Impending Dad-ness

pregnancy-testerLife just stepped up a notch.

Well, by just I mean… over the course of the last few months.

It all began in early February, on the eve of a week-long Nelson/Marlborough holiday, when Amber announced to a somewhat tired (an admittedly grumpy) Royce that there were “two lines”. At the time, I had no idea what that meant. In fact, for a moment, I was transported into an unknown alternate dimension where Amber and I use Class A drugs and she was (perhaps) offering to share hers with me. I’d like to think she’d share with me. She’s a good sharer. I bet she aced kindergarten.

Back in the real world (where Class A drugs are seen only on “Border Patrol”) a fairly confused version of myself finally “clicked” when she rounded the corner holding a familiar looking white stick with two definite blue lines. Needless to say… I still needed some clarification. Turns out our week-long holiday was destined to be cocktail-free for Amber, but for a fantastic reason.

This historic, momentous life event that was first realised some five months ago, has since involved a large amount of “oh shit” moments regarding future finances/sleep patterns/sanity. This has also been backed up by many a middle-aged parent who inevitably lean back, twitch an awkwardly wicked grin and announce “you don’t know what you’re in for”. I, of course, do not know what I’m in for. Much like the first time I unwittingly tasted beetroot (which I now refer to as the “devil’s food”) I did not know what I was in for. BUT, the same goes for pizza… and look how that turned out! Pizza is amazing.

NurseryHaving just got over the shock of buying a washing machine (more on that here), I now find myself forming opinions on such things as cots (they’re like beds but smaller – similar to a small, roofless wooden jail cell), change tables (like a cushioned dinner trolley but you don’t eat what goes on it) and wall decals (like normal decals but… you get the point). Our 1/2 bedroom suddenly looks as though a midget is about to go on home detention in the make-believe world of “My Little Pony”.

This whole process (of awesomeness) is now physically evident in the “belly” region of my gorgeous wife and, might I say, she is making pregnancy her b*tch (and looking amazing)! For those of you who are interested – Amber’s 27 weeks through and… we’re having a girl!!

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Maturity via Cleaner Clothes

Wow… sh*t is getting real.

house_drawing_1Ams and I just bought a frickin’ house. And we’re going to live in it. And we’re going to start building a life… all kind of proper-like.

You’ll all know life doesn’t come with neatly packaged pieces of a finite amount. You’ll also know that there’s no one-for-all instruction manual which dictates the order you go about building towards the final product… which then turns out the same for all. You (should) also know that I’m clearly alluding to Lego, which is a frickin’ amazing toy and the day I got my first Fire Station set (complete with a helicopter clearly capable of putting out fires at heights insurmountable by its land-based counterparts) was a day I will treasure forever. Heck, my Dad even put it in a bigger Christmas-present-type box identical to that of my sister’s present so I thought we were both getting the same present. She opened hers first and it was an “Oopsie Daisy” doll. The elation I felt on realizing my present wasn’t ALSO a stupid plastic doll-that-fell-over-and-cried-routinely was very similar to when… our house went all… unconditional (see how I brought it back to the actual topic?). Boom.

stock-footage-clothes-drying-on-washing-lineFurther to this we’re now looking at buying… a washing machine. I know. A frickin’ washing machine.

I’d only just got over the purchase of a lounge suite, microwave and frickin’ “hall” table (apparently these are similar to normal tables but slightly narrower and sits in… the hall… go figure)  some 12 months ago, when Amber decided we needed to buy a washing machine. I responded with the normal ape-like, grunty “Ay?!”. You know… brow down, face aghast and beer at an alarming near-tipping angle. To be fair, I was watching rugby and all I heard was “buy a…”. I was hoping she might be alluding to a bigger TV but… ’twas not to be.

However, after much introspection, soul-searching, two more beers and a nap, I now realise one must bite the proverbial bullet and allow such grown-up purchases to occur. Don’t you worry, I’ll defend my right to wear the same t-shirt two days-in-a-row right down to my dying breath, but one must have clean clothes. The main thing, for me anyway,  is that this must not set a precedent. I’m as wary of throw rugs as I am boat shoes… and resting 50 frickin’ pillows on each and every bed in the house. But I do have an Ace up my sleeve. We still don’t have a decent stereo system. And I need a new mountain bike.

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Momentous Life Events and the Resulting Ramifications

30zoneSince my last post (some many, many months ago) a whole bunch of life-changing things have happened. The life of (The) Royce has evolved, been upgraded to 2.0.whatever, patches and updates have fixed a number of glitches (still more to come) and, as a result of all this (apart from slowing the old operating system down), I’ve entered a new and scary decade of existence AND acquired a metallic growth on one of my fingers. 30 years old and married. Holy crap… shit just got real.

Turning thirty was far easier than expected. To be fair, I didn’t really have to do anything. The process involved not much more than merely existing through a passage of time. The toughest part about achieving this milestone was actually enduring the torrid of terrible cliche comments and jokes from workmates and peripheral friends (I say “peripheral” because my good mates are better than that… OK… not really… they’re arguably worse). This involved numerous references to the thirties being “dirty”, the inevitability of my hair falling out,  getting false teeth and/or hearing aids, a potential impending “retirement” or some form of mention of my becoming an “old man/fart/bugger/git” or being told I’m still a “young buck/boy/person/dickhead” (obviously dependent on the age of the informant/bad joke teller). I can tell you that most of these things have yet to happen, but I continue to be wary of sudden deafness and the need for a hip replacement.

Next up, and more recently, my gorgeous “better half” (insert Dad-joke laugh here… but, in all seriousness, she’s very much the better half) Amber and I got freakin’ married! This also came as no surprise to me (but required a lot more organisation) – as we’d been engaged for over six months – BUT… it was definitely the biggest, awesomest, most amazing day of my life. Better than the day that I first discovered thin-and-crispy crust, supreme Pizza Hut pizza. Better than the day I completed my first Woman’s Day word-find and put all the left-over letters together to form the mystery word! Better, even, than the day I… crap, this a PG-rated show… better than… my first ever… road trip (phewph). The whole day was phenomenal. Leading up to the day I got all the usual advice – “Don’t do it”, “it’s not too late”, “Hurry up before she realizes you hate Home & Away” etc. etc. But, to have that many of your favourite people in one place to celebrate such an awesome day, is absolutely priceless. And I want to do it all over again! But… not pay for it again.

The changes since these big events have been immense. Oh shit yeah. I’ve had to start ticking the “30-35” box on online surveys for starters. It’s been terrible. I’ve found a couple of white hairs on my head, hangovers are becoming almost unbearable and cups of tea are becoming a more frequent alternative to 10am Double Browns…alas. But, it’s not all bad! Nope. I no longer have to pretend to be happy, or avoid the topic altogether(and therefore the building pressure from friends and family), when other couples announce their engagement. Yussssss.

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A Quick Account of Things I’ve Been Convinced On…

When I was a young lad there were moments I could have been seen as, what some might call, a “walking contradiction”. Far be it from me to explain the physics behind a term-of-phrase gaining the limbs and co-ordination required to stroll around all “human-like”… but I often had innate approaches to life that seemed contrary to their objectives.

I was always very curious about life in general, but often to the point of stupidity. In the decade or so immediately following my entry into the real world I could subsequently be found guilty of believing that I could run faster backwards than forwards, that jumping off an old-school (back then they were all the rage) “adventure” playground holding an open umbrella would result a Mary-Poppins-esque floating descent to the ground and that you could get “AID’s” from holding a girls hand too long… and that this resulting “yuckiness” would result in said arm falling off.

I guess this all resulted from a lack of well-directed questions. Had I asked anyone’s assistance or help or guidance on any of the above, I’m sure I would have at least second-guessed my assertions. This lack of questions led me to many “Wow-I-didn’t-know-that-but-always-wanted-to” moments, like the time my sister (at the impressionable young age of 6) asked my father what “(starts with “R”, rhymes with “tape”)” was . I was shocked. I was gob-smacked. I was absolutely dumbfounded that my sister had even said the word… so much so that I cant bring myself to type it. But… due to my historic lack of questionsI didn’t have the slimmest whisker of a clue as to what the hell it actually meant. I can’t remember exactly how Dad managed to fumble his way through an appropriately-vague-yet-satisfactory definition, but I’m sure he did his diplomatic best. I, as always, listened intently for so long as it took for me to be distracted by anything (food/thirst/butterfly/dog bark/spontaneous need to pee), which couldn’t have been much longer than a nano-second.

This rather-dominant trait of being easily distracted was, and continues to be, bad enough but, combined with being inherently lazy AND being a potential Olympic gold-medalist in the time-honoured sport of Procrastination (with a side interest in over-speculation-without-follow-through) in  my teen years, it defies the laws of science that I continue to breathe, walk and talk all these years later. Other assertions I held during my high school years include the belief that having long hair and shouting Rage Against the Machines would lead to a life-time of bikini models, everlasting fame and never-ending fountains of money, that drinking Lion Red and hanging out the side of my best friends ride was something that similarly-aged females found attractive (quickly dispelled by TLC) and that Burger King Double Bacon Cheeseburgers were the epitome of classy cuisine… so long as there were free refills and you asked for extra ketchup.

Things have progressed markedly since my younger years. I have since given up the dream of floating from rooftops with wide-open umbrellas, winning any international track meetings for backwards running and have slowly realised that, although Double Bacon Cheeseburgers are rather delicious, there is a world beyond pizza and burgers… somewhere… in a boring, deprived galaxy far, far away. Yes, it’s been well over a decade since I banged my long locks to the thudding riff of “Killing in the Name” or yelled drunken obscenities from the passenger window of a dumped-out Civic OR a trust-worthy, late-1980’s-model, white-with-small-patches of rust Mazda 323 with mismatched hubcaps… but I’m convinced it was all for a greater good. I’m still unsure, yet very curious, as to what that “greater good” was… but I won’t ask.

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The Big Post-Travel Come-Down

Just ANOTHER awesome part of Italy.

Things are starting to return to normal in the life of Royce & Amber. Yip. The elation and relief of finding full-time paid employment in meaningful, career-progressing positions of fulltime employment is slowly giving way to the blunt reality of the 5-day drudgery that IS the working week. The wonderment of finding the means to fund our retrospective overseas escapades has finally abated and, despite being stoked with our new nine-to-five roles, all those facebook photos we posted with enthusiastic show-off-ness are now but distant memories that haunt us-  like that picture of you when you were five and you had that “awesome” T-shirt that said “Inside this Hawaiian T-shirt is one terrific kid”… but in a different haunting-type way . Yep, we’re now just two of many ex-travellers who compete in any social setting for a story about “how we got lost in Venice and only just made the last bus home”, or “how we drank one too many steins in Munich and spewed in the hostel room and had the worst bus ride EVER the next day”, or “Isn’t the Eiffel Tower/Colosseum/Big Ben/the castle in Edinburgh/that place in Italy so big/beautiful/magical”… but it was all well worth it.

The come-down is something less-reported by travellers. Yes, we’ve had our obligatory “itchy-feet”-itis and, yes we’ve both found our minds wandering back to when we didn’t have to get up early in the morning for anything more than a lazy, iPod-chilling, bus ride across Europe, watching a whole new world roll by in the comfort of a moderately-comfortable, slightly-reclining bus chair. In stark contrast to all travelling stories, the actual come-down is quite the understated phenomenon. Just like no-one posts photos on facebook of them having a crap day, having shin-kicked the corner of the bed that was slightly hidden by the over-hanging duvet, spent $4.50 on a flat white that was luke-warm at best, overcooked their $9.99/kg rump steak from the Mad Butcher or set up their computer to watch a newly-downloaded episode of Entourage on their big TV… to find that their TV is incompatible with the file type… just like all this and all those stupidly-little-but-annoying things that fall flat on even the most reasonable of ears… no-one cares, or even pretends to acknowledge the presence of, the come-down sux.

Entourage = Awesome. Except when you have it and you can’t watch it. That’s definitely NOT awesome at all.

The come-down creeps up on you too. Just like that unsure-which-one-it-was-but-it-smacked-me-in-the-face-and-I-can’t-remember-anything-else-and-now-I-feel-like-complete-ass-today vodka you had when you were in your early twenties and you thought you were immune to alcohol, it gets you at your most vulnerable. This is usually around the time you’ve seen all your mates, celebrated your return with a few beers, settled into some sort of routine (bought a car, found a job, have a roof over your head), caught your figurative breath and then realised that things haven’t changed as much as you’d hope they wouldn’t while you were away, the world still turns, and you’re… back to where you started.

That’s not to say that this downbuzz-of-sorts lasts. Gosh no. Heck no. Frick no. Perish the thought. I wouldn’t take back any of what we did over the last 12 months. It was amazing, mind-blowing and fulfilling. And awesome. Definitely awesome.

What follows the come-down can only be described (in the most optimistic way) as a sense of contentment. A feeling of everything being almost OK in the world (because, let’s face it, there are still, and always will be, a lot of DICK’s in the world). A feeling like when you make the perfect eggs (a solid white with a gooey, runny yolk in case you wondered) or when you wake up on a Saturday morning, concerned you may have missed your alarm before realising it’s the weekend (Yay!), OR (more precisely) when you get home on a Friday, your working week is over (in which you’ve slogged hard for good results – your boss even said so… wow), your “missus” has just had her hair done… so she’s in a good mood, you have a plethora of take-away leaflets to peruse for that night’s feed (and you choose correctly… as always) and then… the Chiefs play at 7:30 that night… it’s a tough game… Kahui makes a few good runs…and… BOOM, they smash the Blues. Contentment… or something like that anyway.

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A Momentary Absence of Awesome

I’ve gotta learn to under-promise and over-deliver. Just as the guy you work with, who has an impeccably clean desk and freshly-pressed 100% cotton shirts, probably has a bedroom resembling an up-turned clothing bin in Queen St Maccas at 1am on a Sunday… I’ve realised I’m pretty frickin’ awesome at spouting off potential awesomeness and then following through with a fistful of bugger all (note the subtle hinting that I may or may not be so “all talk, without the walk” at work). For all of my faults, this perturbs me most. I blame it on my primary school teachers who perpetually filled in my school reports with last-gasp entries such as “can do better”, “good, but could be great” and “he’s a little sh*t” (I think that teacher definitely had me mistaken for someone else… but I have no definite evidence to the contrary). These literary knives in my classroom successes (or rather – lack thereof) have effectively sealed my fate as a perennial under-achiever in the game of life. Well… most of the time anyway.

Since announcing a get-back-on of the “metaphorical” horse in my previous post, there has been a distinct slack-off in my anecdotal updates. This, I’ve found, is directly proportional to the goings on in the life of Royce. Don’t get me wrong, good friends have had amazing weddings (This time the shout-out goes to Dan and Alicia [previously “The Bicklens”] who had an awesome sunset ceremony a couple weeks ago and I had the incredible, nervous honour of singing the gorgeous bride down the aisle), advantageous positions of fruitful employment have been gained, automobiles have been bought and… we’ve found somewhere to live! Auckland… clocked!

I guess I’ve chosen not to emulate the mind-numbing clogging of one’s time that comes from various facebook users (you all know them and you’ve all hidden their posts and sighed a welcome sigh of relief at not needing to hear about what they had on their toast/where they’re having fun that you’re NOT [guilty as charged] and what their son/daughter has just eaten when they probably shouldn’t have). I’ve started a number of rambling posts that won’t (and should not ever) see the online light of an online day… not that this one is much better…

But, just like my beloved AB’s sometimes lose (perish the thought) to the frickin’ Wallabies, just like a mean as night on the beers turns into a less-than-mean-as day after, just as your awesome jokes fall flat the 23rd time you tell them to the same people… there has been a definite absence of awesomeness from this corner.

All there is to say is that, due to life resuming some level of normality in the near future (hopefully), all the everyday twists and turns will be foregone and I’ll return my discerning eye to over-analysing otherwise-boring stuff… because that’s what I enjoy writing about. And, last but not least, Ams and I are back in Auckland. SO, if you’re in our neck of the woods (Stonefields – near Remuera/Ellerslie/St Johns…ish), come and visit and I’ll make sure there’s a cold beer or hot (instant… for now) coffee ready for you.

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Back on the Metaphorical Horse

I know, I know… it’s been TOO long! You’d probably forgot you’d even subscribed to be updated by my incessant ramblings, tangent-taking turns and perpetually perplexing pontifications (sorry, I got caught up in pointless alliteration). Well… Tahdah! I’m back and I’m spell-checking, synonym searching and, as always, talking not-so-credible crap.

First of all, 2012! Wow, that’s come out of nowhere. I wasn’t prepared for this. I spent most of 2010 dreaming absent-mindedly about eating pizza in Italy, drinking beer in Germany, lazing on beatiful Croatian coastlines and trying my darndest to get a reaction out of the Queen’s guard in London by making fart noises in my hands. Then, 2010 came and went and then BOOM, 2011 came with a force I can only liken to those “losing your tummy” moments when you were younger and the family car you were travelling in the back of suddenly dipped and rose on that notoriously crap piece of road heading east towards Matata in the sunny BOP (Can’t relate? Weird) and your stomach was suddenly removed from your lower torso and you couldn’t wait for it to happen again… I guess what I mean to say is that 2011 caught me by complete surprise and hurtled me through so many different cities, cultures, scenery, emotions, languages, carbon-copy souvenir shops and long bus/train/plane rides… that it all seems unreal and that maybe, just maybe, it’s all been just a dream (like the Neverending Story or The Labrinth… or a bad dream – Like Nickelback). And now Ams and I are home and back to the slow-headbutt-against-a-brick-wall that is real life. And we’re loving it. Not the headbutting bit… that, again, is metaphorical.

I mean it. 2012 is gunna be bigger than 2011. No, seriously, it’s a leap year so… 24 hours bigger in fact (sorry for the crap Dad-joke). So far, I’ve found a really cool job I can see myself grabbing hold of and making my female-dog-word, managed to catch the small glimpse of nice weather in an apparently, and relative to years past, crap NZ summer and we have all sorts of wedding-related events coming up (other people’s weddings)… which, of course, involves heaps of family and friends and the odd refreshing beer. A very honorable mention in the wedding category goes out to Phil & Diane who tied the matrimonial knot last month! Awesome day with awesome people.

Yip, 2012 is gunna be an absolute cracker. If anyone knows of any 2-bedroom places going for rent in Ellerslie please let me know AND, should anyone want to, is thinking about, or is planning a trip to India – check out my mate Paul’s sweet as blog here.

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