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2015 has almost ended, and 2016 is about to begin.   God, I hope the new year qualifies as an improvement, because the year just past has not been a good one for us.  Looking back, I can say that only three really good things happened to us all year.

Let’s get the shitty stuff out of the way, first: I got let go from my job without cause in February. This is, apparently, entirely legal in the province of Ontario. It was sudden, unexpected, and although I tried to take it in a professional and adult manner, it was a real slap in the face after a couple of years of working very hard for that company. I’m going to admit to some hard feelings, even coming up on a year later.

Then, of course, has been the incredibly frustrating and fruitless job search here in Peterborough. There are very few jobs (and almost no good jobs) available in this town, which led me into more than one shitty temporary situation which fast became intolerable (some of those situations faster than others.) As of the writing of this piece, I am still unemployed, although I’m hoping the upcoming year will offer new and exciting opportunities in our new situation… but more on that later.

Life problems, health problems, stress in our marriage, frustrations with the SCA… it’s been a rough year for us, so I’m going to be glad when it’s over.

I don’t know if the election outcome counts as good or bad against the big tally sheet. I’m certainly happy the Stephen Harper Conservatives got the axe in such a publicly emphatic way, but I really wanted an NDP government… or at least an NDP opposition. It was a tough year for progressives in Canada, and even though Trudeau seems to be saying a lot of the right things, I’m harboring some reservations about his long-term commitment to (small-l) liberal politics once supporting those policies becomes politically expensive. We’ll see.

But back to the good things: probably one of the better things was getting back out on the water and sailing again, even if it was only for a few evenings and afternoons over the course of the summer, catch-as-catch-can.  The folks at the Port Hope Yacht Club were friendly and welcoming and I thoroughly enjoyed sailing with them — especially on one particularly rough and windy Wednesday race night which proved to be an excellent introduction to the exciting sport of sailboat racing. I’m really going to miss sailing with the PHYC… but more on that later.

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Port Hope Yacht Club on Lake Ontario

The second good thing was our trip to southern California to spend time with The Wife™’s family in person; I’d never actually physically met her stepmom, brother and sisters, so it was a really nice way to spend a week. We all got to know each other and I feel like we made some real connections. We also got to explore southern California, and it proved to be an amazing place. I like L.A., and I wasn’t expecting to. But the people were friendly, the climate was congenial, the food was amazing and the scenery spectacular. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and I’m very much looking forward to our next visit, which we hope will be sooner rather than later.

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Joshua Tree National Park in California

The third good thing, and unquestionably the best, was the birth of my new niece. My twin sister and her husband had their first child about three days after we returned from California, and despite the fact that she’s spent most of her four months weighing less than ten pounds, she’s got me thoroughly wrapped around her adorable little finger… as babies do. This is the first grandchild for my parents, as well, so there’s been a lot of family time the last few months. There’s going to be quite a bit more time with her in the new year… but more on that later.

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She’s really tiny

But three good things measured against a backdrop of a year of frustration, stress and belt-tightening isn’t much. I’ve been struggling with depression because of it, and the clearest evidence of that has been the absence of activity on this blog. When I feel down, I have trouble finding the energy and creativity to write. I’m going to try and overcome that inertia in the new year, and hopefully our new situation will help with my emotional state.

I keep saying that “but more on that later.” Well, I guess this is later: Long story short we’re moving out of Peterborough to the Niagara area, and are currently packing up the Peterborough house in preparation for an early-February move and a March listing. There’s a lot of reasons for the move: Proximity to family is high on the list since The Mother-in-Law™ has family in the area, The Wife™ has cousins and friends nearby and the new house is only a couple of blocks away from my twin sister’s place — an easy walk, even pushing a baby-stroller (we’ve tested it.)

There are also far more job opportunities in the Niagara region: when we decided to make this change we looked hard at the job listings for the area compared to Peterborough.  There were more jobs posted in a day for the Niagara than in a week for Peterborough; filter it with a minimum salary requirement equal to what I was making at my old job and the ratio jumps from day vs. week to day vs. month. Plus The Wife™ already has a job lined up, starting the week after the move.

And yes, we have already bought a house; the The Mother-in-Law™’s real-estate-fu is as effective as ever.  The new house is about the same size as the current house, but somewhat better laid out for us. There’s a big (and high-ceilinged) garage suitable for a shop. There’s a wet bar in the rec room, of which I plan on making full and enthusiastic use. There’s a nicely fenced back yard for the dogs and lots of nearby parks. There’s bike paths and hiking trails and many, many historical sites and two lakes within easy reach.  There’s lots of stuff to do: museums and farmers’ markets and wineries and distillery tours. There’s an active SCA group within a fifteen minute drive. There’s family and friends to share it all with.

I’m excited about the move, in a way that I haven’t been excited about stuff for a while, and hopefully that excitement will carry over into all other aspects of our lives. In the meantime, however, we do have a lot of packing to do. We’re splurging on a professional moving company for the Day itself — the new house is a four hour drive on the other side of Toronto, so traffic is going to be a consideration. Better to have a big truck and an experienced driver to cope with that crap, but we’re putting all our stuff into boxes ourselves as a cost saving measure; the moving company will pack for you if you chose that option, but it ain’t cheap.

I think the move is going to be good for us. I am going to miss people up here, but Peterborough itself… no. This town has gone pretty sour for me over the past year or two. I’ll miss our current house and all the greenspace we have here, but it’s not enough to hold us here anymore. A change, as they say, is as good as a rest, and at this point I think we’re enthusiastic about either option.

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