Spring Cleaning… Using Total War

Yeah, I was thinking of going with “Agent Orange”, but thought that might be a little insensitive. I’m rather doubtful there is anybody alive to fuss over Sherman’s method of conquering the South.

I’ve rather had, really. It’s such a colossal cluster fuck of junk everywhere that there truly is no way to resolve it otherwise. For a few weeks now as I’ve gathered a box or bag full of thing that simply need to go I just throw them out. No donating or finding it a new home. And I hate it. Some of it is good shit that could totally be used. Just somewhere else. There is simply too much clutter coming in and there really is no other way to deal with it. I got to say it is immensely satisfying.

And it’s not just a massive purge. I’m trying to find things and organize it all again. Again. AGAIN. I’m planning on acquiring more DIY shelving and putting shit up and out of the way that really could use that. There are a ton of pictures that could actually be framed, there’s tons of nick-nacks that could find a home that’s not on the counter. The children are constantly bringing in things that we want to keep, roughly forever. Things that are the stuff of memories, you dig? Things they made in  class, that years from now we could look upon and get all weepy with nostalgia. Things we can use to embarrass them in front of dates and would-be paramours. Things we can give to their children to salvage and savor.

But as it stands there is just so much crap. Some of it has to go…

Tangent

I’m titling this ‘Tangent’ because it has nothing to do with my premise here. I’m gonna go off for a bit about something outside of parenting I like to do. Gaming.

So I’m getting geared up to run a Shadowrun campaign. I’m really excited since it’s been a while since I’ve ran anything. I’ve enjoyed the break, and I’ve gotten to play for quite some time. That used to be such a rarity.

I’ve been pouring over my old books. I like the world, but I think I’ve finally hit on something that’s been a bit of a bother. See, for years I’ve ran games. All sorts. Shadowrun, all kinds of World of Darkness, and many others. And also for years I’ve said I ran most of them, but especially Shadowrun, all wrong. It’s said jokingly, but there is a certain premise that comes with any game. Even ones that try to be so broad and ubiquitous in their approach that they could potentially be ran in any way. There is still some underlying theme. Something sense of story that even though it might not be explicitly pointed out, it is there just beneath the surface of it all.

And that’s where I’ve gotten it wrong all these years. I’ve always ran it the way I wanted to. Shadowrun’s theme leans strongly towards playing characters who essentially do crimes for both pay, and potentially stick it to The Man. In this case, the megacorps. And I’ve done some of that, sure. But generally speaking I’ve focused on the players’ characters. And most of my players have gone outside of that scope as well. And it’s not just Shadowrun, it’s pretty much any game I’ve ran. Time and time again, it’s like they are hell-bent on doing things their way. Sure, there’s the framework of the game. The rules and mechanics that pretty much have to be kept in place. And there are strong notions of some of the particulars, be it magic or highly advanced technologies. Those are fun to play around with, no doubt.

I forgot where I was going with this, but I think it had something to do with doing things your own way even within an established framework with which work. And I’m thinking that is possibly a good way of looking at everything, even outside of such games. You have rules and laws and guidelines that really can’t be avoided, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some significant wiggle room.

It’s A Bit Early

But I’m going to go on about my Beast since I’m probably going to be busy tomorrow. She turns eight.

She started off rough. Not trying to be funny, it’s just true. She was after a loss. It happened early, but it was still devastating. Frankly, we tried a bit too soon. But as luck, or Fate, or both, it didn’t take until the regularly recommended allotment of time had passed anyway.

The pregnancy progressed, this missus swelling and glowing more with every passing day. Seems there was a bit too much swelling as she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Not that big a deal, we just were more mindful of what we ate.

Then the quad screen came back “abnormal”. Dr. Something Or Other tried (miserably) to use math as a comfort that the Beast might have something off. Again, we kept on keeping on. I’m personally all about some Pro-Choice, but we are also personally not keen on the notion of pregnancy termination. We just began to prepare ourselves mentally for this potential outcome.

Weeks passed, and things seemed to be alright. At yet another check up we got the news that there was too much amniotic fluid. It was done in that creepy and tense movie trailer dude sort of voice. It was followed up with that they didn’t know what caused it, it didn’t actually do anything, and it just balanced itself out before the end of the pregnancy. But they had to let us know.

Fourth (maybe fifth by this time) verse, same as the first. The missus got even more swollen. Like freakishly so. Turns out it was preeclampsia! Super high blood pressure on top of everything else so far! Oh, and to top it off, we lost a cat. Yeah, turns out a Great Dane chomped him pretty good, but we didn’t find out until the next morning. The Missus had gone into work and I found the little shit (one of my many not-so terms of endearment for said cat) on the front porch. Tough little bastard had managed to drag himself up the steps to get as close to home as he could. This seemed to be the final straw, and the next thing we knew we were delivering the Beast three weeks early.

It was chaos. Purple baby and pasty white wife. Oxygen for everybody! Well, not everybody, just those two. They really needed. Madness, pure and simple. Nine days in the NICU, and the once wheezy purple lump is unplugged from all sorts of monitors. We can finally hold he properly.

And she doesn’t let us put her down for two solid months. Actually, it’s been eight years of cuddles, the Beast is a fiercely affectionate little thing. She’s a whole host of other things well, but I wouldn’t have her any other way.

Back In The Day

One time when The Eldest was maybe closing in on 4, we were at a children’s museum. We were bopping from place to place, mostly just moving on but for several bops there was this one unruly little snot of a kid and his grandma. Little Snot was just that. He would run around trying to take things from all the other kids, and the whole time Grandma just stood back, looking on. Never even tried to rein in her horrid progeny’s progeny.

Finally, The Eldest was digging in the sand pit, making mounds and having a good time. This was probably about the fifth place we had found our way into when Little Shit toddles over, plops down and proceeds to kick down her mounds right in front of her. Poster child for  bullies everywhere starts snatching at the toys she is playing with and I begin moving in. I like to give people a chance to correct themselves or theirs, whoever theirs is. Grandma finally realizes the spawn of her spawn is probably just as horrible as said spawn and also tries to move in, probably because she saw my looming menace bearing down on the brat, but The Eldest beats us all to it.

Boom, her chubby little fist full of sand busts this kid right in the face. Boom, it’s like JFK all up in there for a moment. Bratty Kid falls back and to the right, squalling and screaming. Grandma snaps him up, The Eldest goes back to playing. Grandma shoots me a look. I smirk while looking right her right in the eyes. She knew what had been going down, and she knew that her little shit of a grandson had it coming. That’s right, that’s what you get. Or should get, at any rate.

Misplaced Faces & Other Things

A friend is going through a rough bout it seems. Her profile, well actually no. Her Friends’ profiles were rifled through and somebody took her pictures and slapped them on some porn site, or something. I’m not even exactly sure what happened, but it did. And it really seems that thanks to the vagueries of the internet there is fuck-all she can do about it. She’s upset, and how can you blame her?

Continued the notion of Misplaced Faces, I ran into the father of a buddy growing up, I’ve mentioned him before. Josh. Josh has been dead for about nine years, but his son was in town. It was like Josh had dyed his hair black. Down to the same cocky as hell smirk, and easy and effortless bit of smart-ass. Josh reborn. Crazy. It was also nice, actually. Sure, it sucks (and then some) that Josh has passed, but there was a certain joy in seeing him still around, in a way.

Also, the sandwich shop where all of this went down has a rather awesome Reuben. The missus had the steak & cheese and it was also a thing of joy.

And on to the “Other Things”. Games are gaming. Still working on my Shadowrun campaign. Still working on my game notes for whatever the crap I’m going to call my own system. I’m hoping to make something streamlined enough to be playable and runnable by anybody who wanted. It still largely a work in progress. Generally what happens is I come up with something, type it up, and before it can even make it to a playtest I read back through and realize that it isn’t simple enough. It’s getting there, and like I said in the mean time I can run Shadowrun.

I’m working on the outside. The yard is sort of yarding  and I’m trying to do things to take up some of the empty spaces. So far I have this-

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The solitary rock inside is the start of a second ring. The idea is make a dome. The stone circles will hold compost, and I’m thinking of filling the center with sand and some sort of flagstone. The rebar will anchor poles that will bend and be bound over the center. Hopefully it will continue to come together nicely.