But I can BBQ a Mean Burger
by Karla ° Sunday, March 11, 2007
In the past two weeks, Mark has quit two jobs. The first being the one that currently pays our bills and the second being the job that was supposed to find us moving to Ottawa.

When he accepted the job opportunity in Ottawa, negotiated doing his three month probation period in Toronto to ease the transition, and convinced the company to pay for our move, we were thrilled. I was excited to finally be able to leave this building I am supposed to call home and restart our lives somewhere else. To celebrate our chance at starting over I went all fancy on Mark and cooked something special for dinner that did not require a microwave or toaster oven. He enjoyed his barbequed hamburgers and his bottle of beer very much.

You may recall, that while the opportunity to accept a job in Ottawa was on the table, there was also a job offer in Toronto, that, although was not offering as much money, offered things like one of the best pension plan programs in Canada, great health care benefits and paid overtime – at the cost of taking a step down in his career.

We thought everything fell into place perfectly, until the deal breaker phone call came. The company in Toronto left an urgent voicemail for Mark that they needed to talk to him. Mark decided he was not going to call them back and pursue discussions further because at some point the negotiations had to end, and he had to take a job and be done with it. Plus, he had already handed in his resignation and had a start date for the other job. Loud mouth me though, always the nosy and curious one (and we all know what curiosity did to the cat), couldn’t let the conversations end that way not knowing all the details. I told him that I fully supported his decision to not pursue things further, but not before whining that I wanted to know what the other company had to say seven times in our five minute discussion. I’m supportive in a narcissistic sort of way like that.

Eventually, my whinny narcissism got the better of him, and he returned the phone call. And for love of keeping life decisions complicated, they matched the offer he had in Ottawa and offered two additional weeks vacation (for a total of one month’s holidays). That, combined with the pension and paid overtime meant we had some serious soul searching to do because suddenly, it seemed to make more sense financially to stay in Toronto.

It felt like we were standing at a crossroad in our lives. One direction would find us far away from family, but would bring the change and new life adventures that we were looking for. Mark would be advancing in his career, but, and we knew there was a big but, there would be a cost to that, and that was time spent with his family because 9-5 would not exist anymore. The other direction meant we would be staying in Toronto, and he would be putting his career on hold for a while, but that came with a wonderful work/life balance and job security which meant he would have more time for family.

What to do? If he put his career on hold, what happens when he is ready to advance again? Would it be a strike against him? Would employers not respect his decision to put his family first for a couple of years? What if he pursues career right now? Would he miss his son? Me? Would I end up lonely in Ottawa if the demands put on him are unreasonable or would he manage to balance everything in a way that satisfies both his drive for career and family?

I’m not sure why the decision was so hard to make, but the idea of leaving Toronto and starting a new chapter in our lives elsewhere made me feel vibrantly alive and excited, and I haven’t felt that way in a long time. Not even while I was pregnant with Nate. My entire pregnancy was filled with nothing but anxiety and trepidation. I cried with fear all the way to the operating room table for my c-section.

Suddenly though, something clicked and it all made sense. We have been struggling for our long awaited little family unit for a long time now, and have gone through enough pain to get here that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Family is what is important to us. Family is what matters most. And if our goal is for me to stay home with the kid(s!) and for Mark to be able to achieve a work/life balance, then the decision was clear. He had to accept the job in Toronto. It afforded us the job security he needed to focus on the things that are most important in our lives right now, like snuggling with our son and maybe, just maybe, figuring out how couples ever have sex again after having a baby.

When I told my Mom that she would be closer to her Grandson and we weren’t moving far away, she cried so hard that her voice became unsteady and I swear I heard the flow of relief begin pumping through her veins.

So, we aren’t moving to Ottawa, but, because this house still feels like a place of broken dreams, we are still moving – up the street and around the corner and preferably, somewhere with a yard where my dog doesn’t like to eat deck wood and dig holes and pee on my flowers.

And I get to be all like, “I told you so,” with Mark for the rest of his life because my curiosity with wanting him to return that phone call ended up being a good thing and it didn’t kill my cats and I still get to be a stay at home mom to my precious son and a housewife that can’t cook to a husband who loves his family deeply.

Just love. That is all.

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I can't be sure if I should say "congratulations" or "gee, I'm sorry." LOL!!! I know that feeling of excitement well when it comes to moving far away.

I'm jealous as can be that you have a husband that is that-in-demand. I can't imagine having the options and the wonderful luck that came your way. I can't help but be a tiny bit jealous (as you know well I didn't want to move where we currently live, and my husband actually took a $12,000 pay CUT to come here under the promise it would be made up within the year. They lied.)

So I'm EXCITED for you to stay near your family. I'm sad for you to give up that 'new start' but then excited again for you to have Mark in such an excellent job! Also - I think just moving to a new home is going to be a GOOD THING!

So in the end... I think "Congratulations" is in order!

Posted by Blogger aka_Meritt :  March 11, 2007

That's quite a story! I think you made a good decision.
Posted by Blogger Julia :  March 11, 2007

Oh, I am happy that he returned the phone call too!!! You are so right, family is something that you put in very high regards and I am glad that you have such a positive outcome.

And a move...and a stay...in Toronto where you call home, and a new house where you can allow your love to continue to grow.

Maybe that is where, maybe, just maybe, you will find the peace and rest that your soul is searching for.

One knot untangled.
Posted by Blogger Meesh :  March 11, 2007

Isn't LOVE grand!!! I am happy for you and wish you much more happy love filled days!
Southern Belle
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  March 11, 2007

Hooray for you and your beautiful family!
Posted by Blogger Judy :  March 11, 2007

That is just great! I'm so happy for you and your family! Persistence pays - that is my motto.
Posted by Blogger Finelly :  March 11, 2007

Wow, what a heart-wrenching month this has been for you and your family! I'm so glad that it all has ended for the best. A new home is something to look forward to even if it's just around the corner. ;)

Family does indeed change work priorities. My mother and stepfather have decided to move to be closer to us and I cannot be any more *thrilled*. Both my mother and I grew up without grandparents being around (we saw them maybe once a year). My mom did *not* want to repeat this cycle for yet another generation.

I look forward to seeing your Nate and my Lochlan develop close relations to their grandparents. =D
Posted by Anonymous Keri :  March 11, 2007

Sounds like good news. Similar thing happened to us last year. We ended up staying put too and it has truly been a wonderful year.

I hope the same for you and happy house moving. Much more fun without the stress.
Posted by Blogger Day :  March 11, 2007

I think you guys made the right decision 100% not only will Nate grow up with his Daddy around and his grandparents so close! He is a very lucky boy with two wonderful parents!
Posted by Blogger TBG :  March 11, 2007

i LOVE it when de wif is RIGHT!
yeah for you all!
Posted by Anonymous uumomma :  March 11, 2007

That photo is beyond precious.
And wow, lots going on! Way to follow through and make those tough choices.
Posted by Anonymous Amanda :  March 12, 2007

I remind you again that it's not SC, but I'm glad you made the right choice for you guys. I was thinking while you were talking about how exciting it was to make the change that you could just sell your house and that would be a big change in itself. Then, well, you said you are...I guess great minds really do think alike, eh?

I love coming here, b/c I always get one more big smile from seeing your baby!
Posted by Blogger Christi :  March 12, 2007

Yay! You'll never regret Mark having more time with you and Nate :)
Posted by Blogger Robyn :  March 12, 2007

Sounds like you're making decisions for all the right reasons.
Posted by Blogger Heather :  March 12, 2007

Karla, my husband has also made the decision that for the time being, the career ambitions will be on the back burner. It is wonderful to have him around so much, and it will be wonderful for Mark to be around a lot, too.

I'm glad that you are both happy with the decision.
Posted by Blogger Gina :  March 12, 2007


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