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.

Tidying Day

We’re getting ready for boy s and the cub to move out, and so today we’ve been having a bit more of a tidy and gather of their things into readily shiftable containers. It was always going to be a short-term living arrangement while he looked for somewhere to start fresh but there is an element of sadness to it. Admittedly there’s also a sense of relief that we won’t be four people crammed into a two bedroom flat and that he will have space of his own, but even so – all a bit mixed.

Still its been good to have a day where we all got round to sorting out bits and pieces – I’ve even started to grab the various Christmas-themed Funkos to make a display, because it’s that time of year. I’m saying that quietly as there’s a birthday needs to be sorted before we go into full Festive mode. I even have a multipack of DC characters that I picked up from Tesco the other day ready to take their place once I’ve cleared some shelf space.

Next week is largely going to be a mixture of another round of interviews, an appointment with a specialist to finally investigate my stomach issues – oh and assuming the references all come through in reasonable time we’ll of course be helping boy s and the cub do the whole relocation thing. It’s only going to be about ten minutes drive away, but that’s enough to give them their space. I do feel a little for the cub though – he honestly thought that because he is due to move he wouldn’t have to go to school any more. It had to be broken to him by boy s that buses exist..

The look on his face was one of shock, horror, and disbelief that the universe could be so cruel – he had no problem with us being so, but that society would continue to insist that he go to school was just too much. There may have been pouting. By him, I hasten to add. I know boy s has his moments, but this was sheer outrage on the cub’s part and I have no shame in finding that deeply funny – admittedly for all the wrong reasons.

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.

Preparations and Nattering

We’re aiming at boy s and the cub moving in this weekend, albeit probably on Sunday as I’ll be working on the Saturday which puts a crimp in things. So that’s gearing up as a set of things that need to happen.

In the meantime I’ve enjoyed my last day off on a coffee date with a friend. There was much nattering and talking of friends, family, plans, and laying of plans for them to join us at Pride in Godalming in a fortnight.

Nice way to spend an afternoon, kept me out of the rain.

I’ve even been very disciplined and not looked at any notifications from work – I shall see what awaits me in the morning.

Explorations

We went to Bletchley Park today, despite the best efforts of the Bank Holiday traffic. We picked it partly our of interest in its history, and partly so we could return our niece to her aunt as it was a little over halfway there.

I’m not entirely sure where the afternoon went as five hours sped by and there was still a lot we didn’t see. What we did find was fascinating and heartbreaking in turn, especially when it came to the areas devoted to Alan Turing. Going from a case containing his Teddy bear Porgy to a recreation of his office was surprisingly affecting as it brought forward the human behind the stories.

We had conversations with the kids around LGBTQIA+ history and in particular around Alan Turing’s treatment – which in turn led to conversations over lunch about our relationships and the polycule. And now Lady H is friends on Facebook with myr s, and the kids want to meet the cub.

Not really what I foresaw for the day, but a positive turn amid the strangeness all the same.

Nephew Wrangling

We’ve got Lady M’s nephew staying over this weekend and he is, like many lads his age, absolutely obsessed with Tesla cars.

With that in mind, we arranged to take him to a nearby Tesla showroom where (following some calls) he was allowed to explore the vehicles and discuss all sorts of details about them with the slightly bemused staff.

Safe to say his mind was blown by the opportunity to literally get his hands on vehicles and tech he has been reading avidly about for so long.

So engrossed by all this was he that we had to bribe him with lunch to get him back away from the showroom..!

And then he and I spent a good portion of this afternoon playing games, including an epic session of N-Tropy which resulted in a terrifyingly large towering edifice of balanced pieces of wood straining the laws of physics.

It’s been lovely having him around and having some time to bond a bit. A quiet Sunday still awaits too.

Memory Lane

By fervent request of myr s, we trooped back to The Plough for a Sunday Roast today, and had a slow couple of hours soaking up the atmosphere, talking to other diners, and saying hello to various dogs roaming the public area. The cub was as restless as usual between bouts of fierce attention to detail, while myr s was disappointed that the landlord wasn’t present as they missed his broad Irish accent and humour and haven’t seen him since before the first lockdown!

Then,with the cub champing at the bit, I walked him over The Green to the playground that has served so many over the years. We used to take the Charleesi there regularly, so memory lane yawned wide, contrasting with the newer equipment currently installed but still latching on to the activity of watching a child chamber everywhere, and pushing them on the swings.

Just a quiet moment of reminiscing, and then just for good measure I tweaked my back a bit – so hello painkillers and deep heat this evening…

Almost Domesticated

A quiet Saturday wandering round Kingston with myr s and the cub, and we’ve stopped in Bushy Park to give the swings a good work out. We’ll, so the cub can give the swings a good work out while we’re between weather fronts.

We’ve left Lady M behind to regain some spoons and make some mousses for tonight, and this is part of the gentle wonder of us all being a household again. We can take turns being part of and taking space from the general chaos of our mingled space.

I’ve missed this

A Day Out?

Lady M and I met up with the ex-Lady M, the Charleesi, and J today to visit the Richmond Gin and Food Festival – a last minute decision taken yesterday after the Charleesi spotted an advert.

Being a total extravert, I was champing at the bit to see some life, while Lady M was concerned about being out among people. Despite the nerves though we got to Richmond by bus and had our first real gathering of the clan in the open air setting of the Old Deer Park.

For me, the biggest excitement was that for the first time in over a decade I was able to afford to do more than just window shop. The reason for this is that my first wage from the new job came through this week. Between working full time and a significant uplift in pay grade it is a lot more than I’m used to seeing in my account.

So, rather than batting my eyelashes at Lady M, there was a lot more parity and confidence in being able to indulge in trying and buying the various wares on display. Money has been a major cause of worry over the years, so the knowledge that I had a budget that would give me room to breath was… unusual. As a result there was a lack of underlying tension to the day, at least as far as my brain and gut feelings were concerned.

And oh my, the food and drink were amazing. We have bought a number of new gins for the shelves, and I discovered that I love a good moonshine, or at least the wheat-based ones on sale today as opposed to the usual corn base. All in all, a really good haul, some nice memories, and I was well fed into the bargain.