Monthly Archives: October 2009

Fourteen days that changed the world

Been a long time since we rock’n’rolled, huh? Lest you think I’ve been idling away at Expat Mansions, wilfully neglecting this esteemed journal, let me reassure you that I’ve had one or two things on my mind. Specifically, I’ve been preparing the raw material for what could be my new book entitled “Life: How To Change Everything In As Short A Timeframe As Possible”.

So, cue the Scooby Doo style flashback fade, and let’s take a look back at the last two weeks:

Day One
I wake up at 2am to find The Special One at the edge of the bed, telling me that she’s going downstairs to make herself a baked potato, and that I should go back to sleep. Given that I am Enlightened Man, I intuitively understand that is pregnant female code for either “I have taken leave of my senses and need to be institutionalised” or “I have had a few contractions and I think I’m going to give birth today, so you should rest and relax in preparation for the fact that I will be shouting obscenities at you in a few short hours.”

I plump for the latter, and within a couple of hours, I’m hearing The Special One make the kind of groans that got us into this whole mess in the first place. And, as it turned out, the noises only got louder for the next twenty hours.

From a mother and child’s perspective, the benefits of a homebirth are clear: better outcomes, more control over decisions, and a more relaxed environment for a baby to come into the world. From the father’s perspective, ease of access to your own refrigerator so that you can get the champagne out when your child is born, should not be overlooked. Pink champagne, of course, given that we had a beautiful baby girl at 12:37am on October 1. American manufactured, with British parts – and there couldn’t be a better example of the special relationship between the UK and the USA.

Day two
I’m no expert, but nowhere in the baby manuals do they generally say “if you give birth after midnight, and get to bed at 4am, you should move house later that morning.” But the winning combination of a baby turning up 11 days late, and my wife having an idiotic husband, conspired to cause the movers to turn up less than nine hours after the birth. Suffice to say that my name was mud for some considerable time afterwards.

Day three
My punishment for such a challenging schedule was to clean our old house for seven hours straight. On my own. The arrival of a new tenant was a shock, although the mouse (or small rat) at least had the decency to be dead.

Day four
If I dislike B&Q or Homebase, I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate Lowes and Home Depot. Especially when I get home from buying a brand new microwave, and find that it has a brand new dent in its brand new door.

Day five
Did I not mention that I was launching a brand new corporate website for the company I work for? It’s always useful to have to be sending constant emails when you’re looking after a five day old, and you’re simultaneously unpacking enough cardboard boxes that a passing news crew mistakes your home for the favelas of Sao Paolo. In related news, I also stuck a broom up my arseass and swept the floor as I walked.

Day six
No, you don’t understand, I really hate Lowes. Who knew that not all toilet seats were the same size?

Day seven
Let me give you some marriage guidance advice, should you need it. If you have a child, and you move house on the same day, you’re going to be unpopular. If you then spend a day on telephone calls as you attempt to organize a conference for your company’s senior management team the following week, you should probably keep your suitcases close by just in case.

Day eight
I’ve never spent any time in UK hospitals, so I don’t really have any point of comparison with their US equivalents. But given that the American ‘system’ forces you to pay through the nose for private healthcare, I think that when you race to the emergency room with an eight day old child, you should be considered as an emergency. I mean, I’m sure some people are happy to be able to watch TV in the waiting room; I’m not one of them.

Oh, and by the same token, private healthcare should entitle you to access to someone who doesn’t need five attempts to get a lumbar puncture right.

Day nine
Hospital food in the US is astonishingly bad. If Obama wants to make this country a better place, he could do worse than outlawing the production of hospital meatballs.

Day ten
Only in America would you get hospitals that have 50 channels of cable TV at every bedside, but no water fountains anywhere on the ward.

Day eleven
The best thing about American hospitals? Leaving them. With your eleven day old baby, safely in your hands.

Day twelve
When you’ve given birth at home rather than a hospital, it’s almost as if your child doesn’t exist. Try convincing your healthcare providers to pay for, say, some antibiotics for your apparently non-existent daughter, and you’ll find you’ve got more chance of getting a quick roll in the hay with Megan Fox. And add that freckly girl from Lost into the mix if you think there’s a remote chance of the battle over the subsequent hospital bills being over before the London Olympics. The 2124 London Olympics, that is.

Day thirteen
If you have a child and move on the same day, you’ll be unpopular with your wife. If you then spend a day on the phone organizing an international management conference, you’ll need your suitcases nearby in case you get thrown out. And if you then have to go back to work to actually oversee the conference, you’ll almost certainly have to look into expensive jewellery options if you want to remain married.

Day fourteen
I take my 803rd look at a photo of Brit Out Of Water, Jr taking in the world from her bed. Realise that it’s all worth it.

Brit Out Of Water, Jr.