Mar 23

Parades. Mardi Gras. Parades. St Patrick’s Day. Parades. And repeat.

We’ve had the best Mardi Gras ever. Well, in the seven years I’ve been here anyway. But it was a wee bit mental.

I had four friends come in for the festivities. One mate flew in from Belfast for two-and-a-half weeks, two others originally from Northern Ireland but now living in England arrived for six days, another Ulsterman now residing in California jetted in for the weekend. My wife said it was like living in a frat house.

All four of these guys are old school friends, people I’ve known for more than three decades. So it’s always great to catch up, especially as I am a stay-at-home dad who spends his life with (mostly) mothers at playgrounds, parenting centres and museums. The opportunity to spend some time with old muckers who knew me when I was even smaller than I am now was top notch.

Mardi Gras was really late this year, well into March, and it meant the weather was wonderful. We went to just about every parade then often we went out afterwards, so as you can imagine it made for a busy spell. The highlight was Mardi Gras day itself. A good friend of mine managed to get myself and my three visitors invites to a party in the French Quarter with free food and an open bar, then – even better – he got us onto a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street. Fantastic. More free food, free drink, and free beads, and the chance to spend the evening above the partying throng was truly the experience of a lifetime. We all loved it, although I think I enjoyed it more than the others because I realised how privileged we were to be there: it’s tens of thousands of dollars to rent one of those places at that time of year.

Just four days after Fat Tuesday we had the St Patrick’s Day parade in the city, then five days later Paddy’s Day itself. Crazy. I spent 13 hours at Finn’s selling my books and t-shirts for the bar – had a good day actually, sold 14 copies or something – and felt maybe a tiny bit tired the next morning. And between those celebrations and fiestas and whatnot I was showing around my first-time visitor and looking after my daughter and trying to keep the house clean. It amazes me how a house husband’s life can be so hectic.

So that’s what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been concentrating on the last four weeks. Enjoying myself basically. For shame I know, me being a 41-year-old father and all…

Oh yeah, there’s been some big news about my book! You know, remember that, the reason you are here and everything? But I’ve been rambling on, so it’s probably best I leave that until next time. Come back and read the next post though, I promise you it’s worth it. Now, I’m off to rest up for next year. Peace out dudes.

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