Another year has come and gone, and with it the sense that time is just slipping away. The last six months have been such a blur that I haven’t really had time or space to blog about it, which has, in turn, left me feeling more than a bit unsettled.
So what has happened this year?
January 2011 started off with Reg and I. His daughters were still being held illegally by their mother in the US, necessitating his attention to be focused on lawyers and his family. We had started discussing what we might do when the girls were returned to him (since he had been awarded sole custody prior to them going to visit their American mother) – the possibility of a life together, of marriage, of a family… but with so much uncertainty nothing could be really PLANNED.
March of 2011 the kids Reg was notified by his ex-wife that she would return the children rather than go to court (since she’d have to come to Saskatchewan to do so anyway, jurisdiction of the custody matter had been awarded to Saskatchewan 2 years prior) and she did not relish being brought up on abduction charges.
After 10 months apart Reg was reunited with his daughters April 2011. After that everything changed in my life. Suddenly I was trying to support a family of 6 on my income, and trying to create space in my small townhouse for 4 kids. We started to seriously discuss marriage, and Reg started to look for another job that would allow him and his daughters to move into the city. We started planning to add a 4th bedroom, family room, and 2nd bathroom into the townhouse, and Reg and I looked at engagement rings. My kids and I also fulfilled our wish of taking a family trip to DisneyWorld over the Easter break.
June 2011 was a struggle. The kids had to get used to the idea that Reg and I were going to be together and that we were going to become one big, messy, loud family. We bought laminate flooring and subflooring and started to remodel the basement. Reg’s older daughter had some issues returning to Canada and being unsure or unclear of her place in his family – her mother had either half-assedly told her that she wasn’t his daughter, or she had told their YOUNGER daughter, or this information had in some way gotten through to her but no one had bothered to directly take it on and TELL her.
July through the beginning of September Reg and his daughters lived at my house and I tried my best to support everyone while Reg was out of work for the summer. The subfloor went down and the stud walls went up. Reg filed for divorce and sole custody of his daughters. We bought a huge tent and took everyone camping. BoyChild went in for psychiatric assessment of his learning issues – while the school had tried to channel him into a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, it turned out that he has ADD.
Mid-August 2011 I finally got a call scheduling the surgery to have my tubal ligation reversed. Reg was given a final date for his divorce to be heard by the courts. TheEx notified me (and the kids) that he and his current girlfriend were expecting a child in January or February 2012. The basement rooms didn’t get finished, as I needed to draw some of the money I had been using in order to have the surgery.
End of August Reg and his girls went back to their home (1 hour north of the city) and returned only weekends. September 15 I had my tubes untied. I was off work from September 15 to October 31… supposedly to recover, but for the most part I was on housewife duties. BoyChild had a second assessment with the psychiatrist, with a reconfirmed diagnosis. And the end of October marked the official ending of Reg’s marriage and custody battles – he was granted divorce, sole custody, and stated that both he and his ex had to AGREE on visitation for the girls. Since taking the girls down to their mother’s home had led to her trying to take off with them, he wouldn’t agree to take them down there for summers like before, meaning that if she wants to visit with the girls she will have to make the effort to come up here (if she can get a passport) and be supervised.
November 2011 I returned to work, only to realize how much I hated my job. Despite being accepted into a Masters Program, funding issues had kept me from being able to realize my dream. Not being able to upgrade my skills and being in a job where there is no possibility of even a lateral move made me finally realize that this is not the place I want to spend my entire career. Unfortunately, since I was the primary wage earner AND sole provider for my household, leaving a job that pays the bills hasn’t been as simple of a matter as wanting to leave. Going back to work at a job where I haven’t felt like I was respected, where I have no opportunities, and where my manager has been simply trying to find a way to replace me (with his 17 year old daughter!) has been stressful. Looking for another job, knowing that I have 6 people depending on my income, knowing I have debt to climb out of, and wanting a better life has added to the stress of working in such a toxic environment.
November did bring a few good things, though.
November 1 I was given the green light by my specialist and family doctor to try and conceive again. The surgery was considered a success and they felt that, barring any complications, I should be able to conceive naturally within 2 years (75% chance). Of course I never really TRIED with either of my other 2, so I am not entirely sure about how to tell when I ovulate or any of that stuff, but the doctor felt that it might take at least 4 to 6 months minimum and not to worry.
November 11 I was asked to consider adding a dog to our family (which already included 2 cats). Jamieson, a 6 year old Golden Lab/Pomeranian/Border Collie cross had belonged to Reg’s brother’s girlfriend. Of course all 4 kids were (initially) thrilled with the prospect of having a dog… and I was wary – like most things in the house taking in a dog meant extra work and expense for ME, especially since Reg and his girls are only there Saturdays and Sundays, leaving me with 100% of walking, cleanup, and other doggish duties over half of the time. While I LIKE Jamieson, I am not entirely happy to have been given EXTRA work and responsibilities on top of the 10 hours of employed work and 3 hours of housework I do every day…
November 12 Reg asked me to marry him (with Jamieson’s help). It was a very quiet thing… I wasn’t even sure if he was serious because it was so low key. While I was overwhelmed with the prospect of a wedding, I wouldn’t mind being remarried (anymore). With the agreement to marry we were able to start planning a future together with all 4 kids, 2 cats and the dog.
December 2011 was yet another mixed bag. Reg got in a car accident and dented his car. My clutch started to go and I needed to get it fixed. There was a lot of stress surrounding getting BoyChild to actually TAKE and get comfortable with his ADD medications – which he kept lying about taking and then throwing out. GirlChild succumbed to a stomach bug. Reg started interviewing for a job he really wanted. Reg bought a new oven which replaced the one I bought with my house. My washing machine died (thankfully while still under extended warranty). Reg stressed about Christmas shopping. Christmas shopping was successfully done and all the wrapping completed. Reg felt depressed that he wasn’t offered the job by Dec 23 (their deadline for informing everyone). We had Christmas day with his family. Boxing Day Reg went and played hockey and managed to break his leg – thus almost completely halting any sort of plans we had to get things done the 1 week I had off work (since it meant that all the housework, shopping and dealing with children and animals fell 100% on my shoulders). December 27 Reg was offered the job, with a substantial increase in his salary with it, and we suddenly needed to figure out how to combine both families under one roof AND finish the renovations!
And so here we are in 2012:
- 1 dog richer
- Reg has a better paying job that he is excited about starting (but is leaving a job that allows him to spend more time coaching sports like he enjoys)
- 2 weeks for the kids to get used to the idea that we will be living together full time
- attempting to fit everyone into my 3 bedroom, 1 bath townhouse while we RENOVATE to make it a 4 bedroom/2 bath
- working around the fact that Reg can’t do anything for at least another 3 (probably more likely 6) weeks when the PERMANENT cast is removed
- dealing with the logistics of getting his daughters enrolled in the school and before/after school program that my children are involved in
- dealing with my children’s resentment towards both Reg and their father’s girlfriend (and new half-brother who is due in the next 2-5 weeks)
- hoping to conceive a baby (and leave my current job with maternity benefits)
- adding permanence and HOPE to our lives
- looking forward to a better life working TOGETHER to make our dreams a reality
- Hoping to find a way to pay down debt so that I can get into my masters program
Oh… and trying to figure out how to get married without too much pomp and ceremony…
You know… just a typical new year