Thursday, October 31, 2013


I was in line the other day, waiting to check out, when I witnessed a conversation that made me sad. 

It was an older lady (guessing late 70's) describing her current experiences at home.  She suffered multiple compression fractures to her spine at her cottage while doing some outdoor work.  Had been active her whole life.  And since then, had not been able to enjoy doing much and spends the majority of time going to appointments to help manage the pain.

The sad part of the story was her description of how her husband was still expecting her to do everything as if she was not hurt.  "He's used to having everything done for him.".  And the act of cooking absolutely kills her now.

I can understand generational differences up to a point.  But where is the humanity?  How many of us are able to stand by and witness suffering and not be moved to do something to help?  And we are talking about his spouse!  I was appalled.  The pain, hurt and exhaustion was apparent on her face.   

Even though I knew I was only hearing one side of the story, the angry woman in me immediately thinks about what I would do in that instance if everything I heard was true.  Kicking the guy out to the curb comes to mind pretty quick.  And that separation would cost him too.  I'd be hiring some at home help until I got better.

It's frequently the tough times that show true colours and commitment.  It would be even sadder if she had felt all along that she was part of a wonderful marriage.  Could you be in a marriage that long and have no hint or idea that could happen?  Or do you hold onto the hope that they would step up if and when something serious happens?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Settling Down

It appears I'm going through a strong nesting phase right now.  Not surprising from all that has gone on with the search for a new home location.  Had my east coast trip happened last year on schedule, it would have been to 2 cities for the purpose of exploring housing and career options. 

Because it was delayed to this year and we had already gone through the process out west and decided it was a our one and done, this year's trip was for leisure only.  No more energy to keep searching.  It is far easier to plan a retirement move than 2 career moves. 

I don't even have one trip booked for next year yet.  Normally by this time, I've got a couple set.  The desire is there but not feeling the urgency.  Perhaps it is because I've done so much this and last year.  Really got out to the places that were tugging at me the most and feeling satiated from it. 

Told D I thought next year would be more temperate with respect to travel.  He wasn't convinced, proceeded to laugh and was positive that it will only take one photo or article or conversation and I'll be off.  I don't know about that.  Something feels different right now but I cannot pin point it.  Think I am settling into a new level of contentedness.  Whatever it is feels peaceful and unrushed. 

Perhaps it has something to do with my recent laser surgery (cosmetic, non serious procedure).  The culmination of 2 years plus of dealing with my food allergy stuff.  It went really well and getting rid of the visual scars from the allergy gave me a greater sense of relief than I would have imagined.  It was one of those things that people would ask me what I was referring to when I would tell them about my hive scars.  It bothered me more than others and now it doesn't bother me anymore. 

Also have an overwhelming desire to go over everything we have around the house and decide if it is still useful.  We've been at our current location for 7 years now and I'm embarrassed to admit we have not gone through a thorough overhaul yet.  Little bits here and there mostly related to clothing and books but that's all. 

I want to tackle the kitchen, basement and garage first, 2/3rd D's domain.  So I'm expecting some push back.  I feel I've neglected my home and taken it for granted with being away a lot the last year or so, leaving D to shoulder the majority of the burden.  He hasn't complained but it isn't right.  Need to place my energy back onto my biggest financial investment and get my head back into the game. 

[There is currently a contest (via Facebook) going on to win a trip to Greenland.  Imagine my surprise when I see an entry by someone I recognized.  One of their pictures, I am very sure, was taken by me as we were sailing back through the Icefjord to Ilulissat!]

[The Icelandic clothing company -- Cintamani has come to Canada!  I couldn't believe my eyes when I was walking around in Halifax and suddenly saw the store frontage.  Ran across the street to find out they had just opened 3 1/2 weeks prior.  The fellow working there was from Iceland and was surprised (and probably overwhelmed) by my enthusiasm for his country.  Couldn't help it.]

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I don't have the good fortune of having in-laws I get along with.  It is what it is.  We just don't get each other and likely never will.  At first I thought it was a nervousness thing.  In time, I've concluded we are just very different people with vastly different communication preferences. 

By that I mean they don't communicate effectively or at all whereas I like conversation and make an effort to ask questions and find out what's been going on.  In the 10 years I've known them, they have Never asked me how I was doing.  I just get to hear a lot of ramblings about neighbours and their kids, people who I don't know.  It is totally one sided.  Times that by 3 days and I want to kill myself. 

It feels like (is) a huge chore to spend time with them.  I dread it.  I know D would like it if we got along better.  But you cannot force what isn't there.  Plus I don't have much of a tolerance for mediocrity.  It's downright painful to be around them.  And though I've never met her, D's ex-wife felt the same. 

I consider myself to be a fairly decent communicator and have a wide interest base but seriously, I cannot find any amount of common ground outside of some hobbies with D's dad (target shooting and fishing).  If they weren't my in-laws, I'm sure we wouldn't chose to be around each other. 

They just aren't very caring or giving people but insist on a certain amount of "face time" to appease some social norm.  I've managed to duck out of a number of such events because they aren't pleasant and I hate pretending to be interested in something I'm not.  That's not respectful to either party.  I'm at the point where I don't care what they think of me.  The unbelievable part is that they feel they have been so successful in creating a "close and loving" family!

I wish they could be honest with themselves and admit they don't really care about anyone.  That they prefer being alone on their 9 acre property in the middle of nowhere.  It would solve a lot of problems and take the pressure off of everybody.  D is used to having parents who are more into themselves than their children.  His brother is cut from the same cloth but with sarcasm and mean spiritedness added in.  So no, I don't get along with him either. 

D tolerates it because it is what he knows.  After all they aren't "bad" people...He is used to them not caring enough to ask about what's going on and who manages to forget things like him losing his job a week after he told them...A lot of times I get so angry for him.  He just shrugs it off which makes me even more angry.

So am I surprised when they didn't bother to ask how I was doing after I broke my arm?  Not at all.  If they were my real parents, I'd have some serious issues.   

I'm of the school that you teach people how to treat you.  And if you continue to allow someone to treat you like crap, then you are consciously propagating an unhealthy relationship. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

East Coast Apparel Tips

I have much more experience with cold weather travel (meaning snow) versus rain.  Being soaking wet isn't always fun and can make you miserable in a hurry especially when it is a cool rain. 

So my best tip is to bring along waterproof gear -- Jacket, shoes and rain pants if you are considering a trip to eastern Canada/USA in the spring or fall.  I had a water resistant pant but it wasn't enough when I found myself hiking in the rain. 

My jacket (similar idea but without the down coat underneath) went to just above the knees so that was great.  But once the rain ran off the jacket it just soaked through my shell pant.  Luckily I had on my Icebreaker tights underneath (merino) so the moisture wasn't clinging.

Three hours later worth of pouring rain, I made a bee line for the first sports store I could find and bought myself a pair of waterproof pants and boy was I a happy girl after!  Especially when the following 3 days were wet as well.  I wondered how I made it all these years without a pair?!  Just dealt with it I guess.

You know what the best part is?  Being able to sit outside on a bench in the rain and be toasty dry.  People (if there are any around) look at you funny but I was really enjoying myself.  Felt like a kid again and grinning ear to ear.  The feel and sound of rain can be so therapeutic. 

Which brings me to the next part -- Shoes.  My hikers (low rise) are waterproof so no issue there.  Though, when water dripped off your waterproof (or not) pant and happen to catch the edge of your socks, you will get wet feet from the inside, if you know what I mean.  So higher rise shoes or being extra diligent about the overhang of your pants should take care of this.

The last part is gloves.  I had my leather ones with me.  Not the best choice.  They weren't waterproof so they let in water at the seams and eventually through the leather.  The only gloves I own that are waterproof are for skiing, so too warm for the climate I was in.  Ideally a pair that is liner thin and waterproof would be perfect.  They do exist. 

Don't know if this is universally happening but in Canada, there are currently some great sales on last season's cold/transition weather merchandise.  I don't care about subtle changes in style from year to year and as far as I'm concerned, black is black so I stocked up on more Icebreaker pieces as well as other assorted gear for half price or better. 

This is not a small stream, it was the hiking trail.
However I managed to miss the small steps that were supposed to get me
over the pipe as I was too busy looking away from the rain.  So I just ducked under.

This was the small stream.

I've never seen a tree like this before.  The bark was so shiny.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Condensed Back Story

As with my previous post where I wrote about saying no to the move, the paragraph or so of its description made it seem so simple, so obvious.  However, it did not reflect all the mental emotional effort that led to the short summary. 

When this opportunity came about for D, it was unexpected.  It wasn't one he had applied for but rather one he was recommended for when a previous boss found out we were considering a relocation and had a connection to what he felt was a super company out there. 

So we were very surprised and had no idea what to expect when D was offered an interview/meet and greet with 2 of the 3 Principals of the company.  Which led to a second interview with the 3rd Principal where D was offered a position which involved significant travel.  Something he did not have extensive experience with before but felt he was capable of doing.  It was 50% travel as they were assuming our move was definitely happening. 

When D told them we were not moving, that's when the level of travel increased to 75% to compensate for being out of province. 

Because I had already said "no" to the relocation, I found myself in the position where I felt like I was going to be the "bad guy" again.  I know that I wasn't really but couldn't help feeling that way.  Why was that? 

Because my first impression of the offer was not a positive one.  I didn't care about the money being offered but D did.  It was more than he had ever seen on paper.  For me, there isn't an amount where I would be OK with such a significant material change to our marriage.  To put it bluntly, it wasn't what I signed up for.  It would be a different story had we had grown into this together.  This came out of the blue for both of us.  And in many aspects, we are far from a newly established couple.

So what to do when your spouse was feeling so pumped about the potential of the position?  This was a role he felt he could excel in, a role he had always dreamed of.  How could I not be supportive and work on finding a solution?

In order to adequately access what life on the road will look like, I did what I knew.  I checked out all the flight schedules, main airlines, airport hubs of locations he would be going to.  By doing so, we could figure out just what a travel week would look like.  How early he'd have to leave, if he could make it to location the same day and if he could make it home by the end of the week.  I even looked at apartment rental options so he wouldn't have to stay in a hotel for the week.  A much healthier alternative to restaurant food all the time.

For most if not all locations, it would be a Sunday afternoon - Friday travel week.  Which leaves Saturday as a home day before leaving again.  I didn't like it.  Seemed easier and less stressful if he would just stay on location, finish the work before coming home. 

It was very difficult to stand by and allow D adequate space to sort this through.  I have a horrible habit of wanting to "fix" things and offer solutions whether asked or not.  Obviously, I wanted him to come up with the same conclusions as me without coming across as the overly emotional wife.

But it is my marriage too.  I like the amount of time, contact, level of interaction and cooperation we have together.  Negotiating the pros and cons was a real test of our communication.  On another level, it was hard not to think the thought that maybe he didn't want the same things anymore?  That the lure of this position was stronger than what we had?  Was this a sign we were growing apart?

It also played on something I worried about a long time ago when things started getting serious between us.  I worried that because we met at a time when my life and dreams were more established than his, that my lifestyle may have steamrollered his.  I believed him when he said he wanted the same things.  This process challenged that and I was afraid it was going to be proven wrong.

I know that as a person, I'm well suited for a husband that travels for work as I'm fairly independent, can keep myself amused and handle stuff around the house.  Worse case, should I not want the extra work, I'm not averse to hiring out.  As I do travel up to 10 weeks a year solo, I obviously don't mind spending alone time.  But was it selfish to not want him away so much?  I questioned my motives a lot.

Another issue was D's perception that the position would mean greater autonomy.  I have a lot of autonomy in my work.  And he would like to experience the same.  But it isn't the same.  I interpreted the position as a "turn your life over" to the corporation for one goal and one goal only.  The title may sound more impressive and powerful but the level of subjugation I felt would be much higher.  His life would be all about work.  Opposite of what we had been building and living.  And he is going to have to work extremely hard to earn the extra dollars.  There are no freebies.

It was a lucky coincidence that I ended up travelling on continent for once because time change wasn't an issue and we were able to touch base daily.  Because the start date wasn't going to be until Jan '14 (as they initially assumed we'd need time to move), there was time to discuss the various facets though neither of us wished to make a career of it.  My being away was a good thing too.  Allowed both of us to sort through thoughts and feelings without the others' interference/influence.

In the end D came to his own conclusions and they happily matched mine.  Yes I did provide lots of opinions and questions -- Wouldn't be my way not to but hopefully done in a manner where I wasn't coming across like I was trying to control or "spoil" everything. 

I learned he is as protective of our life as I had hoped (phew!).  Had it turned out differently, then time would tell if the glue that holds us together is strong enough to withstand such a large voluntary change.  Voluntary being the operative word. 

There are changes that are forced onto couples and families that cannot be easily understood or negotiated, only managed.  This wasn't one of them.  We had to remind ourselves that this whole out west search was self / lifestyle motivated, not out of need for more income.  So it was imperative to remain highly cognisant of potential consequences during this process. 

That's not to say he wasn't upset or sad about it.  D did feel like he was letting his old boss down and all the friends who travelled for work (who were rallying for him to accept) by not stepping up.   Bottom line was he decided He was about more Life, over more money and more work.  We are both ecstatic to lay this whole adventure to rest.  Have much to be grateful for.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

D's Work Offer: The Decision

Here it is: 

Excerpt of D's email to my "Parents" (the couple who have been more supportive of me than my biological ones).

MW has just come home from the East Coast and is swamped at work, so I thought I would reply with an update on the job decision.

The opportunity itself would be a real chance for me to use my skills and do some great work, and will lead to plenty of opportunities further down the road. But, once we started getting a clearer picture of what 75% travel looks like, I am not sure I am up for that big of a change and be even coherent once I get home.  It would mean selling the cottage, as we would not have time to use it.  Currently we go up on Thurs night and I work remote on Fridays.  (Turns out my travel work week is more accurately described Sun to Fri.)

Our lifestyle is pretty great right now, and something like this, which on one hand would scratch my career ambition itch, would leave me with a very different leisure life.  Combined with MW's travels, we run the very real possibility we might not see each for extended periods of time.   So as you can imagine, it really does not work with our life and this week, I will be declining the offer.  This officially ends the XYZ Adventure.

And an excerpt of their reply:

Thanks for keeping us updated on what has been a very difficult decision; however, you clearly carefully considered all factors and have no doubt made the right decision.  As you note quality of life counts for more than the job!  We trust (your company) will be pleased, as no doubt was MW.

Speaking of MW, how was her east coast adventure?  It seems she would have had pretty fine weather, which is rare and quite essential in those parts.  And how is your biking going?  Tour de France next?

We eagerly anticipate your visit.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Final Pictures & A Decision

I was fascinated with the density of these pilings.  Never did find out why. 
Waterfront -- Portland, Maine

D has come to a decision about the offered work position. 
I will write about it once he has made it official with the company.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


On this trip, I learned that for me, being around water outranks mountains by a hair.  I've always thought of them as equally important.  Not this time.  Nothing decompresses me faster than the sights and sounds of big water.

So the timing of this couldn't have been more perfect.  I had a lot to purge and sort out.  This was the trip I was supposed to have taken last fall right at the time hurricane Sandy made landfall.  So I had a year to use the travel credit.

I spent a lot of time in transit because of the various modes of transportation -- Also related to said travel credits.  Normally it would have bothered me as I like to "get there" in the most efficient way possible but I quite enjoyed the lengthened time between places.  I needed it. 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Against the varying backdrops of my recent journey, I pondered the quote below.

"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live."
~ Oscar Wilde
Also chanced upon another viewing of "The Blind Side" and was struck by how much I could relate to Sandra Bullock's character.