Move it, move it

(scene opens at dinning room table)

Gamma: Is today a school day?
Me: No. It’s Sunday. You have school tomorrow.
Gamma: Tomorrow is a school day?
Me: Yes. (Pulls up calendar on laptop) See? You have school tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and for some reason there’s no school on Friday.
Gamma: Is Friday a holiday?
Me: Not that I know of. But the school is closed on Friday.
Gamma: It must be King Julian Day.
Me: Probably.

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Date Night with Diablo

Husband had gotten a copy of Diablo III for Xbox One. The last time I played Diablo, they had just come out with the expansion pack for the second one. I ended up in a lan party with not-yet-husband and friends where we played through from character creation to finally boss in a marathon 14 hr session.

You have no idea how much street cred that buys a chick. Even now.

Also, after 14 straight hours, your ears will hear the roar of monsters exploding and gold dropping for hours afterwards. Not to mention the aforementioned actions etched on your retinas making the drive home a little difficult. I’m sure that’s material somewhere for some pamphlet on the dangers of video game playing.

But onto Diablo III

The hardest part of any game, as any true gamer knows, is the character creation. I really wanted to play a demon hunter, I really did. Seemed to be a little obvious given the overall theme of the game and probably very useful. Know why I didn’t? Her high heeled boots. Seriously. I get that this is nothing more than digital escapism fighting the denizens of a fantasy hell and my suspension of disbelief is expected in the process of slaughtering the rotting undead to acquire magical loot. But I can’t suspend my disbelief long enough to envision slinking through haunted woods and cursed ruins in my perfect kitten heels. What are they, Spiked Heels of Eternal Comfort +3? Peep Toes of Never Turning an Ankle, Just Undead +2? Espadrilles of Strength +5?

So I went with the barely clothed mage. Because she had sensible footwear. It’s the little things that really speak to a character.

Oh, did you know you can customize your character banner too? It was only the ridiculousness of it all that kept me from making it magenta with hearts, but I was sorely tempted and Husband was itching to start playing. Fear me, for I am the foretold Mage of the Bearclaw Butterfly tribe and you can call me….

Muffin.

Because nothing strikes fear into the twisted souls of the undead like Muffin the Mage.

To the important stuff – the graphics are beautiful, but I expected as much. I’ve only played through a few quests (on Hard mind you, because Easy seemed ridiculous even for casual play) but the maps are nice and twisty and the undead ravenous. Not a whole lot of loot dropping – compared to my dim memories of Diablo II so long ago – but I haven’t found it to be an impediment to upgrades and acquisitions.

The skill trees are taking some time to figure out with slots for everything and the various triggers/buttons of the Xbox controller eventually getting it’s own power. I feel like I’m playing piano moving through my various magics waiting for my mana to replenish or everything to get close enough to be hit with my area affects. I’m still a little awkward on getting everything active and running, but I really like the ability to compare the items I find with the things I’m already wearing as it makes the min-maxed wardrobe easier to put together.

My favorite part of the game, though, is the fact that Husband and I can play together. Diablo on my own is kinda a mindless grind. Follow the map, slaughter, loot, repeat. With a party in play, the evil ratchets up, so it’s even harder to plow through, but a lot more fun.

Highly recommended for those Gamer Dates.

Meteorology Games

(scene opens over dish washing)

Beta: Mom, explain this groundhog thing to me.
Me: On the second of February, the groundhog comes out and it’s bright and sunny, he sees his shadow, gets scared, goes back to his burrow and its six more weeks of winter. If he comes out and it’s cloudy, no shadow and he just tools around doing his groundhogy thing, then winter is over and spring has arrived.
Beta: That doesn’t make sense. It should be the opposite. If the sun is out and the weather is nice, winter is over and winter is still here if it’s cold and cloudy.
Me: (mental sigh as she tries to find the words) Groundhog Day is a…poetic conceit? The cultural game we all play and pretend to go along with. No one actually believes it, we just go along with it.
Beta: But what happens if the groundhog says it’s spring?
Me: He never does! It is always six more week of winter because it is six weeks from February 2nd to the March 21st, which is when spring starts.
Beta: Then why do we do it?
Me: (starts up lecture of the cultural forerunners, Imbolc and Candlemas, then realize that no one is listening to her) Because humans are silly.
Beta: Oh, that makes sense.

Specificity of language

(scene opens in a toy strewn finished attic, heaps of dirty intermixed with still folded clean on the floor)

Me: (still has her cool) Okay boys, welcome to Sunday morning, this room needs to be cleaned. (waves her hand to encompass the room) Please pick all this up; clean clothes hung up, dirty laundry in the basket, books on shelves, legos in bin. Okay?
Alpha/Beta: Okay

(insert busy mom montage of washing dishes, feeding Delta breakfast, helping Gamma get dressed, more dish washing, reheating forgotten coffee three times)

Me: (returns to attic, stands in the only perfectly clean space on the floor) Oh my god. Why the hell is this room still a wreck?!
Alpha: You told us to clean this part. (mimics maternal hand wave that perfectly circumscribes the only clean spot on the floor)
Me: (strokes out) Pick up everything on the floor. Every. Thing. On. The. Floor.

Just eat it

(scene opens in cluttered dining room)

Me: Alpha, Merit Badge University is tomorrow, you have to finish reading the source material.
Alpha: But its Friday!
Me: Remember when I wanted you to do these all last week and you argued with me? Sit.
Alpha: (plaintively) Can I at least have a snack?
Me: (fetches cup of orange jello and spoon, puts it on the table)
Alpha: (begins to read)

(time passes)

Me: (wanders over to check progress, find the orange jello neatly turned out onto the table, like a jiggly ziggurat) Zombie Jebuz, Alpha, you poured jello out onto my table?! Now it’s going to get all sticky and gross! Put it back….
Alpha: (leans forward and inhales the entire construct in one quick slurp)
Me: (Stunned silence, followed by helpless laughter) That had to be the most disgusting and the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. Don’t do that again.
Alpha: (strains in mute eye watering humor, trying not to suffocate or spit jello all over the room)

Technically a win

(scene opens in school nurse’s office)

Nurse: Thank you for coming so quickly
Me: I’m a block away, so the hardest part is gearing up (points to Delta grinning on her back). Just a fever?
Nurse: Yes. No signs of anything else, but let us know if she gets worse. (Hands Gamma over after taking parental signature)
Me: (takes Gamma’s hand and starts the chilly walk home)
Gamma: (after a long silence) I made my goal today. I was quiet in class. It was very easy because I was sleeping.
Me: You have to be quiet in class all the time.
Gamma: It’s harder when I’m awake.

Please hold

(scene opens with harried mother pacing living room on the Bluetooth)

Customer Service Rep: How can I help you today?
Me: So, I had this jacket – it was a gift, so I don’t have any purchase information – and the zipper needed to be repaired and I went through your website to get the shipping/warranty to ship it back to you to fix it and I can’t find any tracking information to see if it got to you or on its way back or if its currently being repaired…..?
CSR: …..well, okay, we can look that up for you. Do you remember when you sent it in?
Me: …uh…I’m the stay home mother of four children, my sense of time is flexible.
CSR: (starts laughing)
Me: It could have been last week, could have been three weeks ago, I’m not really sure.
CSR: My 12 year old niece is living with us now. I understand. I can’t imagine how it would be with four.
Me: Thank you for not judging me.

Discretion is key

(scene opens with mom in pjs chasing a son through the kitchen with a squirt bottle and a hair brush)

Beta: Mom!  You have to warn me before you do that!
Me: Hold still, I have to brush your hair. You look like you went through a threshing machine.
Beta: (suffers the attention of water and brushing)
Me: There. Now you look less of a mad scientist with your hair all over.
Beta: But I am a mad scientist.
Me: Well, yes, but the point is to not look like one so that way no one suspects you are up to something and can mad science in peace.

A few stolen moments

I used to be a prolific reader.  I could power through a book in twenty four hours if given the appropriate leisure time and the book in question was a much anticipated release.  My daily long commute on public trans, much needed lunch breaks, the dragging empty hours of filling a quiet office during evening shifts were all hours that were filled with a never-sated need for reading.  My work bag contained a change of clothes, my lunch and at least three paperbacks at all times.  You never know when you’d finish one at midnight and still have four hours of your overnight shift in perfect solitude.

My library probably deforested a small country.  I’m sorry.  I really am.  This was pre-Kindle days and my local library only had so much in my preferred genres of fiction-based entertainment.  Especially the way I plowed through entire shelves.  I promise that every book I couldn’t give away or donate was recycled.  Honest.

Anywhoo – finally giving up gainful employment to be the Stay Home to my first two children had me dreaming of days when I could knock out a few chapters during nap time or after I put them quietly to bed early in the evening.  Or, dare I dream, be that confident put together mom on the playground sipping her coffee and reading her hardcover while her darling angels ran around playing nicely with other children.

Unprepared for the realities of toddlers that didn’t nap – refusing to sleep at all until exhaustion kicked in! –  and then needing constant handling on the playground to keep the city from calling animal control on me, it has been years since I’ve been able to read a book in short enough time for me to remember how it started once I finished it.  I’ve been lucky to read two books in a year for lack of interest, focus, and time.  I’m glad to say I’m getting better and getting back to reading.  It has help that, in the time of becoming a Stay Home and now, technology has gotten so much more exciting and making it easier to access books!  Now I just have to fight the lure of other online time wasters to actually go read….

But here it is!

It was lent to me – Kindle to Kindle! – by another reader friend who wanted someone versed in the old school D&D tabletop gaming.  His lady wife had read it but, never having  played any sort of RPG, felt she might have missed some of the fine nuances of the genre.  So I gave it a go.

It starts as a classic Game World vs Real World and how they bleed over.  It was a fairly popular trope at some point or at least it seemed like I read a lot of “Gamers play module and end up in other universe totally by accident” books somewhere in the late 80s/early 90s.  From there it takes the predictable character evolutions and swaps them up.  Swaps them up realistically even!   As realistically being subjective in a world of orcs, dragons, and magic sword, of course.  The characters were real and engaging, both the characters and the “characters”, for those of you having enough tabletop/larping experience to understand the difference.  The motivations were not ham-handed or contrived and the solutions were clever.   I really enjoyed it.  So much so that I’m currently on the third book! In three months! Can you believe I’ve read so much in so short a time! I can feel my brain coming alive with imagination!

Edit! (Sorry – I probably should have included the link to the second book too, to save you the time of trying to hunt it down.)

Giving gifts

(scene opens in cluttered dining room, doorbell rings)
Husband: (brings in Amazon box)
Beta: (glad for a distraction from practicing baritone) What is it!?
Husband: (opens box) New pads for fighting.
Gamma: Why do you need new pads for fighting?
Husband: (shows Gamma a big bruise) Daddy needs new pads to keep from getting hurt while fighting.
Gamma: Why don’t you just dodge?
Husband: (looks at wife behind laptop) Please don’t.
Me: Oh yes.

.