August has blown by in a haze of sunny days and warm nights. I don't know where all the time has gone, but the school year has started again and everyone is settling back into the routine.
Patrick has started his new job and loves it. I am still at Wawa and enjoying it. There is much knitting happening (including a beret that expanded after washing into a snood).
The 7th to the 14th Patrick and I are house-/dog-sitting for his mother, who is away on a trip. This is nice for Kobold, because he has a yard to run around in and dogs to play with for a whole week. Now, if only we could get him to stop trying to hump Harley, things'd be pretty good.
Patrick's mom has two dogs, a barrel-shaped mutt named Maddie and a brindle boxer named Harley. Maddie is a stubborn, obstinate, whiny, needy rock of a dog, and she hates Kobold. He teases her, and she whines and barks at him, which excites him more, so he teases her more, so she barks more, and you can see where that is going to lead. A downward spiral of frustration and headaches. Harley is getting old, but she's a sweetheart. She was meant to be a lap dog, and if I sit down anywhere for more than five minutes she will either try to sit on my lap, or curl up as close to me as she can. She's got a pretty gray face now, and she really likes to just take it easy, but Kobold is possessed of a dire need to try and assert his dominance over her. Harley may be a matronly dog of the house, but she is still a hell of a fighter, and she kicks Kobold's ass pretty regularly. I don't know why he hasn't given up.
So we're in the spare room, comfortably crammed onto a twin bed. Normally, Kobold will sleep near our feet. This is fine. On a twin, it means he's more on our feet than by our feet, but that's okay. What is slightly less okay is that Maddie and Harley are Patrick's pack. He is their alpha dog, always has been, always will be. Whenever we sleep here, they sleep with us. So now, at night, there's five of us in the bed: Patrick and myself, and the dogs.
And Kobold can't settle down. He's never slept away from home before, so he doesn't feel at ease yet. We've brought his cage, because until we've spent two or three days here, we don't know how he'll act with the girls when we're away at work. However, if we leave him in his cage in the living room, Harley will shred her mouth open to tear the cage to bits. She doesn't like them. Really, she's a liberator of dogs. If we locked him in a room, she'd scratch a hole through the door. So our plan is to put him in his cage, in the spare room, and hopefully she'll leave him alone. Today he'll only be locked up for a few hours between when I leave around 2:30 and Patrick will get here around 6.
We'll see how that goes.
The first day at the high school across from my store was an eventful one, apparently. Two hours into the start of their day, I notice an ambulance across in the parking lot. Lights going and everything. After questioning several teachers who came in for lunch break, it turns out that one of the students had a seizure. I hope they're okay. And then, about half an hour before school ends, someone pulled a fire alarm and triggered a fire drill that none of the freshman were prepared for. That was kind of fun to watch, though depressing. It was drizzling heavily and all these poor kids were standing outside in teeshirts and things, waiting for the OK to go back in.
I hope that doesn't represent what they can hope for this coming year.
Kelly is now away at Rider University, and I've been texting her on and off all week. She likes her room mate, she likes most of her teachers, and she's looking forward to us coming up to visit next weekend.
Speaking of weekends, Sunday I'm going to the NJ Sheep&Wool festival with my parents and Em. I'm looking forward to it, although I have only a paltry allowance. I have to go food shopping when we get home after house-sitting. Next weekend is a busy one. The 17th we plan to go up to the PA Renaissance Faire with a few friends, and hopefully the weather will hold for it. The 18th we drive up to Rider to visit Kelly, and I bring her some fish for her little tank. I told her to make a list if she forgot anything, and we'd try to bring it up to her.
So, a busy start to the month, but not a bad one. Hurricane Irene blew right past us with minimal weather fuss (although human panic was inevitable and huge). We've got a rainy few days still to contend with, and a chance of rain on Saturday before the sun might come out on Sunday. I have good, waterproof boots, so I'm not worried about mud at NJSW. Much. Might get sucked in, though.
Sunday night, when I run my usual D&D game for Bob and Patrick I'll have two extras. Brandon and his friend Matt are coming to join in for a game or two to get some ideas for the game they run jointly. Brandon has a really difficult group, or so he says, and if his stories are in the slightest way truthful, he needs some help. He jumped right into DMing without really being a player first, so he's having a hard time. Of course, it doesn't help that he has a player who is making senseless arcana checks every chance he gets, because he's good at that. That would give most DMs a bit of difficulty.
So, Brandon has been coming to Bob and I for helpful advice and tips. Last week, I helped him do the math and figure out a fun encounter for his party that would give them a bit of trouble without obviously having the chance of managing a total party wipe (a.k.a., everyone dies). This week, he had a few questions for me and finally, instead of texting him paragraphs of answers, I asked when he was free. Turns out he has Sunday off, so he's going to run his game Sunday afternoon, and then come to my game Sunday night. And, since the rest of the group are fairly experience players (we're going on three years now), and at least one of us is a really good DM and the other is aspiring to DM greatness, they'll have plenty of help if they have questions or anything.
D&D is like knitting in that way. There's always purists and jerks who think there's only one right way, or are elitist about whatever. But usually, most players are totally willing to help you out and answer questions.
"One analogy I’m fond of using is that a D&D campaign is like a wagon. The players are the horses, and the DM is the driver holding the reins. As the players move forward, they take the campaign and you along with them, and you can guide them to a point, but they can be stubborn, hard to motivate, or just plain out of control. Sometimes you have to snap the reins, but if you “crack the whip” too often and keep the players running at full speed all the time, they’ll get worn out, so you need to set a pace that’s comfortable for them but also gets the wagon where it needs to go."
~Chris Perkins, Senior Producer of Dungeons and Dragons' R&D department
(And avowed DM For Life)