Finding Damo

The story of a man, his job, two cats and the meaning of success.

Archive for the month “December, 2014”

Birthday fun.

the message

When my daughter came home from school today she found this stuck to the front door.

This is Fia:

Fia the Dog.

Looking very smug.

O and her friend had to use all of their detective skills to find the toys and return them to the bed before… well, before Fia got some probably much deserved rest and quiet.

The girls looked at the first clue.

“24. That could be an advent calendar!” they exclaimed after a bit of postulating, and off they went. I sighed in relief. Not too difficult then. Behind the Advent Calendar, the second clue awaited them.

The kitchenThe clue

Some of the pedants out there might notice that this is not actually a Beanie Boo. I had more clues than I had Beanie Boos, so the panda kindly stepped in. The Rainbow Bears were less accommodating. I had to bribe them.

This clue reads:

It’s been a hard day’s night
And I’ve been working like a dog.
So it’s time to unwind with a good back rub

“To the massage table!” O cried.

Time for a massage. The note

This is where I should have thought through the clues. Our next bear was downstairs. Luckily, some verbal clues from helpful parents sent them in the right direction. I need to workshop clues in the future. “Ahem, flowers,” I said. “What do you do with them?”

“Cut them up and put them in a vase?” said O’s friend, who was turning out to be a very competent detective.

“To the vase!” yelled O.

I’d alternated the clues, sending the girls up the stairs and down the stairs, to make it seem like a longer and more involved treasure hunt. This proved very effective.

In the kitchen In the vase.

Easy. There’s only one window looking over next doors’ fence. Back upstairs.

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This really should have referenced a computer somehow, but seeing as neither of the girls had been born for WarGames, I left the clue as a literal thing. “To the games cupboard!”

Scrabble anyone?

Scrabble anyone?

Notice Catan Jr in the background? That’s right. We indoctrinate early in this house! The Apple in the box clue took them awhile. And then O had no idea where she kept the box for the iPad, but we got there in the end. I felt a bit bad stuffing a turtle in a box. It had overtones of pet burials from our childhood (surely a turtle gets a box, not a flushing).

turtle inna box turtle inna box.

This next one was exciting for me as a parent.

“In the wild I hide in the forests. In this house, there’s only one place to hide that’s similar.”

“Hmm,” Miss O said. “What’s similar to a forest?” It’s Christmas. There’s a whopping great Christmas Tree in the front room. I thought it would be obvious. “Wait! To the library!”

“What? Why?”

“Books used to be forests.” Duh. We had just shown her Silence in the Library (Doctor Who).

“Ohhhh. Ok. Try being more literal.”

“The, um, the Christmas Tree?”

IMG_5088 IMG_5090

“They say it’s dangerous to hide inside a fridge. But this is only a very little one. I’m sure it’ll be OK.”

This photo didn’t turn out well. That’s what the note says. I have a little one-can fridge for cooling Coke cans powered by USB. I left the door open a crack (What? You don’t want the raccoon to suffocate, do you?). They still had a look in the real fridge, and O’s friend was sure it was an esky, before I said we didn’t have one.

IMG_5091 Don't try this at home!

Don’t try this at home kids! I thought this next clue would be easy. Magic, wizard, wizard hat, too big for a Beanie Boo. No problems. But sometimes a detective can be too clever for their own good. These two gave me too much credit as a clue-master.

“Gandalf was in the Hobbit. She must be hidden next to the Hobbit book!”

At this point I was in trouble. I’d “hidden” a Rainbow Bear on a bookshelf in plain sight. I really didn’t think this through. “Umm, don’t look at the Bear. That one’s for later. What is Gandalf?”

On the right track again, they found the cutest looking wizard I think I’ve ever seen.

IMG_5113 IMG_5093 Nothing up my sleeve, or this one, or this one...

A quick advertisement. My lovely wife made this hat for me. It’s spectacular. The octo-wizard sent the girls back up stairs, to find the next critter, nice and safe and cosy sleeping where any cat would sleep given a chance…

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Fia the Dog, meanwhile was enjoying the peace and quiet, not realising that karma was creeping up behind her with a Nerf bat.

zzzzzzz

Finally, the girls were legitimately allowed to find Rainbow Bear (2? 2, I think. I can’t tell them apart).

IMG_5099

And then to find the final Rainbow Bear, somewhere near water.

“The fish pond?”

“Oh. No, that would be mean,” I said.

“The sink? The dog’s water bowl? The washing machine?”

This is the last one and, I thought, the easiest. “Where in the house is there enough water to swim?”

“Ah,” Miss O’s friend said, as the party girl herself kept reeling off answer after answer. “The bath.”

A few more answers later, the bath answer filtered through and they dashed upstairs again. All of the toys had been found and there was to be a party on the bed.

IMG_5102 Party on the bed!

I’m sure (ahem) that Fia was very happy to see all of her friends returning to the bed, and they all piled on to show her how much they missed her while they were away. Did you notice the dog’s expression change at all?

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Sorry, this has been a really weird post. But I had fun, and the kids enjoyed it immensely.

If I don’t get back on here before Christmas, have a good one, and I’ll see you in 2015!

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40

40

It’s just a number. The only reason it has any importance at all is because humans evolved with five digits on each hand. It doesn’t mean anything.

BUT

I turned 40 in September. It’s taken me almost three months to get over it. The worst part I think was being reallocated in surveys.

survey_n

When discussing success, this age milestone is one that gets a good look in.

“I was ready to retire at 40.” “I owned my house outright by 40.” “I had a three-picture deal by the age of 40.”

As far as 40-year olds go, I am pretty happy with the things I’ve accomplished. What are the big ticket items? Check out my blog on success from the early days.

Back? How am I doing? From the list at the beginning of the post:

  • I have kids (kid).
  • I’m married.
  • I have a house.
  • I am known in my field.
  • I have lived in over two countries (over two meaning three).

From my own musings, success meant married, house, kids, published. I’ve done all of those things. Luckily, there’s no end-point for success. I could end the book here and it would be satisfying for the reader, but I could also write a sequel (Finding Damo Too) where I raised the bar a bit.

So, where to from here? From 40?

Before I’m fifty, I’d like to:

  • Be debt free
  • Have a contract with a publishing house
  • Publish a full-length play
  • Be financially secure enough to be able to travel overseas for vacations with the family.

I’d still like to have biological offspring, but at 40 the fear of being sixty and having a teenage child is slowly outweighing the desire to pass on my genetic lineage.

The other tough part of turning 40 is the dreaded 40th. This should be the party to end all parties. Stuff your 21st, this is your FORTIETH! Let your hair down. You’re still alive. Well done.

I thought I managed quite well. I organised with Dymocks in the city to hold a book launch for Dwarves in Space. Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne is now the only store IN THE WORLD that stocks Dwarves in Space on the shelves. Go and say hi.

book eventn

I read some excerpts from my novel. I read an excerpt from the first of many short stories that will make up the second book of Trimador. I signed a heap of books. There was wine, there was laughter… Basically, as it should be, my fortieth was about me, spending time with my friends and feeling special. I asked people not to buy me presents, but instead to buy Dwarves in Space for someone who doesn’t already have a copy. I even filmed it:

seldom bucketForty so far has been very productive. I have been published again – this time in a book of 10-minute plays. I don’t know whether you can buy them online yet, but if you’re ever in Emerald…I spent three weeks as Seldom Bucket in Gemco’s production of Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. I’ve been asked to write for an educational publication on a few different subjects (more on that as I find out more – and when I can cut down the word count on my massively over-inflated first article) and I’m well into my third short story for Short Stuff – diminutive fiction from Trimador.

All in all, I’m a happy but tired 40 year old. Next goal: to exercise enough to keep me alive until I’m fifty.

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