Well, Claire and I have survived our first two weeks as new parents. It has been amazing, watching Suzanne change and grow. I guess she put on a whole pound last week? Crazy! Sorry I don't have anything more profound to say about this experience, but I am really tired right now... We have been getting about 4 hours of sleep a night for the last two weeks, so my brain is not exactly firing on all cylinders at the moment.
It's strange being a freelancer because my "paternity leave" could technically last as long as I want it to... the only problem is that when I'm not working, I'm also not making any money. So on Monday, which is also somehow February 1st, I'm going to get back to work on a few projects. I'll still be spending a lot of my time taking care of Suzanne (and Claire while she continues to recover) but I'm going to try and start getting a few hours of work done each day, instead of just a few minutes, which is all I've been able to manage these past two weeks.
Speaking of working... a week or so ago I grabbed my ruler off of the little cardboard rack that is attached to my drawing board and it cracked in two. There is a rubber band that goes across my ruler to prevent it from falling off the rack, and I guess each time I have grabbed it, it pivots on that point, causing a bit of tension. After doing this who knows how many thousands of times, the ruler finally snapped at that exact point - precisely at the 7 1/8" mark.
I stole this ruler from my best friend Gabe in 2000, when we were both theatre majors at Oberlin College. Gabe was a year above me and had already taken the set design class, and thus had been required to buy an architectural scale ruler. When it was my turn to take the class Gabe lent me his ruler, which I never returned. To be fair, Gabe never asked for it back because he was mostly involved in acting and directing, whereas I focused on set construction and design and went on to use this ruler to draft hundreds of technical drawings.
I used this same ruler to mark out my first page of comics, after reading Understanding Comics for the first time and I have used it to rule out just about every other of the 1500+ pages of comics I have drawn since.
Maybe it's just my tired mind, but it somehow seems significant that this ruler snapped right as I was slogging through the hardest stretch of "Draw Comics EVERY Day" I've had since I dedicated my life to comics in 2002. I am very proud of the fact that I made it through these last two weeks without missing a day. Even if it was just 15 minutes in my sketchbook, I kept drawing comics.
I replaced Gabe's ruler with the exact model made by the same manufacturer, except that it is made out of solid aluminum. Just as it is 1,000 times stronger than the plastic ruler, so is my resolve to continue drawing comics EVERY day. Mark my words, I'll use this ruler to measure out the panel borders on Phase 7 #100 someday!
Yesterday at 4:31pm Claire gave birth to our daughter Suzanne Sanders Longstreth. This name will not come as a shock to my close friends. We named her after my all-time favorite song, Susanne by Weezer... but we thought it would be cool if she had a "Z" in her name!
The baby was delivered by our midwife Anna, at the Southwest Care Birth Center, with Claire's mom, Ellie, acting as our doula. The cutoff for Claire having the baby at the birthcenter was 42 weeks, after which point we'd have to go to the hospital. Suzanne was born at 41 weeks and 6 days, with a little help (Anna ruptured Claire's bag of waters, which finally kicked off the labor).
It was a crazy, intense experience and I am so proud of Claire, who did an amazing job. We are now safely at home where she is recuperating and we are spending time, getting to know our new daughter.
So, yeah - I'm a DAD! It's going to be a crazy year. Thanks to everyone who sent congratulatory notes over twitter! It was great celebrating online with everyone!
Okay, I better go see how my daughter is doing! It may be quiet around here for a few weeks while we adjust to our new routine (or lack thereof!)
UPDATE: I set up a Flickr album for photos of Suzanne if anyone would like to see more!
I finished the big Phase 7 Subscriber mailing this afternoon, so
Phase 7 #021: The Beard Issue, is now available for online ordering.
As many of you probably remember, I did not cut my hair or facial hair from August 1st, 2008 to December 10th, 2011. This issue of Phase 7 examines the various life experiences that lead up to the "Basewood Beard" and how society treated me very differently once I had long hair and a massive beard. You can read the first eight pages over in the comics section of this site.
PLEASE NOTE: My wife Claire is currently two days past her due date! I will get these copies in the mail as soon as I can but there may be a delay of a few days (up to a week) while I experience the birth of my daughter and get readjusted to life with a newborn. Thank you for your patience and understanding!