Tuesday, November 8, 2011


- I met my wife just after midnight in a dingy techno dance club in Swansea in South Wales. We were both very much the worse for wear. It was a mental weekend of epic proportions. Years later her mother told her that she'd found a journal of when we first met and read it, and she kept if for her to have as a memory. My wife - always the innocent and smart straight-edged child in the family - thought that finally her cover had been blown. A full-blown foreign bender (no - I don't mean me) complete with getting wasted ten different ways and sleeping in strangers houses. After she got it back and we read it we were shocked to find out it sounded like we met at a library book club.

- Not long after meeting my wife she tried to convince me that the name Jet was a good name for a child. I immediately sang, in an Alan Partridge voice, "Jet! A-ahaaaa!" and that possibility was over.

- My wife and I "unofficially" married way before we officially did just a month after we first met. We had our own medieval ceremony and pledged to marry then even though we'd have to do it properly in the US after I emigrated. Which was why when we married it wasn't even the slightest bit nerve-wracking at all. As far as we were concerned we'd been married for two years already anyway - one whole year of which we lived in separate countries.If you think Wales is crap try living in it by yourself for a year after deciding to get married.

- For my stag night a bunch of guys my wife knew in college took me out to a few strip clubs in western NY. Really really nice guys, but I have never been so bored in my life. The appeal of strip clubs - particularly in the US - bemuses me entirely. Frat-boy fascination with them is directly the result of having no nipples on network TV. One of the guys spent the entire night lying on the floor of the bathroom trying not to be sick again. Another genuinely thought that the fact he was tucking one dollar bills into some woman's arse crack and looking creepily at her meant he was definitely taking her home (amazingly he did not). They all paid for me to have a lap dance. When I went back the woman/girl started "working" and then asked why I looked so bored. So I told her it wasn't my thing at all so we talked about the difference between the US and UK for ten minutes. Then the guys who took me out paid for three more lap dances. Me and the woman spent half an hour talking bollocks - mostly about how she liked Absolutely Fabulous, was going to be spending a semester overseas in Germany, and how about her parents had no idea she was doing this and thought she was working at Office Depot to pay for college.

- My daughter was conceived on Thanksgiving. Tesco - bless 'em - confirmed the magical event by selling us a pregnancy test. I also bought a pork pie. Best. Check Out. Ever.

- We had some pretty decent pre-birth classes in the UK where we lived. I remember the look of terror on a guy's face once back home in Bristol when he realized he had no idea what he was doing. We were all at the last of the , "you're going to have a baby in a few weeks" classes. The midwife had divided the men and women to talk to each other about what jobs they had for the birth. For some reason she'd also given each group a pile of woolen tits that she'd made herself (not a clue). Anyhoo, after a few people said what they were going to do that day one guy responded that he was cool with it all because, "all I have to do is call the ambulance." Then another bloke in the group asked why he would have to call an ambulance - it's not like anyone would be dying. Everyone saw the dawn of realization on his face that he had no idea what was going to happen and that he'd been winging it.

- The night my daughter was born I was attacked by many nipples. My wife and I planned a home-birth and I had filled a birthing pool with water in the conservatory. As the house was rented I'd also covered every walking surface in black tarps. When the midwife arrived she must have thought I was planning to murder everyone and not get blood anywhere. Apparently one of the requirements of being a midwife in that area was that you had big boobs. This was amusingly demonstrated while my wife was lying in the pool naked concentrating through a contraction and the midwife and her trainee both leaned into the pool to offer their support. When the contraction passed they both stood up and they had both dipped their ample knockers in the water leaving their nipples very clearly on view. I remember thinking at that point that this is probably what people mean when they say that birth really is a beautiful thing.

- After my daughter was born we had so little sleep that I once woke up on the staircase. I had fallen asleep mid-climb and just fallen down. Another time my wife was so delirious that she thought a pillow she was holding was my daughter and couldn't figure out how I could also be holding her. Years later - still ravaged by lack of sleep - my wife ran about our church frantically asking if anyone had seen her son even though she was holding him the whole time.

- I was baptized the same day as my daughter. She got her head wet and I got totally dunked. It's also the day one of my wife's (and now someone I consider to be a friend of mine) was re-confirmed! I may come across as an uncouth rude obnoxious pillock but that is one of the most beautiful days of my life.

- I have a video of the first time my daughter crawled and can proudly state that she did so with the assistance of Matisyahu.

- My daughter was hard to get to sleep as a baby. So I had to walk around the downstairs of my house for half an hour playing Greg Laswell. If I didn't she wouldn't drop off. Living in the in-laws for 12 weeks meant that my daughter flat-out refused to sleep. I would walk her in an Ergo backpack for an hour and she'd drop off. But putting her down was hopeless. She would scream to the point that she would throw up. After we moved to Floyd, NY we were living in a ranch house and any sound at all would ruin the whole attempt to get her to sleep. For months I would find myself doing weird gymnastics to try and get out of her bedroom without the floor creaking. It usually took at least two or three attempts and going back to start all over again.

- Our dog Weston was not on board with a new baby. He was convinced that our daughter was obviously a hairless pink dog replacement for him. He was not amused. Especially when our daughter began to crawl. Of all of us he is the most pissed off we left the UK. We would take him at least once a day to go run in the wilderness reserve right behind the house. Acres of grass and woods to play in. Now we live in the land of green space and he doesn't go beyond the acre and a half we live on most of the time and never goes for a walk.

- The first place my daughter ever went out of the house was Beeses Beer and Tea Garden's in Broomhill, south of Bristol. It is right on the river Avon and half the people that go there arrive by boat or cross the river in one. It was about two minutes walk from our house. A lot of people associate Broomhill with Brislington East or St Anne's, which it isn't at all. Mostly they think of a council estate. I didn't live anywhere near that and my wife and I ended up living in a very cheap very big house for bugger all rent. The road two streets over was filled with millionaire mansions, but because most Bristolians wanted to live closer to the city center the rental prices were amazing. Here's Beeses -:

I had a pint of Stella (I still drank beer then) and the wife had a Coke. We shared some pistachio's. Being brand new parents we had no idea that our new baby looked very much like it had just been born. It just looked like a baby to us. Beeses is a very mellow middle class place to go. Tea and cream cakes, cider and and a sit down - that sort of thing. We sent the in- laws (true conservatives suspicious of all that is different) there shortly after the birth and they came scurrying home claiming the place was filled with heroin addicts.

- Only one time through two children did my wife and I ever experience a "loose hose" moment and have no control over the fudge spraying out of one of our kids. And that was one time when my daughter - less than six months old - sprayed the Brown Menace up the wall of our rented house when we were in the process of changing her.

- I remember finding my daughter's black rotted belly button on the floor after it fell off. I have no recollection of my son's belly button at all. I will have to check with my wife, but there is a chance the dog ate it.

- The first solid food my daughter ate was onion. She was obsessed with it after that. Now her least favorite food is onion.

- The other leading choice of names I had in mind for my son were the ridiculous Benjamin Franklin, the very foreign sounding Rhys and the not-really-related-to-me William Franklin. I think we picked well. My wife did not suggest the name Jet once.

- My wife painted the entire downstairs and even mudded the drywall upstairs whilst massively pregnant. The weekend before my son was born she even helped me dig and lay a stone walkway in the back yard. Champion, she is.

- My wife did not have a good first birth. Problems and complications buggered it up. Not least of all not being able to hold her newborn kid until a good while afterwards. She is not a hippy or prone to that sort of crap at all, but for my son's birth she religiously practiced a concentration technique and listened to an MP3 player of someone blathering on about empowerment and naff like that. My wife had almost total control and lucidity for his birth. It was much more like a tricky poo than a birth.

- My daughter's nickname used to be Eagle Patrol. Then Evel-hump or Evel-hen. Now I call her Pickles or chickpea most days. When I'm feeling lucky I'll refer to her directly as Princess Bonce. My son is mostly called Orby or Oboe nowadays.When he's beingcrafty I'll call him Obotron.

- One of my son's first words was, "tractor."I'm still claiming that the first one was, "sausage."

- My daughter just asked me if we can, "all play our gintars." She means guitar. No amount of correcting her has worked so far. When she was my son's age she'd sit in the case with her toy tractors.

- My daughter says her favorite color is pink. She used to say blue. She has never seen sense and claimed it is the best color, which is brown.

- My daughter used to have an imaginary friend called Super Why. He disappeared about the same time that Sophie The Onion Sniffer and The Potato Monster showed up.

That'll do.


  1. What the hell were you doing in a Welsh techno club? That's nightmares right there

  2. That's where I did my BA. My wife as doing a semester overseas that ended up lasting over a year.

    And it was only a yearlong dalliance with madness. A short while after Welsh techno clubs were avoided at all costs.