New Friends

I’ve slacked on my blog. My new job is sucking the life out of me. (More on that later.)

But at my new job, I’ve made an unexpected friend. We’d seen each other in passing and exchanged a couple of hellos here and there. I found that she was here from Europe so I asked about her immigration process. Turned out that we applied around the same time and through the same avenues. Ahah! Common ground!

Making friends as an adult is difficult. We are stuck in a society where social media is more important than actual interaction. We’re more concerned by what we portray online than our real relationships with others. Naturally I was a little nervous.

A couple of lunches together, and we’ve hit it off. Granted, there are differences between us having lived in different parts of the world, but we’re both kind hearted nerds who hate our jobs. Both are gamers, thinks quite a bit alike, both are dog people, and we have some similar hobbies.

I shared a story about how when I get upset my husband just hands me our dog. Later in the afternoon, after getting upset about some drama at work, my new friend pulls out her phone, thumbs to a photo of her dog, and hands it to me. I laughed so hard I nearly cried. I felt special. I keep up with my two best friends via social media, texting, the occasional card, etc, but sometimes nothing beats just some face to face interaction. (Even as an introvert.)

Totally looking forward to tomorrow’s “double date,” as my husband and I meet up with her and her wife, all kids and dogs in tow. Going for a stroll in the park and letting the kids & dogs run around like crazy while having some adult time is going to be great. Here’s to hoping the weather holds out!

Embrace the Curl

Once upon a time in my early 20’s, the majority of my hair fell out. It was devistating. My hair was beautiful, long, and thick. But it didn’t matter because my blood sugar had other plans for me. I no longer had my daddy’s super thick hair.

It took years for it to grow. Years. During those years my hair struggled. I tried to grow it out, but my roots were thicker, making my ends look wispy, unkept, and barren. I went through a series of pixie cuts, bobs, and every other hair hatred in between. I’ve never been much of a girly girl, but my identity and confidence definitely took a hit during the regrowth process.

I got my blood sugar under control and the length came back. My hair was still fairly fine, but I at least had a lot of it again. And then I moved to Canada. My hair was angry for a few months. Oily. Dry. Oily. Dry. Oily. Dry. It would not make up its mind. But here we are about 8 months later and its finally settled on a happy medium. I found a stylist that I liked the sound of and set an appointment for a much needed trim. And. She. Was. Amazing.

I explained to my new stylist the history of my hair and my routine (or lack thereof.) I basically wash my hair a couple of times a week, dry it with the warm and cold settings on my fancy new hair dryer that my husband got me for my birthday, and I call it a day. My hair is usually wavy. Or so I thought. We went to shampoo and condition my hair. After towel drying, my new stylist got really excited. “My god, you have ringlets! I’m so jealous!” In my naive mind, I thought everyone had curly hair when it was wet. She was delighted to find that my fancy new hair dryer is equipped with a diffuser and asked if she could show me how to use it and how to embrace my curl. I nervously obliged. She plopped a handful of oil in my hair, scrunched it, and had me flip my head to the side. A few minutes later, I looked like a different person. It turned out that I did have my daddy’s hair after all, just a bit more fine.

So what about post-stylist appointment? Well, I’m still embracing the curl. Of course it’s not as polished as how she did it, but it still looks pretty damn good. I still have to find a happy balance of how much oil to put into my locks, but I think that’s going to change week by week. And it’s easy too! I don’t have to use a ton of heat (or any at all) to tame the mane! It’s easy to just wash it, throw in some of my home made hair cream concoctions, and either blow dry or air dry. From there I can leave it as is or throw it in a top knot without any care. Lazy and simple, just how I like it.

Super Dad

Y’all.

My head has been pounding most of the day. It’s been an exhausting weekend. I’m not sure if they’re feeling off or if something happened before they were dropped off to us, but the kids have been in a crabby and erratic mood most of the weekend. It’s abnormal. Like the twilight zone. Like night and day. It’s been rough.

Somehow my husband has been magically hanging in there keeping the household ship afloat whilst I’m trying to take a nap. It’s not working great because the youngest is still squealing, but at least it’s a giggly squealing now. He’s been in that phase recently where if he doesn’t get what he wants or isn’t picked up, he just starts screaming. According to the other two kids, their mother just gives into it and gives him what he wants to make him quiet down. I hope that isn’t the case, as I really don’t want him to grow up thinking if he throws a fit he will get what ever he wants.

Anywho back to Super Dad! I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to our household. I do the meal planning, budgeting, scheduling and all that. He just sits back and enjoys the ride since he’s been the one who had to do all of that on his own for years. I needed a break today to ride out this headache before it turns into a full on migraine. I know I struggle with just doing things myself and not asking for help. But he’s gone above and beyond to do all the things I would normally do. And without a single complaint. He’s got board games and story time going, keeping everyone relatively occupied and happy….and without the use of screens! It’s been good for the kids to have one on one time with Dad too. He’s been able to pick up the ball that I usually roll and is keeping it going no differently than how I would.

And ya know. That’s something I feel like every couple should be able to do. Give and take. But it’s not always 50/50. Sometimes its gotta be 60/40, 80/20, hell sometimes even 98/2. Thanks for being my better half today my dear.

Super Dad to the rescue!!

Stepmother’s Day

I am a childless mom and motherless. That sentence is incredibly hard to share. My own mother was a pillar of physical and mental abuse when I was a child. My step mom meant the world to me even though I didn’t get to see her as often as I’d have liked as a child. And after a multitude of miscarriages, full time motherhood was not the in cards for me. My husband did, however, share three beautiful children with me. Though I did not bring them into this world, I would do almost anything to make them happy and safe. My love for them did not begin from the womb. My love for them began by choice from the heart. It doesn’t make me any less than a mom.

My oldest step son made me a card for mother’s day, but I don’t think he knew how to get it here to his dad’s house. I can’t fault him for it and I desperately wish things could be a little more civil. I wish he felt he could be more open with the relationship he has with me instead of feeling like he has to hide. But it is what it is. It breaks my heart that he curls up in our arms in tears every time he has to go back to his mom’s, begging to be able to stay a little longer. I just tell him that I know how he feels, that daddy and I love him, and that daddy works hard to try to be able to spend as much time with him as he can. I won’t lie, sometimes it’s hard not to tell him it’s because his mother won’t work with us on scheduling and that almost every request for extra time with the kids he has made has been denied. But we can’t. We must never place blame or speak poorly, no matter how true it may be.

Despite not being able to see the kids for mother’s day (which is fine,) they made a point to make sure that I knew I was loved and appreciated. They asked their dad if they could pick out a present and card for me. They picked everything out themselves and it was beautiful. I cried. A lot. It’s amazing how tiny little hands can cradle your entire world.

And I made sure to send my step mom a card and called her as well. Because she deserved it.

So to all the stepmom’s out there, I see you. I feel you. I understand you. And your kids may not understand right now the lengths you go to be the duct tape that keeps the family wheel moving smoothly, but I know. I feel that deep in my soul. Hang in there. It gets easier. ❤️

Happy stepmother’s day

Working Woman

Life has been chaos the past few months. I’ve been repeatedly sick and had multiple hurdles to jump with immigration. I’m happy to report now that I have my work permit and have been working for a few weeks now (hence the hiatus.)

I learned quite a lot from being off work for 6 months. I could never been a house wife or a stay at home mom. Sorry, but I went crazy. There was only so much I could clean. My poor husband came home to multiple furniture layout changes. Honestly, my self esteem took a pretty big hit too. I started losing my sense of self and although I had plenty in savings and was helping out financially from that, I still felt like I wasn’t contributing to the household.

It was hell.

Thankfully my work permit came in. I started applying for positions as soon as it was approved. With a ten year tenure on my resume and a gleaming reference from my old manager, it took almost no time at all to land an interview. I almost didn’t even go to the interview of the position I accepted. It was for a “customer service rep,” but I’m honestly not sure why it’s called that, as I have almost no contact with customers outside of forwarding them to someone else. Anywho, the interview was great. I got a call back a couple of days later with an informal offer, followed by a written offer a few days after that.

Training was hell. The girl I was replacing and I have different ways of doing things. Plus she spent the majority of her time on her phone instead of paying attention to if I was doing the job correctly or not. My superiors have noticed. And there are a LOT of things that I do differently such as basic accounting…

So far, I like the job. My coworkers are great. The job itself is a little challenging, but easy all in the same. And even better is that I have room to eventually grow, which is something I didn’t have at my old job. And the best for last…. I have my sense of self again!!!

Agnostic Acceptance

I’ve been out for a bit! I took some time to recover from my first experience with the Canadian health care system. In addition to recovering, I also started a new job and am learning the ropes.

Anywho! Last weekend, I got a text from a dear friend asking if I’d like to bring my step daughter over for a small religious ceremony. I was so honored. I don’t hide that some days I’m an agnostic and some days I’m an athiest, all depending on how I feel. Despite not having any beliefs of my own, I feel that it’s an honor to be thought of by others. Spirituality is a very intimate thing. Or well… It’s supposed to be. Merry Christmas? Happy Hanukkah? Happy Kwanza? Happy whatever? Great! Thanks for being thoughtful! I don’t understand why people get so irritated and intolerable.

So I wasn’t entirely sure of the holiday or significance. My friend said she just had some prayers honoring children, and she gives out gifts. It was her son, her friend and granddaughter, then my step daughter and I. We joined in her prayer room, was fed a bite, had red thread tied around our wrists, and the kids received some gifts. After, we had lunch, which consisted of Indian bread, chick peas, something that reminded me of cream of wheat, and tea. It was a lovely time. Turns out that the red thread is a tradition of Hindu to ward off bad things. I’d always wondered! The prayers themselves were beautiful. I have no idea what my friend was saying, but she said her prayers with compassion and conviction. You could feel the energy and warmth flowing throughout the room. Plus the prayer room was ornate and full of vibrant reds and yellows. It was truly a pleasure!

I don’t understand why people get in such a tizzy about religions that aren’t theirs. So long as someone isn’t harming others, why is it any of my business what you believe in? So long as I encourage those around me to be wholesome and good, why does it matter that I don’t believe in anything?

I wish people had more tolerance for other beliefs.

$57.02

I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks. My reaction to snow mold turned into a full blown sinus infection. I tried everything up my sleeve: inhalers, nasal sprays, OTC meds, humidifiers, changing the settings on our air exchange, I’ve drank my weight in hot tea, numerous eucalyptus baths. Everything. I finally waved white flag and opted to see a doctor.

The next time my American friends are faced with thought of universal healthcare, I want you to think of $57.02 USD. ($76.12 CAD.)

That would have been my out of pocket cost over the weekend if I had zero medical coverage for seeing a PHYSICIAN, not a PA or a RN, but an actual doctor, AND for the cost of my two prescriptions, all combined. That’s it. (For reference, you’ll spend $89-119 at the Kroger Little Clinic to see a RN or LPN, then another $12 and $58 for the prescriptions at Kroger.)

So how was it? Surprisingly not bad. I went to the walk in clinic close to our home. I had a piece of paper stating who I was, my chief complaints, and apologized because it hurt to speak out lout. The gentleman took my information, wrote my name down, told me it’d be a 2 hour wait to be seen, but that I was welcome to leave and come back. Also, it would be $35 for my exam because my Canadian health card was not in my possession yet, but that I could most likely submit that for reimbursement. I picked up a few things from the store and came back later. When I came back, there was still a small wait. Once I got back to the exam room, I still wanted another 25-30 minutes. I wasn’t seen by a nurse beforehand. There was no tech taking my vitals. The doctor walked in and he did all of that himself. We had a quick chat. I understood the wait. Even though this was a walk-in clinic and this doctor was obviously flooded with patients and a thousand things going on at once, he actually took his time and listened. As an EMT, it’s surprising when I feel heard. He confirmed my suspicion of allergy induced sinus infection.

Now here’s the part that surprised me. Due to being from out of the country, not currently working yet, and my health card is still on the way, he had the courtesy to ask about my financial status, albeit in a gentle and professional way. He explained that for what I’m going through, he has a preference of what to prescribe, but that even the generic was a little expensive, and that if I couldn’t afford it or if the cost wasn’t offset by our prescription coverage, he’d give me something different that should at least help. Thankfully our coverage is pretty good and covered most of the cost. But even without coverage, it would have been about $24 CAD / $18 USD here, as opposed to the $58 USD in the states. Regardless, I had the means to cover the cost, but I loved that he had the mind to ask.

I know a lot of people that equate “free” and universal healthcare to socialism. Prior to coming to Canada, I didn’t have enough information to have an opinion. Now that I’m here? I hope the US adopts this system. Sure it might take a little longer to get care for some things (like the hangnail you called 911 for at 4am,) but it’s a fantastic system!