October 10, 2012

Change (Possibly the Longest Blog Post I've Ever Written)

Change. It’s a funny thing; often intimidating, often heralding wonderful things…and leaving my fingers wandering aimlessly over the keyboard as I try to figure out how to begin detailing all the ways my life has changed.

A month ago I bought a house. My very first. A three bedroom townhouse in a nice area, completely renovated, that I got for a steal. I spent 4 months jumping through hoops and hunting through realtor ads and changing banks and almost giving up when the Gov’t of Canada took away the 30-year mortgage. I jumped through more hoops, changed my budget, downgraded my expectations just a little and became a new home owner at the beginning of September. It’s been a significant adjustment, mostly due to the fact that I moved out of the small town that I’ve lived in since I was 14 and in to the big city. I’ve always been a country girl, and though I spent a decade or so working in the big city it’s quite a change to live here. It’s noisy. The sky isn’t black at night and I can’t hear the coyotes singing through my window. Going grocery shopping is an event that takes twice as long as it did in my old town and costs more. I can’t step outside my front door and walk to the river with my dog…in fact, I’m hesitant to step outside my front door for a dog walk after dark now. There are a lot of bums. Everywhere. But driving to work takes all of five minutes and I’m within spitting distance of my Mom and my friends. And I’m no longer giving my money away toward someone else’s equity. It’s a wonderful change and I’m sure that I’ll adapt to city life…though I’ll probably never walk my dog late at night by myself.

The next change is probably the most significant. I suppose it began with an ex, my need to move past the pain, and an online dating site that likened me to a guppy. Or maybe it started before that, with my 30th birthday and the physical ache that’s played resident in my womb since puberty. I had been single for a long (LONG) time, somehow having become That Woman who puts her career first. I’ve never lived with a man, having always been too fiercely independent (and maybe too young!) to take that step. A good friend had been urging me for years to try internet dating, and I finally caved after realizing that the mythical lovers-meeting-over-produce fairy tale was not going to happen to me. So I picked Plenty of Fish. Because it was free. Hey, what can I say, I’m cheap like that!

Up went the witty profile and the standard pictures and my line was cast. I was propositioned in every possible sense – one guy even asked me if I liked BBQ’d cat, another harassed me endlessly about the colour of my panties. And then I met my ex. He seemed normal; he treated me well, made me laugh and wasn’t looking for a booty call. But he had two kids, a co-dependent ex, and an inappropriate distance from that prior relationship. We broke up because his ex lost her job and he was planning to move in with her to support the family (well, that was the primary reason anyway!). I swore I’d never get involved with a single parent ever again.

Ever. Again. Baha. Bahahaha. Yeah, ok then.

Four months later I was back online, this time with a whole new set of criteria for Mr. Right. No kids. No kids. NO. KIDS. !!!!! This time I went on dates with several very nice men…one of which I thought had potential, until I found out that he was unemployed. And living with his mother. We remain friendly and I’m sure that there’s somebody out there for him, it’s just not me. Back to the drawing board. Back to 39 year old men sending me naked pictures of themselves…inquiries about my favourite positions…propositions from boys almost young enough to be my offspring...propositions from girls young enough to be my daughter.

And then He messaged me. Physically he was everything that I loved in a man: blue eyes, 6’3” tall, in the military, a few years older than me. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a man in uniform! (Really, what lady isn’t?!?) He made me laugh and we found that we had the important things in common, and enough differences to make things interesting. But...Ah yes, there’s the catch – But: he was the father of a 4-year old. A child who lived with him about 75% of the time. I tried to walk away, I’ll admit it. I told myself that it didn’t matter how well we clicked, or that the chemistry that we had was unlike any I’d ever experienced before. That just meant that I could potentially be hurt in ways I’d never been hurt before. But gawd he was witty, insightful, considerate. I told him that I wanted to take things REALLY SLOW (as in, expect blue-balls and my still putting you off after two months of light petting if you really want to get into it with me) and still he persisted. When they say the military makes men out of boys, they aren’t lying, and I had a hard time resisting this man who is one of the best in character that I’ve ever met. He beat the hell out of me in Scrabble. I was outraged…and tantalizingly turned on. His stupid three letter words three deep somehow meant more than all of my multi-lettered, hoity-toity words. Nobody EVER beat me at Scrabble, and certainly not with ‘blah’ for crying out loud. My dog, who is friendly but cautious with strangers, adored him from the moment they met. He made me laugh. He made me forget my cautious nature and just trust in what little I knew about him, and I jumped in wholeheartedly.

And now here I am, almost a year later, in a loving and committed relationship with Mr. Right. I’m no longer single. Though we aren’t officially living together, he is at my house 25/31 days of the month and we’ve discussed his moving in with me after his lease is up (May 2013). My life has changed in an epic, dramatic, Huge way. It’s wonderful, and at the same time it’s often not easy. Mr. Right’s baggage is tangible, and will Always be there. His young son and I hit it off from the first time we met; Mr. Right often likes to joke about his son being my little leech since he stays attached to my hip during our visits. I don’t love the little guy (yet) but I definitely enjoy having him around. And Mr. Right balances it all wonderfully; our relationship is a priority, he doesn’t have BBQ dinners with his ex or run to her every phone call. He loves me, adores me, and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. We’ve even talked about marriage…once I got used to hearing the M word and not wanting to run screaming like a shrew. Marriage and children and taking each others teeth out before bedtime when we’re both old and senile.

And amidst all that wonder, amidst my learning what it actually means to truly love someone and adjust to living with someone, is the part that’s not easy. Loving him is simple, natural. Living with him requires compromise but isn’t as tough as I thought it would be. The challenge of being the potential stepmother, of having my very own ex-nonwife to contend with, is another issue completely. Of caring about this little person who belongs to another woman, and who will always exist as a very good reason for Mr. Right to be friends with his ex. Though they’ve been separated for almost 2 years, there are still some significant financial ties that remain (a shared bank account, vehicle ownerships/registrations/insurances that still haven’t been sorted out…not to mention that they don’t have any written custody/child support agreement!), and I’ve drawn my line in the sand and told Mr. Right that until their only financial tie is child support he will not be moving in with me. He has been actively making progress with this but unfortunately hasn’t been able to move very quickly, thanks to the ex-nonwife herself.

I have never in my life been judgmental. I’ve never met her, never even talked to her, and yet she is almost a physical presence in my life and I just can’t seem to stop myself from forming an opinion that isn’t very flattering of her. {A little back story here: my two sisters and I were raised by a single mother who didn’t receive any child support. She worked two jobs and did whatever was necessary to give us at least the necessities of life, including putting us completely before herself in every possible way. So I have little sympathy for single mothers who live under a sense of entitlement and don’t put their children above their own wants. I don’t care if that sounds harsh.} She was recently unemployed for almost 3 months. Not because she had to be, but because she’d decided it was time to make a career change and didn’t want to continue working in a daycare. She wanted to be a receptionist instead, and I guess she figured that depending on her ex to support her financially during the 3 months that she loafed around and took trips to the mountain was a better option than just working somewhere until she’d found her dream job. I’m sorry, did that come across a little sarcastic?? Apparently she pulled something similar while she and Mr. Right were together and it was a part of the reason they separated. Anyway. Then the phone calls…I appreciate that they are friendly and civil to each other, but get frustrated when she calls him at supper time under the guise of his son wanting to talk to him, and keeps him on the phone for 30 minutes while she discusses problems she’s having with her car. Don’t get me wrong – he’s also a party to those conversations and could dissuade such talk but doesn’t. She also calls him when their son misbehaves during the day or while he’s in her care, and expects him to rectify the issue. Over the phone. Really?!? There’s also been a few times where her actions could be perceived as her playing games – she drove 3 hours to another city on one of the days my BF was to pick his son up, didn’t let him know that she had gone anywhere until the scheduled pick-up time, and then didn’t bother to come back until almost midnight. And the newest thing: she’s been living with a friend for the past several months (since she lost her job), where her and the little guy share a room, and a bed. {Because she didn’t want to tough it out at a daycare until something better came along.} Now that she’s got her $14/hr receptionist job, she’s told Mr. Right that she’s moving into an apartment at the end of the month that’s going to cost $900 rent/month…and in December or January she plans on trading her car (which is actually in Mr. Right’s name and one of the financial ties that he’s trying to sever) for a new vehicle. I pointed out that nobody is going to approve her for a car loan with that income/expense ratio; he said that her parents will foot the bill. She’s over 30 and her parents support her financially…really?!? Then she had the nerve to ask him if she can have the bed that Mr. Right has at his place for their son.

When he told me all this, when he tells me everything (which isn’t often, he’s pretty good at keeping the situation out of our relationship), I try my damndest to put myself in her shoes and at least sympathize with her situation; he’s the one who ended things, which it seems she didn’t want as she asked him to try again several months later. That’s hard on ANY woman, and I’d imagine it must be worse when it’s the father of your child. And along comes another woman…yeah, gotta be tough. I also do my best to just nod and smile on the rare occasion when Mr. Right’s frustration gets the best of him and he shares her latest drama, but gawd, it’s hard. I’m not a wilting flower at the best of times; I’m outspoken and opinionated and strong-willed. So biting my tongue when I just want to tell him that she’s taking advantage of him…well, that’s hard. He tells me that he does it because if she’s OK then their little guy is OK, and I definitely admire and love him for that. But sometimes I’d like to grab the phone from his hand and tell her to go buy a fucking backbone. I have no illusions; I knew going into this that it will be more difficult, because I'll be a Stepmom. And Mr. Right - and the little guy - is worth the ex-nonwife drama. So, having said (all) that, TMP has obviously been placed on hold. Hopefully for better things!

Oh, and we mustn't forget about my job. The job I absolutely loved...until about 3 months ago, when my boss, who was mentoring my career, quit and was replaced with someone who is only a few years older than myself and has a quarter of the experience I've got. Who, during our first departmental meeting, told us that she wanted the office to be 'prettier' and proceeded to bring in bug-infested plants. Who works banker's hours and takes two hour lunches. A change is coming for me very soon...perhaps in the form of a friend and I opening our own accounting business. More to come on that later!

For the most part this past year's change has been for the good, and I find myself living in a happy little space where I'm optimistic about good things to come. One of which may include a new name for this blog...  
Any ideas?


  1. I love the name of this blog!

    It's a tough situation that you're in, but I'm glad you're in it. Ex's are a tough deal, and when there's kids involved, they're in it for life, but I think that you'll eventually find a balance. Congratulations on finding Mr Right!

  2. Thanks Carol! After I published this post I actually sat back and thought, maybe this blog name is still appropriate. It's good to know someone else likes it.

    I'm glad I'm in my situation as well - I'm sure that one post detailing my frustrations over the last year makes it sound worse than it is. I don't wear rose coloured glasses, but for the most part being with Mr. Right is absolutely wonderful!