Monday, March 25, 2019

Secondborn's Marvelous Weekend, Part One

Secondborn has been asking about sleeping outdoors in a tent in the backyard. So (entirely against my better judgement) I told him that he and I could camp in the back yard on Friday. I had hoped to spare Beautiful Wife and Firstborn, but... no, they got roped in too. Fortunately, we have two two-person tents. (I think they're technically three-person tents, but the official tent rating appear to be based on the presumption that you can merge your flesh with that of your tent-mates, and also that you can all lie there like mummies, with no need to stretch out or roll over.) So I came home from work to find that both tents had been set up in the back yard, and when bedtime rolled around we all went outside to "sleep".

I was fully prepared to sleep. I was absolutely exhausted, coming off a very long and stressful week, and completely ready to crash and burn. I warned Secondborn that when we got into the tent, he'd need to be still and quiet because I was going to read two pages of my book and start snoring.

It... didn't quite play out like that.

Tents are just cloth. They are the exact opposite of soundproof. So we listened to Beautiful Wife and Firstborn chatting quietly, until they got quiet. Secondborn settled down next to me... and then started trying to set up a nightlight. I told him not to bother, and he settled in. Then, just as I was falling asleep, he sat back up and started trying to play something on his tablet. I told him to put it down and go to sleep, and he settled again. I settled too, and was just starting to drift to sleep when he sat back up again. This time he was worried because we couldn't hear Firstborn and Beautiful Wife. "That," I told him with some asperity, "is because they're asleep."

Secondborn settled in again, and this time was quiet and still for a good half an hour. I'd missed my window for falling asleep by this point, so I was reading. (Space Unicorn Blues as it happens, and I highly recommend it.) Then the wind picked up a little, and started rustling the rain fly (which at first made me think we were maybe getting drizzled on, but no: no precipitation, just a bit of wind). That woke Secondborn up again, so I asked if he wanted a little bit of Melatonin. He agreed, and we went inside and did that, and then came back out and settled in the tent again.

It was now 11:15, and the child was A. still awake, and B. chatty.

But, I got him settled again, and the Melatonin did its work, and he finally really slept.

It still wasn't quiet outside; we're talking about the Metroplex on a Friday night, and it has a deep, steady roar composed of hundreds of engines carrying people around the city. But it was quiet enough. And while we hadn't put down mattresses, I had thrown a sleeping bag under us and the tent was set up on a nice stretch of smooth grass. I'd been worried that I might not be able to sleep on a (relatively) hard surface like that, but while I'm definitely older than I used to be I'm not old enough for that to be a problem. No, the real issue with getting comfortable is that I'm almost exactly as tall as the tent is long, which makes it impossible to sleep with my head on one arm and my legs fully extended. (Secondborn, of course, does not share this problem.) So there was a lot of shifting around and rolling over, and having my limbs in strange but not really uncomfortable positions. All in all, though, it wasn't bad; I was aware of those things, but I still managed to be asleep.

Sometime the next morning when it was starting to get light, I heard the door to the kitchen open and close. Beautiful Wife and Firstborn had retreated into the house. It had turned chilly in the early morning, and Secondborn was cuddled against my back and rapidly taking over my pillow. (I really should have seen that coming and had an extra blanket ready, but oh well.) We slept a little longer, and when it was bright enough that I couldn't sleep anymore I nudged Secondborn awake and we went inside to join them.

I went to the back room and slept a little bit longer on the bed. (Not all that much longer, really; I'd actually slept pretty well in the tent.) Secondborn, meanwhile, immediately dropped into his mother leftover (and still very hot) bath water to warm up.

Secondborn was thrilled, y'all. Not only had we Had An Adventure, but it was an adventure that he'd come up with and largely directed. Bonus points for the fact that it didn't start to rain until mid-morning, after we'd had a chance to haul in everything that had been in the tents. Double bonus points for the Beautiful Wife making scrambled eggs for the boys and bacon-sirloin and cheddar omelettes for us.

But the weekend wasn't over yet...

Friday, March 22, 2019

We were hopeful

They took us from our homes only to dump us in cavernous rooms with piles of edible nutrient-goop and basins of water. We didn't know what had happened, and at first we were terrified... but when they didn't come back, everybody just kind of settled in.

We argued about it. We thought they'd forgotten us. We thought they were preserving us, trying to save us.

So this time when they gathered a group of us and put us in a smaller container for transport, we weren't so scared. We clung to the grips and waited to see where we'd end up next. We were... hopeful.

Then the transport opened and turned, and maybe a quarter of us stumbled out into a new world: hot, dry, sandy. There was a rock formation in one direction, a shallow pool of water nearby, and another rock formation just beyond it. This one wasn't as tall as the first, and it had a cave.

Davros had just said something about taking shelter in the cave when it emerged. It came from the cave, of course. We didn't even see what it was at first, just this blur of movement like a giant hammer falling on Lilly. Only instead of being crushed, she was taken.

We fled in all directions -- any way that took us away from that cave and the beast inside. There was no plan. There was only panic.

But now we know: they didn't take us so they could protect us. They took us to be food for their horrible beasts.

There is no escape. This world is too small. So we hide. We wait. We creep outside during the day, when the beast sometimes sleeps, to take what we can of food and water. None of us expect to survive. We only wait to warn the ones who are brought here next.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

My job, my career, my co-workers...

I have now received, for the first time in my life, an interoffice envelope filled with empty/used toilet-paper tubes.

I feel like this is both the culmination and the perfect summary of my career.

I'm not even the one collecting them. For fuck's sake, I just send out the emails. But here I sit, at my desk, with an envelope full of depleted toilet-paper rolls.

I long for the sweet embrace of darkness.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Blogging Challenge: Characters I Want To Meet

So, I've been participating in (and enjoying) the weekly Blogging Challenge over at Long and Short Reviews. This week's challenge is "Characters I Want To Meet".

I'm... I'm just going to point out that I read a lot of Cosmic Horror. It seems like the kind of thing I ought to mention at this point.

But okay, I mean, not everything I read is unrelenting horror. (Well, outside of the news, anyway.) So let's see...

Gimli. I mean, I'm not saying I'd go hunt Uruk-Hai with the fellow, not without magic or much better armor than I have. My swordsmanship isn't that good, and my archery is... decades out of practice. But a good meal and a few drinks after a long day of battle? Dwarvish hospitality? Absolutely. It'd be fun.

Corwin of Amber. Immortal Prince, able to find his way through the myriad worlds of Shadow, sarcastic bastard, expert swordsman, possible sorcerer, musician and composer. Again, I'd be a lot safer if I stayed out of the black magic and sudden death parts of his adventures, but he'd be a hell of a lot of fun to talk to or have a drink with.

Maskelle, from Martha Wells' standalone novel Wheel of the Infinite. The bitter, cranky, obstreperous Voice of The Adversary, who has to put up with (and take care of) way more shit than she really deserves but does it with a certain bloody-minded style. She'd be very dangerous company to keep, but a hell of a lot of fun to have a drink with.

Kaia Steelflower from Lilith Saintcrow's Steelflower chronicles. A hard-fighting, hard-drinking mercenary-turned-elf-princess who finds herself half-accidentally shepherding a band of unlikely companions... this is someone who knows how to party.

In fact, I'm seeing a distinct theme here. So let's throw in...

Hail Bristol, the gunrunner princess from K.B. Wagers' excellent Indranan War series.

...And then let's just all get together for a cross-genre pub crawl. Hijinks are guaranteed to ensue.

Monday, March 18, 2019


So, my cunning plan to Get All The Rest this weekend actually went pretty well (despite a couple of interrupted naps), and my immune system appears to be catching up with whatever I've been trying to shake off for the last three weeks. All of which is a fancy way of saying that I'm feeling a lot more energetic and a lot better focused than I have in a while. I might even get some writing done.

(It feels weird to say that, because actually I'm writing all the damned time on one thing or another. It's just the extended, novel-length projects that A. I never seem to make much progress on, and B. I somehow think of as my "real" writing.)

Meanwhile, I went ahead and ordered a pre-packaged Dungeons and Dragons campaign, because I'd really like to play with the boys but I don't have the prep time to design my own campaign. I'd kind of resisted doing that, because it means moving from 3.5 to Fifth Edition; but I've been looking over 5e and I've discovered that I quite like it. It seems both simpler and better organized than the older versions, plus there are a lot of character options that I find really appealing.

Also, y'all, the cat has horrible diarrhea. I mention that because he just dropped the absolute stinkiest poop ever to hit a litter box. We're talking "violates the Geneva convention" here. OMGWTFstink...

Right, buried that. Now to wait for the air to clear. Pardon the digression.

Anyway, there's a ton of stuff going on at work this week, but I'm just going to buckle down and work through it as best I can. A lot of it is new to me, so it's taking longer than it would if I were more... well... if I actually knew what I was doing, TBH. But here we are anyway. I went ahead and applied for a Project Manager position, because I feel like if my Ur-Boss is going to triple my workload I should get some kind of corresponding pay increase; we'll see where, if anywhere, that goes. If it doesn't go, well, there are some other options I can look at.

TL/DR: Work is busy-busy-busy, it's been too long since I've played/run D'n'D, Elderly Cat is nightmarishly stinky, but I'm finally starting to feel better.

How's your Monday looking?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Sick Again

So, whatever this is that I've been trying to shake off for the last two weeks finally caught up with me yesterday, and I left work at mid-morning and went back home and slept, then went to bed relatively early last night as well. (Ten o'clock is relatively early, right?) Woke up with my first alarm, decided there was no way I was getting out of bed yet, and went back to sleep until my second alarm. Which means the boys got to sleep in until 6:30, which is going to make it real hard to get them up for school on Monday, but apparently that's where we're at. I did at least get them down to bed on time last night, so if we can keep that up that'll be something.

Meanwhile I'm back at work, and while I don't feel like I'm about to collapse (that was yesterday), I'm still feeling... well... I hope somebody got the number of that truck, mainly. Tired, a little sore, still with the occasional bit of upper-respiratory cough and the low energy, plus the swollen lymph nodes in my throat. Energy is... okay. Like, I shouldn't move too fast, but if I can keep it slow and steady I should be able to get through the day. That could change, though; we'll see.

Meanwhile I finished re-playing the first two Infamous games, and I've started back into Bloodborne. (Because apparently I'm in the mood to die a lot? Yeah, looks like it.) Writing is basically at a standstill -- I had that lovely little epiphany back at the first of the month, but I haven't had the time or energy or focus (mostly energy and focus) to pursue it.

With any luck, I can take it very easy this weekend and recuperate enough to get my energy back. Next week we're back on schedule, but I think that'll actually make things easier as long as we're all reasonably healthy by then. Take care of yourselves, my friends.