And the Fifth Horseman was called Kaos


Before anybody goes throwing The Book of Revelations at me, that's a reference to a Terry Pratchett story in the title.

The ladyfriend suggested that I post this rant, purely because we were laughing at a string of bad luck we've had recently. This isn't to say that what is about to be told is THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING TO EVER HAPPEN...but you can see how all the tiny bits one after another might make people see pink elephants drinking tea from china cups.

The conversation started because we are, once again, in the midst of a house of illness and sickness. I am starting to think there is a ghost in the attic who sneaks out at night and infects us all while we sleep. As we handled yet another four-way immune system assault, the ladyfriend said: Nobody would believe all the crap that's gone on the last eleven weeks.

Eleven. Weeks. We aren't even talking a full season here, just the last eleven weeks.

Travel back in time, using words, to when Jellybean was born. A fairly standard birth, with the emergency C-section being an obvious hiccup.

But then you add in that the ladyfriend was bleeding out on the table because of complications and we start the first of our little hiccups.

Next up, her recovery. Owing largely to the complications mentioned just there, the ladyfriend picked up an infection. Meaning she had to spend more time than normal in the hospital before we could get herself and Jellybean home.

Once home, everything should be plain sailing, right? Not so. Jellybean, after his first few days on the Earth, reveals to us, in ear-shattering ways, that he has colic. Colic! Meaning you spend about 12 hours a night passing the floor trying to calm him down enough so he will sleep for five seconds, all the while not trying to kill anything and everything else in the world that makes the smallest bit of noise.

Hiccup number three.

Except as you are trying not to kill things you find out that Nugget, now a big sister, has a cold. Worse, when she gets a cold her ongoing lung problem means she coughs like she is trying to evict the lung from her body. This goes on for hours at a time during the night. Now we are in the delicate dance of getting Jellybean over only for Nugget to wake up screaming for help. Just as we help her out he wakes again.

The pink elephants are multiplying.

Next up, Jellybean's skull is slightly misaligned on his neck. This causes him incredible pain. Using all the communication skills a three week old has at their disposal he screams for hours on end.

Luckily the ladyfriend finds a solution for this and a few trips out to Mullingar gets his head aligned correctly. I won't count that on the overall hiccups, but it still happened.

Moving along, we have the head aligned and a snow storm hits. No big deal, this is Ireland. The weather is crazy. The annoying bit isn't that shops run out of bread (seriously how much toast is needed during a snow storm) but that the water goes. As in, completely. Now we have a very smelly house and worse still the ladyfriend is at risk of infection because she needs to shower daily until her wound heals. As it turns out, our next visit to the hospital for a check-up reveals just that. She hasn't healed correctly, a minor infection has appeared and her bloods are not looking great.

Hiccup four and five people.

Along comes Jellybean's next parental surprise: he has extremely bad reflux. All babies, to some degree, have reflux but according to the doctor Jellybean is so bad he needs a special medicine.

Otherwise he screams after eating, then gets sick, then screams because he is hungry.

The pink elephants have now invited over some blue kangaroos for dinner.

Things were quiet then for a few days. I think Jellybean reached five weeks before he got conjunctivitis. All because his loving big sister, with dirty hands, thought poking him in the eye one day would be fun.

Hiccup seven: a baby with conjunctivitis is a scream (see what I did there :) ).

Now we move into the fun stuff. Nugget gets chickenpox. Not a bad dose, not exactly a mild dose, but Nugget is gunning to be the youngest person ever to win an Oscar for overacting when sick. When she is sick you KNOW she is sick because she will not stop screaming/crying/seeking attention. I had to stop mid shit one day to sort her out because the ladyfriend was hip deep in Jellybean shit :)

Hiccup number eight.

Now I know the next bit will garner now sympathy for me, and rightly so, but during the Chickenpox situation I had a level 2 manflu. The bad part of this is that it some transferred to the ladyfriend, who got level 4 manflu. We will only count her one.

Hiccup nine.

So we got over that whole thing, Jellybean thankfully coming out without chickenpox because that would have been a riot. Then, just because it would be fun, Nugget's chest thing flared up. Meaning she is now on a double dose of her inhalers for the next few weeks.

Hiccup ten.

We are now at week seven of Jellybean being in the world.

Weeks eight and nine were more or less alright. Nothing too crazy, except when we got to the weekend of week nine. That's when Nugget decided to catch strep-throat. Let me tell you I nearly marched down to the creche to find who she had been kissing! Anyway that weekend was a pukey Nugget, a moaning Nugget, and an out of hours trip to a doctor to get her antibiotics.

Which was when we learn not only has she strep-throat but has also hand-foot-and-mouth. Apparently it was the tail end of it, but it was still there.

Hiccups eleven and twelve for those keeping count. I'm not even sure the pink elephants are sticking around at this stage. You couldn't make this stuff up.

To add to the fun Jellybean caught a cold, bad, and so did the ladyfriend. I appeared to be alright, but Nugget was really sick.

Of course her chest thing, being always there, saw that her immune system was busy fighting something else and out comes THE CROUPE! Now we are back in the land of her coughing all night, Jellybean waking and crying, Nugget waking and coughing and crying and the ladyfriend getting about three hours of sleep over two days as we alternate who looks after which terror child.

Hiccup fourteen!

Today, as I type this, I've a cold. But again, we won't count that. However the ladyfriend has just been down to the doc and it turns out she also has a chest infection and needs some meds.

Hiccup fifteen, hot off that presses!

As I said at the start of this rambling rant, there are people out there that go through worse. But when you are in the micro-scale view of just your little part of the world you have to wonder: What the hell did a young family do to get all that bad luck in a three month window.

I must have pissed on a Gypsy gravesite or something.

Let me tell you this though, if it wasn't for the ladyfriend being my anchor in this I would have "gone out for a packet of smokes" ;). When we were in the height of each Hiccup she would pull marital rank and say what was to be done so that both of us got minor respites during the madness.

My guess is the next event to happen from the kids health will involve an alien bacteria and a xenomorph.


Filthy Update


If that title isn't the very definition of a click bait title I don't know what is.

So, where the hell is the next Filthy Henry novel? Well it is, finally, in it's final format. Which basically means that I have sat down, taken all the individual chapter files, and smashed them all together into one big monster file. With Dublin Comic Con coming down the line in August I have been working on the book pretty much ever spare second that I get.

Of course having a newborn and a toddler with chicken-pox doesn't exactly leave a lot of spare seconds :)

Now comes the cover design, which basically will involve me doing a lot of random doodles in my sketch pad because I have no idea what the cover for this book is going to be. Recently I have been thinking about redoing all the covers for the series, but for now I will be sticking with the current style. I might even make the current style a 'con only' design...we shall see.

Story wise this is the longest Filthy Henry novel I have written and i was cutting stuff out of it with a vengeance as well. At the minute there are 620 pages of story.

That's about 170 more than were in Accidental Legend. That number may go down slightly as I have one or two little areas of plot that are niggling in the back of my head, but even then it won't go down by 150 pages.

Now to let the brain unwind a little and ponder the two new Filthy Henry story ideas I've been mulling over the last year and a bit.


It Expands


Now that the dust has settled I've finally got some time to post an entry.

Some friends of mine from shores foreign have a funny phrase about children. One is to none as two is to a hundred. I usually laughed when it was said, but damn do I see what they mean now. Having a newborn and a toddler at the same time is like having a house in the monkey house of a zoo.

But that just brings me to the point of this rant, to welcome the newest addition to the Jester House: our little boy Jellybean (as he will be known here because I never use real names). Born on Feb 17th 2018, at 14:13, he arrived in the world without too much drama, answering a big personal question I had been asking myself on and off for a while.

How in the hell do you love two kids equally?

It is a daft question I know, but the mechanics of it all are something you rarely hear people talk about. I come from a multi-kid family, I have friends who have multiple kids, but at the end of the day we'd (myself and the ladyfriend) just spent the better part of three years loving just one kid. Nugget has grown to be a bundle of madness wrapped in a cute smile, but she had been the sole objection of our affections all that time. The ladyfriend on numerous occassions had said to me 'Did you ever think you could love something so much?' when talking about our little girl.

I hadn't, I honestly hadn't. Becoming a parent you get some questions answered automatically, like at a genetic level. Like how deep would the hole be for the person who harmed your child.

Fun fact, it will be very deep and dug before it needs filling because I am not going to risk getting caught digging a hole with a body.

But then how does all that love get split amongst two? Surely the first born suffers while the new kid only gets half of the original love.

Turns out the heart expands. Just like you always have room for dessert even after eating until you bust, the heart has extra compartments that only get brought into use when needed. Looking down at Jellybean as he was only a few seconds I felt all those same feelings I had at Nugget's birth, but just as strong. Not lessened, not diferent. His own spot, right beside his sister's, in my chest.

With the brain adding in "So, it's two holes next time? Grand, I will include that in the plan."

Just as with Nugget, the arrival of Jellybean did not go exactly to the ladyfriend's plan. We went down one road and after a while the medical types came in and said that it wasn't meant to be and we should go for a section. Which was fine, as I said to the ladyfriend my goal coming into the hospital was to leave with a wife and newborn. The how that came about was just semantics (with the obvious cavet that the wife was the one I walked in with and the newborn was mine and we didn't just pick one up on the way out). Of we went to the operating theatre and along came Jellybean.

It was the follow-up that went a bit differently to Nugget's arrival. For whatever reason the ladyfriend hit a few issues on the table, so myself and Jellybean had some father-son time while we waited.

We waited for a while. Over an hour. This was actually a bit of a concern if I am being honest. We were brought to the same waiting room as when Nugget had been born, so I thought everything was fine. But as the minutes stretched on I began to think that something wasn't right. Of course it didn't help that I overheard two midwives chatting outside the door, in what they probably thought were whispers but I have very good hearing, asking had I been told yet.

Told what?!

It turns out I had not been told that herself needed some extra attention during the closing part of the birth and also some blood to be transfused. While I am sure there is a logical reason to not tell a new-dad his partner is having problems, a little heads up would still have been nice. If no heads up, maybe not discussing it just outside the door.

But it all ended well, so I guess I can't be too miffed.

Once again the ladyfriend was the real champion of the entire affair. Going through all that crap for nine months and then labour, to say she continously impresses me as a partner, wife, friend and mother is an understatement.

To close, welcome Jellybean to the world. Let's go and have some adventures. Nugget is already running down street and ... FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WILL YOU STOP JUMPING IN FRONT OF CARS.