Monday, December 26, 2011


We were a group of six at a dinner party last night but only five took part in conversation. I was there. I ate. I listened. I smiled. I wondered. I drank. I certainly had my thoughts. I looked. I laughed. But I didn't speak.

I didn't plan that. It just happened to be the case. No question was directly put in front of me and nothing was said that would have required me to speak up. Mostly I was just following proceedings. I watched Nathalie fully engaged in the conversation. I will admit I glanced repeatedly at the hostess' décolleté.  Something I shared with Nath by the way, although I don't think she knew I noticed.

But it has to be said. I did enjoy myself tremendously. Not every conversation needs my opinion. Not every conversation needs the swirl of humour I think I can provide. Sometimes all it needs is for me to listen.

When we were leaving I got a hug from Suzanne, the hostess, that must have crushed the so liked décolleté. "You were unnaturally silent tonight. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. I had a great time. Thank you for having us."
"Will you be there tomorrow?"
"I don't think I will but if you promise to wear the same blouse I might make an effort."
"Too much?"
"No, absolutely not. Just perfect."
I affectionately kissed her on the cheek before I turned and headed out.

Nath caught up with me about half way down. "What did you say? She was blushing all over." "You'll probably read it in the morning but I didn't say much at all tonight."

Monday, December 5, 2011


It sounds such a simple question: "Why don't you ask Nathalie to come too?" But for those who know me it is almost a given that a simple question won't be answered with yes or no. So when I answered that it isn't up to me to ask her, eyebrows were raised. Hence the fact that, without waiting for a follow-up question, I started to explain that it would be rather selfish of me to drag her into a situation I knew she wasn't very excited about just so that I could show her off. Just like she won't ask me to go shopping for clothes with her.

Still being greeted with a bewildered look I went on to say that when you love someone you don't ask (pressure) the other to do something you know they don't like. How can you ask that of someone you love when your only argument is that you feel better about yourself? You can't. It is utterly selfish. I know the reasoning that "you want to share time together" and "it will be great" but how can time shared be good or great when one has obviously the desire not to be there.

What I (or we) will do is inform the other about the event and then Nathalie (or I) can offer to come along. 99 out of a 100 times that offer will be followed by "Are you sure?" After which a decision is made. As a result we accompany each other to more functions without any resentment because we chose to be there.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Social workforce

A little over 11 years ago I ran into the first big client I didn't want to take on. Of course I realized that such a decision affected all working at our company and I started thinking of ways to allow for this. At the same time I wanted to find a way to somehow prevent a bad year (by choice or circumstance) causing us to fire people. It took a lot of discussion but in the end I came up with a scheme we agreed on that should allow us to decline clients or having a bad year.

At the time our company was set up as follows: 4 partners, 2 junior partners, 4 assistants and 4 secretaries and 1 office manager. Job security for the assistants and secretaries depended heavily on the partners and junior partners so I thought it would only be fair if they paid a little to secure one bad incident wouldn't lead to unemployment for those.
So I started to take 10% out of the salaries for the partners and junior partners and set that aside. At the end of the year, providing profits were above 200k, the company would match that. Over a 10 year period that would create a fund of around 1 million to cover any set backs.

This month it is 10 years ago that we started it and only once we have taken money out of the fund which currently stands at 975k. This means that the 1st year goes back to its contributors. The remaining amount will allow us to pay salaries and housing for a year without any income whatsoever. I don't think you'll find more security anywhere else.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Looking back

Sitting in two comfy chairs with the bottle of wine and the cheese plate half empty in between us we came to the conclusion that the past 15 years had been successful. Successful is perhaps an odd way of describing a relationship but it fits.
  • Neither of us has picked up a knife and desired to take the others life.
  • We achieved more personal goals during these years then realistically could be expected. Mostly due to the support we gave each other.
  • We visited hospitals with broken bones, cancer and what not but are sitting relatively unharmed in these chairs.
  • We fought many times but a hand was never raised. (Not in anger anyways LOL)
  • We love each other without restrictions and accept the (assumed) flaws we see as part of the whole package.
  • We live separate lives together and it works for us.
  • We long for each others company but cherish the time we are alone.
  • We look back and can only see one instance where we got it totally wrong and would have liked to have done things differently. All other wrongs we did were right at the time we did them, we think.
  • We made love and had sex and still look forward to more.
  • We guarded each other and asked questions later.
  • We agreed on disagreeing many times and moved past those.
  • We are the same and totally different.
But most important: We still smile when we see each other and that is why successful fits.

The waiter asked what we were celebrating. He then congratulated us and wished us 15 more. Simultaneously we said: "Let's see how the next week goes."
It is a work in progress.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

She took me in

It was a normal Friday. After working hard all week we would take some petty-cash and go into the city centre for drinks. But this Friday turned out to be not a normal Friday. In the weeks leading up to this particular Friday there had been several clues as to what would eventually happen had I picked up on it. My co-workers had seen the signs but I had not connected the dots yet.
  • I thought she just easy to talk to but didn't notice I was the only one she spoke to.
  • I thought she was just one of those persons who liked to have physical contact with friends but didn't notice I was the only one carrying her around my neck.
  • I thought she would appreciate me telling her that "I liked the view but that I didn't think she wanted to display her bum to everyone walking into her office" when she, wearing a short skirt, was bending over her desk one time but didn't notice I was the only one ever walking in.
  • I thought telling her "light blue" when she sat on a desk right in front of me would be reason enough for her to cross her legs but I didn't notice that in a room with 5 people I was the only one seeing the colour of her panties.
  • I thought that when she kissed me whilst shopping for lunch she only did that so the guys ogling her would remain at a good distance.
  • I thought laying down in the grass with me was just a way to extend our time away from the office.
Our normal Friday routine was this: Around 6PM, straight from the office we'd go to the pub with six or seven people and start winding down over a few beers and some small bites to eat. We would make each other laugh and play the slot machine a little. We would drink some more, laugh some more and then one after the other would go home. After 5 or 6 hours the last one would leave and I would end up picking up the tab. Then all I had to do was finding my way home. Often it was too late to catch a train and I would go back to the office and sleep at my desk.

But this Friday, like I said, was different. All night she had been near me but that wasn't unusual and I certainly didn't mind. But sometimes we were so close that one of our friends would advice us to get a room. I know I made holes in her stockings that night. With my cigarette! in case you didn't think it was strange enough. And when, after 7-8 hours of drinking, the lights came on in the pub to signal the closing point I didn't find myself alone for once. She was still at my side.
As I was drunk or certainly over halfway to that point she offered to give me a ride and I accepted.

**remember my state when you read the next 'romantic' part**

"Where can I drop you off?" She asked.
"Pfft, I don't know. What time is it?"
"It's over 2AM"
"Okay, not the train station then. How about the office?"
"The office? Do you sleep there?"
"Shhh, but yes I have in the past. I can't ask you to drive me home now can I?"
"You can ask."
"MMmkay........... your home or mine?"

The next morning I woke up in an apartment I didn't recognize. My pants were hanging over a chair and my shirt was nicely folded. I heard a shower running but had no clue as to who was in it. I found coffee in the kitchen and had just taken my first sip when she came out of the shower. "Oh hi, nice home" I said "Thank you for taking care of me." "No problem." She said. "Take a shower and you can take care of me."

Hanneke and me took care of each other for another 6 years... She'll visit me again in October.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Equality...and same sex marriage and cigars

This is a (semi bad) translation of a column I wrote recently that caused some uproar.

Recently New York acknowledged the right for people of the same sex to marry. And even when I wouldn't describe myself as the marrying kind I fully agree with that decision. But should such a vote even be necessary? I don't think so. I think we should abandon lawful marriage altogether.

We live in a world where we say one thing but make laws, or interpret laws in a way, that do not support those words. I know that somewhere in the law there is something like "everyone is equal" but we all know that this is not the case. I know that somewhere in the law it says that religion and state are separated but in truth many things in the law find their origin in religion and although this isn't a bad thing in itself, it can cause conflicts.

And one of those conflicts is lawful marriage. Lawful marriage has become the holy grail for those of the same sex wanting to get married because, due to the fact religion has had influence on how the law was worded, it historically only is open for marriage between a man and a woman.
But what really makes a lawful marriage important is what is attached to it. Most important: the instant recognition as partner and the numerous regulations that come into effect once one is recognized as such.

Just a side step: Take a step back to the French Revolution around 1790 and you would hear the words Liberty, Equality and Fraternity but still women weren't allowed to vote there until 1944. So much for a successful revolution and Equality.

In my opinion we should stop with (the term) lawful marriage. If everyone is equal, marriage by law should be open to any combination of persons and any number. Giving each and everyone the benefits that come with it. That would be full equality. There should remain some sort of registration of course and when one wished to celebrate that fact they could still throw a party. Come to think of it this would finally put a positive spin on the phrase Going into registration.

To be absolutely clear: All the above doesn't include church weddings and what you have. The law states that everyone is equal and applies to everyone. What religions and churches say is up to them. To become a member you have to agree to their guidelines and regulations. As long as those do not come into conflict with the law there is no reason to change those.
When a church doesn't want to marry two people of the same sex that will remain their choice but it would have just as much influence as a men's club not having women as members or a cigar club not allowing cigarettes.

Carry on.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


A little over twenty years ago my friend Peter, who for reasons nobody can remember was called Cor, died in a freaky car accident, just two days after the birth of his daughter Nicole. I've written about him once before describing how, when our group of footballing friends meets, we order an extra beer in his memory when the last round comes up. There is however another story about Cor and one worth sharing.

A few months after Cor had died his wife visited a football match we were playing. She brought Nicole with her and was instantly swarmed by our then girlfriends. A few of which have since progressed into wifes or ex-wifes but most have disappeared all together.
Anyway, after the match we started discussing how sad it was for Nicole never to have known her father, who was a really funny guy with normal flaws. Her mother, Margot, wouldn't be able to tell her too much as they'd known each other for just a year and her grand parents were unable to speak bad about their only son.
So we decided it was up to us to create the full picture and the idea came up to make a book for Nicole with our memories to be given to her on her 15th birthday.

I was assigned as one of the writers and it took us the best part of a year to gather all the stories and writing them in a way they could be read by a young girl. (We got some help from the aforementioned then girlfriends there) We also added numerous photo's and ended up with a 60 page book. A balanced tribute with the good, the funny and also the ugly.

Over the years we received occasional updates about Nicole, Margot had re-married and moved from the region. In all honesty contact was lost except for one ex-wife who was still in contact with them. But Nicole's 15th birthday was coming up and the book had to be handed over. So, very cautiously, contact was established to find out how such a gift would be received and it turned out Margot and her husband were very supportive.
The book went on the way to its final destination.

A few weeks later we gathered for a barbecue and drinks and a young girl holding a book came by, followed discreetly by obviously her mother. "Hi, I'm Nicole. I heard you were coming together here and I wanted to thank you all for the memories." The entire afternoon then was spend reading the book, laughing about the memories and colouring in the blanks for the 15-year-old girl.

Perhaps you ask yourself why I write about this six years later but I never would have if this week we all wouldn't have received a card announcing the birth of a healthy baby girl. With the card was a small handwritten note saying: "Thank you for all the memories, N."

Oh and the newborns name: Catherina Orelia Roxanne

Luckily they call her Kate but I can not guarantee that when we have the opportunity we won´t call her Cor.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Once the storm has settled the smallest of breezes is noticed way more

Nath got the results of her two year check-up on Thursday and to congratulate her on the outcome was swarmed by her friends. And you? I can hear you ask. Well I took a step back. Those who really know me are used to this happening. They know I do care and that I will show it at some point but they also know you could have to wait for some time.

I’ve often thought about it. Am I incapable of instant emotion? Am I that anti-social person some have labelled me with? The answer I found is that although I do experience the emotion I do not have the urge to express or share that at that particular point. Others do have that urge and I am happy to give way to them. This is not entirely unselfish by the way. Once the storm has settled the smallest of breezes is noticed way more. So once I show I care I get better kudos for it.

Back to Nath’s test results. She got the phone call when we were with a group of 8 people and they all moved in on her once the good news was shared. In this melee Nath glimpsed at me, the one person still in his chair. When our eyes met I gave her the slightest of winks and I could see she had caught it.

Today we would meet two friends for dinner but I called them and explained why I thought we had to re-schedule. Being friends they didn’t mind and we agreed not to tell Nath. Next I called the restaurant. Nath had made reservations for four and I wanted to let them know we were only going to be two. They offered to play along and seat us at a 4-person table nevertheless. I want to thank them for that. Not only  could I expand my ploy to surprise Nath a little more. We also got some privacy that way.

So tonight when we entered the restaurant Nath introduced herself and we were led to our table, they had even put 4 plates on it for the finishing touch. As time passed Nath became more and more unsettled about our friends being late. She wanted to call them but I told her they would be on their way already and calling someone while driving I just do not like. She managed to restrain herself.
Finally, they were about 45 minutes late, she sort of asked without really expecting an answer “Why are they so late?” “Because I asked them not to come.” The look on her face I will cherish for some time. I nodded to the waiter and without any words being exchanged he brought us the first course and removed two plates from the table. Two questions fought for the right of way in Nath’s mind and they interchanged while she spoke  “When did, They knew?  we order?” I looked at her in amusement. “Yesterday and I don’t think I have to answer the other one.”
“And now, so we can enjoy the rest of the evening in peace, I want to congratulate you on the outcome of the tests.” I said handing her a small jewellery box.

We had a peaceful evening.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

harmless hopelessness

A priest, a rabbi and....

Usually this is the start to some sort of joke but today I actually found myself in a discussion with a priest and a rabbi. Okay, I can see the humour of it but attending a charity function I never would have foreseen that I ended up in one.

Our company has a few charities it supports. Some just financial, others a bit more. Today one of the a bit more charities was organizing a fund raiser and because I had to skip the last two functions it was my turn to attend. Hurray! At least I got the joy of telling Nath she had to come with me, for once. Anyways, I expected a quick visit, bid on a few pieces of art for the office and ending up with taking just one or two home. However...

When the auction started it became clear that the pieces I wanted were getting enough interest from other bidders and it being a charity auction I declined getting involved. Then a very colourful painting was shown that I had missed during the viewing. The crowd murmured. When I took a better look I understood the fuss. Although not entirely clear you could make out a jesus figure being stabbed by a devil, who in turn was going to be stabbed by a god and in the right bottom corner there was a baby, walking away from it all. I was interested but how hard the auctioneer tried he didn't get an opening bid from elsewhere. I tilted my head a little and yelled: "1.500".
It was the quickest 'Once, twice, sold' of the day. Nath nudged me and whispered: "I don't think you made any friends." I looked around and had to agree with her.
A little later I was done for the day when I managed to outbid someone on a statue of a  female torso called "The Beauty of Imperfection". It has two beautiful shaped breasts but one an A and one a C-cup.

At the desk where I was paying my debts a priest and a little later a rabbi came up to me. They wanted to know why I had bought the painting and if I would put it on display somewhere. I told them I bought it because I liked it and that I would hang it in the reception area of our office. We ended up having a lengthy discussion why a 'murderous' god should or shouldn't be on display. Nath witnessed it all with great amusement but didn't offer me any help. I believe she called it 'The joy of seeing harmless hopelessness' afterwards. To make a long story short the priest, the rabbi and I didn't come to an agreement and eventually they gave up.

On the way home we dropped the painting and sculpture off and I thought it would be nice to hang the painting on the wall so everyone would notice it in the morning.
"Hun, ..."
"One sec, I'm almost finished."
"But you have it upside down..."
"I know, but wait till it hangs."
"Wow, that is a great painting."
"Thank you."
"Umm, you didn't just come up with this now. Why didn't you tell this to the priest?"
"And miss all the fun?"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fashion clothes

Coping with the hottest Easter weekend for 110 years and at the same time enjoying a drink with some friends outside a bar once more the topic of my fashion sense came up. A few weeks ago it had been the start of a lively discussion with one of Nath's friends and today she came back for more.
I don't mind. I think of it as an attempt to understand me and even though most attempts to do so have failed because it requires them to leave their comfort zone I will answer the questions.

First of all let me explain how I see things. You have clothes and you have fashion.
Clothes we have agreed on to wear in public places and shed in designated areas.
Fashion however is entertainment, perhaps even art. And as with all entertainment and art some will like it and some won't. Some will know it is around and some will live it.
I'm assuming you know that I don't live fashion BUT I do like it.

The 'problem' with me is that I wear jeans with a white t-shirt underneath a buttoned shirt. Every day, whatever the function, for the past 25 years now. At the moment I have 14 pairs of jeans, 2 of which are black, the rest blue.
So far this has been just clothes talk. But the 'problem' or fashion part is where the questions start. The jeans are all the same manufacturer, size and shape.

Question1: Why? Easy, because they fit and feel comfortable.
Q2: But why not a different shape? Easy, because these fit and feel comfortable.
Q3: Don't you want something different sometimes? Why would I? These fit and feel comfortable.
Q4: Do you have any fashion sense? Probably more then you assume but I don't do fashion. I wear clothes.
Q5: But don't you want to look nice? Assuming that you are not trying to offend me I'd say: "For whom?"
Q6: For the people around you. For those who see you. Don't you want to look nice for them? I'm wearing clothes so I don't offend them. I think I do my part there. But let me ask you a question.

Counter Question1: What is wrong with my clothes? Nothing. But except for the shirt they are always the same .
CQ2: And why is that a problem? It isn't. It.... it is just the same.

I could say that I'm making a statement with the way I dress. That I don't care about the outside and only judge people on what they do and what they say.
But I'm not trying to make a statement. I only want to wear clothes that don't bother me. Clothes that don't make me spend energy on thinking what to wear. Clothes that are perfectly fine and neutral. Clothes that fit and feel comfortable......And I do wear pink shirts. ;-)

Friday, April 8, 2011


I feel as if everything goes the way I want it to go.
That's a nice feeling but the reality is, of course, that not all does go the way I want.
I've made a habit of ignoring the things out of reach for me to change.
And then suddenly you get that opportunity to finally change something you've ignored for too long and your world becomes an even better place because ignoring doesn't mean it doesn't irritate you at some level.

For some time one of our employees has hinted at quitting as some kind of leverage to have the things she wanted done get done. So today when we during a policy meeting discussed and agreed on changes to certain aspects of our bonus structure she, once again, played that card.
"If this really is how we go on from here, I quit." she said. "Accepted." I replied and looked at one of my partners. "Yes, accepted." she said which meant we didn't need our third partner to agree.
Seven people in a room and seemingly not one was breathing. Absolute silence.
"But I...." She started saying. "Don't make it worse, you tried it one time too many, just go." our third partner, who had come to her defence more then once, chipped in.

And she went, adding one more thing to my ever growing list of things that go the way I want them to go.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Great week

I'm putting the finishing touches on what has been a great week. Monday and Tuesday I was able to put the finish on two projects that have been running for 3-4 months and late on Tuesday I was asked to read a format for a TV-series or documentaries about sporting kids that never managed to fulfil their promise.
A kind of what ever happened to.... for the never became.
A few potential names were dropped and now we are trying to see if anyone is willing to speak about it. It will be easy to get someone from 'das Umfelt' in front of the camera but I'm trying to find out if anyone from the Nike's and Adidasses of this world is willing to speak about 'failure'. Some of these kids were awarded multi-million sponsorship deals and I want to know their take on it.
Even without, it sounds like a series I'd watch and would happily sign onto to try to make. But without, it will be harder to find financing for it.

Then yesterday I was joined in the elevator of our apartment complex by one of my neighbours and my "How are you doing?" became a lengthy discussion about financing. He had been turned down for the third time by a bank for a loan and his outlook on life had become rather depressing. In the end I asked for the proposal he'd given the banks and promised him I would read it and perhaps make a few calls.
This morning, after two hours of phone calls, I was happy to tell him that if he was fully committed and willing to part from 35% of the revenues I had found him his money.
This afternoon he accepted.

And finally this evening. Nath and I took a city bus to go out for dinner. (She wanted to have a few drinks so driving was not an option) We were both in a good mood and during the ride were asking each other silly questions like best sport? worst colour? best light? and so on.
We noticed the elderly lady in front of us was listening in and Nath decided to have some fun at her expense. When I asked about her worst experience she answered: "Having sex with two men." You could see the woman react slightly. Then Nath asked about my worst experience. "Putting the cat down because I wanted to go on vacation." I answered. The woman started to make movements. "So what is your best experience?" I asked. "Having sex with two women." She said without thinking. "Oh no, wait, the best was selling the kids so we could have our freedom back."
At this point the woman turned and told us we should be ashamed of ourselves. I was trying hard to not burst into laughing but Nath had everything under control somehow. With an icy cold tone of voice she said the classic words: "Huh, what's wrong about sex with two women?"

At this point I couldn't hold it in any longer and almost fell out of the seat laughing. Luckily our stop was up next and we could run. I wonder what the woman has been thinking about all evening. The sex or us?

Have a good one all.

Friday, February 25, 2011


As it turns out my reasoning as described in my previous entry was spot on. Nathalie admitted she wouldn't have liked me being asleep while she was going away and after some pressure from me for an answer she agreed she probably would have asked me to make myself useful had I been awake.

She couldn't explain however why she worded it the way she did. All we could come up with is that somehow by asking me to get up she, subconsciously, thought she'd owe me. But we're well past that stage in our relationship where you 'balance' favours against each other so even subconsciously it shouldn't be a factor. In the end we agreed that next time she would just say/ask what she wanted. Just to make my life a little easier.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


When she says that she has to get up around 6:30AM to catch her plane and tells you to not get up what do you do?

A. Listen to her and get yourself some earplugs so she or the alarm won't wake you?,
B. Make sure you wake so you can watch her get dressed and know what you'll be missing out on for the coming week? or
C. Set your alarm for 6:00AM and make her breakfast so that she knows why she will come back?

My decision?
Well I do like to follow her advice so I was tempted to choose A but I know that it wouldn't have gone down well. Even with her telling me not to get up I know that part is more or less 'make-up' for the real message.
So I came to B as my preferred choice but should I just lay there and watch her, I know "as long as you're awake and doing nothing you could make me some breakfast" was a sentence highly likely to be targeted at me.
Thus C became my only option, which is strange as she clearly told me not to get up. It would also give me the "You shouldn't have done that." at some point. (It did, btw)

I know when I tell someone not to get up I want him or her to actually not get up. And so I ask you: Why didn't she just tell me she had an early flight and would have liked me to get up also to make breakfast? Why make it this complicated? Is this a female thing? 

I guess I hear the answers in a week's time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shut up ;)

Luckily Nath and I disagree on quite a few things but we do agree on some stuff also. The most holy is probably this: When one is making dinner the other one only comes in the kitchen when asked to help. So last night when we were disagreeing on something she said that I should shut up. I asked if I could point out something unrelated but her "What part of shut up don't you understand?" more or less answered that question. I quickly grabbed some bread sticks and ran off hearing "Sheesh, we're going to eat in a minute!" follow me. I whispered: "I doubt that."

Fifteen minutes later Nath noticed she forgot to turn on the oven.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Penny for your thoughts

I thought Nathalie was reading a book but obviously she had been observing me when she asked if any of my thoughts actually stuck. According to her my facial expressions whilst playing some Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook weren't in line with the games I played so she concluded my mind must have been occupied with some other stuff.
I really had to think about it but I hardly could remember any of my thoughts even though I know I had them so to answer her question I had to say no.

But which thoughts are running through my head during Bejeweled? They are clearly important enough for me to give attention to but not enough for me to remember. Is this the awake version of the resetting mind? I'm both puzzled and intrigued but not enough yet to start digging for answers.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Feed the hungry

I was already halfway through making dinner when Nathalie called that she wasn't going to make it and would grab a bite on the way. A shame really as I had started the chicken I marinated yesterday already. No way back.

A little frustrated I continued, realizing at the same time I had done this to her on perhaps even more occasions. Luckily my mood got better with every step I took towards completion. That's when I heard my neighbour come home and decided to see if she wanted to share dinner with me. The fact Simone is a few years younger, easy to talk to and not at all bad looking has of course nothing to do with my invitation. It's just that I had food to spare. She accepted and came over, bringing a bottle of white wine.

We had a great time eating and drinking and talked about pretty much everything. I now know that my neighbour is addicted to chocolate, single again, looking for a career change and thinking of having a child even if it so happens that there isn't  a man in her life. Why I also know that her breasts have such a different size that she has to have custom made bra's and which sexual positions she favours is beyond me. It must have been the easy-going atmosphere.

After putting most of the dishes in the dishwasher (it came with the house and I gave in after 6 months of not using it) and a quick thank-you-for-dinner-kiss (on the cheek) Simone went home. She has promised to return the favour one day and I'm looking forward to that.

When Nath came home she looked around in the kitchen and asked if I had eaten all the food myself. At which point I, being me of course, had to tell her I had taken a younger version of her for a test run. And left it at that.

Curiosity in her eyes.
(She's asleep now and will probably read this tomorrow.)

Friday, January 21, 2011


Amongst the stormy conversations and bad news discussions there was something that made me smile this week. Twice somebody told me confidentially that an old employee of us had gotten a promotion. So confidential as it was I decided to call him to congratulate. Here is how it went:

Me: "Hey Tom, this is H, I'm calling to tell you you have a confidentiality problem."
Tom: "Huh, we don't. We run a tight ship here."
Me: "Okay, if that's the case I have to tell you something, confidentially of course."
Tom: "Shoot, it is safe with me."
Me: "Yeah okay, well congratulations on your promotion then."
Tom: "What? How? Damn, the decision was only made yesterday."
Me: "I know. I was told that too, confidentially of course."
Tom: "Anything else I need to address?"
Me: "Yup, you need to get a better bonus deal."
Tom: "Oh boy, we have a problem indeed. Can we meet for dinner?"
Me: "Sure, call me next week or perhaps even better: Put it in your schedule. I'll get note of it soon enough."
Tom: "Funny, I call you next week."

If there is something I can really take pride in it is the fact I'm a vault when it comes to information that is private or confidential. Because I don't share that sort of info people often assume I don't have it and combined with my reputation that I don't share they start telling me all sorts of stuff. It doesn't make sense really but it is the way it works.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day two of the feared weekend

This day started with a family gathering of the other half of my family. I think it was the first time that I have seen my entire family in one weekend. There is a good reason for that. Not that I dislike them but they get on my nerves with little things I don't want to be involved in. Because of that I limit the get together's to a minimum.
This one however I was called upon to mediate over some issues with an inheritance. I thought having this meeting on a Sunday after many had gone to church would mellow the mood but the sermon must have been aggressive when I go by the reactions later on.
Anyway, I listened to the different arguments and listened some more to the same arguments before I decided I'd had enough. I asked if they could agree on respecting my advice as binding before I gave it and somewhat surprising they did. They even went as far as handing that in writing to me. Not something I'd asked for by the way.

For me it was funny in a way. Here I was, the youngest of the lot, getting all the attention as if I was Delphi's Oracle where not so long ago they didn't want my views even if I had paid for them to listen. But, in all honesty, they took my advice without complaining. I saw a few disgruntled faces but no words were spoken. After I finished I got an applause which I found a little over the top but savoured anyway. After everything was put in writing and all had signed I had to leave in a hurry to be in time for the last obligation of the weekend. Tuxedo time, Yay! (sarcasm once again)

Nathalie had been invited to a concert where the B's would be played. She made clear it was very important to her that I came so I promised I would go with her. After which she told me the B's stood for Brahms, Bach and Beethoven, that is was a formal thingy and that I had to wear a tuxedo. LOL, (Do you think she knows me?)
Although I feel as being put into a straight jacket wearing a tux I have to say I was able to enjoy the music. A good mix from the more festive compositions the three have made and performed brilliantly. Next to that I managed to escape most of the boring conversations and on the one occasions I almost got trapped into one Nath rescued me. She must have seen the anxiety on my face. I'm glad I went for Nath's sake and the dinner we had afterwards was perhaps even better.

Looking back I don't know why I feared this weekend. I survived the family, we are a few signatures away from a profitable deal and I scored good points with Me Lady.
Again next weekend? I don't think so, LMAO (or any other weekend for that matter)


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day one of the feared weekend

If there ever was a weekend I'd run from it is this one. I have 4 things scheduled and I don't really like any of them. But I don't have any excuses to not honour them so I have to bite the bullet.

Day one: First up was a meeting with a client. Whatever promising work may come from a meeting I just hate to have them during a weekend. I will work during weekends but I don't like to involve clients in that because then it gets a planned thingy. But I guess having a client make a stop in Amsterdam during a trip from London to Hong Kong is enough of an ego-booster for me to make an exception. I'm optimistic on getting the job so perhaps I should count my blessings and shut up.

Next up was a family meeting to plan for a party later in the year. Yay! (sarcasm) I took a seat at the back and have to say I don't know what was actually said or agreed on. I figure I get an email some day telling me what I need to do. The reason I didn't take an interest in the conversation is that I got my mind in a twist over the use of nicknames, probably helped by the fact I don't like to plan these things. Afterwards there is always someone to comment and I don't want that aggro.

Back to the nicknames. Hardly anyone uses my first name when they call me. Most of my family members and friends call me Huis or House. A short version of my last name, which I only share with my dad since my sis got married. All the other brothers and sisters have different last names as they are family through marriage. So it is kind of unique enough to be used in gatherings.
House became popular when the tv-series started. I just hope they don't see me the same way House is often perceived, arrogant, anti-social, brilliant and over the top self-centred.
Nath and my closest friends call me H. Strangely enough they all use the English pronunciation which in itself has led to occasionally calling me Aids. This in reference to my birthday that coincides with World Aids Day and some of the charity work I've done. Using Aids has raised a few eyebrows from not-knowers though and I don't accept that from just anybody.

And with that I occupied my brain for the best part of two hours only interrupted by accepting a beer or two. Oh, I can't wait for day two. (sarcasm again)


Saturday, January 1, 2011

A look back but not a break down

I don't really like to keep looking back. Being an evolutionist I can only explain the fact we are unable to fully rotate our neck by declaring it wasn't meant to be but I can't let my 2010 get off that easy.
Personally I've had a perfectly divided year. The first three months my focus was on moving and decorating, with work suffering. What followed were six months of hard work and some rebuilding the relationship. It wasn't needed but had to be done if you know what I mean. And then the last three months I've been dealing with the hernia/pain but also rediscovered my passion for writing columns.

Moving must have been the best thing I did. The hard work is rather normal and the pain is slowly going away. Let's hope it won't travel with me for long this new year. The most enjoyable though was writing again although some of the reactions I've gotten my 'policeman-brothers' qualify as possibles-to-get-serious. For now I just rank them as not-too-fond-of-my-writing.
But really, I do like to turn my attention to things that are not part of my normal life and have my say about them. And yes I do like the reactions on them. I always hope to put a smile on people's faces but I know now that I don't always succeed. I do better this year.

Oh...and thanks to my companion for the last 15 years. You made the hard times lighter and the light times harder.