And that realisation is that ... It's Christmas next month.
And also .... I have done no Christmas shopping.
And I do mean ... None.
This is no joke.
This is particularly no joke in the case of The Old Man. Because his Christmas presents are a nightmare. And they are a nightmare because The Old Man is the Most Particular Receiver of Presents.
He is a Virgo. He is most precise in his requirements. He delights in proudly telling me childhood stories of unwrapping presents in front of his relation-givers... and tossing aside those presents which did not meet his exacting young requirements.
At the same time he is fond of recounting an occasion when he was given a spinning top... and went into hysterics with delight. Really. According to his version, the family doctor explained that he must not be denied that which he desires .... or else.
He wonders why I dread Christmas and his birthday.
I have given up surprising him. It is not worth it. Instead I prime a list of his "desires" sometime in August, and hope that he will have forgotten what he said that he wanted by December.
And whilst, with luck, this avoids the tossing aside of undesired gifts. (Though not always.) I am left with a sense of failure. As I have never truly surprised and delighted him with a gift he did not expect. And what is worse - he is very good at surprising me with a desired and unexpected gift, including once .... a deckchair for my midwinter birthday. And I was ... truly delighted.