serbocroatian names because I used to work in Southeastern Europe when they still had occasional wars over there. Macka [match-kah] means cat and Snijeg [sneeh-jeg] means snow – because he's all white. Their main functions in our household are to claw the wallpaper to pieces, to shred the carpets to bits, to bite through any cable they can handle and to turn catfood into vomit stains on the carpets . They are very good at their jobs.
Julia is my wife's horse. She used to participate in jumping contests with her, and they've won quite a few prices. However, now with the baby and the house and our fulltime jobs, there's hardly ever any time to go to a 'concours' anymore. Julia had a foal, Hearty , but we had to sell her because we didn't have the time (and the money) to take care of both of them.
Our house is not situated in the middle of our street, but on the end. It was large but cheap, which is another way to say that it will take us another twenty years to change all the plumbing, redo the electric wiring, tear off the cheap wood panelling, install new ceilings, repair and insulate the roof, etc. etc. It is up to me to DIY the place into its new shape , and of course I need the latest gadgets to do the job. After all, what's a man without his toys, erm, tools?