Have You…

“Have you blogged lately?” my darling husband asked, after a seemingly restless evening.  He doesn’t read my blog much (not that anyone does,) so it meant a lot to me that he noticed that I hadn’t put many thoughts down as of late.  I felt oddly heard?  Noticed?  Acknowledged?  It felt good that he’d asked about something that I’d been doing… or haven’t for that matter.

I’ve been pretty stressed out lately.

I’m not as happy as I once was with my work situation.  I mean it’s a far cry from the job I had before that made me come home in tears every day.  But the back and forth back and forth just isn’t okay.  Re-negotiations on my pay scales, approved overtime to work on special projects no longer available because a part timer person will just be brought in to take on some of my regular tasks so that I can focus on something else that has nothing to do with our company.  Not enough staffing to be able to take a sick day when I can barely breathe.  Worrying about if there’s going to be enough money in the bank in a few months to be able to pay all of the expenses.  That should be a personal problem, not a professional problem.  Overtime that was supposed to be paid out weekly in the new year turned into time-in-lieu instead…..trying to figure out how to take 6 weeks off from work between said time in lieu + vacation time.  It just sucks ’cause the bossman is an excellent person and has helped our family out a great deal.  But when it comes to workflow, everything is in shambles.  If I were single without stepchildren, maybe I wouldn’t care as much, but my marriage and my relationships with my husband’s children are more important to me than that.

Which brings me to my next point of stress.  Being a step parent sucks sometimes.  It’s wonderful because it’s filled a little bit of a void I’ve had on the kid front.  After having 5 miscarriages and not being able to have children of my own, I sometimes struggle with knowing I’m an amazing parent and that I have a lot to contribute to a tiny life…..it’s just that I can’t bring that life into this world.  It sucks because something that happened before me dictates part of my current life.  It sucks more because I don’t directly have a voice in the matter; thankfully my husband stands his ground now and voices what’s best for all involved, even in the face of objection.
Over the last 2 years, my step kids’ bio mom hasn’t given me the time of day.  I’ve tried to put many different olive branches out there and have tried to bridge the gap.  I’ve gone out of my way to try to not cross boundaries and to put a hard divide between mom and step mom.  I know that I’m not her favorite person.  I know that she has certain insecurities.  And that’s okay.  But what’s not okay is not giving another human being a certain degree of common courtesy, then just inviting yourself over to interact with them.  I’m sorry, if you can’t so much as say hello to me in a public place, you have no business trying to integrate yourself into my life.  I’m thankful that he told her no.  I’m thankful that he stood up for me.  I wish I could stand up for myself, though.

Anywho, these things have been weighing on me.  Plus being sick hasn’t helped.  The kids were sick, then I had a fit of allergy madness, then my husband got sick and is getting over the crud, but now the kids are back and one of them is sick…again…. I swear they’re always sick. Sometimes it just feels like there’s always something, and no amount of self care really helps alleviate the stress.  So that’s sorta where I’m at right now and the reason for the lack of blogging.  Hopefully soon I’ll snap out of it and will have the mental capacity to write on a regular basis again.

 

Happy Anniversary

I am the woman that rocked a leather jacket with her backless lace wedding dress. He is the man who cracks off the most insane puns and dad jokes without missing a beat. We are unique. Together we are the perfect pair.

They say that the first year of marriage is always the most difficult. Although my husband and I have faced many obstacles together, I didn’t find our first year of marriage to be that tough. Maybe it was the leather. Maybe it was the constant stream of laughs.

We faced a lot. My immigration and permanent residency. His ongoing co-parenting (or lack thereof) BS. My necessary job change. Vehicle breakdowns. The death of my grandfather and of my piece of crap mother. Unexpectedly reworking an already tight budget and moving. Loss of friends. A crazy work season. It. Was. A. Lot.

We never fought though. We’ve had ample discussions, learning experiences, and struggles, but we’ve never had an actual fight. Some may think that’s a bad thing, but I think it’s amazing. I’m moved by the amount that we communicate. Neither of us are perfect by any means, but we are certainly perfect for each other.

I adore our marriage. We still go on dates. He opens doors for me. I tickle him every night. We spend quality time with one another. We help each other with household chores. We grocery shop together. He’s my best friend and my biggest cheerleader in life. The support that we have for one another is breathtaking.

Getting married didn’t change our relationship, it just removed some of the barriers of our circumstance. I know of a lot of couples that once they tied the knot, everything changed. I’m thankful that my husband is my rock and a constant in my life. He lets me dance to the beat of my own drum, but makes sure to help me be grounded when I need it. I’ve never experienced such an amazing soul.

Thanks for the amazing year babe! I look forward to growing old with you. Happy Anniversary ❤️

Holiday Hysteria

I’m tired.


Huge shout-out to my darling husband.  He is by far the most patient man alive. Thanks for your support babe. No clue what I’d do without you.

Why do I give him incredible praise right now for his patience?  Well. Lately I’ve been working a solid 50 hours per week, usually 7 days per week, not including all the texts and emails I’ve tended to while at home. When he gets off work, he comes to my office, and we have microwaved leftovers for supper on styrofoam plates with plastic forks. It’s tense, but at least we get to have a meal together.

When I took this job, we knew that the Christmas season would be hell. Just another week of chaos left.  We’re in the home stretch, but I’ve got a huge push to do so that I can get all of the financials in order for the company. Preemptive payroll, finalize schedules, figuring out what to do with a shithead employee who has caused a pretty big ruckus.  Blah.

This weekend, we finally had some work-free and kid-free time to spend together. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I love my stepchildren, but nothing tops being able to spend some one-on-one time with my better half. 

Despite my longing to have more time to tend to our marriage, I look forward to our family get-together.  This year we had family photos done and had them turned into gorgeous Christmas cards. Annnnnnd we have something huge planned for the kids.

I’ve found a new love for the holidays, but man they’re exhausting and I can hardly wait for it to be over!

Happy Canadaversary

Exactly one year ago, my dog and I came to Canada. Mold in my home displaced me, so I ended up moving to be with my husband before we anticipated. How have I been the past year?

Well let’s see. I married my best friend, became a stepmother, and now have an awesome family. I got my permanent residency. Per my last post, I’ve found that I don’t mean as much to some people as I thought. It’s a lot colder here. I’ve been treated like absolute shit by my stepchildren’s mother. I’ve been treated incredibly by everyone else. I had a horrible job, then got a really great one. I’m a lot less stressed. I’m healthy and happy. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown as a person.

Canada looks good on me. I’m thankful that I had the ability to pack it all up to be able to be with my husband so that we could have a new life together. Happy Camadaversary. It’ll be nice growing old here.

Exposure

I love my job.

I get to come in contacted with people from ALL over the world. I’ve met people from Greece, India, Egypt, Russia, and everywhere in between.

Recently I met a couple from, where I assume was, Saudi Arabia. They came into our storefront, the husband wearing jeans and a nice t-shirt, the wife donning a black Niqab, fully covering all but her eyes. Before really speaking, I tried to feel out the situation and vibe. My only experience with anyone from Saudi Arabia was in the US and in passing. They were very standoffish and reserved there, but I feel it was with good reason. There, anyone who looks like they’re from the Middle East are heavily discriminated against. Canada is a different story. Here, this couple was pleasant and friendly. Maybe they hadn’t been subjected to the same hatred, or maybe they didn’t carry that burden with them if they had been.

For the services they needed, they asked if it would be okay to lock the door. This is not uncommon for some clients, so I naturally obliged. The husband blocked the glass from any potential pass-byers as his wife slowly began to remove her headdress. I felt oddly honored to be a part of this moment. I don’t know much about the culture, but I do know that modesty is extremely important to them. There’s a weird sort of platonic intimacy in a moment like that.

We exchanged some small talk, laughing and enjoying the exchange. I asked if it would be okay if I asked a few questions, hopeful to not sound rude, but explaining that I was genuinely curious. They said of course. It was a perfect learning opportunity for me, and they seemed happy to answer my curiosities. I did wonder if the woman felt perhaps vulnerable or exposed removing her headdress in public, albeit that I closed the office for them, but I didn’t dare to ask because I felt it was a little too personal in a way. I was, however, able to get an answer to a question I’ve always been curious about…

“In the summer, is it overly warm to wear such garments?!” The woman kindly smiled and let out a small chuckle. I know I probably sounded like a typical dumb American, but I’ve always wondered. She explained that even though she also wears a full outfit underneath, the fabric is very breathable and not uncomfortable at all. She also noted that it provides religious and spiritual comfort as well. My curiosities were finally satisfied.

Canada is amazing. The US likes to try to have this reputation of being a melting pot of different cultures, but it’s still a truly racist country. I know there is racism everywhere, but at least here it’s not so blatant and wide spread. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be exposed to so many walks of life and to learn so much about others.

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 ❤️

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.