50 Already?

So, uh, somehow I’ve made to 50 years and I have pretty much most things working okay, a good job, people who love me, most of my marbles, and as of today an all clear from a cancer scare. So that’s a good way to start the next revolution round the sun.

I’ve just finished a charity stream with Lady B and boy s playing the new Destiny expansion and been getting blown away by all the deep lore that is being paid off after years of breadcrumbs. The gameplay is slick, the storytelling compelling, and the excited noises from boy s deeply amusing. We had to force ourselves to stop because it was gone 2am.

So, what’s planned for this year? To be honest I don’t know. I never expected to get to this milestone. I was surprised to be so happy at age 40, let alone still among the living. My next markers are my tenth wedding anniversary and the fourth anniversary of collaring boy s in this next month. A holiday might be nice later this year.

For now though I have a week off work and some vague plans for D&D this weekend. That’ll do.

Christmas and Beyond

As someone recently noted on social media, I live a strange life, and I embrace that and aim to keep it that way so it doesn’t lapse into being boring and dull. I am proud to include a diverse and vibrant bunch of people in my life and celebrate their individual journeys as well as our commonalities.

This Christmas has allowed us to reconnect and bond with friends, partners, family, and those who might wander between. I caught back up with my brothers, and the Charleesi, with friends who have built their own forge, my parents, my partners, and a variety of children attached to various of the above.

So the plan today has been to sit quietly with Lady M, give our presents to each other, watch TV, play games, and not stray too far from the sofa.

It’s not the family gathering we had planned, but it’s a good substitute and rest ahead of the excitement and busy weeks ahead.

Christmas Eve

Well, here we are again – well done everyone for getting through another chaotic time. I’ve been purely focused today on chilling out with the xbox after a busy few days – escorting Lady M and boy s in turn to get their booster jabs and running the gauntlet of last minute christmas shopping with them each for starters. Tomorrow is planned to be mostly round with boy s and the cub in the new flat to welcome in their first Christmas. I’m sure the cub will play up as far as he can push things – but then he’s eleven and I would expect nothing less.

So, I’m off back to watch some Masterchef and share some wine and curry with Lady M – see you on the other side

A Very Polycule Christmas

I forgot to mention last night that boy s and Lady M ended the evening working out between themselves where I would be living for the next few days. They did so by debating among themselves who had the most energy vs the most things to do this week – in other words who had the capacity to put up with me for a few days. It was prompted by boy s feeling a bit down at the end of the game last night as we all packed up to go home. The prospect of going from a house full of people and laughter to it just being him and the cub was just making him a bit low, so Lady M volunteered me. I didn’t get any consultation on this, which I have not failed to rib the pair of them about all day.

My original plan had been to just have a quiet day playing on the XBox, but such was not to be – Lady M had her booster shot due in Kingston so I got dragooned into driving her to that but took advantage of it to sort out some boxes and envelopes for boy s for some items he needed to post so I could at least be useful in the process. Then I gathered an overnight bag, my laptop, a couple of journals and some pens and wandered over to the new flat while Lady M got back to work. I may be on holiday, but Lady M isn’t for a few more days – but that’s largely because I haven’t taken much time this year while she used her leave to recover from some things a few months back. So I’ve left her to it while she sorts things out ahead of her break – much as she let me get on with things to clear the decks for my work last week.

I think I’m just going to chalk this up to “unexpected things that are part of being polyamorous” – where teasing and silliness meet care and compersion, and the quieter partners sometimes bargain amongst themselves as to where the token extraverted person goes next so that they don’t feel overloaded. Its a thing I’ve seen in joking posts on social media before now but never encountered before this weekend. As our flats are about five minutes drive away from each other it isn’t really a huge issue – I’ve already made plans to wander back tomorrow to annoy Lady M and retrieve more of boy s’ laundry as I carry on finding more odds and ends he’s left behind in his moves. Well, that and annoy people by playing Christmas songs on Spotify because I seem to be the only person in the polycule particularly fussed about it this year. There are probably worse roles to have in life.

I think in part its down to having to cancel our plans to visit my parents so we’re having to stock our households up with food and drink, having run down the larders in anticipation of being away for a week or so. Still, better safe than sorry with omicron careening around our communities. I’m taking boy s to get his booster in a couple of days and that catches him up with pretty much everyone else at that point so that’ll be something to celebrate.

I still have difficulty as seeing myself as the extraverted person, but multiple Myers-Briggs tests over the years can’t be wrong – to be fair I do tend to recharge being around people along with being comfortable being alone so I think I’m a borderline case – which no doubt explains how I have no problem standing up in training courses and holding the floor. So that now leaves me sitting on the sofa playing Boney M songs while boy s triumphantly reclaims the cardigan I’ve been wearing today and curls up with a cider and his laptop. Welcome to Christmas

Tying Up Loose Ends

There’s an unseasonal warmth to the air that has been playing havoc with asthmatics locally, and that led me just now to note with bemusement that I was walking around outside in the middle of December in a tshirt. I’ve just got back from dropping some furniture round to boy s and bringing back in turn some coffee and the present of a new bottle of bramble gin. He’s really been able to start turning his flat into a home and is getting houseproud to a level that many people who have known him for years will scarcely recognise – mostly because this is actually his home, not just somewhere he’s living. It’s lovely to see – both for his pride, but also because I recognise the same behaviours from when I move in to somewhere new as well.

This week is mostly focused then on wrapping up as many loose ends as possible before the Christmas and New Year break – all while also spinning contingencies for any changes to what we can offer as a service in light of the growing prevalence of the omicron variant of covid. I have a mental list of things I need to prioritise tomorrow because they directly impact people’s pay and hours, but I also have no doubt that new and strange things will also pop up that need my input – oh, and I have a training course in the afternoon too – so that’ll keep me occupied.

I suppose I should also add into that list of things to do the need to finish wrapping people’s christmas presents. A fair portion of my family have had deliveries and hampers, but I also have a wardrobe stuffed with things and I really need to go through and double check I have got things for everyone. I’m pretty sure I have. I’m trying not to go overboard this year – so we’ll see how I do with that..! I’m now very conscious of all the people I’ve wanted to spend time with that I haven’t been able to this year – and trying to resist overcompensating with presents, and also to not torment myself given how odd and complicated the last eighteen months or so have been. Being mindful of how artificial most deadlines are goes a long way to helping with that.

On the plus side I do now have a large chunk of empty space where I can sort out some proper shelving in the living room.

Escape Room Shenanigans

We’re celebrating the cub’s birthday across this weekend, accompanied by Lady M’s niece and nephew, and the highlight as far as he’s concerned has been this morning where we took him to an escape room at the Denbies Estate just outside Dorking. He’s been wanting to do one for months since watching YouTubers attempt them and so we had a look round without telling him. Through careful questioning we discerned he wanted to try something spy-based, so it seemed appropriate to allow a little cloak and dagger about the event. Which is why we made sure it was all a big surprise.

Even as he got out of the car, he still didn’t know why we’d made him get up on a Saturday morning to come to a vineyard. When he noticed the signs, he started getting excited and asked again why we were here – and then when we confirmed we were there for an escape room, he started bouncing up and down on the spot. It’s probably the most excited I’ve seen him in quite some time, and the gleeful grin was wonderful.

The scenario was, as described, an explosive spy thriller, involving hidden rooms and videos of missile launches and we managed to not only beat the game, but completed every single puzzle – the last with 8 seconds to go. It was far more fun than I imagined it would be, and our respective skills and experiences meshed well. From knowledge of Ancient Greek, autistic hyperfocus, a head for logic puzzles, and all the inquisitive running around you can imagine; we all cracked puzzles, found solutions, and unearthed conundrums.

The kids, and cub especially, were buzzing with excitement and retelling of things they’d found and done – and to be fair so were the adults as we gathered for a pub lunch. About the only thing that sparked more excitement was the unwrapping of presents later – but that’s the cub for you.

Wouldn’t have him any other way.

Keys and Presents

There was a lot going on today, but some good things among the chaos. Most notably, boy s received confirmation of securing his new flat, and after some banking shenanigans is due to pick up his keys tomorrow. As a major distraction from the stress of it all, he’s now playing Sims4 on the XBox while we eat our bangers and mash, and muttering under his breath about all the clothes packing he’s going to need to do tomorrow. I think he’s in that slightly bewildered state where he wasn’t really expecting to get the flat, and now its all becoming a bit more real. He’ll be fine.

Just to throw an organisational spanner in the works, the cub’s birthday is due among all this upheaval – we have plans for the weekend, and I’ve just spent a spare fifteen minutes with the bedroom door firmly shut while I wrapped a selection of presents. With his birthday so close, he’s a bit sensitive about Christmas wrappings and trappings so mindful of that I had some more generic paper stashed in the cupboard. It’ll make a nice surprise for him when he gets to see them. For now there’s a small stack of presents on top of the wardrobe that he walks by and never looks up at.

Like most preteens he lives in his own little world by the gaming logic that best appeals to him. For example, his school tries to encourage him to read with a reading star scheme and everyone in the class contributing towards awards and bonuses like days not wearing uniform. He has decided that as he doesn’t read every day he can’t get the reading star, therefore won’t be contributing, so therefore why bother. Its a very selective and circular form of solipsistic reasoning that he specialises in, while sounding to his own ears very reasonable.

I try not to rise to the bait.

The boy’s Doing Well

My work continues to be an adventure, full of ups and downs, but today was all about boy s and his search for employment. The first good omen was his replacement bank cards arriving with the right name and our address on the paperwork.

The second good thing was all the traffic lights cooperating on the way to the interview as I drove him there.

And successful he was. Its a seasonal job with Thorpe Park, so won’t be long term, but it’s a huge boost for his morale to get something so quickly after moving up here.

We had to celebrate of course, so after a quick rampage through the local shops to sort out new trousers and shoes, we went out for a meal and have let the tension wash away in food and drink.

Now if we can just get the cub sorted at a new school…

Well, That Was Amazing

Somehow we managed to get not only the polycule but some friends and acquaintances all together at Pride In Surrey in Godalming yesterday. What a day!

I made sure to find appropriate flags, a Pride gamers tshirt, and went to town on the beard with coloured hairspray to match the bi-flag. I got a lot of compliments, and I thanked my stars for the experience of creating my Obadiah Stane cosplay and the beard dyeing required for that.

We had to get there early as I was in the Parade, so we split and arranged a meetup point for later. I eventually found the way to the assembly area, chatting with various random people along the way. It wasn’t the most precise staging and organisation in the world but it felt appropriately anarchic for Pride’s origins – and soon enough we were winding our way up along Godalming’s High Street

It was my first Parade, and it felt good to be in good company and an atmosphere mixing joy, protest, and representation. Surrounded by work colleagues, associated organisations, and family groups, we brought colour and noise and cheering to a normally very sleepy small Surrey town.

What was heartwarming was the support along the high street from families and businesses alike. People of all ages and backgrounds wanting to see what was going on, and cheering along. It was all a very strange, as in unfamiliar, experience – and one that I want to be part of again – with extra performance next time.

Even slightly grey and misty weather didn’t dampen anyone’s mood, and in the polycule we spent a good few hours taking turns to venture out in small groups from our blankets and bags base to explore and meet people.

We may have bought more gin.

What was also wonderful was that there was a quiet section set away for young families which included stalls for support services and advice on health. The library was well represented, as were a number of other areas of both the County and Local Government organisations, staffed by volunteers.

I’d love to see more participation by other areas and teams, so I plan to advocate for that for next time – even off duty my brain keeps looking for improvements.

Long day short, a great day, especially coming out the other side of lockdown and pandemic, and especially with so many other Pride events cancelled. As I said to one of our Councillors: its a good start.

On Holiday

About time too – this has been another hectic week, again dominated by interviews and surrounding shenanigans – but at least we got to celebrate boy s’ birthday with a grand polycule gathering this evening. We met up for a meal once Lady M had finished work, and of course battled the usual assortment of roadworks each direction – because some things in life are a fixed and constant feature.

As is tradition, boy s cried over one of his gifts, and tried to hide under his own shirt when the restaurant staff sang happy birthday – he made the mistake of mentioning it when we arrived.

On an unrelated note, I am becoming convinced that one of the posts I’m trying to fill is cursed, as the second person I’ve offered it to has now accepted another job elsewhere before they’ve even started. They were, at least, very apologetic.