Everything seemed normal. Normal for any road trip you take with your kids. A million stops for the peanut-bladders; a million cruddy road snacks. At one roadside stop, I bought some semiprecious stone bracelets (a couple of mine have broken lately so I guess I needed to stock up). It was taking a ridiculous amount of time for the ringer-inner person to ring in the sale, and when I turned to see if El Kiddos were still relatively herded, I saw a friend from another city who I only really get to see once a year if I’m lucky (and I’m not usually lucky).
But as luck would have it, he invited us to his place for some gaming, perhaps an overnight sojourn if our schedule permitted (it did). We met him there, only I’ve never actually been to his house, so the house that we went to was basically a fractal collection of rooms, arranged in a roughly fibonacci/golden ratio to the centre of the house which was, of course, the ancient pot-bellied woodburning boiler. Arms snaked out in every direction to feed the rooms at the other end with heat.
His kids were home, but asleep. His wife, away at a game thing. We got the kids set up with some games of their own and then realised the artisan with the semi-precious stones had come with us and was STILL trying to ring up my purchase. Friend mentioned my penchant for stone bracelets and I told him, “anything that might help, might help”. He smiled and shrugged and told me I’m mad, but mad in an acceptable way.
We had a great visit, and the kids eventually went to bed, somewhere in that maze of a house where we could only get from one room to the next through a closet door or a window or a loose floorboard. His own children slept through the interruption of us banging through their rooms. “They’re well used to it,” Friend said with a slight smile.
After the kids were in bed and Friend and I had talked about all manner of things, the evening devolved into basically an orgy with Friend, his wife, His Nibs, and what might possibly have been Xena the warrior princess. I have the best dreams.