We’re looking after the cub this evening while boy s is visiting Lady B back in Portsmouth for their tabletop D&D group. Well, I say looking after, but he fell asleep on me about quarter to six in the evening after I’d fed and watered him. At first a nestle against my arm, it soon turned into an arm shoved through the front pocket of my hoodie and a nestle under my arm and lights completely out.
He has what can best be described as a “burning the candle at both ends” approach to being awake, which largely comes from a fear of missing out on anything interesting going on around him. Today was the day that his body said enough, and so I had a small sleeping person curled up on me. It was very sweet.
Lady M and I eventually manhandled him into bed in the spare room and he slept for a good five hours before briefly surfacing just as I was switching lights off to go to bed. I brought his phone in, plugged it in to charge it, and he was asleep again as soon as his head hit the pillow.
So it’s been a quiet evening, and I’ve largely been working on my short stories to polish up the collection. Silver linings, and all that.
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.
Lady M and I decided that Christmas would come early this year as the home IT setups were frankly ancient. My collection of ancient laptops are practically steam powered, while her desktop PC is a Frankenstein’s Monster of salvaged parts from my old kit and occasional extra bits bolted on over the last ten years. Want to talk about Theseus’ Boat? I have a modern-ish day example propping up a desk in the spare room.
It all rather got pushed to the fore by the cub monopolising the spare room with his PC, and my increasing frustrations with trying to run the gaming sessions through www.dndbeyond.com and www.roll20.net with a side order of www.syrinscape.com for good measure – there may have been regular swearing and frequent use of theatre of the mind to keep people occupied while waiting for things to load. By the same token, Lady M’s podcasts and blog work had been utterly derailed by the presence of our beloved goblin.
And so we went on to Lady M’s employee perks website to see what discounts we could find, set a budget, and smiled sweetly at the credit card. It is some measure of how far we’ve come in the ten years of our marriage that we have the budget to do this and not break down in sweaty tears at the cost and guilt of spending money on ourselves.
So, a little delayed from the initially promised delivery date, we’re busy setting up and engaging with various projects that we’ve had on hold for some time. The cub is serenading us from the other room as he plays Geometry Dash and makes up his own theme tunes, and its a pleasant backdrop as we sit in geeky, nay nerdy, bliss on the sofa.
It’s also a much needed distraction from today’s date and the many firework explosions outside. I’ll need to venture out later to retrieve boy s from his workplace as he’s on a late night covering an event at Thorpe Park – though Lady M has offered to do that as a kindness, depending on how rambunctious the cub is. I may take her up on it given how broken my sleep was last night.
Oh, one particular joy with this new piece of kit is that it’s a convertible HP Envy, which means I can fold the screen back and the machine turns into a tablet – it has even come with a stylus pen that I had to charge up earlier.
It felt rather rude not to test this and take advantage of the form factor, so I scribbled a little something earlier – the WIP version can be seen in the Instagram feed on this page, but the final version is here in all it’s dubious glory. Cheery old geezer with possibly a wand of some description, and the world’s bushiest eyebrows.
I’ve even updated Scrivener and transferred all my files over and it takes less than an ice age to open the app and documents now – so I’ll restart editing the short stories to get back into the swing of things – again, a good distraction.
I was tempted to have another crack at Nanowrimo this year but launching myself at the intensity of that straight from nothing would be setting myself up to fail – so short stories it is. I really need to get back into the habit of writing longer pieces than these blog posts on a regular basis. Trying that while also battling the black dog wouldn’t be a kindness, so while I don’t have a deadline I can move at a slower pace.
As the saying goes: what’s the worst that could happen?
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.
The cub started at his new school this week amid worries in his side, and bemusement on ours. For the most part this has been in boy s realising that the locals are a lot more accepting when it comes to lgbtq people and lives than where he has been living.
Most notably this week has been our interactions with the new school, where boy s and I were accepted as the cub’s parents and then explaining that Lady M was part of our triad – and might therefore also be an adult picking cub up or dropping him off barely rated a reaction at all.
Misgendering has been minimal, and very swiftly and appropriately corrected – and then stuck to and communicated to other staff. The local corner shop owner, no stranger to the many school children and their families, was similarly accepting.
To boy s this has been a stark contrast to what he has grown up with and faced over the years, so I’m finding it both heartaching and wonderful to see and hear his astonished reactions. It gives me hope and irritates me in equal measure that an hour and a half’s travel seems to have also leapt him forward about thirty years culturally.
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.
For a variety of reasons, including providing stability and better job hunting potential, myr s and the cub will be moving in with myself and Lady M in a little over a week or so.
Exciting times, a little bit stressy, and that’s not even counting the window replacements this week or the challenges of work at the moment.
Well, what’s the worst that could happen?
So, myr s is currently downsizing and rationalising their possessions, looking at new school places, and sorting all the rest of the paperwork required. They also had a long-overdue conversation with their father about a number of things, and we’re so proud of them.
It’s been wonderful to just stop today and let the day happen. Admittedly that took a while to start as my day started before 7am with a text from one of my branch managers informing me they were waiting for an ambulance. That was a good start to get the adrenaline pumping.
They are, I hasten to add, okay now though won’t be working at least until next week. Then there were another flurry of calls and texts that had to happen to sort out cover and some other things, but after that I could enjoy the day. I consciously closed down all work-related tech, which helped.
And so we wandered into Staines, did shopping of both the window and real variety, and had brunch in a Costa before seeking books and some nice things before retiring back to the flat – where the cub and I played several games of chess and Chinese checkers and myr s and Lady M collapsed to recover their spoon levels.
All in all, it’s been lovely. Other highlights included the cub realising we’d set up the old xbox in the room he was sleeping in; the look on Lady M’s face when the cub called her ‘mum’, and acknowledging a burgeoning friendship with someone I’ve been chatting to on a Discord server.
Tomorrow? Well that depends on the weather, so who knows?
Its been our turn to receive little somethings from the DDC – not as part of any schedule or expectation, but simply as nice things to do. Its always nice to get things in the post, but thoughtful things from loved ones rather than Amazon orders do put a bigger smile on the face.
In this instance, across two deliveries, it was things picked out by myr s and the cub as “just because” morale boosters for both myself and Lady M. The first was a hamper of cheese and chutneys – they know our foodie nature so well – that the cub had spotted and picked out
While the second delivery contained a new Groot Funko for Lady M, and a really well stocked art roll of pencils, charcoal, and chalks for me to get lost in my artwork with.
The notes and letters that came with them are a wonderful boon and reassurance – just whats needed as lockdown continues.
I’m visiting lady s for a few days as I had more leave to book this year than Lady M. After a long week, it’s been good to switch off. Lady M and I drove down on Sunday afternoon and dropped off presents for the household, then I stayed on – much to the cub’s bemusement.
The stress levels have been slowly dropping as we’ve watched films and YouTube clips. In between, we’ve been having a tidy up before Christmassing and generally taking it easy.
Tomorrow we’ll be seeing the cub at his school Christmas play, before Lady M returns and whisks me away so we can finish packing to go visit family next week.
Amusingly, Lady M had forgotten that I was going away at one point as she was hoping I might pick her up from drinking with colleagues this week – I mention this to forestall any visions you may have of Lady M somehow languishing like Rapunzel in her tower. One of our many strengths is that each of us are equally comfortable and in need of time alone as in being with each other (as wonderful as that is)