Being a dad who likes to actual parent his kids, I find that the world is a strange and somewhat gender biased place. As if public toilets were designed everywhere with a view that only the mother would ever take their kid to the loo out in the real world.
What prompts such a strange musing I don't hear you ask because this is a blog post and I am not telepathic nor 'live streaming' (a thing I am told is popular with the young folk these days). Well what prompts this is what happened to me over the weekend.
See sometimes, just sometimes, myself and the ladyfriend have this rare thing called 'disposable income' after the Irish Gubberment steals most of it and then we pay all the bills. On these rare occasions we like to do things that perhaps we did before the two bundles of energy and joy that are our kids appeared. Saturday was one such day. While herself went and got whatever mystical thing she likes to get done that I don't understand, I went off with Nugget and Jellybean for a stroll around the shops and a coffee and cake.
The kids love daddy coffee trips because they get the cake that mummy doesn't let them have. Although the frosting on Nugget's upper lip generally gives the game away pretty quick.
Anyroad, the scene is now set. As we sat there having the chats (Nugget is now three and some change and doesn't shut up from morning to night...sometimes not even then) I was being told about dragons and monsters by the eldest.
Then comes the declaration, at the top of her little lungs, "I need go toilet!"
Tis grand, I say, don't panic.
I get the board out that she can stand on the back of the pram and off we walk at a brisk pace ( brisk here being I don't give a shit about anyone else in the world at the moment of time and am using my 11-month old's pram as a battering ram to the ignorant who don't get out of the way when I say 'Move' ) to the loo.
Only to be hit with the modern world's architectural conundrum: the kid changing facilities and toilets are in the women's bathroom.
Now, it's 2019, I know things have changed. But I don't think I could pull of strolling into a female bathroom and declaring that it is 'Okay, I'm a dad' without having to explain some stuff to law enforcement later. The problem is I am a dad and I have a little girl who needs to use the loo. I decide to go against my normal standards and be one of those jackasses who uses a disabled bathroom: but I can't.
They are all locked.
Not engaged, locked. Security has to come and actually open a room for people to use disabled bathrooms.
Now the declaration has gained in speed.
Tis grand, I say, just close your eyes.
Because now we have to go into the belly of the beast.
Now I have to take my two kids in the men's.
I'm a man. Born that way. Not identifying at the minute as non-binary or a toaster or whatever other hipster thing is used these days. So I can say this without prejudice: men be a bunch of filthy bastards in the loo.
It doesn't matter if it is the one at home or a public one, we cannot keep the damn things clean for love nor money.
As I marched in I spied one cubicle free and thanked the Norse Gods that this was the case because Nugget couldn't wait any longer. Then I found out why it was free. It looked like a Scottish stag party had had there way with the toilet bowl, and that is keeping the description clean and family friendly. After I did my best to scrub it down I plonked my poor girl's posterior on the porcelain and then stepped out of the cubicle. Now I had to manage the art of keeping the door close over to give her privacy, but not so far over that she could lock it, while also using Jellybean as a sort of barrier in the pram.
Deposits were made, butts wiped, and the world was right as rain once more.
But it did get me thinking. What the hell would a single dad do in a similar situation when he might not be as two-fingers to the world as myself. Oddly enough dads are parents as well, they generally like to have their kids go to the toilet without any hassle. But the world seems to have built up places that don't factor this strange thing into the equation. I honestly believe in this modern and enlightened world we live in now, that it is time for the kid toilet to be taking out of the women's bathroom.
Or at least let dad know the super security password to get into the disabled loo a bit quicker than a three-year-old can shit her pants.
Back online, finally, after a month of hassle with my hosting company. Not that I have anything particularly wonderful to say and I am sure my rants go out to an audience of none these days. Still, it's good to be back.
First up: The Migration.
My hosting company recently sold the hosting arm of their business to another company. No big deal on my end, except the new company decided to migrate accounts over to a new server about two months ago. I've been involved in migrations before. They can be a pain in the ass if not planned out correctly. You need to make sure that everything is moved over to the new server and that you redirect things, take a diff copy after the cutover, then test things are all good. The new hosters did none of this. Instead they completely borked my account on both old and new servers.
For about a month there The Bauble is completely offline and since I have it as the single access point for the writing site as well it meant no updates anywhere.
Many mails back and forth with support (which I hated every minute off because they were the sort of support guys who do one thing and then close a ticket without checking everything else) and I finally got the new server working for me. Except then a bunch of my code stopped working. So a bit of a refactor over the holiday season and we are, finally, back in business.
In writing terms I've just finished the second draft of my sci-fi novel, working title 'Duplex Tempus'. I'm pretty happy with how it is shaping up. There are some subplots that I just cut and working through the draft I had a few ideas to change things around, so draft three will be a busy one. The aim is to have the book fully finish in time for Dublin Comic Con in August. Now I had big plans of doing that when working on 'Stolen Stories' and ended up not being ready in time at all. But sure you can't rush mediocrity.
Finally I've had a great Christmas with the family. Compared to last year, which was a little chaotic, we had a nice rhythm to things this year. Being Santa is definitely more fun than believing in him, particularly when the lady friend gets on board with Die Hard playing during present assembly as a 'tradition that we will keep going'.
Onto a winner there I can tell you.
The look on Nugget and Jellybean's faces when they saw the presents was heart warming. Writing about magic in the Filthy Henry novels is one thing, but seeing it in the eyes of your kids is something that would make anyone believe that magic is real. Even though Jellybean is too young to truly get what is going on, the wonder at toys that are his was still great to see. No longer does he have to steal the Iron-man from big sis anymore
Ask anyone that creates some sort of medium which is consumed, such as a comic or book, and they will always say the same question is asked: When's the next one coming out.
People are rarely happy to have the current edition of something in their hands, they want the one that is next. It may not even have been started yet, but they still seek some minute piece of info about it.
In many ways this is a complement. People are interested to know what you are working on now, not what you have just finished. It is a hilariously paradoxical thing to have happen.
Well this post is about what I'm currently working on and have been since Comic Con end.
Now, it might come as a surprise, but my next novel is not actually a Filthy Henry one. It isn't that I have fallen out of love with the character or can't come up with any new plots, far from it. In fact I have about four novels with the fairy detective all in the early stages of planning. He will definitely return. But the current book is something that has been bouncing around my head for a while now.
A sci-fi noir story.
One of my all time favourite books is 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep' by Philip K. Dick. I have always wanted to write a story along those lines, a futuristic detective novel. Over the weekend I finished the first draft of just such a story.
The working title is currently 'Duplex Tempus'. A quick blast of the plot is that the is a machine which allows people to make a temporal copy of themselves for eight hours and somebody is going around murdering people who use the machine. Ideally I will have it polished and finished in time for Dublin Comic Con this summer, currently draft two is under way, but as I have learned Life gets in the way of a writer's best laid plans. So no promises on that front.
After I'm done it's straight back to Dublin's least favourite detective of fairy related cases. But depending how the sci-fi novel is received I may work on a few more. Sure, why not?