Til Ikea Do Us Part

“In sickness and in health, til death do us part.”

Maybe there should be something about insanity and Ikea added in there.

My husband and I live in a small, but comfortable, two bedroom home. Here they’re called suites, back home it’d be considered a duplex or a mother-in-law apartment. The house was finished being built about a year and a half ago, the price can’t be beat, and our landlady is amazing. The downfall is that my husband has 3 children, so things can be a little cramped when they’re home here.

When we decided to lease this place, I started the hunt for some furniture for the kids. I opted for the Tuffing bunkbed from Ikea. It holds twin sized mattresses, but is also short and low to the ground – tall bunks make me nervous from a safety standpoint. Plus, of the two bedrooms, one is quite a bit smaller than the other. We’ve had the two older kids in the smaller room and the youngest in our room, which was fine, but limited their play spaces. This weekend we opted to change the arrangements around and put all three kiddos into the larger room, giving my husband and I the smaller of the two so that the kids have more room to play, even with their little brother’s bed in there too. The final result is fantastic, but it was certainly an adventure getting there.

As I mentioned above, the Tuffing bed is great because it holds twin mattresses instead of kid sized ones and it’s fairly low to the ground. (I can make up the top bed without having to climb up there.) The downfall? It’s a major pain in the ass to put together. Even bigger downfall? It’s an even bigger pain in the ass to take apart and reassemble. But we did it. There was blood. But we did it. There was cussing. But we did it.

We did it.

And you know what? It gave me this odd sense of added security in our marriage. My husband and I have always worked well together, communicated efficiently, and BOTH put a lot of effort into our marriage. Tearing down a large piece of Ikea furniture ad reconstructing it together with minimal issue feels like an odd token of our ability to work together. Take that Ikea!

I hope the kids enjoy their new space as we try to save up for the ability to move into a larger home in the future ❤️

New Titles

So in Canada, employment contracts are pretty standard. In the US, (or at least in my experience and the states I’ve lived,) they’re not. Before I embarked on my jourey to the US, I signed a new employment contact for a new job. It was a little bizarre to me, but I suppose that it’s protective of both an employee and employer. I appreciate it in a weird way.

Back in March, I got my work permit and quickly got a job. The job itself was fine, and I made an amazing friend there. Everything else was horrible. Working for my boss was like constantly walking on eggshells. She was a difficult woman to say the least. Also, one of my coworkers really needed some mental help. His anger infused outbursts and quasi-death threats weren’t funny. I had to get the hell out of dodge. After a little over 3 months with that company, I understood my predecessor and no longer blamed her for how many things were just hidden and swept under the rug. I ended up sending her a text apologized for passing judgment. I understood why she just checked out.

I started plastering my resume to any HR department with a position that I was remotely qualified for. The difficulty in finding a new job was that I wasn’t a permanent resident quite yet. Despite the fact that it shouldn’t be, I know it’s a factor in the consideration of a new employee. In my cover letters I articulated that I was in the final stages of my PR. Eventually it paid off and I received a response from a local small business looking for a new office manager. I met for a couple of interviews and landed the gig. We worked out a contract that would work out for both me and the company.

Working for a small business presents a lot of challenges in comparison to the positions I’ve held in the past. You have to mind budgets a little tighter, put a little extra love into business relationships, and you have to work a little harder to help push the business forward. I looked forward to the challenge.

Unlike with my first Canadian job, my training was a lot more effective. Even though I had a fraction of the training time than I previously had, it was undivided attention and thorough training. The woman whom I replaced had been there for nearly 8 years in some capacity or another. And my main / full time employee has been there for 10 years. That was comforting to me because it told me that that the owner was at the very least tolerable on a long term basis.

I finished my first week on the new job. As I was closing the storefront, the owner gave me a huge compliment. He said that he found it hard to believe that I have only been here for a week, and that it felt like I’d been here for a year already. He’s already seen an improvement in morale and productivity around the office, and that he was impressed with how I was adapting. Now, I’m not someone that needs constant reassurance or a pat on the back, but I have to say, it was really nice getting that feedback and receiving that appreciation. Especially considering that I have literally four job titles. Here’s to being an office manager, project coordinator, marketing support, and location assistant. Here’s to having a happy professional life ❤️

Surprise!

On Monday, I embarked on a two day drive back to Kentucky. One if my closest and dearest friends went through a major life event that I wanted to support and show some love for.

The drive was exhausting. It’s a little over 1500 miles one way. My husband made that journey multiple times while we were dating long distance. It made me appreciate him so much more than I already do. Seriously. The drive sucked so bad. It was long, boring, and the last half of it was filled with a storm and heavy traffic. My husband did this many many times. Through rain, snow, and Lord knows what else. It was exhausting and I couldn’t imagine doing it multiple times no matter how much I loved someone. I would have flown if I were him. But it just makes me appreciate him so much more.

My friend had no idea I was coming. I coordinated everything with her other half and kept him up to date with my trip progression and arrival time. I parked a couple houses down with a gift in tow and he snuck me in the house. As I entered the house, her oldest daughter looked up and nearly squealed. I pushed my finger up, telling her to be quiet, and proceeded down the hall. “Ya know, the next time I decide to hand deliver a gift, I’m going to fly.” She was stunned and couldn’t believe her eyes. It was perfect. I enjoy making people that I care about feel loved. While I miss my home and my husband deeply, this adventure was important to me.

The next day, I got some work done on my car prior to selling her then proceeded to head to my old stomping ground of ten years. I wanted to see some of my coworkers, one of which is also one of my closest friends. They’ve got downtown torn up, so navigation was problematic. Plus, you couldn’t get down to security headquarters in the same ways you used to be able to, so I wasn’t sure how to get through the locked doors. So I went down to the other security office and started banging on the door. The look of surprise was a good feeling, and I secured an escort through the building for myself. We meandered down the back halls and made way to my old office. I really wanted to see my old managers. One looks more aged than I remembered, stressed from all of the company changes. My other was super excited and surprised. We had lunch together for old times sake, which was nice. I think I made him feel important. I hope so.

Eventually I sold my car. Not for as much as I’d like to, but I got it out of the way. Now I’m packed up and trying to rest a little before flying back to Canada in the morning.

This trip taught me something. Even though I miss a couple of friends, this place isn’t home. My birthplace doesn’t feel like home either. Canada. Canada is home and it’s the first time I’ve felt like that in a very very long time. I finally feel like I belong somewhere. And that’s an overwhelming, but secure, feeling.

At Peace

As I lay here next to my husband, listening to him breathe as he sleeps, I’m finally at peace. The last couple of months have been exhausting.

Back in April, I started a new job that I ended up hating. Well, it wasn’t the job itself, but was the culture in the office. I was surrounded by constant negativity and it was draining. The only good thing that came out of that place was meeting a woman who quickly became a very close friend. I ended up quitting with no notice, per the suggestions of a confidant. That made way for dialogues to open up about the culture and to hopefully make some lasting changes there. Thankfully, I start training at a new job tomorrow that I could see myself retiring from. I can’t wait!! The pay won’t be as good, but at least I’ll enjoy the position and the company.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I travelled a couple hours north. Why? Because I landed as a permanent resident of Canada! Everything went by fairly quick and was relatively painless. This past week I received my PR card in the mail, which will make travels easier. Though I had no concerns about our applications, I feel relieved. After almost 2 years of a long distance relationship, it’s comforting that I don’t have to ever be apart from my husband unless we are traveling by choice. Everything feels finalized and in order, like the puzzle pieces have fit together.

And finally, we had my stepchildren for almost two weeks straight for part of their summer break. It, for the most part, was amazing. But any time they saw or talked to their mother, the chaos reset and the kids spent that day (and sometimes part of the next) fighting with each other. I have no idea why it causes it, but I wish it wouldn’t happen or cause so much disruption. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to travel like we originally planned, but I feel like it was a blessing in disguise. The kids have otherwise been shuffled around from camp to camp, traveled, and have been extremely busy. They hadn’t really had time to just wind down and relax. So that’s exactly what we did outside of local family trips to the park and lake. We planned lots of fun things at home like board games, painting sessions, and did things as a family. We even did a theater night at home that they absolutely loved! My oldest stepson did not want to leave, which broke my heart. Every time he has to go, he grows more and more bitter about it. So many things with him remind me of myself when I was his age, navigating my own parent’s divorce. I don’t want that for him. It’ll lead to resentment when he’s older, and I truly don’t want that for his mother either. He’s a smart kid and even though he’s a few months shy of 8, he’s already figured so many things out about the dynamics of what’s going on. And I have no idea how to protect him from being bitter. I just try to do what my step mom did and just be loving and supportive. I listen. I think that’s the biggest thing… I listen.

I look forward to having the time to blog again. And I’m thankful for being able to feel like I can breathe again.

Fresh Air

There’s something amazing about Canada. I lived in, what I would consider, a fairly clean small city in the US for over a decade. We had plenty of farms and green space outside out of city’s center. While it has its fair share of rush hour, there are plenty of green spaces to unplug and get back to your roots. I was born and raised by the coast, growing up with my toes in the sand with waves crashing by.

Neither hold a candle to Canada.

I haven’t explored as much as I’d like to, but I’ve found myself spending a little more time outdoors here. From my first visit to Canada in BC to simply parks around town in here in SK. The best I can describe is it just smells different here. It feels clean. It feels different.

I find myself spending more time with the great outdoors here. Be it meeting with friends for a barbeque or taking the kids on park-sided adventures or simply walking the dog. It’s nice. It’s relaxing. Unplugging and being in nature has been a fantastic stress relief too.

Where’s your favorite place outdoors?

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.