Found Family

It’s something of a trope to call queer gatherings and especially polyamorous groupings as a Found Family and its a concept that appeals to me, even if I have no intention or desire to replace the perfectly wonderful and odd family I was born into. I’m lucky in that respect as I haven’t suffered the rejections so many other queer people have experienced, and so my Found Family is an addition to my life, not an alternative.

At the same time it still came as a surprise yesterday to be called Dad by the cub – not in a casual slip of the tongue way, but as a deliberate statement while we were discussing our Christmas plans for this year:

We will be going up to visit my parents and taking over the spare bungalow in the process. The thought of having five adults around was a bit daunting for the cub until we told him there were two houses side by side and it was while we explored that with him that he explicitly acknowledged that he saw Lady M and I as parents alongside his dad: that he sees Lady M as mum and myself as a dad.

And then he asked, with the perfect timing of a child, if he could have ice cream for dessert.

I’m still processing it, having dropped him off to school this morning. It’s one thing to have that warm affection for a child grow into a fierce, if sometimes exasperated, love – and still quite another to hear it returned, expressed, and said outright by that child. I think I lost sight that I wasn’t the only person recognising and building a found family in this new unit.

Feeling the Elements

There’s been some pretty changeable weather today. It started with sunshine as I walked the cub to school, despite his sulk at being required to do so. It then got greyer until it began to rain as the three of us went to pick him up in the afternoon.

Somehow I had neglected to put on anything with a hood, so I embraced the elements and strode into the sweeping wind and rain. I joked that at least I wouldn’t have to worry about my hair needing to dry before we headed out again.

This evening we were back to calmer climes as we headed to Shepperton for Lady M’s birthday, but the temperature had noticeably dropped. I had at least learned from my earlier mistake and worn more layers.

Must be winter or something

Quiet and Tidy Day

With cub back at school, and boy s visiting friends, Lady M and I have had a couple of quiet days tidying the flat, getting rid of rubbish, playing games and catching up on TV shows.

More significantly we’ve ordered a new cooker to replace the original fitting that gave up the ghost a couple of months ago. I’ve almost forgotten the luxury of cooking with an oven rather than just the grill and rings on the top (which is what we’ve had to cope with) I’m looking forward to having more options again when shopping for groceries.

We’ve also ordered some new laptops using Lady M’s work discount so better tech for creating things is coming… they’re early Christmas presents, and I can’t wait for their delivery.

Still, it has been lovely having boy s back home this evening, and the cub had friends from school round too, so not such a quiet end to the day but still a delight.

The Future Is Now

Back in day I played Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun tabletop games, among others, and among the regular fixtures of such games is the concept of the ripperdoc. This is a private surgeon, often in a commercial or backstreet context offering cybernetic implants and surgeries.

Why am I talking about this today? Well Lady M had the lenses in her eyes replaced in an opticians in a local shopping centre. This was a surgical procedure that technically – at least in the terms of such games – makes her a cyborg.

So, what was once the premise of sci-fi Cyberpunk games, is now a standard part of life in 2021. Couldn’t make it up really. Oh, Lady M’s eyes are fine by the way – she doesn’t need glasses any more.

And Now For A Break

As of this evening I’m on holiday, both to celebrate Lady M’s birthday next week, and for mental health self care. Admittedly this year its also to recover from last weekend’s shenanigans and anything else that decides to rear its head in the meantime.

We’ve got an early start in the morning so I can take Lady M for an eye appointment, while the cub is staying behind to look after boy s who is not enjoying his seasonal cold in the slightest.

In the meantime I’ve found an old sketchbook page that has tickled my creative itch, so I’m relaxing in mindfulness mode by adding to it

Probably not coming to a tshirt near you

Random Scribblings

In between looking after ailing partners, a plague rat cub, and trying to get back to work (at least remotely), I decided to write some randomness as a block breaker. I’m trying to rekindle the writing so just letting stuff spool out of the brain seemed a good idea:

There are few guilty treasures in life like discovering a rogue After Eight mint tucked away at the end of the box – especially if it’s tucked flush against the end that looks empty, overshadowed by one of the tabs. The feel of the smooth waxy paper against your fingertips instead of cardboard sends an illicit thrill up your spine that is part surprise and part anticipatory glee.

It’s like finding an unexpected fiver in your winter coat pocket when you put it on for the first frosty morning of the year – except that the associated gratification is far more immediate, and comes wrapped in mint fondant and dark chocolate.

Interviewing Again?

In a dance that is now very familiar I’m mostly interviewing for posts replacing some people who left last month. Employment churn is always a little higher than usual after a restructure, largely because people who are nearer retirement often see it as the final push as they see everything changing, or when their own circumstances have changed.

Today we had six people through the doors, and I have another four to see tomorrow so we’ve broken the back of it and it shouldn’t take too long to finalise our decisions. In theory that can then clear the decks so i can focus on the next three.

Why not do all five at once? Well mostly so that I can focus the interviews by location and make sure that the branch manager is actively involved in the process of building their new team. It’s especially important as so many of my team of managers are themselves pretty new in post and I want to use these interviews as a training exercise as well so that they have the confidence to lead next time.

We’ve had two people withdraw from tomorrow’s list, so at least that frees up the morning a bit so I can keep on top of the many other bits and pieces spinning at the moment.

Never a dull moment

Homework and Haircuts

The cub has had a good first week, with a routine of evening reading that got him a reading star, and comments from his teacher when I picked him up that he was settling in well.

We gave him a day off yesterday but today Lady M has engaged him to do his homework with the promise of boardgames afterwards. Only minor active resistance was employed, mostly because we’ve waved a game he’s been wanting to play for ages at him, and because Lady M has negotiated a pocket money earning scheme depending on his doing homework and housework.

I’m currently sitting opposite him while Lady M uses a combination of open questions and humour to head off his deflections when he can’t see an immediate answer.

He’s also rocking a new haircut, following a sneak booking into the barbers in our local Tesco. I went to do the shopping accompanied by the cub and boy s, and then handled the queue and payment while boy s took him for his booking. The cub apparently uttered a ” Oh no…” when he saw where they were – which feels a fitting response to the almost passive resistance we’ve had all week to the concept.

Now he’s got it, he is of course very pleased but like many typical ten year olds he won’t be told. So far, so normal.

Nervous Energy

The cub starts at his new school tomorrow, which came as something of a shock to him while we were being shown round this morning. As you might expect, all the stages of grief and protestations have been rapidly cycling today as a result.

Behind the snark and angst and sarcasm however, it all comes back to him being a very anxious young boy who has had a lot of change and upheaval in the last few weeks. It makes the outbursts easier to put in context even when we’re being driven to distraction.

But we’re working together and supporting each other and him, and I’m sure that once he’s actually started he’ll calm down and resume his ordinary goblin behaviour. Let’s see what the morning brings

Shopping Trip

Despite the foggy start we headed out to the wilds of Hounslow today in search of school uniform items for the cub. The boy s was down in Portsmouth getting more work done on his leg so it was just the three of us piled into the car as the sun burned through.

I grew up in the area but haven’t really been back in years. The High Street is still bustling and energetic, but recession has bitten it hard, and I felt saddened to see what it is now compared to what I was even ten years ago. There’s what feels like anĀ  undertone of desperation rather than the busy hustle that I would have previously characterised as its mood.

And yet at the same time there’s life and energy rather than the flat despair of some high streets. It was a strange mix, and perhaps I felt it more because I had a youngster with me and was therefore more consciously watchful.

With all that said, the school shop was a step back in time both to equipping the Charleesi for her own school journey, and memories of my own trips for The Mall, and St John’s. The staff were friendly, and I slipped into a comfortable space as we assembled all the elements we needed. I even enjoyed the dust and fabric scents of the shop as a sensory treat – it was all very familiar in a comforting sense.

We’re meeting the Headmaster of the school that the cub is transferring to on Tuesday – well boy s and I are anyway. It does feel very strange to be diving back into this mode again with the Charleesi all grown up now. That said I’m in a very different headspace and set of circumstances this time. I’m not deeply unwell in the throes of clinical depression for starters. Maybe I should just accept this as the universe offering me a chance to experience all this with a clearer and healthier head.

I can accept that gift now. There’s a lot of experiences that I didn’t appreciate as much as I should have when I was ill and there’s still guilt around that that I work through in counselling. Today has stirred up rather more than I was expecting but it feels healthy even if it has been exhausting.