Before I send you to sleep with the details of 2002 I might as well admit defeat.
Y’see, Today, the 31st of January 2011 is my 40th birthday. The fact that this blog post title is ‘when I was 32’ and not ‘when I was 40’ means that, like a hard core ultra runner on a bad day, I have missed my cut-off time.
In running parlance I am now walking and searching for my second wind. I am making peace with plan A having fallen apart and trying to make up a plan B as I suck on the last of my gels, nurse a sore knee and seized up hamstrings and a blister on the ball of my foot.
For you, it means another 8 days of these posts.
I’m not sure which one of us is on the endurance event – you or me?
Today was the perfect end to January 2011 for me. I skipped work (and have done for the past 20 years on my birthday) as I don’t believe in giving my day to The Man. – You don’t see Jesus working on his birthday, do you?
I saw the kids off to school, chatted with the painter and pulled on the running shoes and struck out on a nice cold hilly 13.2 mile run. This was the longest run since October and it felt good to slot into a nice gentle 8:15 – 8:25 and a low HR.
After this, I picked up the son and heir and we cycled into the city (me cycling, him sitting on the backer). We me a friend (of mine) in a pub called the Long Valley for a big sandwich and a pot of tea. After this we went to our favourite coffee shop – Café Gusto – for a coffee and a cake.
We then pedalled out to my mother’s house for a chat and a few birthday cards (she give me scratch cards for my birthday) and then back home to collect the car and go back and get the mother (she wouldn’t fit on the cross bar).
We then had a tea of cake and wine with a side order of crisps.
I was now an expectant father and apart from the few sympathy pounds I had piled on I was feeling no difference from the pre-pregnancy me. I did notice one slightly worrying thing though – I realised that my normal vanilla sex life had a darker side. I started to find pregnant women highly erotic. Especially my wife. I wouldn’t say the nine months of sexy wife compensate for the future 25 years of sleeplessness and being broke but they are yummy when pregnant – I hadn’t experienced child birth yet, mind you.
So, we went on our usual holiday break – this time to Corsica – the scene of my exploits during ‘when I was 18’. I had visions of us having fine meals, drinking in cosy bars and finishing off the nights with a few glasses of wine and a few books.
Imagine all that with a narcoleptic in tow. Our usual late night holidays had been truncated to half 9 final whistles.
The birth was slated for about the 28th of June 2002. There was lots of attention from the obstetrician (the only time you’ll ever pay another man to grope your wife) and we had to adopt a wait and see strategy. This meant that the next 10 days seemed longer than the previous 9 months.
On the evening of the 7th of July (a Sunday) we were totally fed up. Finola was complaining about some back ache and I was indifferent to it all. We decided to go out for an Indian, during which she went into labour. I was starting to have the early signs of a panic attack. The Jal farazi was gone in seconds and I was looking for the bill. She was having none of it.
She wanted dessert.
So there I sat, in a cold sweat, my legs jigging up and down,and her eating a lemon sorbet – between contractions.
We made it home, she had the bath to ease the pain, I attached the TENS machine and started timing the contractions. Eventually we headed to the maternity hospital and we spent the night in the labour ward. I was chatting to the midwives about night shifts while my nearest and dearest was having her bits stretched.
Finally, at 29 minutes past 7, the machine that goes ping was wheeled in and the man who is good at groping women and sewing up the turkey smiled and set to work. I was handed the scissors and cut the cord.
I was a dad. I had invented children. I had a magic cock.
What I had actually done was change my life radically and give clear purpose to my existence. It would take a while for this to sink in.
the rest of 2002 is trivial compared to this event so I won’t bore you with it.