Update: Norman Farrell has a fantastic post, which is a powerful mix of both the personal and the polemical (in the best sense of the word) up, here...
We had our first kid, the one with the voice, in the Kaiser Oakland Hospital.
It was a Friday and I got home late because C. had had some false labour earlier in the week, and...
I often lost myself, not to mention both my tracks and everyone else's time, in the lab back then.
Anyway, when I opened the door C. was curled up on the couch watching the VCR-screened TV.
She was not watching a movie or the flickering snow.
Instead, she was watching the seconds tick by.
And her contractions, which were real this time, were only five minutes apart.
We started for the hospital immediately.
She couldn't sit down and her water broke all over the front seat before we got out of the driveway.
And she wanted to push.
But I had to stop her. So I tricked her with all that breathing stuff, which she doesn't remember now and sure as heckfire didn't remember then.
It was either that or I was going to have stop on San Pablo Avenue and get some ladies of the night to help us with the delivery.
When we got to the hospital we couldn't get in at first.
After all, it was a Friday night in Oakland around the time of the Rodney King riots and the front doors were locked.
Then they wanted to send us home for 12 hours because it was our first kid and there had been all that false labour already which, according to the book of ObsGyn means things are supposed to be slow.
Then they had a quick look.
And C. was 8 cm dilated.
Which changed everything, so much so that as soon as they had her in a bed they told her to push.
'Then why the he** did I have have to learn all that breathing sh*t!' she bellowed, sounding more like Linda Blair's voice-over double than my wife as the crowning began.
Bigger E., our ticket to future green cards if ever we need them, was born 15 minutes later.
We have not had our VW (notso) Microbus as long as we have had Bigger E, or even littler e. for that matter.
But it is much older than both of them.
And it has done a lot of labouring, much of which you can see on the odometer, in its 26 years, going on 27.
But here's a funny thing that I had missed.
A short while ago this wee little labour of something or other that I'm writing at this very moment, passed the VW's mileage counter.
Do you think maybe that old two-bit, tin-plated wordsmith himself, Samuel Johnson, was right about fools who write for everything except...
Little bit of bonus, extra, completely and utterly unmonetizeable wordsmithing and/or word (off?) tuning coming up shortly for my Dad who, as a kid, always had his birthday ruined because it came just before school started up again every year.