My wife is no longer here, but my sister is home

Wedding ring worn on right hand.

This photo is not mirrored. I am indeed now wearing my wedding ring on my right hand.

My wife and I can be accused of a lot of things. But to have ever done anything conventionally is not one of them.
Be it as individuals, or as a couple.

I met Lizanne in 1994, at 19 (she was 23); and it was love at first sight.
Well… There was… Something. Something I’d never felt before. And have never felt with anyone else since.

So we called it love, called ourselves a couple, and went along with it. I mean – we couldn’t get enough of each other – what else could it be? What else could two only-children, who grew up with little surrounding family, moving up to a continent at a time, multiple times, picture or understand this as?

We went on, through life’s ups and downs, as families do. In insight, we’ve actually had very few hard moments. Maybe 4, 5 over the years. Once every 4 to 5 years, at worst, really. Furthermore, those can mostly be attributed to outside/exceptional circumstances, such as postpartum, or tense professional times. But what those hard times never did is divide us.

After a few years together, a family-per-se we became, with our first (yet now taller than both of us) child, Teagan, in 1999. Then, gamer-extraordinaire, Keane in 2002. And finally, the best-once-2-year-old-hockey-goalie-you’ll-ever-meet, Kyran in 2006. They truly are our greatest accomplishment as husband and wife. We love them, unconditionally. Time shall tell – they’ll tell us themselves, one day – but I’m more than pretty confident that we’ve done a good job raising them, and providing them with all the love we can give, so far. And always will.

It’s been 20 years now; 15 married (but only so we could do something special with my family in France back then, and the usual administrative reasons). And with time, Lizanne and I have realized something crucial: that what we have is in fact stronger than what conventional marriage can offer. What we are to each other could only be accurately described as a brother and sister of sort. Against all odds. Something that no one, even ourselves, can ever take away from us. We will love and protect each other for all our days, as a family does, and should.

But… in truth, brothers and sisters don’t really want to share a bedroom. Doing so kinda really feels creepy… And we don’t want that tension between us any more.

Families dissolve over such things. We don’t understand that. We don’t even want to understand that. Why would one break apart a lifetime of achievements as a family together, and make everybody suffer, over not wanting each other *that way*?

We’ve lived under the same roof, as siblings, all those years. And we’ve now decided to make that status official. But we want to remain being our very own  family, as strong as ever, and probably even happier as it has ever been. And happy, we definitely know how to do!

So there it is. We might eventually choose to have our own domiciles, but for now, we’re going to go at life as we’ve done so far, one day at a time, and see where it takes us all. All knowing how we truly feel about each other. And both content and at peace with it. Once again, against all odds.

I couldn’t be happier. And I love my sister. Even more than I did my wife. :)

Update: We happened to own a fully furnished apartment across the street from our home, which just happened to be currently empty, so I’ve moved in, as it allowed us to not have to build a new bedroom in our current house, yet still allowing me to see and be with my kids every day (required, with Lizanne being a flight attendant). Best of both worlds, simply boils down to our family using more real-estate on our street. ;)

And just like that, [almost] everything is all better

Satellite dish

It’s interesting the difference a couple of days makes, when one doesn’t give up.

On Friday, after my last post, Andy @ Automattic ping’d me on Skype and offered me to take the rest of the day off (and more if needed) to just recoup from the last 2.5 months. And no, not in a “go away until you can be productive, we’ll dock your pay for it” way, but truly in the “feel better dude” way. Anyone still wondering why I love working with that crew? :)

I did get some rest, but not before using that oh-so-important business week day to resolve most of the lingering issues that were stressing me out so much.

Got in touch with my insurance company and:

  1. made sure they handled the car promptly (it can take up to 5 business days for an evaluator to even see the vehicle…)
  2. made sure they provided me with the replacement vehicle I was entitled to. That worked out wonderfully since I’m now driving a very cool semi-automatic AWD Subaru XV (with paddle gear shift at the wheel).

So that’s mostly taken care of.

At the same time, [another] Andy (to whom I’m lending the cabin for a month) took it upon himself to acquire and install a 6″x6″, 6′ in-concrete post for our dish to be installed on Saturday. He surprised me with it, and it made an incredible difference in my day. That burden suddenly lifted, I could move on to the next step.

That same day, the 4th electrician we had contacted did make it, and installed the 220v dryer outlet we needed to make the cabin a real home. Impossible to dry clothes outdoors in the weather we’re having, and just plain inconvenient to dry them indoors (though that was setup in the meantime). On a side note, that same contractor ended up with his van stuck in the ditch across the street from the cabin, and what got him out and on his way was Andy using the winch on my incapacitated Land Rover. Even down, that truck is a trooper, I tell ya. :)

On Saturday, I made my way up there, to make sure the satellite dish and related internet connection install went smoothly. It did, and we now have a 5MB down / 1MB up connection Andy, and later myself, can now work with for our actual daily jobs. He and family are now set (albeit with an average 700ms latency), and I’ll be able to move to the cabin in the summer and work full-time from there.

So now, all that is left is having some plumbing done so we can stack the dryer and washing machine (scheduled for Monday), and for the insurance company to decide what options they propose in regards to my car, which should happen during the week.

And then I napped. And then I slept in. And now I’m back to my former, happy-go-lucky self. It. Feels. Grrrrreat! :)

The accumulation of it all is starting to get heavy now…

Two and a half months ago, I committed to fully renovate (by myself) the cabin we recently purchased by April 15th, so I could lend it to a friend, his wife and two daughters who needed a house for a month. This being a side-project, on top of my full time job and being a dad of 3 married to an ever-traveling flight attendant, needless to say I didn’t get a break in said last 2.5 months.

But I made it. Mostly…

Things that didn’t happen:

  • Internet connection: required, Andy works from remote, like I do. 2 telcos bailed on me for DSL. When I say bailed, I do mean I went all the way up to the cabin (100km) during the week, waited for a tech who never showed all day twice, and then went through phone hell to find out why, only to find out they decided I was too far to provide me with the services they already billed me for after all. I’m now still waiting for over $600 in refunds from one DSL provider, which is likely to take a couple of months, as per their forums… Then I found an alternative with a satellite internet connection (expensive, but still cheaper than the highway robbery that are mobile hotspot connectivity prices), only to have their tech tell us that she couldn’t install it until we cut some of our trees. Not sure how having trees at a cabin which they fully knew was in the woods was unexpected to them… So that’s where we’re at right now with that.
  • Couldn’t get plumbers or electricians to wire the dryer in time: oh well, that’s now dealt with.

Things that did happen at the end but I wish had not:

  • I had a busted heel the last 2 weeks: still kept going, limping the whole way
  • I had the flu for the final 4 days of the job: still kept going
  • We had a freak snow storm on April 12th which made it impossible for non-4×4 vehicles to get to the cabin, the day before I had a shipment of wood and 4 appliances (fridge, stove, washer, dryer) coming up in trucks for delivery: I kept going, shoveling my driveway by hand because the snow-plow guy had finished his season, so the trucks could make it (which they did)
  • I had to dig through 24″ of snow and 12″ of ice to get to one valve to turn on our artesian well
  • I had to break through 12″ of ice to free some pipes from it so the kitchen sink would work
  • My dog “ran away” for 10-15 minutes, which is not like him, leading to full blown panic and search (he came back, he was hiking in the woods)
  • And to top it all off, once it was all done and my friends had moved in, I drove to the side of my driveway on what I though was hard ground (never saw the place without snow) but turned out to be an ice dam, which finally broke from under me. To point out how insidious that ice was, I drove over it to park all winter long with my 2 tons car, and two 5 tons delivery truck were driving on it 2 days before. My car dropped 12-16 inches, right on a large sharp stone, and snapped my steering rod clean in half, therefore not being able to move my front wheels any longer. I now expect the insurance company to decide that my 1999 Land Rover is not worth their time, and total it, which is likely going to make me lose around $5000 and leave me car-less, with a cabin 100km away. Edit: I forgot to mention that this happened Monday night, that the insurance company file was opened Tuesday, and that I still have no news from them, nor have they moved my car or provided me with the replacement vehicle my policy entitles me to, today on Friday…

But I’m keeping going… Not letting it all bring me down. If I let that happen, I think I’ll be out of commission for a while, both psychologically and physically. Sometimes, not letting go is the only way to not sink to the bottom. This is one of those times.

So I’m using the personal philosophy I told another blogger about a few days ago. I’m staring at “whatever is conspiring to make my life so much harder” and uttering those simple words: “fuck you, you’re nothing, I’m stronger than you are and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want”.

Almost over now… Wish me luck. :)