So This Week…

I had a call yesterday to come pick boy s up from work. A little matter of his not being able to breathe. So off we went to the hospital where I was able to park near enough to the A&E to not kill him with the walk to the doors, and he was duly whisked away.

Due to Covid I couldn’t accompany him, so I went back to work to focus best I could, and as the evening approached with no news began to ring to try and find out if there was any news – if only so I could update everyone and reassure the cub.

As it turned out, it appears to be late onset asthma, so they were able to stabilise him and after checking everything else they could, he was released back into the wild with an inhaler and instructions to talk to his GP

The cub responded by being as publicly bolshy and snarky as he could be, even while admitting privately to Lady M how worried he was – so that’s all normal.

Now we try to get back to some semblance of normality. Honest.

Weekend Gathering

I’m currently stretched out in bed after a rollercoaster of emotions but all in good company. Lady M and boy s both had trainer appointments at the gym so it was a good excuse to make a day of it. I’ve been using gym visits this week to help get through muscular and joint pain I’ve had since having covid last week, so I also had a plan of attack. The cub wanted to swim.

With all the stress of this week, my mental reserves have been slender today, especially with the residual pains. It’s days like this where my partners rally round in support. Hugs and simple gestures, quiet moments and silliness all helped as we came and went from the table we were using as a base.

The space and quiet have been needed. This has not been a good week. This evening feels a bit brighter.

All Down The Gym

According to various lateral flow tests we’re now in the clear, though aches and pains and lingering symptoms are still making it very clear that we’re not as well as we might like. What we did do last night though was go in support of boy s to his induction at the gym and take the cub swimming.

Well, by that I mean introduced him to the changing rooms and then sat and watched because I’ve tweaked my back and am currently hobbling round with the aid of a cane, but I’m pleased to say that both the cub and boy s enjoyed themselves immensely, while Lady M and I were walking wounded and looked after bags and food.

We hadn’t intended to be there that long, but suddenly it was nearly nine in the evening and I’d missed my counselling session (for which I’ve made copious apologies and set a very loud alarm on my phone for next time)

The cub went from being very reluctant to be away from his computer to being very engrossed in swimming and then the treadmills and cycling machines in the gym (never underestimate the power of animations and YouTube on gym equipment) while boy s is now seeing the draw of studying in the quiet area and taking a break in the gym while working on his degree.

So it looks like we have an addition to our social activities and general health to look forward to. Here’s to my back muscles relaxing soon.

Another Anniversary?

Wednesday was the fourth anniversary of collaring boy s – in kink terms a form of commitment not unlike marriage – it was just a shame that both of us were too unwell to celebrate much of anything. I was staying over anyway so it was largely a day of napping in between doing the school run and doing some more work on the Amazon store.

We’ve decided instead to try and have a date night in the next week or so once payday has arrived and we’re in better health.

What we do all have to anticipate however is that we’ve got tickets for the Thorpe Park preview day on Saturday thanks to his working there. We’ve not been on any rollercoaster since before the first lockdown. Lady M has had her eye surgery since then too, so this will be the first time on them without glasses or contact lenses.

So, highs and lows and literal rollercoasters to come. Can’t wait.

Celebratory Meal

Back before the days of plague we had a plan. Lady M and I were due to celebrate ten years of marriage and thought it would be amazing to get everyone we could back at the same venue for a knees up. Well, so much for that idea.

Instead we took a deep breath a day booked in for lunch, just the two of us, at The Hand And Flowers in Marlow. It, famously, is a pub with two Michelin stars. We make no secret about loving good food, and we’d been promising ourselves a fine dining experience but until now hadn’t taken the plunge.

A great joy of where we are in our careers is that we’ve variously built and rebuilt out of debt and career swerves over the years. We’ve been unemployed together, variously in and out of work and supporting each other, and I like to think that it’s helped us keep reasonably grounded about money as a result.

So we took a deep breath and then reminded ourselves it was a special occasion and we could afford it. And it was lovely. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable about the food and drink, the place is warm and comfortable, and the layout just irregular enough to feel cosy. And the food and drink was superb – we were very well fed and looked after.

A good way to celebrate an anniversary – and now we’ll have to plan for another excuse to return.

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.

More Visibility Musings

I was talking with a colleague today to – as they put it – be a common sense and reality check. The situation they wanted to check in about was one that any one of my various hats was applicable to but as part of the context for their decision making process they made a confidential disclosure about their personal life that they didn’t want to share with their staff.

As they said, it’s their private life, and even if they were minded to disclose it, this wasn’t a context in which they would want to disclose the information.

Being trusted with this disclosure was humbling. It immediately also reminded me of why I both respect these personal boundaries and am also glad that I live the way I do. Admittedly, it has meant that I’m now a very visible EDI advocate, but that has in its own way opened more doors than it has inhibited.

I am a very visible and talkative person in my workplace, and the confidence to be that person has in part coming from recognising, acknowledging, and embracing the evolution of who I am. It’s taken a huge weight off my shoulders. It also allows me to be visible on behalf of others who do not feel safe or comfortable to do the same.

There’s a responsibility there that I feel keenly.

Reminiscence

We got lost a couple of times over the last few days in talking about the bad old days of Section 28 and the wasteland of the AIDS crisis and the effect that had on us as queer youngsters.

We had little to no representation that wasn’t couched in terms of scandal, death, and abandonment, and so the plethora of support and acceptance that so many people now receive can feel bewildering.

I think in part it’s been prompted by taking part in the event with the Surrey History Centre. It’s made me reevaluate elements of my earlier life and got us all comparing experiences. And that’s where the mix of jealousy and annoyance comes in when younger people don’t recognise their relative privilege compared to the landscape we came through.

We’re proud of how far things have come, but we’re also very aware of how fragile that progress is. Vitriol and attacks on people and rights bubble just under the surface still in far too many places.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, other than I suppose it highlights the need for LGBT+ History Month so we can celebrate how far we’ve come but remember just how far behind we have been

Doing My Bit

I took part today in a joint event organised between Surrey Libraries and the Surrey History Centre. It was called LGBT+ Stories and was a combination of readings from the archives, and the stories brought by those of us in attendance.

I hadn’t prepared anything, but as an awkward silence settled in when the call for a first story went out, I stepped up. If there’s one thing I can do, it’s weave a story out of nothing. And so I summarised my journey. I twined it with the theme of my own imposter syndrome and brought it back to talking about the importance of visibility.

And then I stopped before I rambled on and took over the whole show – but it did the trick, and broke the ice – and slowly more stories emerged between the excerpts.

So, there’s a thing I’m proud I did, and the transcripts and audio will go in to the archive to bemused future researchers.

First Munch of the Year

Munches are informal social gatherings held by the kink/alternative/poly/ethical non monogamy communities to just… chill and hangout and are a good way to put faces to names and see what people are like in general.

During covid we’ve kept to ourselves, and with boy s moving up to us we’ve had less contact with people in those scenes over the last couple of years. With things becoming more stable though, people are starting to cautiously make noises about starting them up again in our local area, so I decided to go introduce myself and catch up with some of the people I’ve been talking to online for a while.

And so to a pub garden, where we sat and ate and chatted until it was time to close up. And that’s what a munch is. The only real difference is that there’s less small talk and more deep discussion and geekery – favoured topics were comicbooks, authors, TV shows, boardgames, warhammer, oh and how useful a softly commanding voice can be while managing staff sometimes 😉

The boy s wasn’t feeling up to it, so I dropped Lady M over for a sleepover and went on my own, so that I can at least make introductions at the next one, in much the same way that boy s did for me when we first got together. Seems only fair to be able to return the favour.

One of the people I was talking to actually lives quite close, so I gave them a lift as they were on the way and that was another nice round of chat to make the journey go smoother. So all in all, a good start back, and I’ll see about the next one.