Having Romilly’s birthday followed immediately by Aria’s birthday has created itself a tradition: Two Cake Day.
Practicality calls for a combined family gathering, but both girls have to have their own cakes.
This year, Carolyn was tasked with finding something cute and two-year-old appropriate, while also meeting Romilly’s brief of a “rainbow unicorn cake”.
Somehow, she managed to deliver exactly what was required.
So there goes three months without work. Long service leave, plus some of my accumulated leave, has given me a lovely break. I had expected to use these three months to relax, but also as a form of sabbatical. I did, in fact, barely code at all. I had expected to catch up with all my long-lost friends. I did, in fact, catch up with not one of them.
Here’s a rough list thoughts and memories from the longest break from work or study since I started school (and likely the longest until I retire):
Spending time with Carolyn
Going on a family holiday to Yanchep, where we spent time away from all the gadgets, and lots of time wandering around, playing board games, or just at the beach
Planning for and then enacting a surprise wedding (we finally did it!)
Carolyn and I going on a child-free honeymoon, and getting to pretend to be adults for a little while (Nice dinners! Fancy shows!)
Getting pregnant again (yes, really)
Helping Carolyn out around the house (due to her horrible, 24/7 “morning” sickness)
Helping Elysha work out her studies
Taking Elysha to her first day of TAFE (in Mandurah)
Picking up Elysha from her first day of TAFE, only to find that she’d already worked out how to get home on her own
Driving Elysha to and from the train on Fridays (such early mornings)
Dealing with a sick Romilly
Having Romilly spend full weeks with us (even if only for a little while)
Watching Romilly and Oliver playing together
Taking Oliver swimming in deep water for the first time
Taking Oliver to his first day of school
Taking Oliver to class every morning, and staying for puzzles and reading time
Picking Oliver up from class, and hearing excited (but exhausted) stories of his day
Helping out in Oliver’s class (twice)
Playing Skylanders with Oliver and teaching him how to use an XBox controller
Listening to Oliver talk about Skylanders every waking hour of the day
Planning how to fit another child into our crazy family
Looking at cars
Looking at houses
Looking at granny-flats
Panicking (just a little)
Realising that there is always room in a house full of love
Building a new PC
Late nights of computer games, either by myself or with friends and brothers
Going on photography walks with my brother
Cuddling my frail 19-year-old cat as he finds it hard to keep warm
Fixing things for people
Eating too much
Watching the soft, fluffy clouds wander across the blue, blue sky and realising how wonderful life can be when you just slow down
So many memories with my family, and so well timed to be able to look after Carolyn. I’m sorry to all the friends I didn’t see, to all the projects in my head left uninvestigated, and to all the lines of code I didn’t write, but I wouldn’t sacrifice any of my last three months. Not one bit.
Kurt: It seems that Windows has the same success pattern as Star Trek movies. Lionfire: Microsoft should hire J J Abrams? Kurt: This is my point exactly. Lionfire: Windows 9: Lensflare Edition Kurt: If it details how Clippy’s home planet is destroyed, it should be wildly popular. Lionfire: It looks like you’re trying t-OH MY GOD!
Last weekend, I fulfilled my annual tradition of going to see Sculpture by the Sea at Cottesloe, swim out into the ocean, and remind myself that yet another year of my life has passed. This year I also took the opportunity to use my new camera and enjoy seeing things through the viewfinder. As the sun set, my brother and I wandered through the sculptures, the people, and the gorgeous light.
One of my favourite moments of the evening was a little bit of friendly competition between Romilly, my brother, and myself. It resulted in my favourite image of the evening:
Of course, not everyone was as focussed on the sculptures or the photography:
They all walk down the stairs, but I push past them and continue. They look at me as if I have no right to be going that way; going the wrong way; an inconvenience. But this is the way that I must go. I look to my feet and continue, going up while they go down.