Christmas and Beyond

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.

A Very Polycule Christmas

I forgot to mention last night that boy s and Lady M ended the evening working out between themselves where I would be living for the next few days. They did so by debating among themselves who had the most energy vs the most things to do this week – in other words who had the capacity to put up with me for a few days. It was prompted by boy s feeling a bit down at the end of the game last night as we all packed up to go home. The prospect of going from a house full of people and laughter to it just being him and the cub was just making him a bit low, so Lady M volunteered me. I didn’t get any consultation on this, which I have not failed to rib the pair of them about all day.

My original plan had been to just have a quiet day playing on the XBox, but such was not to be – Lady M had her booster shot due in Kingston so I got dragooned into driving her to that but took advantage of it to sort out some boxes and envelopes for boy s for some items he needed to post so I could at least be useful in the process. Then I gathered an overnight bag, my laptop, a couple of journals and some pens and wandered over to the new flat while Lady M got back to work. I may be on holiday, but Lady M isn’t for a few more days – but that’s largely because I haven’t taken much time this year while she used her leave to recover from some things a few months back. So I’ve left her to it while she sorts things out ahead of her break – much as she let me get on with things to clear the decks for my work last week.

I think I’m just going to chalk this up to “unexpected things that are part of being polyamorous” – where teasing and silliness meet care and compersion, and the quieter partners sometimes bargain amongst themselves as to where the token extraverted person goes next so that they don’t feel overloaded. Its a thing I’ve seen in joking posts on social media before now but never encountered before this weekend. As our flats are about five minutes drive away from each other it isn’t really a huge issue – I’ve already made plans to wander back tomorrow to annoy Lady M and retrieve more of boy s’ laundry as I carry on finding more odds and ends he’s left behind in his moves. Well, that and annoy people by playing Christmas songs on Spotify because I seem to be the only person in the polycule particularly fussed about it this year. There are probably worse roles to have in life.

I think in part its down to having to cancel our plans to visit my parents so we’re having to stock our households up with food and drink, having run down the larders in anticipation of being away for a week or so. Still, better safe than sorry with omicron careening around our communities. I’m taking boy s to get his booster in a couple of days and that catches him up with pretty much everyone else at that point so that’ll be something to celebrate.

I still have difficulty as seeing myself as the extraverted person, but multiple Myers-Briggs tests over the years can’t be wrong – to be fair I do tend to recharge being around people along with being comfortable being alone so I think I’m a borderline case – which no doubt explains how I have no problem standing up in training courses and holding the floor. So that now leaves me sitting on the sofa playing Boney M songs while boy s triumphantly reclaims the cardigan I’ve been wearing today and curls up with a cider and his laptop. Welcome to Christmas

Building Day

I got called this afternoon by boy s who was in a bit of a panic. We’d ordered a bunk bed so that the cub could host sleepovers in the new flat, and this weekend sees a visitation from the niece and nephew. The problem? The bed wasn’t assembled on arrival,  and so I was needed as an experienced furniture constructor.

Or, as boy s put it: I need a manlier man to adult.

So I learned a new set of construction skills reading the instructions and balancing items so I could create the frame while boy s retrieved the cub from school.

Old dog learns new tricks? More like old dog applies old tricks in new ways. It’s a nice bunkbed. Now to assemble the new super king-size back home

And They’re Off

A whirlwind day for many reasons today, not least because boy s finally got his hands on the keys to his new flat and we’ve spent most of the evening loading up a hired van with his possessions and a few pieces of furniture to take down the road. Even the cub got involved with carting bags down the stairs, eschewing his normal whinges about child labour while still doing his best to pretend to be too cool for all this really.

There are only three seats in a van, so I volunteered to travel in the back, standing and pretending I was riding a bus in the dark. It made for an interesting mental exercise to match the vehicle movements and road rise and fall to my recollections of the surrounding area. Braced carefully near the sliding door, it was almost restful, especially on the eyes after a long day of meetings and difficulties. I felt quite proud to be able to match what I could detect to my mental map as we got there – a sense of achievement in this self-set test.

And then we unloaded everything and left the boys to unpack and nest for their first evening in their new home – and home to a suddenly quiet and empty-feeling flat and a new set of very mixed emotions. After what had been a turbulent day for various reasons, it was enough to get the tears flowing a bit. I know they’re literally ten minutes down the road, but it is still a wrench.

And so there will be more transporting of goods and furniture tomorrow, to get things like computers and desks and a table and chair or two over there too – including the rest of our bed as we’ve donated that to him to make way for a kingsized replacement.

I’m just worn out.

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.

Could You All Just Stop?

My day started with one of my branch managers phoning me while they were having a panic attack on top of what turned out to be an acute asthma attack. They were worried that they might have to close their library as they were working on their own. There’s a lot to unpick there, and once I’d talked them through getting their breathing a bit less on the edge of collapse I wasted no time in telling them that I couldn’t care less about closing the library – their health is far more important. This is an individual who is new in their job and feels they have a lot to prove, despite my telling them many times over that they are doing a great job and literally have nothing to prove and they need to slow down.

Grumpy? Me?

While still reeling that in I got a call about another member of staff wrenching their back while reaching for christmas decorations in a cupboard, had an update on another person about to undergo surgery, and had calls from the cub’s school that he wasn’t well and could someone come and retrieve him. I may have growled about that as he’d pranked me this morning by walking out of his room with red vaseline around his mouth so that it looked like he had foot and mouth but was thankfully at that time okay. Lady M meanwhile had called in sick with a heavy cold, and while down in Portsmouth boy s had also succumbed to the same cold.

It turned out that the cub has, you guessed it, got the same heavy cold as Lady M and boy s – so I’m chalking it up to Con Flu from the weekend. Lateral Flow Tests have remained negative.

Me? I haven’t got time to be ill. I had school runs, building health and safety inspections, job shortlisting, event risk assessments, and partnership meetings to sort out – and retrieving boy s from Portsmouth after hours. Tomorrow I have more of the same, so I’ve quarantined everyone else in the flat in the other rooms and laid claim to the sofa. If I get this in the same week that I’ve had my blood pressure medications increased, I won’t be happy.

So, could you all just stop falling apart please? I haven’t finished my turn yet.

Time Alone

There’s a convention on this weekend focused on Streamers and YouTubers up at the Excel and so most of the household plus E2 the niece and nephew are off to visit their various favoured people. I am working so haven’t accompanied them and so last night I had a rare night on my own curled up with a montage of Mock The Week video clips and a pile of bacon butties as I used up things from the fridge. I may also have indulged in a bottle of wine too.

I needed the time alone. This has been a very stressful week at work with a new set of systems and processes coming online alongside a number of site and personnel issues that have left me with very few reserves to then deal with a rambunctious plague goblin. I suppose I shouldn’t call him that any more as he has tested negative and can now go back to school. Either way, being a typical ten year old he is busy pressing buttons and pushing boundaries and I’ve come very close to snapping and losing my temper. I can at least take a measure of comfort that I didn’t, and instead stepped away and got boy s to take over.

I have since been feeling awful about it, but I am reminded by several people that feeling angry is valid and that the important thing is that I didn’t lose control or do anything harmful – I retained the presence of mind to step away and ask for help so shouldn’t be beating myself up over something I didn’t actually do.

So, having a night to myself, and a day working alone in the office before I go join them for Sunday is a good thing and I feel a lot calmer. I imagine the nurse reviewing my blood pressure on Monday will thank me for taking care of myself – which reminds me, I need to submit a week’s worth of readings tonight as part of my review. There’s always something to do…

After that, paperwork for sorting out a referral for further investigation of my stomach issues. What joy… I suspect the various threads are related.

Home Almost Alone

Lady M and boy s have gone off for the night to go see Sarah Millican up in town, so I’ve had a quiet evening with the plague goblin.

We had a pizza and xbox night, at least until he got tired of not being able to shoot bots while playing Halo and having to contend with real people instead. We also played some other stuff before the lure of YouTube pulled him away.

Its been nice. Quiet with occasional bouts of cuddles and demands for ice cream – and it sounds like the partners had a lovely evening out. The goblin is still awake, but is lying in his own bed quietly listening to the noises of the building and not causing any troubles. I expect he will be difficult to rouse in the morning.

Sleep soon for me I think

Morning All

It’s that quiet moment before the household properly wakes. I can hear very little from outside thanks to the new double glazing, but I’m sure life is quietly bustling.

Here indoors though, I think the cub is rousing and is probably playing Geometry Dash on his PC. Lady M is probably asleep on the sofa (it’s my turn there tonight), and I have boy s asleep on my chest, face softened in slumber.

I’ll have to wake him in a bit as he has a flat viewing to go to – the search for a place for him and the cub to call their own is on in earnest now.

It’s otherwise looking like a busy day. We have a new cooker being delivered this afternoon so I’ll start looking to make sure access is clear for that, and I’ve just had email confirmation of work approving a hybrid work car through a salary sacrifice scheme which is a bit exciting.

Right, the day beckons. I can see daylight.

New Tech Please

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.

Your friendly neighbourhood dodgy wizard, perhaps..?

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?