So: my recent parental visit actually went really well. I had some good chats with my mother. My father and I had an honourable three victories each at chess. The day before Dad's birthday, I bought a small selection of gourmet food items for him for his birthday. Then I stayed up until 3am with my laptop at the kitchen table, beta-ing a Yuletide fic, and left the birthday food out for him, with a note. Then slept until 10am. This was received favourably.
I got back from Auckland, and on Monday 7th, heard from the property manager that we could either renew our lease at this house for a year, or leave. Nothing in between. Damn.
However, we have had an immense stroke of luck (aided by Joel's Google-fu), and have already managed to secure a 1-bedroom apartment. We have the keys.
It's literally over the back fence.
As in, our future landlord called our present landlady, who had agreed to act as our reference, and had a nice chat to her about their mutual fence and whether maybe he should make a gate in it given that his tenants always use OUR driveway to move in and out of his property. (They always, politely, ask. But it's totally reasonable. WE'RE up a vehicle-accessible slope. THEY'RE up 100+ stairs.)
Because it's a 1-bedroom flat, and we've lived in a 3-bedroom flat with a huge living space for the last few years, we may need to call in local Tetris consultants to figure out how to manage our furniture, but we'll make do. Easiest move ever!
Yuletide has been good. I've seen both _coal and f-fa complain about the lack of drama, and I may have punched the air a few times, because that means the mod team is doing our job well, boooooo-yah. (Sorry, seekingferret.) Not that everyone's happy, and there are a few things I need to help follow up on, but in an undertaking this large, there'll always be something to mitigate, mediate, or smooth over.
I only wrote one story this year - my assignment. Never doing that again. Treats or bust. I have a lovely recipient comment now, but the period without it reminded me how much nicer it is to have eggs in different baskets. The reward for good modding is the lack of feedback. The reward for the prolific writing of fic is multiple avenues of feedback. I like feedback. Therefore it is sensible for me to put energy into goals with both long-term and short-term payoff.
Speaking of payoff, though, I got lovely gifts:
The Year of Being Human (8297 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Youkai Ningen Bem (TV 2011)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Bela/Koharu Ogata
Characters: Bela (Youkai Ningen Bem), Bem (Youkai Ningen Bem), Belo (Youkai Ningen Bem), Ogata Koharu, Machimura Hidemi, Ogata Hiroyasu
Additional Tags: Post-Canon
Professor Ogata has a plan to turn the yokai human. While he's experimenting, Koharu finds herself spending time with Bela, teaching her how to be human -- and learning herself.
This is beautifully and carefully written. I listed little details among my likes; this fic has them in spades, from the smallest set-up of a scene to causes of bonding between Bela and Koharu. These are two fascinating, fully-fleshed-out women, and the author does both justice. Lovely.
A Viewtiful Waste (1052 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Derkholm Series - Diana Wynne Jones
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Querida (Derkholm), Elda (Derkholm), Mara (Derkholm)
Additional Tags: Missing Scene, Geographical abuse
Look, Querida liked the view and didn't need any griffins coming along to mess it up. Unless it was Callette. (It wasn't Callette.)
This is ADORABLE and exactly the canon-gap-filler I asked for. Angry teenage sulks! Distant parental pragmatism! Phlegmatic angry-sorceress perspective! Everyone in this story is sympathetic and funny and larger than life.