Hiccups and Stumbles

Life’s ups and downs are, for me, best met with laughter and a polite reminder to myself that very little on the personal scale actually matters in the grand scheme of things – so storms in teacups can generally remain there.

That’s not to say that the little upsets can’t seem enormous and debilitating, but then reality has a way of presenting more pressing issues – like exploding toilets – to keep me on my toes.

In this case, a sewerage problem near one of my libraries has caused sufficient upset that I’m currently sitting and waiting for both Thames Water and our internal properties contractor to arrive and argue over whose fault everything is while a pungently delicate smell likened to a cabbage soufflĂ© settles all around.

At least my ribs feel like they’re all healed up so it doesn’t hurt to hiccup or cough, or indeed laugh any more

A Long Day

Every now and then, a day comes along that throws all previously presumed plans out the window. Today was one of those, and I focused on trying to tackle various building issues directly affecting the public.

It always feels more frustrating in these cases if there is no quick solution. Simple solutions sometimes take longer, especially if you’re intending to not create even more issues in the solving. Even though the day has ended up with moving things in the right direction, I know that my name will be cursed in the short run.

I accept that as an occupational hazard of being a manager. I’ve made decisions and given advice today that was not what some people wanted to hear, but that’s partly what I’m paid for. It doesn’t make it any nicer for me on a personal level, though, as I prefer to have people being happy as they work for me.

Still, it will mean a better situation and service for our customers when everything is resolved – that won’t require backtracking and bureaucracy to unravel so we can then get back on track.

I do love my job, dearly, even on the draining days like today.

Low Dip Moment

I think it’s probably just a response to the healing my body is still doing, combined with a couple of days stomping around, but I’ve been absolutely drained today. I didn’t get out of bed until nearly twelve and then have mostly been making maps for dungeons and dragons, and watching videos while struggling to focus.

Reading it back, that sounds a pretty good day, but I’m still feeling lousy and have elements of “Well that was a wasted day” because my brain can’t turn down an opportunity to strap on thick boots and start kicking.

Never mind, I’m taking this all in to counselling shortly to pick it over. Think I just need the validation of some hugs – hugs solve many woes.

And Back To Work

We had a good catchup on Monday with the Charleesi and boyfriend – who have both been working over the Christmas period like us. It was an excuse to get presents to them and spend some time – and to give our newly donated slow cooker a first go. Fair to say that the melt-in-your-mouth meat alone was a treat, especially when mixed with spices and coconut milk for a slow-cooked beef curry experience. It was a good start to the week.

Then it’s been back to the grind – and a strange combination of a slow start that also brought some tough managerial decisions. As is always the way with these things, compromise and conversation in person rather than the sole medium of emails got results and kept storms in teacups where they belonged. It also brought some improvements for some of the people being supported so I’ll take the wins.

I dropped by an unofficial munch (if there’s such a thing) over in Farnborough last night following all that to catch up with people and met some interesting new faces, including a couple of fellow D&D people so a lot of geekiness and sharing of silliness from our respective tables happened. Got some good ideas, and think I introduced one person to at least three new authors they hadn’t encountered before. End of the evening I gave Lady T a lift home and then promptly got stuck after that driving behind someone who barely drove over twenty miles an hour for most of the distance between Staines and home. So, that was fun. At least the new car is a pleasure to drive so as the route didn’t really give me any great overtaking opportunities I settled into my heated seats and pootled along behind until they turned off and cleared the way.

My added bonus today is that, by and large, I haven’t had much discomfort from my ribs. There’s still some tenderness near the sternum, but I’ve been able to take deep breaths, cough, even laugh, and not had stabbing pains for my trouble. I think my body has gone into healing overdrive today though as I’m absolutely shattered and drowsy as I reach the end of the afternoon. I logged off from work, and made the mistake of closing my eyes for a few moments and promptly lost a few hours – so I’m going to take the hint and just be kind to myself for the evening

Welcome 2023

Well, so long 2022. Let’s see what comes along next. My own little corner of the world is doing well on the work front, though there’s a lot of sickness in the polycule that we can hopefully all support each through.

Lady M and I had a quiet evening last night with a double-bill on Netflix of Knives Out and Glass Onion and a bottle of wine. Neither of us were in the mood for shenanigans so it was good to just switch off. I’ve also quietly carried on making tokens and portraits in Heroforge as that’s a great distraction.

Last night’s cuppa and book

Today has also been gentle. Some of us are unwell, some of us are hung over – and I am just very tired. I suspect that’s related to my ribs still healing. They’re definitely improving: I was able to actually sleep lying down in my bed for the first time in a couple of weeks. Lifting and shifting too energetically is still painful, but there’s less of it which is encouraging – as long as I dont slouch or lean too often.

I did at least get the group together on discord and roll20 to get characters set up for the one-shot. I still haven’t come up with a title for it – I’ll announce it here when I do.

D&D Shaping Life?

I learn all sorts of things from the random conversations we have in the polycule. One thing that puts a smile on my face is hearing how stories, events, or characters from the D&D games end up having an impact in other people’s lives. One example is Odif – the kobold child adopted by the DDC after drunken shenanigans (and that was a whole series of subplots and adventures unexplored at the time – but who knows how things will loop back?)

I had a couple of crocheted wool dolls made up of Odif – one for Lady M and one for boy s – as presents and Lady M has been known to show her Odif on video calls. This particularly happens if one of her colleagues has a young child appear onscreen. Well, now those children have started asking after Odif and how he’s doing – and as this is usually relayed by their parents to Lady M during work calls, a wider group of people now know about and have encountered Odif.

So this year, Odif received Christmas well wishes from people at Lady M’s workplace.

Jumping to another example: Mx J has been playing Thorin in the DDC as a well-meaning, laid back and generally affable barbarian “himbo” over the last couple of years. The main story thread we just completed saw him step up into a leadership role for his people and reunite them to take back their lands and foil a plot to plunge a sizeable chunk of the surrounding countryside into a never-ending winter. Mx J has also been streaming and cosplaying for a number of years as Miss Time Bunny. They have been widely called Bunny for quite some time – especially in their local area.

In one of the places that Mx J frequents there are also people who watch the streams and are friendly with both Bunny and Lady B – and, you guessed it, they started getting Christmas well wishes under the name Thorin this year.

I find it rather heartwarming – that these characters and their world are living in people’s thoughts and memories, inspiring laughter and smiles and new stories to come. I have the kernels now of the next act in the adventures of the DDC so I can’t wait to see what really lands with people and inspires them – and how else our small entertainments may take on lives outside the confines of the Twitch Stream.

Oh – one last thing that came up in conversation – I don’t see them as its not my Twitch channel, but Lady B gets all manner of notifications and keeps an eye on things while we game – and I was delighted to hear that every now and then familiar names from the past appear as viewers, checking in on how we’re all doing and the latest silly shenanigans of the DDC. I hope they’ve had a good Christmas too – and hope to see them again soon.

Christmas Eve

And suddenly we’re nearly there – ready to feast and spend time with people. Bonus points are awarded if they’re people we love and cherish too. Today has been spent in the traditional activities of visiting people to drop off presents and have a natter – in this case Lady B – and gathering up people for transport so they’re in the right place for celebrations in the morning.

As is also traditional, there’s a few gifts that also need properly wrapping up ready for handover to the Claus, and so that’s why I am currently “banished” to the living room to play on the XBox and blog while Lady M is busy in the other room with Christmas movies and wrapping paper.

I’m looking forward to not running around too much tomorrow as my ribs are hurting quite a bit after all the bustle. I currently have a hot water bottle against my back to ease that side, and am sitting carefully upright and shallow breathing to manage the front. I will no doubt get jumped on by a child tomorrow, so I must remember to take extra painkillers with me when we go round to the boy s – which is where we’re cooking and spending most of tomorrow.

So, I hope you all have a wonderful day that goes to plan, fills you with joy, and brings you some peace amid the bustle and celebration.

Breaking For Christmas

I’ve used the last of my leave to grab a few days either side of Christmas and Boxing Day, starting this evening. As Lady M is working we’re not going anywhere but I’ll be able to potter around and catch up with people – and most importantly to rest.

The discomfort from my ribs is quite substantial at the moment; and even with my generally ferocious recovery rates, I’m having to pace myself. A trip to tesco this evening has been very draining, in no small part because it’s reminded me that there’s a world of difference between the shallow breathing I can do at home versus the deeper breathing required to walk and talk and carry anything.

Rib fractures: they’re not just for Christmas.

I guess the fates found another way to keep me sleep-deprived now the vitamin supplements have been working. Oh well. At least I’ll be able to lie in or cat nap for a bit.

Laser Tag Party

We had the excuse of a celebration and a special request from the cub – and that’s how we ended up driving round the M25 to out the back of Caterham to play some laser tag in the woods. The original plan would have had us just watching while kids battled it out, but with some last-minute cancellations we had enough slots for myself and Lady M to join in while boy s watched from the side-lines and huddled under all our coats.

The mechanics were fairly simple – a sensor on the gun and three types of gun: a sniper, an assault rifle, and a submachine gun – each with differing rates of fire, range, reload times, and damage done against a notional value of hit points. Two teams of roughly a dozen on each side, and referees keeping an eye on it all. We had one hundred hit points per life, and five lives in a non-contact game where minimum distance to the other team was five metres.

And you know what – I really enjoyed it. We all did. I favoured a sniper so I didn’t have to run around too much and could put years of pinpoint FPS gaming to good use. The games were quick with some variants and two different arenas – and footing by and large was good despite snow and frozen mud. One small disclaimer, I did manage to lose my footing and do a very impressive tumble where I broke my fall by landing with the point of my elbow in my rib. It’s a bit sore, but some painkillers and the occasional wince of discomfort are seeing me through.

I hadn’t heard of GO Laser Tag before – and not having to wear a load of sensors was a big bonus – staff were friendly, kept good control of the sessions, and all seemed to be focused on making sure everyone had a good time. Their website is https://www.golasertaglondon.co.uk/ and for something a bit different that caters to a wide age range its a good option. We all enjoyed ourselves and have been making noises about not being averse to doing it again. Let’s face it, for the British that’s a glowing endorsement.

It also gave me a good excuse to give the new car a bit of a stretch on the motorway rather than just the local trips I’ve been doing for work and while I’m not a petrol-head, it was a smooth transition and satisfying to get some different driving under the belt. The new car is a plug-in hybrid so while it runs quite happily ramping up battery power from the flywheel to augment general driving, it can also operate as a purely electric car. As soon as the charge card is all sorted out, I’m looking forward to using it on the local commute.

Hello Weekend

It feels like it’s been a very long week, but at the same time has had some good things in it. I had a diagnosis on the tiredness and a hopefully simple and effective remedy that I’ve started now. I had my payday so that’s always helpful – and I took delivery of my new lease car.

That alone will make work immeasurably less stressful as we won’t be competing for use of Lady M’s work car. Like her my vehicle is provided as part of a fleet under a salary sacrifice scheme which covers tax and services and tire wear and tear and things like that. We’re both now driving hybrids, and mine can also be driven as a purely electric car once the VIM registration goes through and I can register with the BMW tariff for charging.

Sadly we haven’t any charging points on the estate, but various places around the area do so I’ll be learning the gentle art of planning journeys with an eye to charging points. Who says it’s too late to learn new skills?

So my plan for tomorrow is to properly read the manual, work out how to customise things and connect my phone, and then take Lady M for a drive somewhere. Its been a good ten years since I’ve had a vehicle to call my own.