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I was a bad seneschal and skipped our fortnightly A&S meeting last night (after arranging for someone else to take over for me) and instead spent the night in bed. That’s less sexy than it sounds — I’ve been run ragged the last couple of days and was catching up on badly-needed sleep. I took a three hour nap after work, ate dinner, played some SWTOR and then went to bed early — call it about twelve or thirteen hours of actual sleep, total. I’m feeling considerably better this morning than I was yesterday, I promise you that.

In other news I’ve got an interesting hiccup at my job coming up, and it’s going to impact the way my life works for the next couple-three months: basically, over the next sixteen weeks, I’m going to be the on-call tech (or at least the “backup on-call” tech) for about thirteen of them. We’ve got a busy series of installs across the province coming up, and most of them will be on weekends. Our company provides 24/7 on-call support for a number of clients and part of the service they pay for is a warm body on site as quickly as possible when necessary. If half our workforce is a six-hour drive away doing an install while they’re scheduled to be on-call, then clearly arrangements have to be made. Myself and one other co-worker get to be the “arrangements”.

The downside to this is that when I’m the “primary” on-call tech, our company policy is that I can’t be more than an hour out of town. Backup on-call, no more than two. This blows an enormous hole into any plans for attendance at most SCA events for the next few months, since it’s a thirty-minute drive just to get to the 401, much less anywhere else in the province. (The Wife™ will likely be going to a couple of SCA events without me.) Fortunately, the next event I absolutely have to attend is Late Winter Shoot, which our canton hosts at a site about ten minutes out of town, so in that case I can have my cake and be on-call, too.

To be clear: I’m not all that happy about the situation but It Is What It Is and my employer, recognizing that I’m going to be shouldering an unfair amount of the on-call duties for the next quarter, agreed to pay me a modest bonus for each extra weekend I’m working; I certainly won’t be retiring on that premium, but it’ll definitely help pay off the recent spate of vet bills.

Which brings me round to the point I was trying to get to in this post: I’ve got two-and-a-half months coming up where I’m going to be getting a lot of shop time, since my shop is located pretty firmly within that one-hour radius. I’m planning using that time to tear apart the two-and-a-half canton loaner kits in my shop, determining what they need, and then making up for the shortfall one way or another (most likely by building stuff myself.) In addition, there’s any number of minor repairs to make, generally replacing rotted-out straps and broken buckles and so on, which is stuff that I can get working on immediately (I’ve got a stash of 1/2″ cut-steel buckles in my shop laid by for that very purpose.) I’m also hoping to sweet-talk a couple of our local newbies into my shop in order to get their personal kits a bit spruced-up for the coming fighting season.

(BTW, if anyone local has a couple of old hockey bags or something they can donate to these kits, that would be great: Right now most of them are being stored in plastic tubs of questionable integrity and portability.)

And as for my personal kit… I need to re-work how my leg harness hangs; I had some problems at Tournoi this past weekend because my kidney belt and leg attachments no longer interact properly: between a year’s worth of leather stretching and weight loss some fine-tuning is going to be required shortly… especially if I plan on fighting from my knees at any point in the near future.

Helmet and buckler

I also want to hammer out various dents, especially in my bascinet. At Tournoi another fighter commented that he liked the dents in my helm, because it told everyone that I’m a fighter. I figure he’s half right: those dents tell everyone I’m fighter who needs to learn to how to duck.

Hopefully I can also get started on my own gauntlet, demi-gauntlet and wooden shield projects as well. I’m strongly considering signing on for the upcoming Crown Tourney in May, not so much because I seriously think I can beat the field as to keep me honest about attending practices for the next few months. (Fortunately, the extra on-calls are weekends-only, so most weeks I can still drive out of town for practices if I want.) For this winter and spring I’m setting myself a goal of at least one practice per week. On weeks when we’ve got our local practice on a Wednesday night that’s easily doable, and the Bastille du Lac or Ard Creag practices are an easy drive on the alternating weeks.

Clearly in the race to stay on top of the work schedule, the SCA schedule, being a good husband and trying to keep from going crazy, discipline is going to be key.

First thing, however, is going to be cleaning up the workshop. At the moment it looks like someone dumped out three suits of armour, a bunch of rattan and at least two toolboxes, then stirred. It looks like that, because let’s face it, that’s pretty much what I did. Tonight and tomorrow afternoon is going to involve a lot of organizing before I can get into rebuilding loaner kits on the weekend.

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