The war has begun.
Cathamel and Unsupportive Girlfriend are now in open hostilities. Each has marshaled forces to their side, participated in an arms race, and been vocally supportive of the other while surreptitiously undermining the others' efforts.
For a while there it looked like an uneasy truce might hold, give me some time to make some adjustments, and some peaceful intervention might still be possible between their demands.
That hope is now gone.
Last week Unsupportive Girlfriend's out of the way patrol came upon one of her troops--a dedicated lieutenant named Pastaparty. The Lieutenant's squad lay in shambles and she was half dead. She said that she was ambushed by a "gang of Cathamel's thugs."
"If you hadn't planned this patrol," the Lieutenant said, "I would have been a goner."
"Can you make it?" Unsupportive Girlfriend asked. "Maybe just like half?"
"Barely," Pastaparty said. "But I suppose so."
Retaliation was...inevitable in the volatile climate. U.G.'s forces launched sixteen G-T-140 rockets (Guided Unerring Incendiary Lightheartedness Terminator–To Reduce Indulgence Positivity [or G.U.I.L.T.–T.R.I.P. for short]). They tore up Cathamel's forward base of operations and forced her to deploy full defensive countermeasures from deep within her subterranean lair where her defenses are impregnable. She hadn't expected to have to wage a defensive campaign and wasn't prepared for the overwhelming fury of the retaliatory strike.
Tired of being held under Cathamel's boot, U.G.'s forces are filled with fresh rage and entitlement. It's always "no time" this and "too busy" that. The latest temporal downsizing was just too much. They want more time–and if it must come from Cathamel's loss, so be it.
No series of escalating skirmishes this war will be. Both sides have dropped to Defcon 1 and are preparing for their next major encounter. The skies are heavy with dark clouds and thunder grumbles across the landscape. A storm is brewing.
The Brain has been wringing her hands over the whole affair. She's tried to sue for a separate peace with both sides, knowing that The Contrairan's day care is responsible for shaking up the regional stability. With the extra 20 hours, both sides could maintain a tenuous peace along the Maginot line of my time management.
I tried to warn her that this would happen, but now, as the engines of war roar to life around me, and the skies blister with fire, "I told you so," tastes like ash in my mouth. Now one of them must be capitulate to the other–my creative life or the last vestigial semblance of a social life. The worst part is that when one of them loses (and one of them must) they will turn their defeat into the rallying cry to strike towards me. With kids in the mix, there can be no balance. Someone must prevail.
And no matter who wins, I lose.