After last week, where I came to the conclusion that I had become my parents, I have decided that I am not really cut out for this child-rearing lark at all. This conviction was forceably brought home to me on Sunday afternoon, when three small children, belonging to Chris's step-daughter visited for their annual Easter Egg hunt. They were the human equivalent of a mountainside full of snow - very pleasant when stationary, but when it starts to move, you'd better watch out, and lock away all valuables. I have nothing but the deepest respect for the parents; or, indeed, any parents who manage to get through eighteen years of child-rearing without once reaching for the nail-gun ["Mummy, why am I limping in a circle?"] as an effective tool of child-control. Children should be seen and not heard. Or better yet, neither seen nor heard, and a combination of duct-tape and the cupboard beneath the stairs would assist mightily in this goal.
However, they've gone, and I think we have a good chance of getting the urine stains out of the cushions, so I am left to contemplate my birthday. This sees me perched precariously in the middle between thirty and forty, precisely half-way through my alloted three-score-and-ten, and wondering how I managed to make it thus far without being beaten up by someone I'd managed to piss off. Such as Jimmy Saville - the story of which will hopefully appear here in the next week or two, I'm just waiting for Demon's legal department to approve it.
Chris, the darling, threw a surprise party for me on Friday. I should really have guessed, given the ones she organised in 1999 (James Bond) and 2000 (toga), but for some reason, didn't, and went innocently off to her sister's house on Friday afternoon to install some memory. When I came back, the house here had been transformed into an alien grotto - this year's theme was 'Men in Black'. So everyone was appropriately clad in suits and shades, while Area 51 posters decorated the room. A fun time was had by all, with the highlight perhaps...but if I told you, then I'd have to kill you. Suffice it to say that plotting will begin now for the end of July, when it will be Chris's turn. Bwah-ha-hah... [Laugh largely aimed at investing her with an appropriate sense of paranoia for the next three months]
Birthdays are supposed to be a time for taking stock. The problem is, if anyone had told me five years ago, that I'd be living in Arizona, writing programs for a jewellery supplies web-site, I'd not have believed them. I should therefore be loathe to predict where I will be in another five years, except for the fact that I am, at the moment, deliriously happy. It's taken me a good few years to achieve Nirvana - and, boy, what a long strange journey it's been - but I can now state with confidence that if I'm sitting in exactly the same situation in another five years, I will be every bit as content as I am now.
Indeed, perhaps even more so, and without having to raise a finger to change my life, since the kids will, by that point, be all grown up and saving whales and stuff. This will leave Chris and myself to roam the world, laptops in hand, selling beads remotely and perhaps writing the editorial from an Alp somewhere above Salzburg. Does that sound like a fine goal for my fortieth birthday?
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