July 27, 2006

On the ground

32 odd hours in transit

3 countries

1 unscheduled u-turn

tired daddy.

love you.

July 26, 2006

Languishing in LAX

Flights organized by the world's most frequent flier, punkin, are designed for one thing, and one thing only, to get you to your destination as quickly as is humanly possible.

To feel the invisible red thread of you pulling me home, to cycle through so many sama-sama airports in a single day, its just a journey that takes place in a sense of suspended animation. I lose time on the way back, its like the planes are fighting the sun, like they're desperate to keep me here, to run on the spot while the world rotates beneath us.

I've taken some great photos this week, many of them from the windows of these droning behemoths, and I'll bring them home to you.

It's been a long, strange trip, punkin, I feel like a lot of undercurrents in my life have broken to the surface, and that I'm getting closer to places I'm trying to go in some directions, and further away in others.

The journey of being a parent, punkin, is a long one, and this sense of geographical dislocation I'm feeling right now in many ways mirrors the sense of mental dislocation that sometimes strikes me when I try to reconcile some of the dumber things I do with the incredibly important job that I have to do.

I Love you, punkin, and I can hardly hardly wait for these next fourteen or so hours to be gone, to feel the arms of you and your mother again.

Dancing through Denver

Colorado, or maybe another planet, who can say. At this point, all the terminals look the same, all the polished surfaces and mandated haste begins to blend into eah other. Everything, punkin, is a copy of a copy of a copy. Another hour and it's on to LAX. Time to go get a taco.

Love you,

July 24, 2006

Matrimonial Madness

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It happened, punkin.

And it happened so quickly that it was over before I even realised that it was really going ahead.

Your uncle steve and your aunt vanessa tied the knot, after being engaged for considerably longer than you've been alive, in a very moving and very intimate setting. People laughed, people cried, people blew bubbles and I remembered the rings.

Sitting down this morning to try to get some photos together, we discovered that we had over 600, and that the exercise of winnowing them down to a manageable number was going to be significant.

It is, of course, for this reason that I'm unable to, at this point in time, show you just exactly how glamorous and astonishingly handsome everyone looked. Your father, as is his wont, spent much more time behind the camera than in front of it, but was nonetheless caught out on enough occasions that there is at least SOME evidence that he was there, as opposed to most other major events.

This wedding was also an opportunity for me to meet some members of our extended family that I hadn't seen for in some cases 25 years, and in other cases, ever.

I made some wonderful new acquaintances, not least of them amongst people who just joined my family, and found out that you have a devoted following in Minneapolis and San Diego (massive shout outs to Midori and Judy).

Now on to the important stuff.

I miss you now, more than I thought I would. I knew that I'd be unhappy about spending so much time away from you, but I didn't count on feeling this palpable ache in my arms, wanting to hold you.

I didn't understand that I would spend every waking minute wondering about how you and your mum are doing, or that I would want so very badly to come home to you. The interminable hours of waiting for my aeroplane to land, punkin, are going to be very difficult indeed.

I miss you, so very very much (your grammy says she does too)


I love you.

July 20, 2006

in transit....

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
you'd like it up there punkin, the clouds look like icecream.

there's no bob the builder on the telly tho.

i'll see you when i get home.

free internet during a layover is manna from heaven.

I haven't opened either of my books, or fired up the game playing machine that your uncle harry so kindly lent me yet, i'm saving them for the next leg.



only to economy plus, and only on the San Francisco to Chicago leg, but like the man says, don't look a gift monkey in the teeth. or something.

love you.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Very soon, punkin, I'm going to have to start changing the dates on these posts, as I start to flee eastward across timezones on my way to your uncle's wedding.

It's a strange time for me. I'm sitting in the gate lounge at Melbourne Airport, beyond passport control. I'm effectively no longer in Australia, although the beer's still VB, and there's still broad accents all around me. There's another 40 minutes until my plane boards, naturally your dad was one of the first people through the doors when they started flashing the lights that said 'go to passport control'.

We tried to engage you in some of the airport rituals, like eating a whopper no matter what time of the day it is, but you were apparently more interested in wandering around in duty free. Lucky for your grammy that you reminded me.

OK here comes the smooshy stuff.

Already I can feel a palpable hole in my existence. The gap that exists where otherwise you would be painting my face with enthusiastic, snot ridden kisses. Where your squirming, constantly moving body would be sitting beside me. Where I'll be wondering what you're having for breakfast and if you're doing your now famous ET walk.

I'm going to miss you this week punkin. More than you'll understand until you have children of your own.

I love you.

July 08, 2006

In sickness and in health

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
People tell you, punkin, that it's horrible when your baby's sick.

People tell you that you feel their discomfort with them. People tell you that you wish you could take it all away.

I know my mum told me that. Told me that everytime I was sick, she fervently wished that she could take all of my pain and suffering onto herself, to spare me that.

You've spent the last few days having another bout of gastro. Nowhere near as severe as the first time, so we've been able to keep you out of hospital, but bad enough that you've spent the last two days at home feeling not very happy, and not being able to eat or drink anything very much at all.

The whole time you've been sick, especially all day Friday, when I stayed home to be with you, all I wanted was to take it away from you. I want you to be able to be the happy joyful loud playful exuberant energetic handful that you usually are. I want you to be able to eat, and not have a sore tummy and if that was as easy as experiencing all of your symptoms myself, well then that would be the easiest thing in the world to say yes to. To see your smile again, punkin, I would do anything at all.

This photo, in the lovely new hoodie your Aunty Amy (england) sent, is the first time since Wednesday you've been out of your pyjamas.

You're getting better now, but it's slowly slowly, and you're still pretty unhappy with the whole thing. We'll get there.

Love you,

July 06, 2006

The Not Very Scary Dragon

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It's thought, punkin, that dragons should be in most, if not all cases, scary.

Whilst I'm cognisant of my duty as a father to support you in everything you do, I'm also a stickler for (ok some would say pedant) doing things the right way. And this, punkin, is no way to go about being a dragon.

Dragons, according to most popular literature and wikipedia, are mythical reptilian creatures who are, regardless of their bewinged status or number of feet, universally regarded as scary.

Certainly, your job as Number One Grandchild contains a number of Key Performance Indicators, most of which revolve around being fantastically cute, and I'm certain that many of your seemingly without number legion of grandparents would tell me that I'm setting unreasonable expecations, asking you to be scary rather than cute as a lil button, but I like to think that part of my role as a father is to set you reasonable goals so that you have a sense of achievement in your life.

In any case, this, then, is your dragon outfit. Modeled with your usual grace and style.

Love you.

July 03, 2006

Only in the best places

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
When, punkin, one joins one's parents on a shakedown cruise in a new car, there are some fundamental criteria that should be observed.

Certainly, should the weather be ever so slightly inclement, then any such drive should include a stop somewhere around the furthest point from home for coffee.

And cake.

Naturally, when one is deciding where to drop in for said coffee and cake, one should drop in to the place that is likely to have the best coffee, and ideally the best cake, within the region that one is traversing at the time.


If one is, for instance, somewhere in what is so quaintly known as "spa country" in western Victoria, one should immediately make a beeline for Daylesford, and right off the main road to Ballan is a little known collection of shacks called "The Lake House".

This, punkin, is where you should stop for coffee. And cake. Oh yes you should have cake. From memory it was, in this case, a delicious warming Quince and Frangipani tart, with delightful hints of brown sugar and cinnamon. They didn't have any coffee for you, but you were most taken by the warm frothy milk on offer, along with my biscotti.

I don't know if I've ever told you this before, but your mum and dad had their honeymoon at the Lake House. It's a place that holds a very special place in our hearts. To us, it speaks of love and of togetherness, it reminds us, when we are there, of the special bond that we have with each other.

And that, punkin, is what you do for us every minute of every day. You, Bramble, are the living embodiment of the love that your mother and I share. To take you to the Lake House was a very special moment for us.

One of the things that I often thought about, when you were still either a twinkle in my eye or a rapidly growing tiny person in your mum, was how much I wanted to show you the places that are special to me. That I couldn't wait, for instance, to take you to Healesville to show you the wild cornucopia of creatures that make up our brown land.

Taking you to the Lake House was one of the first steps in that process. A process you ably assisted by taking some of your first steps while we were there.

It's only in the last week or so that you've started to view walking as your primary means of perambulation, and it's a very strange shift in how we relate to you. You're suddenly much closer.

Your grammy has some extra specially exciting news for you, but I'm going to let her tell you.

Love you,

Blonk II - The Quickening

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Of course, whenever something old goes, something new arrives to take its place.

In this case, when I was thinking about how to replace the blonk, I took a number of factors into account. I drew up a mental list of the things I liked about the blonk, and about the things that I didn't like. At the top of that list was something I'd mentioned to just about everyone who'd asked me about the car for the five years we owned it.

"It's great", I'd say, "but it's a little bit underpowered".

Welcome, punkin, to the answer to that problem.

When I started going down the list of cars that would somewhat fill the blonk's shoes, one car kept popping its head up. When I compared lists of this and that and cargo space and does that one have climate control and how many cupholders and airbags and ABS, EBD, AYC, VVT, CVT etc etc etc one car kept not necessarily being at the top of the list but it was always in the hunt.

And then I drove one.

I drove one and I was hooked. I knew I wanted it.

It took about three months to get all of the ducks in a row.

First, I needed to get a new job, then I needed to reach the perfect inflection point that balanced perfectly the difference between how much we still owed on the blonk and how much it was worth. Then I needed to find the right one, (a year old, under 10,000kms, a colour that your mum liked) then I needed to time everything exactly right so that I got the best possible deal. So then we were golden.

Well, silver, anyway.

So here we have it. Nouveau Blonk. Blonk part Deux.

We have, for your inspection and conveyance for the next three years: An MY06 Subaru Forester XT in Premium Silver. But it doesn't have a name yet. Suggestions are warmly welcomed.

Love you,