Mostly Budget Musings

So, life has continued, time has kept flowing, while I’ve been locked out of this little blog.

We’re still in a pandemic… maybe? Is it endemic yet? I can’t keep up and I’m so fried. Does everything seem to be slipping and getting worse? All this awful hateful stuff going on in the world, from invasions/war, to attacks on LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, to all the endless shootings and mass shootings. Life is freaking stressful.

And inflation. Skyrocketing inflation in some sectors. Used car prices are freaking SHOCKING. It’s inane, and you can’t get a freaking loan for one unless your credit is perfect. Seriously, my friend is currently so screwed right now by this. And Housing. Can we talk about housing prices? House or apartment if you are hunting right now you are pretty damn screwed. There is a 600 sq. ft. apartment with 1 bed, 1 bath in my town for $950/month… that is a STEAL these days! It’s outrageous at the same time. 600 sq. ft. is very small. It is suitable only for a single person or a couple and nearly $1,000/month. wtf.

We all know gas prices are up, $5/gallon at least, it’s impacting the way my family lives. We bought our house in a rural town, about 30 minutes commute to work for all but one of us, (who can walk to work) and gas prices are just murder right now. Especially for my eldest who makes like $14/hour. (and that’s with a recent raise!!!) She probably loses around $10/day of that to gas to and from work, I mean, we ALL do but she is hardest hit. Our son rides in with my husband and husband makes decent money, I’m taking a hit for sure but not as bad as my eldest. We’ve got other struggles, of course, medical care, medicine, etc etc. Grocery prices are climbing. It all SUCKS.

So, I’ve been working on actually budgeting, something that makes me uncomfortable. Budget to me means limits, limitations that I might crash up against and feel… stifled or something. It goes against my free-spirited way of doing things. I prefer to be free-range. I haven’t laid out a lot of actual limits for specific things because for some things we’re just not in control. Like the electric bill, for example, I have to pay what they charge us. I’m working on driving down our usage instead of setting an amount. That’s what I’m doing with fuel for our cars too, just trying to minimize driving. Prescriptions are picked up on the way to or from work. Thrift shop visits, and any other shopping are also added to other trips. I am planning my routes so I hit things in logical order with no back-tracking. I couldn’t bring myself to set an amount for groceries. I’m not going to have us going hungry or anything. I have goals for the grocery bills and I’m aiming for them. I have gotten our costs down somewhat already so I guess it’s a win.

What I have set limits on, solid enforceable limits, are take-out, entertainment and gifts. I also started a fund for vacations/travel, (which we do so little that we’ve never considered tracking it) just to have it as a limit on what can be spent IF we ever get to travel anywhere. So there is an amount set for take-out (and the other things)for each month, we track that amount, it can accumulate month to month but it cannot be overdrawn. When it’s gone it’s gone and we need to deal with it. Yeah, it’s an experiment for sure, and I hope it goes well and keeps us on an even keel. I’m also keeping a list of needed items for thrift shopping/other shopping. Like work shirts for my husband and son, and the sizes and preferences, I also have a limit on what I can spend on this stuff. Credit cards are dangerous so I am not going to spend more than we can pay. So, limits, fun stuff. Hopefully it won’t make us feel deprived. Cuts have to be made.

Keeping the food budget down is tricky but doable. I’m growing a little bit of food now, we have our pre-paid farm-share to lean on June-November, and pasta and rice are pretty cheap. I am being careful with buying things like meat, nuts, and other expensive things. Cutting out junk-food is huge, of course. I’m discontinuing buying chips, soda, cookies and other junk, still keeping crackers for the moment. But we can pop some popcorn instead of chips and have homemade iced tea instead of soda. More work but less money and better for us. Win-win.

I’ve got this idea that we need to “use what we have” in a lot of areas. Like let’s play the board games, card games, video games and RPGs we already own. Let’s read the books we have and use the library for more books and movies because it’s FREE. Let’s dig into our stashes of art supplies, fiber, and recycleable bits and bobs for projects. I mean, sometimes, we might actually need to pick up an item or 2 but probably a lot, lot less than we currently do. It’s a great principle from the old Tightwad Gazette; “First, go to your stash and see what you can make from what you already have. Do not spend money if you don’t have to.” Well, that’s where we’re at right now.

Well, Hello There!

It appears I’ve been away about half a year. Huh. I think I couldn’t log in for a bit and gave up this blog for lost but today I can suddenly login again so… here I am.

The pets are still all with us, late innings for Kisa, she is getting old. She had a seizure a while back but it hasn’t repeated so far. We’re hoping for another few good years with her but we’ll see how it goes. Wish some of these creatures we latch onto could live as long as we do. It’s a crushing blow when any of them dies.

So, we are all currently employed! I know, it’s been a loooong time coming. Four of us have permanent jobs, to varying degrees, and our youngest has Summer employment at least, so we’ll take it. Eldest works at a food co-op, middlest is still at the bakery, youngest is working with his dad on IT and then in the school library, my husband still runs the IT department at the same place and I am still running YA services at my little library. Those of us who’ve been employed long-term have gotten small raises, mine doesn’t even keep up with the cost of living but I’ll take it. I am lucky enough to love my job and have an excellent boss.

A book I helped illustrate as a teenager has gotten re-issued. We had a relaunch event at the library with the author and some of my fellow illustrators. I had to speak, in front of people, eek. It went well though, we even got paid again. Crazy but YAY! Money helps. Randomly my old science teacher attended the event. It was crazy to see her after so long. It’s been decades.

Yeah, I’ve always been kinda this way… hippie dippy, peace love & granola. ^_^

Lots happens in six months. Games have been played, meals have been cooked and eaten, art has been made, milestones reached, tests passed and failed, etc. Youngest went for his first permit test and didn’t make it. They got harder at some point and the questions are now super specific.

Oh! Some friends are expecting twins!!! I am so excited, probably because I am not going to have to get up with them in the middle of the night, but hey, Twins! ^_^ ^_^ Time to brush off my Auntie skills and be ready to lend a hand.

The garden is doing fairly well so far. I mean, not like last year yet but goodish. We had broccoli, strawberries, kale, and basil.. oh, and zucchini! I’m hoping the hot peppers make it, it’s not a good climate for them but our farmshare manages to grow them so I’m trying.

Success @ Work!

YAY! I’ve been feeling pretty bad about work lately, for months if I’m honest, and last week it all started to turn around. I ran a successful program for eight participants, EIGHT! That is the biggest turnout since before Covid19 and I am just absolutely delighted. The presenter who was supposed to run it had to bail on me because she got Covid and has to quarantine and recover. I said “no worries, I got it, I hope you get well very soon.” and then quietly panicked for a bit. We made gnomes and gingerbread men and it went well. ^_^

That was all Friday last week. Saturday I put in my December book order, planned 3 continuing programs for January and beyond, created flyers for the programs and a calendar of events for January, and basically just set myself up for success in the new year as much as I could before taking my upcoming vacation. Well, vacation time, we’re not going anywhere, I’m just going to freaking relax. Anyway, at this point I am feeling pretty good about being able to take the time off and just chill and not worry too much about work.

My son and I are planning the menu for Yule/Christmas and getting ready for some pre-holiday baking. My grown kids and husband put up the tree last night and we’ll be decorating/lighting it soon. I’m planning on games, movies, and other little activities to make the season bright. Here’s hoping we all have a happy holiday season and good health and happiness in the coming year!

Winter Crafts & Update

I am still alive. Suffering near constant headaches and dealing with digestive issues often is not a lot of fun but I am doing the best I can, trying to stay positive, and keep on keeping on. I’m behind on holiday baking, haven’t started, and struggling with certain chores. My crafting is almost on track though, so let’s celebrate that. Here are a few of my projects:

This Friday I will be making gnomes and gingerbread men with the teens & tweens at the library. My instructor had to cancel as she has come down with Covid. Yikes, she was fairly careful and still got it. Scary as I am fairly careful and do not want to get it. Anyway, she is a great instructor as was bringing all the felt and scissors, needles, thread, threaders etc. So now I am raiding my stash and what the library has and we will have to make-do. The worst part will be the kids having to make-do with ME as an instructor, I am not good at it. So, I have simplified the projects and will be providing some already cut pieces for them to work with in case I can’t explain anything… which it pretty likely. :/ On the plus side I supposedly have 6 kids showing up to this so, wow. That hasn’t happened since before the plague!

Anyway, my head is pounding and everything hurts so I’ll leave it at that. I hope you are all well and staying healthy.

Zombies!

Hello to any who might still check this blog. I am still alive, though suffering a flare up of an existing, exhausting condition. It’s been over a week of not being able to work and getting very little done. It’s demoralizing. Anyway, I am looking ahead and hoping next weekend will see enough of an improvement that I can run my zombie workshop at the library. I don’t think I’ve shared many of my zombies, probably should have checked before posting but this headache means I am not going to so, here are some of the little blighters.

I like the green ones best and I like the little guy in overalls w/ the yellow shirt the very best. His name is Slurpie and I love him. I’m realizing that I need to pay more attention to the goofy gore and make sure all my zombies actually have some zombie features beyond just the eyes. Some of them don’t obviously look like zombies and that is a shame.

I’ve also made, using the basic zombie template, Drizzt for my husband’s birthday.

I’m Still Here

I have not in fact shuffled off this mortal coil and joined the choir invisible. I’ve been busy with gardening, crafting and gaming…. Probably too much gaming. I think I am down to 3 games per week but there is one in the wings that will be starting up soon, one that’s on a hiatus and another one waiting to replace the one we currently play on Wednesdays so, no shortage of games.

This summer I have had the most successful gardening season of my life! It’s been freaking amazing. I got armfuls of zucchini, cucumbers, kale, beets, onions, and enough mint for pretty much everyone. Behold some of my harvest and be amazed!

I know this is nothing compared to what most people get out of a garden, I promise I know this would be considered pathetic by most people, but I am terrible at growing things. Just … awful and this harvest is off the chart… for me. I shredded over 33 cups of zucchini yesterday and I will be able to make 22 loaves of zucchini bread over the winter. Oh, I can make zucchini bread now! That’s a new thing! I’ve made 3 batches of 2 loaves each so far and it is delicious. I skip the nuts, because of my allergies, and add in all kinds of dried fruit. So good. Between the farmshare and my little gardens it has been an amazing summer for veg eating. Here are the new beds we had put in:

Next update I’ll try to post pics of all the little zombies I’ve been making and maybe the sweaters and other things I’ve been crocheting and knitting. Be well. XXOO

Abandonment & Update

Yep, I have practically abandoned this poor little blog. At first I was too busy posting on on my Pathfinder Pictograph blog but lately we haven’t been gaming much and I haven’t been posting there as a direct result.

So, for the past several months I’ve been working, gaming in other games somewhat, and mostly creating art. My scribbles during the Age of Ashes run are fun and all but that has become so infrequent that it just doesn’t bleed off any of my mad urge to create anymore. In my work as a teen librarian I do a fair bit of creating as I try out potential crafts to see if they are something I can run as an outdoor workshop or a take-home craft for the teens. I have so many ideas right now and I doubt many of them will see the light of day as Covid 19 the Delta variant seems to be gaining momentum. *sigh* Take home crafts will likely be the order of the day again before long.

We did get to hold one craft outdoors in person so far, we made little fish out of felt and stuffing and such. It was fun so I got out a zombie kit someone gave me a long time ago. The zombie design was terrible just… awful. So I used the materials from the kit to make something more appealing. A cuter zombie.

The one in the middle is the first felt zombie I designed using the materials from a kit. I then made the one on the right with my own supplies and a little from the kit. Zombie # 3 on the left is a little construction worker zombie I designed and created and from that point on I went hog-wild and created 12 more zombies over the past week or 2. I’ve just been designing and sewing up a storm. I’m having an absolute blast! Each zombie is unique and as I go I have greatly expanded the kinds of feature I can add. I love this so much. I’ve also been keeping a sketchbook, current pages include a fair number of zombie or zombie-related sketches, but I’m having a lot of fun. I store my horde in a little Estee Lauder … bag/case-thing which I think is hilarious. Super fashionable zombie horde transport for the modern necromancer on the go!

Future plans obviously involve a zombie workshop or take-home craft. Yeah. It’s hot and muggy here, well, the temp has dropped to reasonable but the humidity is still murderous. Anyway, I am still alive and keeping busy. Be safe.

Songs…

I am approaching my breaking point. My overwhelming feeling is “I wish I could just stop crying…” but I’m not crying. I am maintaining pretty well on the outside. I am, for the most part, keeping up with feeding everyone, laundry, work, pet care… Fuck, I am even pushing ahead in some areas: getting more competent at my job, decluttering this place, eating better, getting slightly more exercise, I’ve even got a garden plan lurching into motion this week! I’m orchestrating weekly date nights. Fucking date nights! (no pun intended, see? I’m even keeping up my sense of humor!) I am exhausted from this past year plus. This song is just my anthem right now:https://youtu.be/r5yaoMjaAmE (Human, by Christina Perri) closely followed by: https://youtu.be/BF-nZziUCCY (You Don’t Know, by Katelyn Tarver)

I am plodding ahead encouraging, supporting, drying the tears, soothing the fears, reassuring my 3 anxious, autistic, grown children. “Just one step at a time, Sweetie, I’m here, just do one thing at a time, breathe, I’m here, I’m here.” “It’s okay my little love, it’s ok, just keep showing up, that’s the thing, that’s at least 75% of life, you’ll find your people, you DO know how to connect, you have deep connections, look at me, look at my eyes, we have a connection, me and you, that’s not a guarantee, that’s not automatic, even if I wasn’t your mom I would WANT to hang out with you because you are funny, you are kind, you are brilliant! Look at me, look at the cats, look at dad, look at our puppy dog who fucking worships you. Making friends is a skill you can learn. Depression is a LIAR.” “you’re doing great, we all start from where we are, it’s ok, you’re making progress, you’re doing great, I’m here, I’m right here beside you.” I’m getting more sleep lately but this song was my life for parts of this, even before the fucking pandemic: https://youtu.be/cjVQ36NhbMk (How to save a life, by The Fray)

I am grateful to Amanda Fucking Palmer forever for her song that tells the truth of motherhood. She sings about the early days/weeks/months but honestly, the central message holds fucking true. At the end of the day, if everyone is alive, that is a victory, a line in the sand, and we got up the next day and try even harder to be better. https://youtu.be/bDk7CNsQqUk (Mother’s Confession, by Amanda Palmer ~Note LONG song) She’s captured the exhaustion, the frustration and the fears of being in charge of fragile beings. And, while I’m talking about fear, here’s another one that captures all the fears I can barely name for fear of shattering: https://youtu.be/70ApTTyKpdg (Drowning in the sound, by AFP)

It probably seems like all this music is, I don’t know, fucking depressing? But on the rare occasions when I get to play it all and sing and cry, away from the eyes of those who need me to be a rock in this stormcrash life, it helps. I sing loads of other highly emotional songs that are less on the nose too, and I cry and it helps. But I am surrounded by people who need me to be strong, and they never really leave the house, you know? And, for the one who is My rock, I need to keep it together, need to keep pulling beside him so he knows he isn’t carrying it all alone. We have a lot on our plate here and it is what it is, I’m not going to drop in my traces. This is one of the songs that sums up how I feel about our relationship: https://youtu.be/0yW7w8F2TVA (Say you won’t let go; by James Arthur) This one too, adding in the rest we need, the break we’d like to have from responsibilities for a while: https://youtu.be/GemKqzILV4w (chasing cars, by Snow Patrol) How many weddings you think this one gets played at? https://youtu.be/450p7goxZqg (All of me, by John Legend) Anyway, I’ll happily jump on that bandwagon.

I’m ok. I will be ok. Writing all this here helps.

Life is Like Chocolates filled with Toothpaste.

Spring feels like it’s really here so no surprise that snow is forecast for Friday. Sure it’s been up in the mid seventies already but Friday is supposed to have a high of 37 and a low of 32. I feel really bad for all the plants and trees that are out there budding, flowering and leafing like mad.

Things are nuts here, as always, work is crazy for my husband who has six major projects all happening at once in his department because of the infinite wisdom of his employer. They do not understand that if people are forced to do many things at once nothing will really be done well and those people will burn the fuck OUT. I don’t know how he’s stayed in the job for so long. He’s been working so hard through this whole pandemic. Minimum of 60 hour weeks. Even working from home he doesn’t have a sane work/life balance because the work culture seems to be “drive yourself into the ground! Work constantly!” People from his work will email or text him at ANY HOUR day or night. It’s insane. He got 18 texts while he was in a 5 minute shower this morning. Bonkers.

I want so badly for my husband to have a job he loves, a sane work/life balance, and for him to he HAPPY. His employer seems pretty bent out of shape that he is still working from home even though he is at great risk with this virus and its creepy variants. There is an expectation that he will come back to work in person soon even though he doesn’t have a desk anymore as they finally hired a replacement for his last assistant and at long, long, long last hired a 3rd person who is supposed to do helpdesk stuff. His assistant has his old desk and the helper has the old assistant’s desk. There isn’t room for a 3rd desk and his employer’s solution is to have “one of you floating at all times.” Yeah, one of 3 IT people should definitely just wander around, building to building, … all the time, like some sort of nomadic computer tinkerer. That is an example of why I don’t think his current job is a good one. They could give his department more space but they give any and every other department priority over IT no matter how little sense it makes. I honestly don’t know how my husband puts up with it.

We also have a situation at home. My two twenty-something, autistic, transgendered daughters are living at home. One never left and the other bounced home about 2 (?) years ago and was saving money to move out on her own again when the pandemic hit and she had to quit her retail job in a pharmacy to protect her dad. So, for over a year now, she’s had to spend the money she’d saved to get her prescriptions, pay for doctor’s visits, etc. So frustrating for all of us. It is getting to a point where the girls can head out to job hunt again but we’re not quite there yet. I have faith the eldest will get a job eventually, she’s got an employment history, interviews reasonably well and is personable. My middle child has job-hunted for years with no success at all. I don’t think she has even landed an interview. She has no sensibility about how to dress and quirky doesn’t come close to describing her style. She is also very soft-spoken to the point of absurdity. I’ve tried to counsel her on dressing and grooming for a job interview but she is fixed on “How I look shouldn’t matter.” Oh Sweetie, but it does.

Yeah, so, the situation. … that wasn’t the situation. Middle child asked to speak to both my husband and I privately. She brought notes, lots of notes, and told us that Eldest child has been relentlessly harassing her pretty much since she came back home. Eldest has been complaining to me that Middle won’t forgive her for ancient history, Eldest wants to be friends but Middle just keeps rejecting her. I have told Eldest that she cannot force anyone to forgive anything. I have explained that she needs to build trust by doing small, kind things without Any Expectation, and perhaps, over time, Middle might soften. Apparently that has gone in one ear and out the other. It even seems like Eldest might be trying to manipulate how we perceive Middle. Winding her up when we are not in ear shot then asking an “innocent” question and provoking a snarling response from Middle while we can see it. My heart, at this point, is a bunch of jagged glass shards held together with glue that won’t set. We’re trying to figure out what the fuck to do that won’t make things worse. Just up front there are only a few possibilities I can see:

  1. Middle child is lying to us and just hates Eldest and rejects her overtures because of prior bad acts.
  2. Middle child is telling the truth and Eldest is manipulating us so that we only see Eldest trying to be friends and see Middle reacting harshly.
  3. Eldest is so incredibly socially awkward that her acts of harassment are some attempt to be funny and Middle perceives it all as an attack because of old history.

Having raised the two of them, all these many years, these are my thoughts:

  • Middle child is not lying. She was so on edge she was literally shaking while she talked to us. At the very least, she is telling the truth as she perceives it.
  • Most likely, Eldest is harassing Middle, she may be stupidly trying to force Middle to interact with her, she may be actively manipulating the situation, and manipulating us, to make Middle look bad because she is refusing to “be friends,” or some other muddle-reasoned thing I can’t grasp.
  • Eldest has a history of being pretty freaking cruel to middle, there is no denying it, the last time things got physical was 1 /12-2 years ago but it was 100% on Eldest. Middle did exactly as she should have and attempted to walk away from Eldest. She was pursued to her room by Eldest who tried to force her way in while screaming horrible things at Middle. Middle tried to push her door closed but was weak as she was recovering from gastroenteritis (or something? anyway, it led to anemia and made middle exhausted and weak) Middle has PTSD and reacted to what felt like a very dire threat striking Eldest with her palm on the forehead to try and push her out so the door could be close. Eldest responded with repeated elbow strikes to Middle’s neck and shoulders, maybe her head too. I did not witness any of this, neither did my husband, but we heard about the incident from both girls and the accounts only differed on what words were exchanged during the whole thing, really. Each of them felt justified in what they did. … … …

Sometimes I freaking Hate being a parent. WTF? WTF am I supposed to do with this? Talking to Eldest about the situation might cause retaliation. I don’t think dredging up the old physical incident would be helpful at all, though it does add weight and veracity to Middle’s perspective on current events. I need to protect Middle, I need to stand up for her because I know she was the one my ex targeted for extensive punishment that led to her PTSD while he favored Eldest. (Not that is was all skittles and beer for Eldest either but she definitely had it better w/ my ex in most ways) This is Hell. If someone not my kid went after one of my kids, my path would be clear, that person would be made to understand that they would not continue their BS if they wanted to live a long happy life. Undiluted ire is so easy, so straightforward, how easy that would be. But one of my kids is making another of my kids miserable, and I haven’t witnessed any of it so it’s all “she said/she said.” And I don’t want to come down on any of my kids with the wrath of the Elder Gods. This is misery. This is horror.

Middle is relying on my to defend her, to somehow defuse the situation, get Eldest to back the F off so Middle can just live her life in the house without hiding in her room all the time. I need to do something, I just don’t know what, and no matter what the truth is, no matter what I do, this is going to hurt. See why I haven’t been posting much? I totally slacked off because how do I even talk about this stuff? I sound like a crazy person or maybe just an asshole but I am just trying to do the thing that causes the least harm. I’m just trying to help my kids learn to act like human beings and grow the F up and start their lives.

TL/DR: My husband’s job is unreasonably and unnecessarily bad and my older 2 kids = a situation I don’t know how to deal with with my mediocre parenting skills, that I learned mostly from watching nature documentaries as a kid, and my ex is an asshole who I should have found a way to cut out of my children’s lives when they were young.

Happy Spring!

Disclaimer: My keyboard is still broken so please excuse anything that should be capitalized and isn’t it only responds to the shift keys when it wants to.

It’s March, late March, and it’s Spring. This is what’s going on in my world.

I am working on a few goals this year;

1. getting a garden going for real this time,

2. becoming a “Fuck Yeah!” friend,

3. getting more movement into my days, (as I sit here blogging like a slug…)

4. eating more veg,

5. becoming more competent at my job, and

6. Decluttering!

There is some progress in all areas, however slight. The beds are in as of last Fall and I hope to get planting (with guidance) soonish. I am saying “Fuck Yeah!” as much as seems safe to friends asking if I want to do stuff. I am on my feet more for sure even if my phone isn’t showing the steps. It, like my little laptop, has issues and it dies a lot. I am eating slightly more veg and focusing on just making sure it happens every day. Tougher than I thought it would be. At work I am taking on some new responsibility, nothing huge, just helping cover while my boss is out on maternity leave. I am practicing to get better at commcat, trouble-shooting when there are issues with computers and printers, planning for Summer Reading as best I can. I also keep signing up for webinars but I have been missing most of them. I am just so burnt out on zoom and all that. I have a few coming up that I plan to actually attend and I intend to view the recordings of the ones I’ve missed. Decluttering is still stupid and complicated because my usual drop off places are still not taking things. meh. I do have some stuff ready to go and I will do more when it makes sense to.

One of my niece’s just got married! ^_^ YAY! So nice to have something to celebrate. She and her new husband looked gorgeous and I was so glad that we could at least be there remotely. My eldest daughter is taking a couple of online classes and doing well. My middlest is getting a little money in with a kind of online gig type thing and took over dish washing and it really helping me out. My youngest is in the final stretch of his senior year and is doing well, sticking with it, getting ready to ease into the future. My husband is still working remotely but is finally scheduled for his first vaccine. (YAY!) We will be celebrating 24 years together later this week. WOW.

Gaming is still the main source of entertainment around here, I think we are in and/or running about… 6-7 games. I am using Pathfinder 2e to run my husband in a one-on-one game. We used to run one-on-one a LOT when we lived far from anyone and had a young child. I’ve missed it like crazy and apparently he has too. ^_^ So I am still struggling with constructing encounters that won’t kill him. LOL. Even with all the charts and whatnot encounters are so brutal. I think I have been thinking about it wrong, like my math is somehow backward or twisted. I’ll get it sorted out. One-on-one is not a thing Pathfinder is super designed for so I am pretty much making my own “adventure path.” It’s fun and challenging and I am enjoying all the prep work. I have part one pretty well finished and have started part two. I’m not sure how many parts it will have. I was thinking two, taking the PC from level one to… 8? 9? 10? But I might keep it going. Have the main quest die down for a while, let him “Witcher” it up monster hunting all over Golarion and then bring the main quest back later. I don’t know, we’ll see how he likes the main quest as he hasn’t even started on it yet. He’s travelling to investigate a rumored event and I’ll have to see if he likes it or if it’s too weird for him. I can do grim and gritty just fine but it’s always leavened with chaos and whimsy which he doesn’t always “get.” If he doesn’t like it I know some people who will so I’ll just save it and rework it for them later and cook something else up for him. I love him so much.

Anyway, I need to get ready for work.

XXXOOO