Two weeks ago I was whisked promptly away from my desk to the sound of trumpets hailing the birth of my daughter – a sweet little bundle of sass who clearly couldn't wait to start conquering the world, insisting on joining the party four weeks before she was due.
As a result, my esteemed colleagues here at The Towers were left to pick up this slacker's slack for a fortnight, and I thank them wholeheartedly for helping me enjoy the first two weeks of fatherhood – 14 days I will never forget.
I'd been excited about being a parent from the moment I knew I was going to become one, and had fully embraced the idea of sleepless nights, anxiety, and supporting the missus through a labour that could last for 48 hours or more.
I was not prepared, however, for the F1-style arrival that Little Miss insisted on bringing to pass, forcing her mother to fly through the motions in little over seven hours!
Months of planning involving fairy lights, sickeningly happy songs and copious re-runs of Dr Quinn Medicine Woman during the early stages of labour went to waste. Instead Matilda Karen Morris ('Karen' for her late grandmother, 'Matilda' because it's awesome) whipped round the track, didn't even bother with the pits, and was already on a victory lap by the time Daddy Bear here had got her porridge on the table.
While we were (happily) denied the long labour, the sleepless nights have become a bit of a part of the routine, yet (even more happily) the anxiety has not. Personally I was far more nervous while my other half was pregnant, and now am simply loving getting to know the bright blue-eyed bundle of arms and legs the stork has seen fit to drop off with us. It's brilliant, and I love her more than I thought it possible to love anything – that's all there is to say.
Now, you haven't been waiting for this madman's musings for a fortnight simply to hear him blurt on about his new human, so we'll turn to the more important business of the last two weeks – sandwiches.
During Bump and Mum's post-natal stay in hospital, I was proud to join the cabal of daily-visiting dads doing their duty and whatever they could during such times to share the load. Among many things, this consisted of playing waiter for Mum and retrieving her daily meals from the ward canteen, though (and quite rightly) the hospital was not wasting time and resources by dishing out free food for fathers.
This meant a glorious lunchtime parade to a certain high street sandwich purveyor, of which there happened to be a well-hidden franchise located near the maternity unit.
Like an oasis reserved for the purest of heart or a grail that could only be found and lifted by the truly worthy, this Thor's hammer of a banqueting refuge was a shining beacon to all new fathers who had heard whispers of its concealed existence, and refused to give up in their search of satisfying sustenance.
"Welcome," its bright lights seemed to whisper. "Here, son, lies your destiny."
Having spent two days staking out said eatery and figuring out its busiest moments and times to avoid, I fell into a rhythm of making a regular luncheon pilgrimage during what I had established as the 'sweet spot'.
It wasn't long however, before I realised that others were doing the same.
On the third day, the Lord brought me a steak and cheese footlong. On the fourth, He granted his bounty in the form of Buffalo chicken. And on the fifth day (where, incidentally, Got created the Meatball Marinara), he also opened the flood gates.
Every dad in the land was hungry like the wolf, with their eyes fixed firmly upon the same protein-rich prize as I. Sixth in the queue, I watched with trepidation as the meatball bowl began to empty, my heart resolutely in my mouth at the thought of not being able to claim its desire.
Dad Number One ordered a footlong, with Dad Number Two following suit. Dad Three – a six-inch (mercy!), but then a second for the son beside him. Dad Four wanted more – a footlong with a chocolate muffin chaser. And finally, up to the plate stepped Dad Five, who (praise be to every deity in the land) turned out to be a vegan.
As the chosen time had come for me to finally place my order, with the sight of eight meatballs remaining and the smell of victory in my nostrils, I happily thrust my flag into the ground to claim the final marinara footlong of the day.
And here, alas, where I began with a thank you, I must end with an apology. Sorry, Dad Seven. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, though judging by the eruption of anguish that echoed as I fled with my trophy in hand, I won't hold my breath. In fact, I'll expect my thirty pieces of silver any day now.
It's great to be back folks – Papa's got a brand new bag!